Much like pancakes and doughnuts, dumplings are an almost universal type of food. Just a pocket of dough filled with a sweet or savoury filling, there are lots of different types of dumplings around the world.
Simple yet complex, they are infinitely adaptable and have become tasty staples in many countries. Dumplings are versatile and the many different types of dumplings can differ based on shape, type of filling and also the method of cooking. You can either follow the traditional recipe or get as creative as you wish. There are vegetarian versions which consist of mushrooms, garlic, onions, vegetables, watercress and more such delightful ingredients. Non-vegetarians can go with any type of meat from minced pork and ground lamb to combinations like pork and shrimp. There are seafood variations mainly consisting of shrimp. And there are sweet versions as well. You can also wrap it in banana leaves or other such variations for a twist. Or make soup dumplings! The options are as limitless as your imagination. Whether they’re pan fried, baked, boiled, steamed or, fried, these 35 dumplings around the world are sure to get your tastebuds going.
Have You Tried These Types Of Dumplings Around The World?
1. Banh Bot Loc – Vietnam
This almost transparent Vietnamese pork and shrimp dumplings are made with tapioca flour and filled with pork belly and shrimp. It gives the banh lot loc its unique clear appearance and chewy texture. They can either be wrapped in banana leaves and steamed, or boiled, and are served with a fish based dipping sauce. These dumplings are often also topped with fried shallots for that extra burst of flavour. These are one of the most amazing types of dumplings around the world.
2. Buuz – Mongolia
The Mongolian version of a steamed dumpling, buuz are usually filled with ground beef or mutton and flavoured with garlic, onion and salt. Occasionally, herbs or other seasoning are added and some variations might also include cabbage and mashed potatoes. This Central Asian dish is eaten during the Mongolian Lunar New Year (Tsagaan Sar). The buuz dumplings are steamed, however, the pan fried version of the same is called khuushuur.
3. Cha Siu Bao – China
Cha Siu Bao are steamed pork buns that are as a type of dim sum. Cha Siu is the barbecued pork filling, and bao is the fluffy and chewy bun. Pork buns can also be baked, and is then referred to as cha shao can bao. A version is also found in Hawaii, called manapua. One of the most authentic types of dumplings around the world and you should definately try them.
4. Chuchvara – Central Asia
Also called joshpara, dushbara, and shishbarak, this small boiled dumpling is found throughout both the Central Asian region and the Middle East. The unleavened dough is stuffed with ground meat (usually, lamb) and spices before being boiled in a meat broth and is served with yoghurt or sour cream. It is similar to the Turkish manti.
5. Coxinhas – Brazil
Found in Brazil, these snacks are made of thick dough stuff with shredded chicken. It is then moulded into a shape meant to resemble a chicken leg (coxinha literally means “little thigh”) and cooked by deep frying. It can be served with any kind of dipping sauce.
6. Empanadas – South America
These savoury pouches of fried dough can be found all over South America. There are tons of varieties and stuffings – from tuna fish to chicken and corn. The flour or corn-based dough is then folded over this filling and cooked by frying or baking. It is similar to the Italian calzone. Some people consider empanadas too big to be dumplings, but we say, the more the better! It can be served with any kind of dipping sauce.
7. Gyoza – Japan
These Japanese dumplings are related to Chinese pot stickers (guo tie), though they tend to be made with thinner wrappers, and filled with minced pork, cabbage, scallions, garlic, and ginger. They are then served with rice vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil based dipping sauce. These are one of the best dumplings around the world that you shouldn’t miss.
8. Har Gow – China
A traditional Cantonese dumpling, ha gow is also served in dim sum. Sometimes called a “shrimp bonnet,” the translucent wrappers of these shrimp dumplings are filled with shrimp chunks, bamboo shoots, scallions, and grated ginger. The tapioca and wheat flour wrappers are then pleated and steamed. It is often served together with Siu Mai.
9. Jiaozi (Shui Jiao/Zhēngjiao/Guotie)– China
The most common Chinese dumpling, jiaozi refers to a thinly rolled piece of dough filled with ground pork or other meats and/or vegetables. They can be steamed (zhēngjiao), boiled (shui jiao) or pan fried (guo tie, also known as “pot stickers”). Jiaozi are different from Chinese filled buns (bao or baozi) which are much thicker and are more like mantou or plain steamed buns. Jiaozi or shui jiao are eaten year-round and also particularly during the Chinese New Year. Jiaozi is served with soup or with a dipping sauce that may include rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, ginger, garlic or hot sauce.
10. Khinkali – Georgia
These traditional Georgian dumplings are usually filled with ground and spiced meat, herbs, onions, and garlic. A flour-based dough is wrapped around the filling (and twisted at the top) while it is still raw and then boiled so that the juices of the meat are trapped inside. These eastern European delights are usually served with coarse black pepper.
11. Knish – Eastern Europe
A knish is a Jewish snack found across the Eastern European region. Filled with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, onions, or cheese, it is covered in a heavy dough which is then either baked or deep-fried.
12. Kreplach – Eastern Europe
Another Jewish Eastern European dish is the kreplach. Often compared to the Polish uszka, and the Italian tortellini, these dumplings are made of a thin flour-and-egg dough. This is then stuffed with various meats or potatoes. The kreplach is folded into a triangle or a crescent and served in chicken soup making them a form of soup dumplings.
13. Kroppkaka – Sweden
Kroppkaka is traditional Swedish potato dumplings. It is stuffed with an allspice-flavoured mix of bacon and onions and served with lingonberry sauce and butter. When the potato is mixed with barley flour, it is known as palt. The most popular versions of this are the Pitepalt from Piteå, which is stuffed with minced meat, and blodpalt, where pig, beef or reindeer blood is mixed into the dough.
14. Mandu – Korea
Mandu is the Korean take on dumplings. But, they are more similar to the Central Asian manti than they are to Chinese or Japanese dumplings. Korean mandu consist of a mixture of ingredients. It is usually filled with ground pork, kimchi, vegetables, and noodles. It is served with a dipping sauce made of soy and vinegar. There are very many variations, and mandu can be steamed, pan fried, boiled, or even used to make soup dumplings called mandu-guk.
15. Manti – Turkey
These dumplings from Turkey can be found throughout the Central Asian region, especially in northwestern China, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. They are stuffed with ground lamb or beef spiced with black pepper and served with yoghurt sauce spiced with red pepper (or Middle Eastern sumac) or with butter. These are the most luscious dumplings around the world.
16. Maultaschen – Germany
Maultaschen is a traditional German dish consisting of an outer layer of pasta dough and a filling of sausage meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavoured with various herbs and spices. They look a bit similar to the Italian ravioli and originated in the region of Swabia. Maultaschen are often associated with Lent.
17. Modak – India
Another dumpling that is popular across India is the modak. Most popular in the state of Maharashtra, the teardrop-shaped dumpling is made of rice flour and khoya. It is filled with coconut and jaggery or sugar and can be either steamed or fried. Modaks are eaten hot with ghee, especially during the Ganesh festival every August. This is among the few sweet versions of dumplings.
18. Momos – Tibet, Nepal, and India
Momos are a type of dumpling mostly found in northern Indian, Nepali and Tibetan cuisine. These steamed or pan fried dumplings are filled with ground meat, vegetables or cheese, and are often served with a tomato-based spicy dipping sauce and chili oil or soy sauce. Dumplings made in healthier versions use whole wheat flour and it is steamed instead of pan fried. If you visit India, this is something you have to try. You will find different versions of momos which will be very different from the dumplings around the world.
19. Pasteles – Puerto Rico
Pasteles are a dish popular across the Caribbean that is similar to Central American tamales. It is a type of dumpling made with a dough, or masa, of grated root vegetables, squash, plantains, and unripe bananas, along with milk and annatto oil. This is then filled with a variety of things like stewed pork, chickpeas, and olives; wrapped in leaves; and boiled. These boiled dumplings are popular in the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Trinidad and in Cuba.
20. Pastizzi – Malta
Pastizzi are diamond-shaped pockets of phyllo-like dough from Malta. They can be filled with a variety of fillings, usually ricotta (pastizzi tal-irkotta) or mashed peas (pastizzi tal-piżelli). The pastizzi are then baked on metal trays.
21. Pelmeni – Russia
Pelmeni is ravioli-like crescent-shaped dumplings of Siberian origin, found throughout Russia and Belarus. Similar to the Turkish manti, the unleavened dough is wrapped around a stuffing of meat, mushrooms, or cheese (but never anything sweet) and boiled in salted water.
22. Pierogi – Poland
These iconic Polish dumplings are made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savoury or sweet filling (usually potato, minced meat, cheese, sauerkraut or fruit). This is then cooked first in boiling water and then pan-fried in butter with onions. Savoury pierogi are served with sour cream, while sweet pierogi are sugared and served with melted butter or cream. Oh so delicious! A must try dumpling around the world.
23. Pitha – India
Pitha is often called the Bihari answer to dumplings and momos. Either sweet or savoury, these semi-circular balls are made of kneaded rice flour and are stuffed with Bengal gram paste or poppy seeds and jaggery. They are then steamed in water or milk.
24. Ravioli – Italy
Ravioli are essentially pockets of pasta with various fillings (and, therefore, qualify as dumplings). They can be stuffed with anything from meat to cheese to vegetables, and are usually served with a sauce or in broth.
25. Rissóis – Portugal
Rissóis (or rissoles as they are more commonly known) originated in Portugal. They are a breaded half-moon-shaped pastry usually filled with fish or shrimp in Béchamel sauce and then deep-fried. Other variations use minced meat, ham, or chicken. Rissóis are a popular snack or appetizer throughout Portugal.
26. Samosa – India
Samosas are a popular deep-fried Indian snack. The hard, crispy shell is usually filled with potatoes, peas and spices, but it can also come with several variations and sometimes have meat. They can be found across India, and also in the Middle East and North Africa. It is often accompanied with mint chutney or tomato ketchup.
27. Siu Mai – China
Also spelt shumai, these Chinese dumplings are served as a part of dim sum. These dumplings originated in Hohhot, in inner Mongolia. Now, there are various versions of these dumplings in China as well as across several countries in Southeast Asia. These dumplings are usually filled with shrimp, chicken or pork, as well as bean sprouts, shredded carrots, and scallions. They are often topped with roe. The fillings can vary based on season and region.
28. Svestkove Knedlíky – Czech Republic
Knödel (or knedlík in Czech) refers to the many varieties of Eastern European dumplings, though most commonly those without a filling. However, svestkove knedlíky are unique dumplings that are filled with fruit. The dough is wrapped around a whole fruit (often a plum) before being boiled and sprinkled with sugar and served with quark or “curd cheese”.
29. Tamales – Mexico
Though not typically considered dumplings, tamales are an iconic Mesoamerican dish that dates all the way back to the Mayan civilization. They are made with a starchy, corn-based masa or dough which is filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables before being steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.
30. Tortellini – Italy
Though we may think of tortellini as pasta (and thus separate from dumplings), like ravioli, they too fit the definition of a dumpling. From the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, these pockets of pasta dough may be enclosed with various fillings (like cheese, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, seafood, or meat). According to legend, the innkeeper who first made it was inspired by a glimpse of Venus’ belly-button when creating its distinctive shape. A local Bologna favourite is tortellini in brodo, which features the dumplings in a rich beef broth.
31. Uszka – Poland
The Polish uszka is similar in shape to the Italian tortellini and the Jewish kreplach, but most closely resembles the Russian pelmeni. These folded ring-shaped dumplings are stuffed with meat or mushrooms and traditionally served in borscht or clear soup, especially on Christmas Eve. These dumplings are said to be shaped like ears as the word uszka means “little ears” in Polish.
32. Vareniky – Ukraine
Similar to the Polish pierogi, varenyky is a Ukrainian dish. These types of dumplings can have fillings of fish (like carp or even salmon) or meat with chopped onions, cheese, dill, and pepper. In Ukraine, varenyky are traditionally eaten with sour cream, but may also be a dessert, filled with fruit, such as, sour cherry, blueberries, along with sweet cottage cheese, cloves, lemon juice, and sugar.
33. Wontons – China
Wontons are similar to jiaozi, but have thinner skin and are relatively flatter. They are also usually served in broth, rather than being eaten with dipping sauce. The preparation of these dumplings varies by region and are often filled with ground pork, garlic, and minced cabbage. Wontons can either be boiled (when served in soup) or deep-fried. Wonton noodle soup is a speciality of Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China, while those boiled with spicy chilli oil, sesame seeds, and scallions are a Sichuan speciality. They are also eaten during the Chinese New Year.
34. Xiao Long Bao – China
These steamed dumplings from Shanghai are perhaps better known as “soup dumplings”. They’re filled with ground pork, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic which might seem like the usual but it also includes a small piece of aspic which melts when steamed creating a flavourful broth. The injection of broth also means that xiao long bao is pinched at the top instead of folded in half.
35. Zongzi – China
Zongzi are types of Chinese dumplings made with glutinous rice. Usually, the glutinous rice is triangle or cone-shaped and is filled with red bean paste, Chinese dates or cured meat. The dumplings are wrapped in bamboo leaves before being steamed or boiled. They are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival (Dragon Boat Festival).
There’s More To Dumplings!
There are many other types of dumplings around the world; such as the Chinese tangyuan and the Japanese daifuku (both desserts made with glutinous rice flour and containing a sweet filling); Cornish pasties (savoury pastries filled with meat and potatoes) and the Greek tyropitakia (phyllo dough pastry triangles filled with cheese).
Of course, to many people, dumplings are also starchy balls of dough that are steamed or baked. With no filling, these are often eaten with soups and stews or are desserts. Examples include:
- Banku – a type of steamed dumpling made from fermented cornmeal from Ghana
- Dango – similar to mochi, these dumplings are made from rice flour and served on a skewer; there are different varieties for the different seasons.
Japanese colourful rice dumplings “mochi dango”
- Gnocchi – these Italian dumplings are shaped from a mixture of egg, potato, and flour; they are served with butter, cheese, or other sauces.
- Halušky – a traditional variety of dumplings cooked in the Central and Eastern Europe, they are made with a batter of flour and egg or potatoes (such as bryndzové halušky, which are from Slovakia)
- Kartoffelknödel – knödel is the German word for boiled dumplings, and kartoffelknödel is a version made with potatoes and/or semolina flour to accompany meat dishes. You can also try semmelknödel, made with bread and eggs, and the Jewish matzah balls made from matzah meal.
Kartoffelknödel with Schweinsbraten
- Kubbeh – an Iraqi-Jewish dumplings dish made with bulgur, minced onions, finely ground meat, and Middle Eastern spices. It can also be called köfte and is popular across the Levant.
- Shlishkes – small boiled potato dumplings made from potato dough and rolled in bread crumbs; they are popular in Hungary.
- Souskluitjies – sweet dessert dumplings from South Africa often covered in a cinnamon syrup or custard.
So there you have it. These are some of the most delicious dumplings around the world. How many of these dumplings have you already tried and how many of them are you dying to try now? Let us know about your experience with dumplings around the world. And if we’ve missed any of your favorites, do share them in the comments below.
There seems to be an endless variety of Chinese dumplings. However, for ease of understanding, they can be classified into two main types – crescent-shaped dumpling (gao) and purse-shaped dumplings (bao). Within these two types, there are several variations, many of which such a shui jiao, guo tie and more have been mentioned in our article.
Dumplings are a type of dish which primarily consists of dough (made from sources of starch such as flour, potatoes etc) and comes either with a filling or without. Dumplings are versatile can be made with many different variations of fillings and cooked using different methods such as pan-fried, boiled, steamed or fried etc. Dumplings can also go by different names, for eg. pot stickers or dim sum. But while these terms are often used interchangeably they are actually different. The names are based on the method of cooking or any other variation.
There’s no specific term in English for filled dumplings but different cuisines around the world have terms for filled dumplings made in their region.
Wontons are a type of dumpling from China.