Dumplings are an Asian delicacy loved by people all over the world. They’re nutritious quick eats, excellent for anyone the go. However, the delicious dish offers another great advantage for those leading busy lives; dumplings can be kept for a long time as long as you know how to prepare them properly.
You can freeze dumplings to extend their shelf life for up to 6 months. The way they’re frozen, whether cooked or uncooked, and the ingredients used to make them will determine how long they can be stored in the freezer.
In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know regarding how to properly freeze dumplings, store them in the freezer, and, lastly, how to cook frozen dumplings using methods that will retain their texture and flavor.
Freezing Dumplings the Right Way
Freezing dumplings (including potstickers & momos) in the right way to optimize their taste and shelf life requires a bit of care and attention. Here are some of the most important factors you’ll want to consider:
How To Prep Your Dumplings for Storage
Whether dumplings are homemade or store-bought, cooked or uncooked, they won’t retain their original texture and taste after freezing if you don’t prepare them the right way.
- Freeze dumplings as soon as you can. Food breaks down fast, so try not to leave them out long before storing them. Freezing dumplings right after you’ve made a batch or bought them from the store increases their chances of reaching their maximum shelf life.
- Refrain from refrigerating dumplings. Uncooked dumplings, in particular, are more prone to turning soggy if they’re put in the fridge any time before cooking or freezing. When refrigerated dumplings are frozen, they remain soggy even after they’re cooked, and sometimes they can get even soggier after heat exposure.
How To Freeze Dumplings
Now that you know how to prep your dumplings, it’s time to freeze them.
You’ll want to put cooked or uncooked dumplings inside airtight bags, leaving as little air inside them as possible. Afterward, you can take the containers (preferably after marking the packaging date on them) and put them in the freezer.
However, the process can vary depending on whether your dumplings are cooked or not. In the following sections, I’ll take you through a set-by-step approach for each scenario.
Freezing Cooked Dumplings
- Let your dumplings cool down.
- Place the dumplings inside a ziplock or freezer bag.
- Gently press the bag to leave as little air in as possible.
- If using a ziplock bag, wrap your bag with aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Freezing Uncooked Dumplings
- Line a baking pan with parchment or wax paper.
- Carefully place the dumplings on the baking pan, ensuring there’s space between each dumpling.
- Put the uncovered baking pan inside the freezer and wait for about 30 minutes or until all the dumplings are frozen.
- Transfer the dumplings from the baking pan into a freezer or ziplock bag.
Freezing this way will keep the uncooked dumplings from being stuck together when frozen.
Additional Tips for Freezing Dumplings
However, there are still many factors you’ll want to take into account when freezing dumplings to optimize their taste and shelf life. Here are some of the most crucial:
Try Not To Flash Freeze Dumplings Overnight
It’s part of human nature to forget things. But when trying to store dumplings, try not to “flash freeze” them for more than 30 minutes or an hour.
Flash freezing, as its name suggests, is meant to be a quick freezing of the dumplings before actual storage. When left too long in the baking pan, the dumplings may stick and become hard to remove. And if you force them to come off, you might end up destroying their shape.
Don’t Use Glass Trays for Flash Freezing
When flash freezing dumplings, use baking trays or pans instead of glassware, as they tend to make the dumplings stick and more difficult to remove.
However, if you have no choice and have to use glassware, line it with parchment paper first before setting the dumplings.
Use Freezer Bags Instead of Ordinary Food Storage Bags
Some storage bags are of fantastic quality and can keep air out. However, it’s often hard to tell which bags will do that just by looking at them at the store.
More often than not, food storage plastics aren’t airtight enough, allowing freezer burn to occur. When this happens, the dumplings lose their natural moisture and change in texture.
Because of this, it’s always best to use freezer bags, especially if you’re planning to store your dumplings for more than three months. I recommend Ziploc Freezer Bags (available on Amazon.com), as they’re airtight and BPA-free. Additionally, their extended tabs allow for quick and easy access.
How To Cook Frozen Dumplings
You can steam, boil, or fry frozen dumplings and enjoy them just as much as you would when you just bought or made them.
You Don’t Need To Defrost Frozen Dumplings
While you’ll hear many people advising you to wait until dumplings have thawed before cooking them, this isn’t the best way to go.
Thawing will cause the ice to melt around the dumplings, making them soggy. This doesn’t just ruin their shape but also affects their taste and texture.
Instead, you can cook them while they’re frozen, although this undoubtedly extends the cooking time.
Steam the Dumplings
The more traditional way of cooking dumplings is by steaming them in a bamboo steamer. However, a stainless steel alternative will also do the job just fine.
- Line your steamer with parchment paper, so the dumplings don’t stick.
- Evenly space your dumplings inside the steamer.
- Cover the steamer and wait for the water to boil.
- Allow the dumplings to be thoroughly cooked.
Steaming frozen dumplings takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how many dumplings you’re cooking at once.
Pan Fry the Dumplings
If you want something that’s both crispy and tender, try pan frying your dumplings.
- On a non-stick pan, heat a little bit of oil.
- Place one layer of dumplings on the hot oil.
- Wait a couple of minutes or until the dumpling bottoms are golden.
- Pour water into the pan up to a third of the dumplings.
- Cover the pan to allow the water to boil.
- Allow the steam to cook the dumplings for about 10 minutes.
Freezing is a quick and effective way of storing dumplings. You can freeze both cooked and uncooked dumplings, but make sure to prep them properly to ensure an optimal shelf life.