I Tried 13 Different Frozen Pork Dumplings — These Are the 2 I’ll Buy Again
A bag of frozen pork dumplings in the freezer is a shortcut to a quick snack or a building block to a quick dinner. Drizzle a few with chili crisp for a 3 p.m. bite, or add a few to some soup or stir-fry. And they’re a lunch-box favorite for my kids (one prefers them nestled into a Thermos to keep warm, while the other loves them room-temperature).
Taking the time to fold them from scratch is a meditative practice that is a gift to your future self, but there’s absolutely no shame in tossing a bag of frozen dumplings into your cart while at the grocery store. I haven’t ever been too picky about what brand I purchased. What’s available varies a lot depending on what store I’m at, and I end up just grabbing whatever is there. I decided to taste test them all to find the very best ones. I ended up with 13 different dumplings from six different grocery stores. After several rounds of tasting, I narrowed it down to the best two. Let’s take a look.
How I Tested the Frozen Pork Dumplings
I stuck with classic pork and cabbage as the filling of choice for this taste test. It could be combined with any number of other vegetables or other filler, but stuck with those two base ingredients.
There are a lot of similarities in dumpling varieties across cultures. Some bags are labeled “potstickers” or “gyoza,” while others just say “dumplings” or some combination of “potsticker dumplings.” Some brands make both potstickers as well as gyoza. I used the recommended cooking instructions to determine the baseline. If the back of the bag indicated some combination of boiling/steaming plus pan-frying, I counted those as a contender.
I cooked three brands at a time and plated them with labels. I took a picture, removed the labels, then presented them to my family and asked them which ones they would gladly eat again. I repeated this process back-to-back until all the brands had been tried. Although some brands did include a sauce packet for dipping, we did not use them in order to let the dumplings speak for themselves.
We narrowed it down to five finalists. I cooked the final five contenders and presented them like I had the other rounds. In the end, two stood out from the rest.
Best Frozen Pork Dumplings: Annie Chun’s Organic Pork and Vegetable Potstickers
This was the unanimous winner. The filling lists pork as the first ingredient. It’s juicy, with great texture — neither too firm or mushy. It had a bright ginger flavor that none of the other options had. The wrapper was thin, my preference for frozen dumplings, and it clings to the filling instead of being loose and slippery. The bottoms crisped nicely, providing good contrast.
This bag of dumplings also included dipping sauce you can let thaw while the potstickers cook. The only downside for me was that the bag was fairly small (only containing about a dozen dumplings).
Buy: Annie Chun’s Organic Pork and Vegetable Potstickers, $5.19 for 7.6 ounces at Instacart
Runner Up: O’Tasty Vegetable and Pork Potstickers
These were the runners up, but worth their own mention. These frozen pork dumplings list cabbage as the first ingredient, followed by pork, but still come through as super savory. I credit this to the onion and soy sauce, plus a dose of MSG.
In addition to taste, these dumplings come packaged in a two-pound bag, more than four times the size of Annie Chun’s. Part of the appeal of frozen dumplings for my family is having a big bag to access when pawing through the freezer for a snack. This brand does not include a dipping sauce, but it’s pretty easy to stir up your own dumpling sauce or top with chili crisp.
Buy: O’Tasty Vegetable and Pork Potstickers, $8.79 for 2 pounds at Weee!
Did your favorite make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.