Steamed vs. Fried Dumplings

Steamed or Fried Dumplings: Flavor, Texture, and More!

Pillowy, warm, and rich with earthy flavors, dumplings are hands down one of the best comfort foods out there.

On the topic of preparing the perfect dumpling, you might come across the whole “steamed vs. fried dumplings” debacle.

What’s the difference, and which is better? Let’s find out!

Steamed vs. Fried Dumplings: Overview

Flour, water, and salt. Three basic ingredients to make a dumpling starting wrapper. How you stuff and cook this skin makes all the difference.

Here’s how:

Steamed Dumplings

A steamed dumpling is a serving of greens and rice in a soupy blend, all stuffed in a delicate skin of noodle wrappers.

Steamed Dumplings Are Softer Than Fried Dumplings
Steamed Dumplings Are Softer Than Fried Dumplings

It’s cooked in a steamer and comes out after 10-15 minutes looking dewy and almost translucent. Different than Bao buns for example.

Fried Dumplings

Pan-fried dumplings (also called potstickers) combine two cooking methods in one. That’s because you cover the batch with a lid to steam the tops while the bottom part fries in the oil.

Like its steamed counterpart, the fried dumpling is a good source of carbohydrates. Of course, being cooked in oil takes away some of those health points!

Which Should You Go For?

Cooking is all about finding pleasure in the textures, flavors, and pairing.

While we can’t tell you which one’s the perfect choice for you, we can let you in on some of the factors to consider. This way, you get to shape your dream dumpling!

Let’s see how well each dumpling will hold against the other in a head-to-head comparison:


Most commonly, fried dumplings focus on meat stuffing with added vegetables. Meanwhile, the traditional steamed ones are filled with rice, vegetables, and soup.

However, you can get creative and customize the stuffing inside to your liking. Just make sure that the noodle wrapper you fry with is thick enough to handle the heat.


Texture-wise, the fried dumplings win this round. For optimum crunch, preheat your pan and finish with a lace skirt. 

Dumpling Skirt vs Steamed Dumpling Skirt

On the other hand, the steamed dumplings lack this dehydrated outer crisp, leaving a softer feeling inside your mouth. It’s not a bad kind of mushy, but more of a velvety texture.

However, steamed ones might clump while cooking. To avoid this, use lettuce as a barrier between adjacent dumplings.

Ease of Preparation

Unlike streaming, it’s fairly easy to know when your potstickers are done frying. You just keep an eye out for that golden crisp.

That’s why steamed dumplings might be more appropriate for someone who has a bit of culinary experience.

The only time when steaming is an easier option is when you’re preparing for a lot of people all at once. You just pop them in the steamer and come back later. No flipping required!

Fried Dumplings Tend To Have More Flavor Intensity Than Steamed
Fried Dumplings Tend To Have More Flavor Intensity Than Steamed

Flavor Intensity

All in all, they both taste rich and satisfying.

However, many people find that the oil tends to bring the flavor of the stuffing down a notch. You don’t get this drowning effect with steaming.

Contrastingly, freshly steamed dumplings are richer in flavor, but they lose their edge as leftovers.

Keep in mind that your dumplings will only be as good as your stuffing. So, make sure to use fresh and well-seasoned filling!