Tutorial: Potstickers

These are fun little Asian dumplings and they”re surprisingly easy once you master the technique. There are several ways to cook potstickers, but I’m going to show you the method I use, because you don’t need any special equipment. After that, you can have fun coming up with your own fillings. I”m going to use one of my favorite fillings for Lemon Ginger Potstickers. These make a great meal along side a steamy bowl of rice, or a fantastic appetizer at a party. Don”t be scared if this process seems complicated- it really isn”t! I just want to explain it well so you”ll be successful on your first attempt 🙂

The ingredient list really isn’t very big:

Lemon Ginger Potstickers

Filling ingredients:
3/4 C finely chopped cabbage
1/3 C chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
1 T soy sauce
1 tea salt
2 tea minced fresh ginger
2 tea grated lemon rind
1 tea dark sesame oil
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1/2 pound (8oz) ground chicken
Won ton wrappers (You”ll find these at the grocery store in the produce section. Against the wall in the refrigerated part or near the Asian specialty items. You can use them for homemade ravioli too!)

For cooking process:
Skillet with lid (very important to have a lid, and one that fits)
Vegetable oil

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1/4 C Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 T Fresh minced ginger
2 T chopped green onions

1. Prepare the filling

If you have a food processor, bust it out now!That is definitely the easiest way to whip these up.Otherwise, get a good knife and get ready for a work-out.I process one ingredient at a time and add it to a bowl. Basically, you just want to combine all ingredients listed under “filling”

I always start with the cabbage. Why? I don’t know…
Roughly chop it and toss it in the processor and process until about this fine:

Do the same for the green onions and water chestnuts and combine in a bowl. Add lemon rind, ginger, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, and hot sauce.

Then add the ground chicken. You can buy ground chicken, but I just grind my own in the food processor since I always have a big bag of chicken in the freezer. Just make sure they are thawed first, and then roughly cut into chunks and place in the food processor. Pulse until ground and then measure out 8oz. (As I’m writing this my husband informs me this picture looks “whack”. Hey, it’s ground meat, it’s not going to be pretty. But I’m including it anyway because I want you to know how it looks when it’s properly done! And if you think it looks gross, get over it, because in a few moments you’re going to be mixing it up with your hands.)

Add chicken to cabbage mixture.

Now get your hands in there! It”s really the best way to do it.

This is the filling. I always make this ahead of time so when it”s time to make the potstickers you can just pull it out and pop them together. You can even make it up to a couple days in advance and keep it in the fridge. Have fun altering the fillings to your taste. Now onto the…

I always set up a potsticker station that looks like this:

You’ll need:

  • your filling and the won ton wrappers
  • a teaspoon
  • a cookie sheet sprinkled with a little cornstarch
  • a small bowl of water
  • a plate, or work surface to fold the won tons
  • several damp paper towels

Working with 1 or 2 won ton wrappers at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken mixture into center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Then bring remaining 2 corners to the center, pinching points to seal. Pinch all 4 edges together to seal well.

Place folded potstickers on the baking sheet and cover with a damp paper towel while you complete the rest.Cooking Process:

Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pot stickers.

You”ll have to cook these in batches and I find using a smaller pan and cooking about 10 at a time works best for me.Cook about 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Carefully add 1/2 cup water to pan (If you use a really large skillet, youmay need to add a bit more water to the pan) cover immediately and cook 4 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Repeat procedure with remaining pot stickers.

Since I cook these in batches, I store the finished ones in a glass baking dish with a lid.That way the steam from the hot potstickers keeps them all soft and warm.

For the dipping sauce, just combine all ingredients and serve in a small bowl.


  1. I love these! I didn’t think I liked ginger, but this was the first recipe I used *real* fresh ginger in and I fell in love! Last time I made these, I layered them on parchment paper in a tupperwear, froze them, and ate them everyday for two weeks!

  2. Manda- yes, it’s raw chicken. So the filling mixture will be raw when you put it in the won tons. It cooks when they’re steamed in the skillet.

  3. Yum. I love these; don’t leave out the lemon. Or the water chestnuts. Or the mushrooms. Even if you don’t like those things. Seriously, if you knew what was really in all that yummy Chinese food at P.F. Chang’s, you’d never eat there… 🙂

  4. Kate you totally reminded me of something I forgot to add in there, lol. The mushrooms. Which you just told everyone not to leave out 🙂 I wrote out the recipe how I make it and I don’t usually put the mushrooms in because I don’t really like mushrooms so I never have them around. So all you shroomers, just add 2 or 3 to the food processor with all the other chopped stuff.

    And I agree with Kate- don’t leave out the stuff you *think* you don’t like- like water chestnuts. Does anyone really like those? You have to include them though because it adds the perfect texture and flavor combo, and once everything is chopped up, you really can’t tell what it all is. It’s just, yummy.

  5. Okay I HAVE to ask….what the crap do you do with your children when you make this stuff??? I would totally try all these things but it would take me approx. 5 hours from start to finish because my child apparently doesn’t like playing alone for more than 5 minutes.

    I love this blog though, I’m just super curious-especially with Kate because she has two kiddos. Tell me your secrets!!

    1. I have my kids help. One cam lay out the wrappers, one dues the filling and one does the water. I use my whole counter and the whole family has to help. I have a pot sticker press that is wonderful.

  6. Oh and I agree with the P.F Chang’s comment. Seriously, what the heck is in the lettuce wrap stuff? No clue but it’s freakin GOOD! Speaking of, gotta recipe for lettuce wraps? lol.

  7. Carly- I *do* in fact have a recipe for lettuce wraps 🙂

    As for the kid situation…I obviously love to cook, so that’s just part of my day that I plan out. Whenever possible I give my 2yr-old something he can help with because he loves to help me in the kitchen. He can stay busy for quite a while with a couple of bowls and a pile of chopped veggies or something. But more than anything, I think about dinner throughout the day and do prep work earlier so when it is dinner time things are easy to toss together. I do it during nap time, or when T is playing by himself or whatever. And if I don’t have time to do that earlier in the day, then 5pm is movie time! I just pop on a movie for the kid and I get to work in the kitchen.

    But seriously, most of the food on this blog ISN’T hard! It doesn’t take a lot of time which is why we post certain things; to show that great food doesn’t have to be complicated or labor intensive. The potstickers for example, I always make the filling a day ahead (or a morning ahead) and get everything prepped so it’s seriously a snap to make. Trust me- it won’t take 5 hours!

    Now alllll that being said, ask me how I feel on this subject in 2 weeks when I have a newborn around too, lol.

  8. Ditto Sara–I think planning is half the battle. As long as I’m thinking about dinner, I can find a way to get it done with minimal use of the TV as a babysitter. I get as much prep done as I can throughout the day and then I can just throw everything together at dinner time. And I rarely make stuff as labor-intensive as potstickers on a weeknight; the vast majority of stuff I make is pretty simple. It helps that my baby takes a long nap in the afternoon and my preschooler has a “movie rest” during that time, so I can get a lot done then. And when the older one isn’t resting, he loves to help in the kitchen.

  9. These are awesome! I made them last night for the first time and wrote about it in my blog Apple in the Kitchen. I quoted your site and included a link to the recipe. Please let me know if this is not okay. I’m new to blogging!

  10. I want to make these as a side to your asian chicken – can I leave out the chicken in the potstickers so I don’t have too much chicken or will that ruin the flavor?

  11. Okay Sara from one klutz to another, how do I make these without burning my hands, face etc. . . after I pour the water in? I put a tight fitting lid on the pot immediately, but then when I remove the lid for the water to evaporate the oil started attacking me. Help because now my husband is telling me that I am stupid for putting water into hot oil.

    1. I add oil to a non-stick skillet, arrange the potstickers on top, and then immediately add my water. I cover the whole thing with a tight-fitting lid and bring it up to a boil. Steam the potstickers for 6-8 minutes, remove the lid, and allow the water to evaporate. As it evaporates, the potstickers begin to brown in the residual oil. Oil and water don’t mix, which it great for cooking potstickers! If I’m making a lot of potstickers, I use my electric skillet (it’s an oval variety) and follow the same method. Fresh or frozen, it doesn’t seem to matter. I cheat a little, too, on the prep — I found a small plastic empanada maker at a dollar store some years back. It’s a hinged half-circle with fluted edges. It makes super fast work of shaping and sealing potstickers, and I don’t have to do any fancy folding. {grin}

  12. Oh no Adrienne! lol. I haven't made these in a long time, but I've never been attacked by oil before! I'd say use a little less oil and turn your heat down. The water should sizzle, but quickly just simmer once it's in there. If it's jumping all over the place it sounds like your pan is a little too hot.

  13. Hey! I am going to try this recipe tonight and since it is just my hubby and I, I want to feeze some of the potstickers for later next week. Do I freeze them in raw form then cook when defrosted or freeze fully cooked?

    Thanks, Dominique

  14. Ryans- honestly, I have never frozen them so I'm not sure! Maybe do an experiment and try some of each. And then report back. (I'm trying to get you to do our work for us, is it working?? haha)

  15. So, the results are…
    freeze them pre-cooked. The cooked ones were too messy to freeze, but the ones that I didn't pre-cook turned out awesome. I let them sit out of the freezer about an hour before I cooked them up, delish!

  16. Can’t wait to try them. I haven’t met a recipe here on your blog that we didn’t like, and I’ve been dying to make my own potstickers. Thanks!

  17. Do you think these would work with ground pork? I got used to eating pork dumplings on my mission to Taiwan. I am wondering if I should alter any other ingredients to go with the pork? Friends taught me to make this while over there, but I have forgotten!

    1. Just use the Pin button on your browser- you can pin anything you want, regardless of whether the site has a “Pin” button 🙂

  18. My husband surprised me on my birthday by taking me to the lake and cooking something similar to this on a little gas stove. I was impressed. I’ve since done it(at home), but we have always used leftover cooked chicken or pork. Do you think the flavor or texture would change much by starting raw? You two always seem to have good reasons for doing things the way you do, and I was just wondering. Thanks for all of your great recipes and tutorials. LOVE your website. And your food. And especially all the pictures.

  19. Just had to let you know that you are helping to save my relationship with my teenage son. He loves to eat so I’m teaching him to cook the things he likes. We tried this recipe today and loved it! I was worried that it might be too much for him with vegetables and onions in it, but he stuck with it and was very proud of the results. He’s also made some other things in your cookbook. So even if we don’t always get along, we create great things in the kitchen! Thank You!

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