How Can I Steam Dumplings Without a Bamboo Steamer?

updated Nov 30, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Homemade dumplings from scratch are one of the most gratifying kitchen projects. You make a simple but super flavorful filling and then can meditatively fill, fold, and seal the dumplings all afternoon long until you’ve got a tray of dumplings for dinner and one for the freezer. Even store-bought frozen dumplings are one of our favorite quick weeknight dinners.

Some traditional dumpling recipes call for a stacking bamboo steamer that allows you to cook big batches of dumpling gently all at once. While bamboo steamers are cheap and easy to find, they do take up precious kitchen storage space. So how can you have your steamed dumplings without a bamboo steamer? The solution can be as simple as a metal basket or the combo of aluminum foil and a dinner plate.

How Can I Steam Dumplings Without a Bamboo Steamer?

First of all, if you want to steam the dumplings only, you can use a metal steamer basket. Be warned, though, that the dumplings will want to stick, so spray the steamer basket very thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. You can also line metal steamers with lettuce or cabbage leaves to keep your dumplings from sticking.

Alternatively you can craft a makeshift steaming rig with aluminum foil and dinner plate. Make a few large balls of foil (they should be big enough to elevate a plate inside your steaming pot of choice), fill the pot with about an inch of water, add the foil balls, and then weigh them down with a dinner plate. The dinner plate should fit just inside the pot, allowing the steam to circulate. When things are steamy, coat your plate with oil or nonstick cooking spray and then add you dumplings and cover.

But, having said that, lots of dumplings aren’t steamed in the baskets at all. Many dumplings are pan-fried, then steamed by just putting a lid on the pan, with a little water inside to cook them.

More Kitchn Dumpling Recipes