How to Steam Dumplings without a Steamer?

Steaming dumplings is a delicious way to make them, but not everyone has access to a steamer. This article goes over different ways of steaming dumplings without using a steamer.

What are dumplings?

Dumplings are made by wrapping dough around other ingredients, such as meats, starches, vegetables, fish, and spices. Some common types of dumplings include pot stickers, pierogi, gyoza, ravioli, and wontons. They can be eaten as snacks, appetizers, side dishes, or with the main course of a meal.

Dumplings can be small or large, depending on the recipe being used. They can be fried, boiled, steamed, or baked and can be served with a variety of different sauces, including tomato sauce or soy sauce.

How to cook dumplings without having a steamer?

Using aluminum foil balls 

Using aluminum foil balls

If you don’t own a steamer, you can use aluminum foil balls to steam cook your dumplings inside a pot.

  1. First of all, make the dumpling wrappers or buy them from the store. Next, gather your ingredients. Mix everything together well, and then begin shaping the mixture into dumplings.
  2. Once you have shaped all of the dumplings, take aluminum foil and make three large balls according to the size of the pot you have. Place them on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Fill the pot with water, turn on the heat, and bring to boil. As the water reaches its boiling point, lower the heat.

Also, ensure the water is in the right quantity.

  1. Next, take a plate and rub a little sesame oil onto it. Make sure the plate is made with a heat-resistant material. Add dumplings onto the plate and place it over the aluminum foil balls. Do all this process carefully.
  2. Cover with lid and steam for 5 to 8 minutes, until cooked thoroughly.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Top with desired sauces (such as soy sauce).

Using metal colander

Using metal colander

No steamer, no worries. Use stainless steel colander and steam cook your dumplings with its help.

  1. Add water into the pot and set it on the stove.
  2. Place the dumplings in a metal colander or strainer at the bottom of your pot. Check the size of the colander so that it can easily fit inside your pot. Make sure it is not stacked too high.
  3. Cover your pot with a lid and allow it to cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Use tongs or chopsticks to turn your dumplings occasionally so that they can cook evenly.
  4. Remove from heat when done.
  5. Repeat until all your dumplings are cooked.
  6. Serve hot with soy sauce for dipping

Using steaming trays

Using steaming trays

If you have steaming trays from your old 2 or 3 tier steamer, then they can also help you steam your dumplings. But before doing this, verify you have the pot according to the size of the steaming try you have.

  1. First, add water into the pot, allow it to boil, then lower the heat to medium.
  2. Place your dumplings onto the steaming tray and put them inside the pot. You can use a metal rack or a trivet to hold the tray and food up out of the water.
  3. Cover the lid so the steam can’t escape from the top.
  4. Wait until your dumplings are cooked evenly and perfectly. You should know the steaming time of dumplings and never try to overcook them.
  5. Remove the steaming tray gently, allow the dumplings to cool down, and serve them with dips.

Using microwave

Using microwave

There are a few different ways to steam dumplings in the microwave, but the most common is to place them inside a microwave-safe bowl and add water until they are almost covered. Microwave them for 3-5 minutes on a high setting or until they are cooked through. You can also use a microwave-safe steamer basket if you have one available.

However, the most important thing is to make sure you cover the dumplings with a plate or something else that will trap steam. Otherwise, your dumplings may be undercooked in some areas and overcooked in others. If a microwave-safe bowl doesn’t work for you, try using a glass measuring cup or Pyrex bowl instead.

Just double-check the bowl you use is big enough to fit all of your dumplings in without overcrowding them – this will help them cook evenly.

Are steamed dumplings better than fried dumplings?

Are steamed dumplings better than fried dumplings

It all depends on your choice; however, both are best in their own ways.

Steamed dumplings

Steamed dumplings are healthy as they are cooked without any oil or fats. They are low in calories, making them a good choice for people watching their weight.  Steaming preserves the natural flavors of the ingredients, resulting in a light and refreshing taste.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to gauge how thoroughly steamed dumplings are cooked, so some people worry about leaving them in the steamer for too long and end up over-steaming them instead of cooking them right through.

Fried dumplings

On the other hand, fried dumplings are crispy and crunchy, providing a textural contrast to the soft and fluffy filling. They are also very flavorful as they are cooked in oil or fat. Moreover, they are easier to prepare if you need to make them in large batches.

However, fried dumplings are highly addictive and will likely ruin your diet if eaten in excess. They can be high in fat and calorie content, so they may not be suitable for people watching their weight. Frying also produces a lot of smoke and fumes that can aggravate respiratory problems. The oil or fat used for frying can also be unhealthy if not properly cleaned and stored.

Both methods are effective, but they have drawbacks, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you are searching for a healthy and light option, then steamed dumplings are better. If you want crispy and crunchy dumplings, then fried dumplings are the way to go.

Read More: How to Steam in Instant Pot without Steamer Basket?


Can I use a ceramic plate to steam cook my dumplings?

Yes, a ceramic plate is safe for steaming. You can use it to place your dumplings inside the pot to steam cook them.

How long do you steam dumplings?

It depends on various factors, including the type of dumplings you’re cooking and the size of your steamer. However, in most cases, you’ll need to steam your dumplings for about 10 minutes.

What happens if you oversteam your dumplings?

If you over steam dumplings, they will become tough and chewy. Overcooked dumplings will also have a slightly rubbery taste.

If you are looking for a soft and fluffy texture, it is best to steam dumplings for just the right amount of time. This will ensure that the dumplings stay moist and tender. Overcooking dumplings can also lead to them becoming soggy, which is not desirable.

Steaming dumplings for too long can also cause them to fall apart. As the water inside the dumplings boils, it will weaken the gluten bonds in the dough. If you steam them for too long, these bonds become so weakened that they break completely, and your dumpling falls apart or becomes mushy and unappetizing.

How to make sure that your dumplings are properly cooked?

Here are a few telltale signs that will let you know your dumplings are cooked to perfection. The wrapper should be slightly translucent and slightly chewy, and the filling should be cooked through. The dumplings should also be nicely steamed, with a soft texture and a slightly glossy sheen. If your dumplings pass these tests, then you know they’re perfect.


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