Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough

Dough being rolled for dumplings
Dough being rolled for dumplings

The Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough we are making here is of the unleavened, wheat flour variety. It is probably the most common dumpling wrapper dough all around the world, especially among home cooks. You will find it in such diverse types as Chinese Jaozi, Xiaolongbao, and Wontons, as well as the Korean Mandu, Japanese Gyoza, and the internationally ever-popular ‘Pot-Stickers’. The ingredient list is very short, as you will see, and virtually anyone can learn how to make a versatile dough with this extremely simple little recipe.

The Ingredients

The Ingredients for a Basic Dough
The Ingredients for a Basic Dough

The ingredients for a basic dumpling dough couldn’t be simpler. You need flour, water and (optionally) salt, and that’s it…

There are, however, there some qualifications:

First, as to the salt… some recipes include it, others do not. Some cooks will insist that adding salt to dough can toughen it but, personally, I have not really noticed that and I like to add a little pinch per cup of flour. You may omit it, if you wish.

The water component requires some consideration of both quantity and temperature. The actual amount of water required to make a workable dough will vary somewhat depending on a number of things such as the quality of flour, the temperature of the water and even the ambient humidity.

Generally, though, a good rule of thumb is that one cup of flour will require *approximately* a half-cup of water and the trick is simply to add it in small increments until the dough is just right. With that in mind, we can list the ingredients for a small batch as being:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus a bit extra for kneading and rolling);
  • ½ cup water (approximately);
  • 1 small pinch salt (optional).

Cold Water or Hot Water for Dumpling Dough?

As to the temperature of the water you use, this is an important consideration and thus we can have a ‘cold water dough’, and also a ‘hot water dough’, where the water used to make it is just short of boiling temperature.

There is actually a lot of controversy over which is better for which type of dumpling but, generally, cold water doughs are supposed to be better for dumplings that are poached or steamed, while the hot water type is preferred for the pan-fried, or deep-fried varieties.

The reasoning behind this, apparently, is that cold water doughs tend to absorb less water than the hot water sorts and are therefore less likely to become soggy, or disintegrate when the resultant dumplings are being cooked by wet heat.

Personally, I have had perfectly acceptable results using the hot water type for all methods of cooking and I tend to use it almost exclusively as the dough tends to be a little easier to work.

The Method

You can, of course, make the dough by hand in a bowl, but most kitchens are equipped with food-processors these days and it much easier and quicker to use one for the first part of the operation.

Adding Water to Flour in a Food Processor
Adding Water to Flour in a Food Processor

Add your flour and salt (if using) to the bowl of your processor and turn it on. As the blades spin, begin adding your water (hot or cold) a little at a time. At first, the water will begin to mix with the flour to make a rather ‘mealy’ powder.

The Formation of the Dough ‘Ball’
The Formation of the Dough ‘Ball’

As you continue to add water, the mix will start forming larger and larger ‘grains’ fairly rapidly and, in one sudden instant, they will ‘clump’ into a single ball that spins around on top of the blades. Immediately stop adding water the instant this happens. Let the ball spin for a few more seconds and then remove it.

Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough
Basic Dumpling Wrapper Dough

Finally, you must knead the dough on a hard surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Knead a good few dozen times, adding a sprinkle or so more flour if it becomes sticky, until you have a nice elastic dough in a smooth, dry, slightly shiny ball.

The dough must rest for at least a half-hour, and you can do this by putting it in a covered bowl and setting it aside for the time being.

If you aren’t going to use the dough immediately, you can wrap it up in Saran-wrap or the like and put it in the fridge. I have kept dough for several days with no ill-effect, but you generally have to knead it again with a little more flour as it can get sticky when left for an extended time.

How many Dumplings can you make with 1 Cup of Flour?

The more astute among you will probably instantly recognize that the answer to this question depends on how big you plan to make your dumplings. However, you also have to factor in the thickness of the wrappers, as well as the amount of filling for each.

Generally, I will make somewhere between 1 to 2 cups of filling for a ‘one-cup batch’ of dumpling dough. Depending on the thickness of the rolled-out wrappers (thicker for boiling, thinner for pan-frying etc.), you can get anywhere from 1 to 2 dozen dumplings, with 16 being a pretty good number.

A Batch of Dumplings Ready to Cook
A Batch of Dumplings Ready to Cook

Ready to try?


  1. Nice Post,
    I used to make my own, but nowadays I just buy the wrappers and add homemade filling 🙂
    Gett´n old and lazy…….. 🙂
    Cheers !

    1. Author

      It’s only once in a blue moon for me these days… AND I have to sit down to save my knees if I am filling and folding any more than a half-dozen 🙁

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!