Basic Dumpling Dough

Lee Anne Wong

Koko Head Café, Honolulu

This dough is great for all types of cooking: boiling, steaming, panfrying, deep-frying. The hot water/liquid provides elasticity to the dough and shape retention to the wrapper. The dough can be rolled to desired thickness, depending on how you are using it. The amount of liquid you add will vary depending on humidity, altitude, and other environmental factors, but chef Wong likes to go by feel. While the dough can easily be made in a food processor, she prefers making it by hand because over time, one can know when the dough is right when it is soft and pliable to the touch. Both ways work. All-purpose flour works best as it has a medium level of gluten, which will provide body and elasticity without being too tough or chewy.


  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt


Bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow the water to sit for 1 minute. Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour 3/4 cup hot water and the sesame oil into the well and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated with the flour. Add more water by the teaspoon (as necessary) to make the dough come together. There will be small lumpy pieces but the dough should not be sticky. Gently bring the warm dough together in the bowl by kneading the pieces until you get a large mass. (Alternatively: if using a food processor, place the flour in the bowl and turn the machine on. Add the hot water and oil to the flour in a thin, steady stream until everything is incorporated. Stop the food processor immediately and check that the dough has come together and is soft and pliable. If it is too dry, add water by the teaspoonful, pulsing the food processor until the dough comes together.)

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead into a uniform, soft, smooth mass; about 30 seconds to a minute for machine-made dough and 2 to 3 minutes for handmade dough. The dough will be smooth, elastic, and feel very dense but pliable. It should not be sticky at all and should bounce back slowly when you press your finger into it, leaving a shallow impression of your finger.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or place in a resealable plastic bag. Allow the dough to rest for at least 15 minutes and up to 3 hours at room temperature. At this point you can make your wrappers or refrigerate your dough for up to 2 days. Before using, allow your dough to warm to room temperature, as it will be easier to manipulate.

To make wrappers, roll the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick. Cut into rounds using a 4-inch round cutter. Use immediately to assemble dumplings.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



roughly 1 pound of dough, enough for 24 large dumplings or 32 medium dumplings

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