If you asked an Asian chef if you could cook dumplings in the microwave, they would most likely laugh at you. It is certainly not the traditional or typical way to cook dumplings, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to microwave dumplings.
To microwave dumplings, arrange them onto a microwave-safe plate before covering them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for around 4 minutes until they are hot through and enjoy!
How to Microwave Dumplings
Traditionally, dumplings can be either made in a frying pan or steamed. When using a microwave, you should only try to replace the steaming method, as trying to create crispy dumplings will either burn them or make them mushy.
Here is the best method for microwaving dumplings:
- Prepare a Paper Towel
Before you microwave the dumplings, lightly damp a kitchen towel or paper towel and lay it on a microwavable plate to create the steam needed to cook the dumplings.
- Arrange on a Plate
Lay a piece of parchment paper on the damp towel to prevent the dumplings from sticking to it. Then arrange your dumplings on the paper towel, ensuring not to let the dumplings touch each other.
- Cover with a Bowl
To recreate the steaming effect, you will need to cover your dumplings with a big enough bowl or microwavable container to keep all of the steam created by the damp paper towel in one place.
On a medium setting, microwave the dumplings for 3-5 minutes, depending on the filling you have used.
- Flip and Microwave Again
Halfway through the cooking time, turn the dumpling over for an even steam and heat again until piping hot.
How to Microwave Dumplings Successfully
Following the 5 steps above is sure to provide you with some delicious dumplings, but here are 3 quick tips that can make them taste even better:
- Finish Off in a Pan – No crispy Asian dumplings are complete with that signature crisp on one side. But in the microwave, this is nearly impossible to achieve when you are also trying to cook the dumpling properly. The dumplings will still taste great without this crispy side, but they will taste better with it. Heat a thin layer of oil in the pan and fry the dumplings for 1 minute after microwaving them.
- Cook Meat Dumplings for Longer – Dumplings can be filled with various mixes and ingredients, ranging from vegetables to meats. When microwaving raw dumplings with a meat filling, allow for 2-7 minutes extra to ensure that the meat is fully cooked.
- Use a Cup of Water Instead – If you do not have a kitchen towel or paper towel to hand, you can use a small bowl of water placed inside the microwave next to the bowl. Just so long as the water does not spill and soak the dumplings while cooking.
Why You Should Microwave Dumplings
Microwaving dumplings can work surprisingly well if you follow the method and tips listed above. Still unsure? Here are just a few of the reasons why you should microwave dumplings:
A Quick Alternative to a Steamer
Steamers are not as readily available in most kitchens as microwaves unless you often make dumplings (in which case, simply use the steamer). You can recreate the steaming method in a microwave with little effort.
Will Be Full of Flavours
Because you will be cooking the dumpling in an overturned bowl, all of the steam and juices that the dumplings create will remain in the dumplings, allowing them to retain the majority of their natural flavour.
You won’t have to worry about having a dull, bland meal!
Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Dumplings
There is a reason that dumplings are not traditionally microwaved. There are a couple of reasons, and you should keep them in mind when you are deciding if you should invest in a steamer or continue to microwave your dumplings:
You Can’t Make Crispy Dumplings
As much as you may try to replicate crispy dumplings in the microwave, you can only really achieve this by frying the dumplings after they have been steamed in the microwave.
For some, this will not be an issue, but if you prefer eating crispy dumplings over steamed dumplings, then perhaps avoid using the microwave altogether.
May Not Cook All Filings Properly
As stated above, Asian dumplings can be made using a range of fillings, some of which will react better to the microwave’s heat than others.
Until you have experimented a little with your microwave, it will be hard to tell which fillings will successfully microwave. But, as a general rule, meat fillings will take longer to cook and may dry out, while vegetable fillings may become mushy.
They Will Lack Any Colour
Part of the appeal of dumplings is how golden and mouth-watering they look.
Comparatively, microwaved dumplings will appear limp and lifeless. If you are eating the dumplings yourself, this may not be much of an issue. But when serving other people, the lack of colour can be a little off-putting.
Microwaving Dumplings FAQs
Do you still have questions about microwaving dumplings? Then these FAQs might be useful:
Yes, potstickers can be microwaved to cook them through, but they won’t truly be potstickers. Potstickers get their name from sticking to a pot to crisp up one side of the dumpling. You won’t achieve this in the microwave.
Although you can microwave gyozas, it’s not the best idea. It can ruin the texture of the gyozas. Instead, stick to steaming or pan frying them – depending on the type of gyoza.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.