Can You Steam Dumplings Straight Out Of The Freezer?

Frozen foods can get a somewhat justified bad rap for producing meals that are soggy and flavorless compared to the fresh alternatives. Even though frozen food can be as healthy as fresh, and can even preserve flavor better, sometimes something is lost in translation when a dish gets frozen. We accept these meals are as much about convenience and price as they are taste, and certain tradeoffs are going to come with that. Frozen pizza may not be the same as takeout or homemade, but it can still be pretty good — and on your table in fifteen minutes at a third of the price.

Frozen dumplings don't really have this tradeoff problem. Sure, fresh dumplings from a local shop are going to taste better, but frozen dumplings manage to deliver most of what you want without losing the things that make frozen meals useful. Part of it comes down to texture. The worst frozen meals struggle to crisp up or achieve the same texture as the fresh version, but when the original food is something that is already soft, like a dumpling, that's much less of a problem. The only thing left to do is cook them the same way you would a fresh dumpling, by steaming, and then optionally giving them a little fry in a pan. But can you steam dumplings that are still frozen, or do they need to be defrosted?

Dumplings can be steamed frozen with a little prep

The good news for dumpling lovers is that there is no danger in taking them straight out of the freezer and steaming them. As long as you cook them all the way through, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes, they'll turn out great and be perfectly safe to eat. The one downside to this is that frozen dumplings can end up sticking to the steamer as they cook, whether it's bamboo or metal. This can be avoided by using lettuce leaves or a thin non-stick item like parchment paper and poking a few holes to ensure the steam can get through.

An even better way to steam your frozen dumplings might be the "steam and fry" method that Americans might be familiar with from Japanese gyoza. Simply heat a little oil in a pan you have a lid for, then brown the bottom of the dumplings for a minute or two. Then add enough water to lightly coat the bottom of the pan before covering it. The steam will cook the tops of the dumplings while the bottom stays crispy. The heat from the pan means this is even faster than steaming by itself, so if you're worried about cooking frozen dumplings all the way through, this might be the method for you. Either way you do it, steaming frozen dumplings will be fast, safe, and delicious.