Dumplings are a classic comfort food that are enjoyed all over the world. Whether you prefer Chinese-style dumplings, Italian ravioli, or Russian pelmeni, these tasty bundles of dough with savory fillings are always satisfying.
While dumplings are often boiled, pan-fried, or steamed using a bamboo steamer, did you know you can also steam dumplings in the microwave? Microwaved dumplings are just as delicious, and the method is quick and easy.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through how to properly steam dumplings in the microwave. We’ll also share tips for ensuring your dumplings turn out perfectly cooked.
1. Microwaving is a fast and convenient way to cook dumplings in just 5-10 minutes. No need for special equipment.
2. Arrange dumplings in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish and add a little water to generate steam.
3. Partially cover the dish with lid or paper towel, leaving a vent for steam to escape.
4. Adjust cook times based on fresh or frozen dumplings. Frozen takes longer.
5. Check doneness by temperature, cutting to inspect filling, or toothpick test. Dumplings should be hot and puffy when done.
6. Allow dumplings to rest 2-3 minutes after cooking so the filling can set.
7. Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat frozen dumplings in the microwave.
Benefits Of Steaming Dumplings In The Microwave
Steaming dumplings in the microwave offers several advantages:
- Speed – Microwaving is much faster than traditional steaming methods. You can cook dumplings start to finish in just 5-10 minutes.
- Convenience – You don’t need any special equipment besides a microwave-safe dish. Steaming basket inserts are optional.
- Efficiency – The microwave cooks food quickly by exciting water molecules. Steam permeates the dumplings evenly to cook the filling.
- Easy cleanup – With fewer pots, pans and accessories, microwave steaming means less cleanup.
- Consistent results – Following the proper technique helps ensure your dumplings turn out right every time.
Tips For Microwaving Dumplings
Here are some useful tips to follow for microwaving dumplings perfectly:
- Use microwave-safe dishes – Glass, ceramic, or microwave-safe plastic containers work well. Metal pans or dishes can damage the microwave.
- Don’t crowd – Arrange dumplings in a single layer with space between for steam to circulate.
- Partially cover – Covering traps steam but leave a vent for some moisture to escape.
- Add a bit of water – 1-2 tablespoons of water in the dish generates steam to cook dumplings.
- Adjust cook times – Cook fresh dumplings less than frozen. Watch closely near end of cook time.
- Let stand 2-3 minutes – Allow dumplings to rest before serving so filling can set.
Step-By-Step Guide To Microwaving Dumplings
Follow these simple steps for perfect microwave-steamed dumplings every time:
1. Prepare your uncooked dumplings
You can use store-bought or homemade dumplings. If using frozen dumplings, no need to thaw. For fresh dumplings, fold and seal the wrappers well so filling doesn’t leak out.
2. Arrange dumplings in microwave-safe dish
Place dumplings in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate or shallow bowl. Leave about 1/2 inch between dumplings.
3. Add water
Add 1-2 tablespoons water to the dish. The water will create steam to cook the dumplings.
4. Cover loosely
Cover the dish loosely with a paper towel or microwave-safe lid. Leave a vent for steam to escape.
Microwave on high power for 2-3 minutes for unfrozen dumplings. For frozen dumplings, microwave about 5 minutes.
6. Allow to stand
After microwaving, let dumplings stand covered for 2-3 minutes before serving.
7. Serve immediately
Serve dumplings warm with your favorite dipping sauce like soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil or duck sauce. Enjoy!
Microwaving Dumplings With A Steamer Insert
For the best results, you can use a plastic or silicone steamer insert inside the microwave. Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Add water to dish
Add 1/4 cup water to a microwave-safe dish.
2. Place steamer insert
Place steamer basket insert in dish, making sure it sits above water line.
3. Arrange dumplings
Arrange dumplings in single layer in steamer basket.
4. Cover loosely
Cover dish loosely, leaving small vent opening.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes for fresh dumplings, 5 minutes for frozen.
6. Allow to stand
Let dumplings stand in covered steamer 2-3 minutes before removing.
7. Serve and enjoy!
Carefully remove dumplings from steamer and serve immediately with dipping sauce.
Microwaving Dumplings With A Plate And Bowl
If you don’t have a steamer insert, you can improvise one with plates and bowls:
1. Add water to bowl
Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water.
2. Place plate on bowl
Position an overturned microwave-safe plate on top of the bowl.
3. Arrange dumplings
Arrange dumplings on the inverted plate.
4. Cover with another plate or paper towel
Loosely cover dumplings with another microwave-safe plate or paper towel.
Microwave on high power for 2-3 minutes for fresh dumplings, about 5 minutes for frozen.
6. Allow to stand
Let dumplings stand covered for 2-3 minutes after microwaving.
7. Remove and serve
Slide dumplings off plate and serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
Cooking Frozen Dumplings In The Microwave
Frozen dumplings can go straight from freezer to microwave for a quick meal anytime. Here are some tips:
- No need to thaw frozen dumplings before microwaving.
- Arrange frozen dumplings in a single layer, not touching.
- Add a bit more water, about 1/4 cup, since frozen dumplings release less moisture.
- Microwave frozen dumplings for approximately 5 minutes on high power.
- Let stand covered for 3 full minutes before serving.
- Test doneness by cutting to ensure hot filling. Cook longer if needed.
- Be careful of hot steam when removing cover.
How To Tell If Dumplings Are Done
It can be tricky to tell when microwaved dumplings are fully cooked. Here are some doneness tests to try:
- Use a thermometer – Insert into center of dumpling. 165°F for frozen, 145°F for fresh.
- Check inside – Cut a dumpling open to see if filling is hot and steamy.
- Toothpick or knife test – Insert tip into a dumpling. It should come out clean when done.
- Look for puffiness – Properly cooked dumplings will puff up and turn translucent.
- Texture – Dumplings shouldn’t be doughy. Filling should be firm and heated through.
Allowing dumplings to rest covered for a few minutes after microwaving allows heat to evenly distribute. If still unsure, it’s better to err on the side of overcooking.
Storing And Reheating Leftover Dumplings
If you have leftover steamed dumplings that you want to save for another meal, there are some good storage methods to keep them fresh and tasty. Refrigerating the dumplings in an airtight container will allow them to last for up to 2 days. Make sure to seal the container well.
The fridge will help prevent bacterial growth and drying out. For longer freezer storage, place dumplings in a freezer bag or airtight freezer-safe container. They will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
When you are ready to reheat dumplings, the microwave provides a quick and convenient method. Refrigerated dumplings only need 60-90 seconds to become hot and steamy again.
Frozen dumplings will take longer – microwave for 3-5 full minutes based on the amount you are reheating. Do not thaw the frozen dumplings before microwaving them – they will become mushy.
For best results, place refrigerated or frozen dumplings on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a paper towel, and heat until piping hot throughout. Following these storage steps helps properly stored leftover dumplings retain their original fresh texture and flavors for quick and easy meals any time you want them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best dipping sauce for microwaved dumplings?
Popular dipping sauces include soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce or paste, and duck sauce. Mix and match ingredients to create your favorite dumpling dipping sauce!
Can you steam dumplings in a covered bowl in the microwave?
Yes, a covered microwave-safe bowl works perfectly. Add 1-2 tablespoons water to the bottom, arrange dumplings inside, and cover loosely with lid or plate. Microwave 2-3 minutes for fresh or 5 minutes for frozen.
Is it better to steam or fry homemade dumplings?
This depends on personal preference! Steaming makes tender dumplings and highlights delicate filling flavors. Pan-frying makes dumplings crispy on the outside with hearty filling. Microwaving combines convenient steaming with speed.
Should I poke holes in dumplings before microwaving?
No need to poke holes. Dumplings may puff up a bit in the microwave, but the steam vents through the wrapper naturally. Just be sure not to overfill dumplings which can cause them to burst.
Can I use parchment paper to cover the dumplings in the microwave?
Yes, parchment paper is microwave-safe. Cut a sheet to cover dish loosely so steam can vent. Avoid plastic wrap as it can melt. Paper towels also work well for covering.
Enjoy Restaurant-Quality Dumplings At Home
Steaming dumplings in the microwave produces delicious results with major convenience. Use microwave-safe cookware, add a bit of water, cook for just a few minutes, and soon you’ll be enjoying tender dumplings anytime.
Experiment with different fillings like pork, chicken, veggies, or shrimp and dipping sauces. Master this easy method, and you may never want to fuss with steaming dumplings any other way again!