Air frying is one of the best ways to cook store-bought frozen dumplings. It's fast, easy, and convenient. Perfect as an appetizer, snack, or even as a main dish for busy weeknight dinners.
Types of Frozen Dumplings
These are the common ready-made dumplings you can find in the grocery that are perfect for air-frying:
- Gyoza - Also known as Japanese dumplings. It is commonly made with shitake mushrooms, cabbage, ginger, and ground meat (either chicken or pork). Gyoza has a thinner wrapper compared to mandu and is slightly bigger than potstickers.
- Potstickers - Also known as Chinese dumplings. It is slightly smaller than other dumplings. The filling ingredients are similar to gyoza, sometimes added with bamboo shoots, and chives and then seasoned with Shaoxing wine.
- Mandu - are Korean-style dumplings. These dumplings are filled with cabbage, meat (chicken, pork, or beef), and sometimes tofu seasoned with sesame oil for that distinct Korean taste. It is bigger in size compared to gyoza and potstickers.
In case you have noticed, all of these dumplings generally have similar ingredients. What makes them unique from each other are the type of seasonings used, size and or shape, and folding techniques.
How to Perfectly Air-fry Frozen Dumplings
And here's are my tips on how to perfectly air-fry frozen dumplings:
- Slightly thaw the dumplings - Thaw the dumplings for 10 minutes to remove the freezer-burned edges of the wrapper. This will make the edges soft and crispy. Air-frying frozen dumplings straight from the freezer will make the wrapper hard and dry.
- Brush the dumplings with oil - Brush or spray all sides and folds of the dumplings with oil. This is the secret to making perfectly fried dumplings in an air-fryer.
- Place the dumplings in the air-fryer basket in a single layer with a space in between. Do not overcrowd the basket. Cook in batches if necessary.
My recommended temperature for cooking dumplings in the air fryer is 190C or 375F. It's not too hot and will cook the dumplings inside out without burning the wrapper.
The total cooking time of dumplings in the air-fryer is 12 minutes. Air-fry the first side for 8 minutes then turn to the other side and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. The dumplings are cooked when it becomes plump and have turned golden brown.
Do I need to pre-heat the air fryer?
There's no need to pre-heat the air-fryer when cooking frozen dumplings, gyoza, or potstickers. I have personally tested this and the result of pre-heating and not pre-heating air-fryer have made no difference to the texture and doneness of the dumplings.
What cooking oil to use
Canola, avocado oil, and peanut oil are the best oils for air frying due to their high smoke point.
Here are my quick and easy recipes for dumpling sauces. Note that these are small servings. Feel free to double the recipe as needed.
Chinese Dumplings Dipping Sauce
This is a tangy kind of sauce with a touch of heat from the chili oil. Serve with steamed dumplings or fried dumplings.
Here's how to make it:
In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 to 2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang), chili oil (to taste), finely sliced ginger, or grated ginger (to taste), and a pinch of sugar (optional). Tip: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to cut down the tanginess.
Japanese Gyoza Dipping Sauce
This is another tangy dumpling sauce similar to the Chinese dumplings dipping sauce.
Here's how to make it:
In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 to 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, finely chopped garlic, and optional chili flakes if you like it spicy, Tip: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to cut down the tanginess.
Korean Dumpling dipping sauce
I have a complete recipe here. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Dumplings
Serve as an appetizer before main dishes like stir-fried noodles, complete meal soups like kimchi soup, soy-bean soup, soft tofu soup, egg drop soup, misua soup, chicken glass noodle soup (sotanghon), egg fried rice, and many more!
More air-fryer recipes
Air Fryer Frozen Dumplings
- 12-14 frozen dumplings (see note 1)
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil (for brushing)
Dipping Sauce options:
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Kikkoman regular soy sauce)
- 1-2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang vinegar)
- chili oil (to taste)
- grated or finely sliced ginger (to taste)
- pinch of sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Kikkoman regular soy sauce)
- 1-2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- finely chopped garlic (to taste)
- chili flakes (optional)
Korean style (get the recipe)
- Thaw dumplings for 10 minutes. No need to completely thaw.
- Grease the air-fryer basket with oil.
- Brush or spray each piece of dumpling generously with oil. Make sure to include the folds and edges.
- Place the dumplings in the basket in a SINGLE LAYER. Do not overcrowd. Cook in batches if necessary.
- Air-fry for 8 minutes at 190C/375F. Turn to the other side and air-fry for another 4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Taste. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water to cut down tanginess, if preferred.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Dumplings - use store-bought frozen gyoza, mandu, or potstickers.
- Cooking oil - canola, avocado oil, and peanut oil are the best oils for air frying due to their high smoke point.
- Nutrition: Calculation is per 1 piece of dumpling. Dipping sauce is not included.
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Finally, a recipe that works. Thawing for just a few minutes was the key. The dumplings turned out so good, no tough edges.