Delicious Homemade Xiaolongbao – How to Make Chinese Soup Dumplings from Scratch

Have you ever tried xiaolongbao, those delicate Chinese soup dumplings filled with a flavorful broth and juicy meat filling? If you’re a fan, you know that biting into these delicious pockets of heaven is an experience like no other. But have you ever thought of making xiaolongbao at home? While it may seem like a daunting task, with the right guidance and practice, you can create restaurant-quality xiaolongbao in your own kitchen. Join us on this exciting journey as we share the secrets behind crafting delicate wrappers, creating the perfect soup filling, and mastering the art of folding and pleating.

Key Takeaways

  • Experience the “magic” of Xiaolongbao with a brief history and origin, get ready to embark on an exciting journey!

  • Master the art of folding, pleating & steaming xiaolongbao for 8-10 mins at medium heat.

  • Enjoy homemade dumplings with traditional dipping sauce & proper etiquette, savor their hot and flavorful soup filling!

The Magic of Xiaolongbao: A Brief History and Origin

Xiaolongbao, or Chinese soup dumplings, originated in Jiangsu province, China. Known for their paper-thin wrappers and flavorful soup filling, dumplings xiao long bao quickly gained popularity and became a beloved dish around the world. But what makes xiaolongbao, or soup dumpling, so special? It’s the combination of their delicate, thin wrapper and the delicious “soup” inside that truly sets them apart from other dumplings.

While crafting xiaolongbao at home may pose a challenge, it’s entirely feasible to yield restaurant-quality results. Think of the satisfaction and thrill that comes with savoring homemade xiao long bao!

So, are you set to start the exciting journey of making your own homemade xiaolongbao? Let’s kick off by unraveling the secret behind their sublime soup filling.

Creating the Perfect Soup Filling

The key to perfect pork soup dumplings lies in the gelatinous soup filling that bursts with flavor as you bite into the dumpling. There are two exciting methods to create this juicy soup filling: the traditional pork aspic method and the alternative chicken broth method.

Both methods involve simmering ingredients to create a rich, savory broth that solidifies when cooled. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into each method thoroughly, assisting you in selecting the one that aligns with your preferences.

Traditional Pork Aspic Method

The traditional method for creating a gelatinous soup filling involves:

  1. Simmering pork skin and trotters to create a rich, flavorful broth.

  2. As the broth cools, the gelatin from the bones, skin, and marrow solidifies.

  3. This creates a delicious meat gelatin that can be used as the soup filling in xiaolongbao.

To craft the aspic, follow these steps:

  1. Let pork skin, trotters, and other ingredients simmer until the flavors harmonize.

  2. As the blend cools, it transforms into a jelly-like substance.

  3. Break the jelly into tiny pieces and mix it with the pork filling.

  4. Use this mixture to create impeccable xiaolongbao.

Alternative Chicken Broth Method

If you prefer a lighter, less greasy soup filling, the alternative chicken broth method might be the one for you. This method involves simmering chicken bones, vegetables, herbs, and water in a large pot to create a flavorful broth that can be used as the base for the soup filling.

To make the chicken broth filling, simply add pork, mushrooms, and other ingredients to the broth and simmer until the filling is cooked through. The chicken broth method also allows for plenty of customizations, such as adding different herbs and spices or even other ingredients like vegetables and seafood to create a more flavorful soup filling.

Crafting Delicate Dumpling Wrappers

Photo by Vind 🌙:

Having prepared our savory soup filling, let’s now concentrate on shaping those fine dumpling wrappers that seal in the juicy filling. Making xiaolongbao wrappers involves preparing the dough and allowing it to rest before rolling it out into thin, semi-transparent wrappers.

In the upcoming sections, we will examine the steps involved in dough preparation and explore rolling techniques to aid you in crafting flawless xiaolongbao wrappers.

Dough Preparation and Resting

To prepare the dough for xiaolongbao wrappers, you’ll need all-purpose flour, hot water, and salt. Knead the dough until it’s soft to the touch and not sticky. It’s important to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax, making it much easier to roll out.

During the resting period, the dough softens and becomes pliable, facilitating the creation of thin, exquisite wrappers optimal for xiaolongbao. Bear in mind, the thinness of the wrapper is a crucial element in producing exceptional xiaolongbao.

Rolling Techniques for Thin Wrappers

When it comes to rolling out the dough for xiaolongbao wrappers, using a small Chinese rolling pin is highly recommended. Begin by rolling out the dough into a thin disc, about 4.5 inches (11 cm) in diameter, while dusting the surface with flour to prevent sticking. Aim for even thickness throughout the wrapper to ensure that it cooks evenly and holds the soup inside without breaking.

Roll out the wrappers carefully. Ensure to keep the cut pieces of dough under a damp towel, to stop them from drying out. With practice and patience, you’ll soon master the art of creating delicate, thin wrappers that are perfect for your xiaolongbao.

Flavorful Pork Filling for Xiaolongbao

With our fine wrappers set, let’s turn our attention to the centerpiece – the savory pork filling! Merging the aspic with a seasoned pork blend results in a scrumptious, succulent filling, ideal for xiaolongbao.

In the subsequent sections, we’ll study the steps involved in merging the aspic and pork blend, in addition to discussing some variations and customizations to cater to your individual tastes.

Combining Aspic and Pork Mixture

To create the perfect pork filling for xiaolongbao, follow these steps:

  1. Break the aspic into tiny pieces using a fork.

  2. Add the aspic to the pork mixture and mix thoroughly.

  3. Refrigerate the filling for at least 30 minutes before assembling the xiaolongbao.

It’s important to keep the filling refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble the xiaolongbao, as this helps to maintain consistency and ensures that the filling is easy to handle when assembling the dumplings.

Variations and Customizations

While the traditional pork filling is undoubtedly delicious, you might want to explore different variations and customizations to suit your personal preferences. You can experiment with different types of fillings, such as ground pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, crab, and vegetables.

Or even try combining different ingredients in a mixing bowl to create your own unique xiaolongbao experience.

Adding different herbs, spices, and additional ingredients like:

  • garlic

  • minced ginger

  • green onions

  • cilantro

  • mushrooms

  • carrots

  • corn

  • napa cabbage

Can also enhance the flavor of your xiaolongbao filling. Don’t be afraid to get creative and discover new flavor combinations that you and your family will love when you cook xiao long bao!

Mastering the Art of Xiaolongbao Folding and Pleating

Now that we have our delicate wrappers and flavorful filling, it’s time to master the art of folding and pleating xiaolongbao. This is a crucial step in creating the perfect dumpling, as proper folding and pleating not only make the xiaolongbao visually appealing but also ensure that the soup stays inside the dumpling.

In the following sections, we’ll share basic folding techniques and advanced pleating tips to help you become a xiaolongbao folding pro.

Basic Folding Technique

The basic folding technique for xiaolongbao involves adding the filling to the center of the wrapper, creating folds around the edge, and pinching closed in a swirling motion. Start by making folds at the top edge of the dumpling and continue making folds towards your non-dominant hand. Pinch the folds together, resembling pleats. Continue this around the dumpling until the first fold is reached. Finish by pinching the top of the dumpling together in a swirling motion.

It’s important to ensure that the top of the dumpling is sealed securely to prevent the soup from leaking out during the steaming process. While perfect pleats may take some practice, remember that even if your pleats aren’t perfect, your xiaolongbao will still taste amazing.

Advanced Pleating Tips

For those looking to take their xiaolongbao folding skills to the next level, advanced pleating tips can help you achieve a more visually appealing dumpling. Aim for 12-14 pleats around the edge of the dumpling to create an intricate, professional-looking xiaolongbao.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if your pleats aren’t flawless right away. As you continue to fold and pleat xiaolongbao, your technique will improve, and you’ll soon be able to create stunning, restaurant-worthy dumplings at home.

Steaming and Serving Xiaolongbao

With our xiaolongbao assembled, let’s move on to steaming and serving these delectable soup dumplings. Steaming and serving xiaolongbao requires preparing the steamer basket and cooking the steamed dumpling at the correct time and temperature to ensure a perfectly cooked and juicy dumpling.

In the next sections, we’ll walk you through the steps of getting the steamer basket ready and cooking your xiaolongbao to perfection.

Preparing the Steamer Basket

Before steaming the xiaolongbao, you’ll need to prepare the steamer basket by lining it with napa cabbage leaves, banana leaves, or parchment paper with slits. This prevents the delicate dumplings from sticking to the steamer basket during the steaming process and ensures that they maintain their shape and don’t lose any of their delicious soup filling.

Once your steamer basket is lined, place the assembled xiaolongbao onto the basket, ensuring that they are spaced apart to allow for even cooking and to prevent them from sticking together.

Cooking Time and Temperature

Xiaolongbao should be steamed for 8-10 minutes at medium heat. This cooking time and temperature ensures that the dumplings are cooked through and the soup filling inside is hot and flavorful. Overcooking the xiaolongbao can cause the delicate wrappers to break, resulting in a loss of the delicious soup filling, so it’s important to keep an eye on the cooking time.

Once your xiaolongbao are cooked, immediately remove the bamboo steamer from the pot and serve the dumplings to enjoy their full flavor and juicy soup filling.

Enjoying Xiaolongbao: Dipping Sauce and Etiquette

After steamed your xiaolongbao to perfection, it’s time for the best part – enjoying them! A traditional dipping sauce and correct xiaolongbao eating manners will amplify your overall experience and ensure a full appreciation of these delightful soup dumplings.

In the subsequent sections, we’ll divulge the recipe for the traditional dipping sauce and give you a rundown on the proper decorum for relishing your homemade xiaolongbao.

Classic Dipping Sauce Recipe

The classic dipping sauce for xiaolongbao consists of Chinese rice vinegar, julienned fresh ginger, and light soy sauce. This tangy, flavorful accompaniment perfectly complements the savory broth and juicy meat filling of the xiaolongbao. To prepare the classic dipping sauce, simply combine the Chinese rice vinegar, julienned fresh ginger, and light soy sauce in a bowl and mix until combined. You can also add chili oil and garlic to taste for an extra kick of flavor.

With your dipping sauce ready, it’s time to dive into the world of xiaolongbao eating etiquette and discover the best way to enjoy these scrumptious soup dumplings.

Checkout Xiao long bao dipping sauce recipe.

Xiaolongbao Eating Etiquette

The proper way to eat xiaolongbao involves:

  1. Using chopsticks to pick up the dumpling close to the knot and placing it on a Chinese soup spoon.

  2. Carefully biting into the dumpling, allowing the soup to flow out onto the spoon.

  3. Slurping up the soup, savoring the flavors.

  4. Dipping the dumpling into the sauce.

  5. Enjoying the rest of the xiaolongbao in one bite.

Following proper xiaolongbao eating etiquette not only enhances the overall experience but also ensures that you fully appreciate the delicate balance of flavors and textures in these delightful Chinese soup dumplings. With practice and patience, you’ll soon become a xiaolongbao connoisseur, impressing your friends and family as you eat xiaolongbao with your newfound skills and delicious homemade xiaolongbao.


In this blog post, we’ve explored the fascinating world of xiaolongbao, from their rich history and origin to the art of crafting delicate wrappers, creating the perfect soup filling, and mastering the art of folding and pleating. We’ve also shared the secrets behind steaming and serving xiaolongbao, as well as the classic dipping sauce recipe and proper eating etiquette. Armed with this knowledge, you’re now ready to embark on the exciting journey of making xiaolongbao at home. So gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and let the xiaolongbao adventure begin!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can xiaolongbao be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze xiaolongbao!

Just cook or freeze them soon after they’re filled for the best results.

What type of dough is used for xiaolongbao wrappers?

Xiaolongbao wrappers are made with hot water dough, so they have a perfect texture to enclose the delicious filling!

How many pleats should xiaolongbao have?

Opt for 12-14 pleats for a perfect xiaolongbao!

How long should xiaolongbao be steamed for?

It’s time to steam those delicious xiaolongbao! Aim for 8-10 minutes at medium heat for perfect steaming results.


What is the traditional method for creating a gelatinous soup filling?

Prepare a rich, gelatinous soup by simmering pork skin and trotters – it’ll become solid when cooled for the perfect filling!

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