Pork pot stickers are a classic Chinese appetizer. Make this recipe for Asian pork dumplings to serve as the perfect holiday appetizers!
I think some of the best appetizers are ones that can easily be eaten in a bite or two. Asian cuisine offers plenty of great options, too.
I was first introduced to pot stickers at a dim sum house in San Francisco back when I lived there, and have been a fan ever since. Years later when I visited China I tried every type of dim sum I could find in Beijing, Xi'an, Chongqing and Shanghai. The most memorable seafood ones were when I visited a Hong Kong dim sum house, talk about fresh!
Pork pot stickers happen to fit perfectly into that category of bite-sized appetizers. Not only are they delicious, but they’re easy to eat, and beautiful to look at, too!
The original potsticker recipe
Pot stickers are a type of dumpling. Many people think that dumplings are the same thing as pot stickers, but that’s not completely accurate. Although they ARE a type of dumpling that’s made with dough, not all Chinese dumplings are pot stickers.
The Asian word for dumplings is jiaozi, and originally, the dough was filled, then they were either boiled or steamed.
This is probably the biggest difference between potstickers and jiaozi; one is fried and then steamed, and the other isn’t fried at all.
Pork pot stickers
Cuisine: Chinese / Asian
It is said that this appetizer came about when a Chinese chef was planning to boil dumplings in a wok. Apparently, he stepped away and when he returned, all of the water had boiled off. The pan fried dumplings were stuck to the wok, and the bottoms were crispy.
The word potsticker literally means "stuck to the wok."
potstickers, pork dumplings, pan fried dumplings, jiaozi
Fried and steamed
Difficulty: Medium 🥄🥄
Thick dough filled with meat, cabbage and other vegetables, sealed and pleated to close, then fried and steam cooked.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Ground pork
Ground pork is typically a 90/10 blend, meaning 10 percent of the meat is fat. To keep it juicy, I add a teaspoon of peanut oil into the mixture. Some recipes work 2 tablespoons of cold water into the pork first.
- Dumpling dough
The wrapper for pork pot stickers is a thick dough; much thicker than what’s used for wontons or traditional dumplings.
Making fresh potsticker dough from scratch takes a lot of time; more than many of us have. Although I'm sure it makes the pork dumplings taste even better, either fresh or frozen potsticker dough can be purchased from a local Asian market.
The veggies most often found in potstickers are cabbage and carrot. Just like the veggies in chicken egg foo young, go ahead and adjust the veggies to whatever you like.
For this recipe, I use shredded Napa cabbage, carrot and Chinese black mushrooms (dried shitake).
Black mushroom are meaty and hearty, but they come dried, so they need to be soaked in water before using. If you don’t have time to soak them, feel free to use fresh mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are a good choice.
Cabbage contains a lot of water, which releases during cooking. The excess water can lead to pot stickers with soggy bottoms.
To prevent this, after shredding the cabbage, lightly toss it with some salt and put it into a strainer placed in your kitchen sink. Let the cabbage sit there for at least 30 minutes so that some of the water can drain out.
Video: Making pork pot stickers
The recipe card at the bottom of this post gives instructions for everything you need to make and fry the pork dumplings. The trickiest part is making pleats on the top of each potsticker.
To see the making of the potstickers recipe from start to finish, be sure to watch the video that’s also in the recipe card.
Did you know?
Potstickers are pan-fried dumplings. They're steam-fried to keep the filling juicy while allowing the bottom of the dumpling to be crispy and brown.
Wontons are another dumpling, but the dough wrapper is thinner, and wontons are usually served in a broth.
Gyoza are Japan's version of potstickers. They also have a thinner wrapper and are usually shaped long and thin.
How to pleat dumplings
Fill the potsticker dough:
Place 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture in the center of the dough circle. Fold the dough up around the filling like a taco, then pinch the center together. The left and right sides will remain open.
To create the pleats:
- Hold the thumb of your right hand on the center top of dough. Using the thumb and index finger of your left hand, push the dough to create a pleat left of center and seal to the right.
- Move the thumb of your right hand over the new pleat and continue using the thumb and index finger of the left hand to push the dough to create pleats left of center and seal to the right until you reach the end of the left side (about 4 pleats).
- Now do the same for the right side of potsticker, moving pleats toward center.
Notes for making pork pot stickers
- Taste before you fry. Prior to filling the wrappers, cook a small amount of the filling in the pan, then taste and season if needed.
- If using store bought potsticker dough rounds, wet the outer edge with water. No need if using homemade wrappers.
- Don't over fill them. One tablespoon of pork filling should be plenty. If you use too much, you'll have trouble creating the pleats.
When made with the ingredients in this potsticker recipe, one pork potsticker has 57 calories, which includes a tablespoon of dipping sauce.
When made with the ingredients in this recipe, one pot sticker has 5 grams of carbohydrates. There's 1 gram of fiber, which means there are 4 net grams of carbs.
If you don't plan to fry them right away, you can freeze the filled potstickers until you're ready to cook them. To prevent them from freezing together, freeze them on a sheet pan first.
After the outside becomes hard, you can transfer the dumplings to a large freezer bag or other freezer-safe container. They'll keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw before making pan fried pork dumplings. Do NOT thaw if you plan to steam or boil them.
Pork Pot Stickers + Video
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 6 dried black mushrooms (shiitake)
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups Napa cabbage sliced thin, chopped and salted (See Note 2)
- 1 carrot shredded, finely chopped
- 4 green onions finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon ginger paste
- 48 dumpling wrappers fresh or frozen/thawed
Cooking (per batch)
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- ¼ cup water
Dipping Sauce (per person)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chili crisp or chili paste
- In a small bowl, soak black forest mushrooms in hot water and place something on top to keep submerged for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain, rinse and squeeze out excess water. Remove and discard stems. Chop mushroom caps into thin diagonal strips. turn strips 90° and finely chop.
- Thoroughly combine ground pork in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. (See Note 1)
- Add rice wine, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt and white pepper to ground pork and mix thoroughly. Transfer cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, green onions and ginger to the pork mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- If using store bought potsticker dough rounds, wet the outer edge with water. No need if using fresh wrappers. Place 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture in the center of potsticker dough round. Fold the dough round like a taco and pinch the center together, left and right sides will remain open.
- To create the pleats: Hold the thumb of your right hand on the center top of dough. Using the thumb and index finger of your left hand, push the dough to create a pleat left of center and seal to the right. Move the thumb of your right hand over the new pleat and continue using the thumb and index finger of the left hand to push the dough to create pleats left of center and seal to the right until you reach the end of the left side (about 4 pleats). Now do the same for the right side of potsticker, moving pleats toward center.
- Place the potsticker, pleated edge up, on a lined cookie sheet so they don't stick. Gently press dumpling to flatten the bottom. Cover with towel and repeat with remaining filling and dough rounds.
- Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add about 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil, tilting skillet to coat bottom. Place about 12 potstickers in single layer with pleats on top and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Next, quickly pour about ¼ cup of water into the pan. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove lid and let the potstickers cook for another minute, until the water evaporates. Transfer cooked potstickers to a plate and keep warm. Repeat cooking process with remaining potstickers.
- Serve with dipping sauce and chopped cilantro as garnish.
- Ground pork is typically 90/10, meaning only 10 percent is fat. To keep the pork pot stickers juicy on the inside, I combine the meat with peanut oil.
- Cabbage contains a lot of water, which releases during cooking. The excess water can lead to pot stickers with soggy bottoms. To prevent this, after shredding the cabbage, lightly toss it with some salt and put it into a strainer placed in your kitchen sink. Let the cabbage sit there for at least 30 minutes so that some of the water can drain out.
- NUTRITION: Information shown is for one pork pot sticker with dipping sauce. A typical serving is 3 to 4 dumplings.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.