How Hidden Air Pockets Could Ruin Your Homemade Potstickers

Commonly associated with Asian-themed restaurants, dumplings are best known for their savory treasures within, which are meticulously wrapped in bread, flour, or potato-based dough, via Wide Open Eats. These small, edible presents can then be pan-fried for some crunch, steamed for soft and tender textures, or simmered in a broth for umami flavors. And though dumplings look quite different across the globe, we'd like to focus on those that look similar to a half moon: potstickers.

Potstickers are unique because of their thin wrappers that are folded and sealed with pinches, per Fly By Jing. Although steam-frying them is a popular method of choice (due to the golden-brown hues and crispy exteriors), Wide Open Eats explains that they can be cooked using some of the above methods as well. And like dumplings, Fly By Jing explains, potstickers represent several "symbols" of life, such as "health, wealth, and good fortune."

As noted by Learn To Cook, making potstickers at home isn't too challenging, though it's important to have a flavorful filling, proper filling-to-wrapper ratios, and impeccable folding techniques (messy-looking dumplings will still taste amazing, so don't worry if you're not a folding expert yet). But even the best-looking potstickers may have some hidden air pockets inside, and we'll tell you why this is a major mishap — as well as how to avoid it.

The balloon effect

Hidden air bubbles within potstickers, or Steamed Beef Dumplings aren't something that usually springs to mind, but when they're left unaddressed, they can cause bursting and/or rupturing, via Steamy Kitchen and Bon Appétit.

Air pockets are caused by extra air that gets trapped between the filling and wrapper when sealed improperly. And by "improperly," we're not talking about the realm of aesthetics. As America's Test Kitchen notes, before you seal the edges of the wrapper together, you're supposed to "press out any extra air." Ignoring this step may cause the potstickers to puff up as they're cooking, which makes them look like small balloons. This means that the wrappers and the fillings have detached from one another, which causes a mess.

To decrease the chances of air bubbles forming, you can take extra care to ensure a tight seal around the dumplings and remove moisture from produce with a high water content, like cabbage, via Pure Wow. In the case of cabbage, Food & Wine suggests chopping it up, then wringing out the water with a kitchen towel.

Potstickers are loads of fun to make, but to avoid messy outcomes by removing the excess air inside. This will help to keep the dumpling wrappers intact for a beautiful presentation and better overall flavors.