Do you know the difference between wontons and dumplings? If not, then you are at the right place, as we are here to uncover all the unknown differences between wontons and dumplings and explore more interesting facts and information about both.
Dumplings are traditional Chinese cuisine with many different varieties available, depending on place to place, like Japanese potstickers or Korean dumplings. Wontons are specifically traditional Chinese dumplings with no major variation.
So, the question is, what exactly is the difference between wontons and dumplings? Are they the same?
No, they are not exactly the same. Wontons generally have rich and great stuffing in the center. On the other hand, dumplings are made with or without filling. The wrapper of dumplings is usually thick, whereas wontons have thinner wrapping.
They differ in taste and shape as well.
Today we will dig deeper into the discussion on wontons vs. dumplings and unfold all the major differences along with delicious recipes which you can easily try at home. Before jumping into the debate, let’s have a look at the difference table between the both.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | The Difference Table
|Basis Of Difference||Wontons||Dumplings|
|Size||Small and medium||Medium to large|
|Shape||Rectangular, square, triangle||Usually circular|
|Fillings||Meat, seafood, and vegetables||Meat and vegetables|
|Thickness||Thin wrapping||Thin to Thick|
|Varieties||Not many||Different varieties like Potstickers, wontons, etc.|
What Are Wontons?
The origin of wontons may be unclear, but they are a staple of Chinese cuisine. They are also called won tans or wanton, which are actually a kind of Chinese dumplings.
It is believed they were first mentioned during the Tang Dynasty in cookbooks. The history of wontons dates back to around 100 years when they were served to the nobility and more upper-class families.
Later on, they got popular and became available in many places. The word ‘wontons’ means cloud, and the name justifies the taste and texture.
Wontons are either rolled into balls or shaped and served usually in broth. They have a thin and skinny wrappers with various fillings like meat, seafood, or vegetables. Many times wontons are fried and served.
When it comes to fried wontons, you can deep fry them to get a crispy layer or pan fry them as per your wish. They can be steamed or boiled too. The important step in making wontons is to seal the thin wrapper properly so the filling does not come out.
What Are Dumplings?
Dumplings, without any doubt, are very popular all over the world. The origin of dumplings is also not so clear, but it is believed that they were created by a Chinese medical practitioner named Zhang Zhongjing during the Eastern Han Dynasty.
As the legend has it, Zhang tried to cover and store his herbs in dough by watching farmers covering their feet with cloth to protect themselves from the cold. This was the origin of dumplings, and I know this is very interesting and funny at the same time.
No one could think of creating such a popular dish just like that.
Dumplings are made from dough and filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. The dough can be made of wheat flour, potato flour, or other flour. The dough is kneaded by hand and made into small balls.
The center of the balls is filled with meat or vegetables, which are either steamed or boiled. After cooking, they are either served with dipping sauces or eaten as it is. Dumplings are very delicious and can fill the stomach very easily.
They are easy to cook and can be made with various fillings as per your choice.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Similarities Between The Two
If we talk about the similarities between wontons and dumplings, there is not much to mention as they are quite different. One thing common between them is that their fillings are made from meat, vegetables, and seafood.
Both dishes are believed to have originated in China, and many parts of the world currently consume wontons and dumplings. Both the dishes can be steamed, boiled, or fried as per the preferences and can be customized too.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Major Differences Between The Two
The basic difference between wontons and dumplings is that dumplings are made of dough which generally has a filling of meat or vegetables. Still, wontons are traditional Chinese dumplings that can be made with wide varieties of dough with the stuffing of meat, seafood, or vegetables. There are more differences between them which we will discuss below.
When it comes to the folding of wontons and dumplings, there are several ways you can fold them. The simple way to remember the difference in both shapes is that dumplings are circular, whereas wontons can be square, rectangle, or triangle.
The difference between them after folding them might be challenging to identify as many people shape wontons and dumplings using their hands. Still, you may find differences in pre-made wrappers which are available in the market.
The most important thing in shaping wontons and dumplings is ensuring the filling or the stuffing is properly secured inside.
The filling of wontons and dumplings really depends on the preferences—generally, meat. Vegetables and seafood are used as stuffing in both of them.
The real difference in the filling is the recipe. It is very interesting to note that dumplings are often served without filling with some dip sauces on the side. The seasoning of the stuffings also differs. Wontons are full-fledged meat which means that they are heavy and seasoned.
Meats, vegetables, and sea foods are filled with proper seasoning in wontons. The thin wrapper of wontons enhances the flavor and does not require any complimentary sauce or soups. One can eat wontons without any sauce or dip on the side.
On the other hand, dumplings are lightly seasoned, which complements the thick dough wrapper. Dumplings are mostly served with sauces as they have a light filling.
Wontons and dumplings differ in the requirement for sauces or dips. Since dumplings are mostly lightly seasoned stuffing or many times there is only a dough wrapper with no stuffing, the taste of dumplings is very mild.
You will find that some aromatic dips and sauces like oyster sauce or soy sauce always accompany dumplings. Many times they are added to the soup and take on the flavors of the soup.
When it comes to wontons, we already know that these may or may not require dipping sauces as they are highly seasoned and can be consumed. Wontons only sometimes require sauces or dips on the side because of the rich flavors in the filling.
Dumplings and wontons are believed to have originated in China, but they soon got popular in many countries. Dumplings are found in many varieties. Like in Japan, dumplings are made with pork and cabbage, which are served with dipping sauce.
In Korea, dumplings are filled with beef or vegetables and served as a full meal.
The most common varieties of dumplings are
- Shui Jiao – Shui jiao is made from meat filling and boiled.
- Xiao Long Bao – Xiao long bao is dim sum ( a variety of dumplings) that originated in Shanghai.
- Guo Tie – Guo tie is potstickers which is a variety of dumplings.
- Mandu – Mandu is a variety of dumplings from Korea.
- Gyoza – Gyoza is a Japanese potsticker
When it comes to wontons, there are also various varieties available based on filling. The filling of wontons can be easily customized as per the choice. Wontons are basically Chinese dumplings; there are no such major varieties available. Let’s have a look on one or two.
The most common varieties of wontons are
- Xiao Huntun – Xiao Huntun is small-sized wonton with less filling served with soup.
- Chao Shou – Chao Shou are also called red oil wontons served with chili and oil sauce.
Wontons can be fried or boiled and are consumed with or without sauces or soups.
5. Wrapper thickness
The thickness of wrappers also differs in wontons and dumplings. The wrapper of wontons is generally much thinner than the regular dumplings. Most of the varieties of dumplings have a thick wrapper, and they can be served with or without filling with only dipping sauces.
As we already discussed, the wrapper of dumplings is made from wheat flour, but the wrapper of wontons can be made from different flours. The thin wrapper of wontons is the specialty and compliments the flavor of the fillings.
6. Difficulty in making
Wontons and dumplings are not so difficult to make. The recipe differs from variety to variety. The process of making wontons and dumplings may be labor intensive as, firstly, the wrapper has to be prepared.
The filling is prepared separately, and then the wrapper is stuffed and sealed by giving an appropriate shape. Asian families generally gather around on holidays and wrap dumplings as a Lunar New Year ritual.
The wrapper of the dumplings and wontons can be purchased from the nearby local shops. The fillings can be made as per the choice. Dumplings are also served without the stuffing. We can conclude that making dumplings and wontons is not so difficult.
Top recipes with wontons
1. Veg Wonton
Veg wontons are a very common type of wonton made with vegetables. Firstly make the dough using all-purpose flour, salt, and warm water. Knead the dough smoothly and set it aside for 20-25 mins. Now you need to prepare the stuffing.
For vegetable stuffing, you can add any veggies of your own choice. Simply add some oil to a pan and add chopped ginger along with garlic and green chilies. Now add vegetables like beans and carrots and stir-fry them. Remember to chop the vegetables finely.
Sprinkle some salt and other vegetables if required. You can even add cheese at this stage. Add a pinch of Ajinomoto and let the mixture cool down a bit. Bring the dough and cut them into small balls.
Fill the wrapper with stuffing. Now deep fry these wontons until golden and crispy. Serve them hot.
2. Chicken wonton soup
Chicken wonton soup is a very comforting meal. This can be served as an appetizer or a complete meal. Make your wonton wrapper dough by kneading the flour with salt and warm water.
Using a food processor, blend the chicken and add spring onions, soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, salt, and pepper. Mix them well and make balls of the filling. Make small balls with the kneaded dough and fill the same with prepared chicken filling.
Bring the chicken stock into a pan and simmer it. Add the wontons, bok choy, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Simmer it for a while. Garnish it with spring onions.
3. Fried Wontons
Fried wontons are a very common variety of wontons. You can fill the wrapper with meat and shrimp. Make the dough using all-purpose flour and prepare the meat and shrimp filling.
In a bowl, mix the meat and shrimp with soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper together and combine them well. Place the mixture on the center of the wrapper and fold it into the desired shape.
Now, in a pan, heat oil and deep fry the wontons until crispy and golden in color. Drain the excess oil and serve it with chili soy sauce. Enjoy these crispy and delicious fried wontons.
4. Cream cheese wontons
Cream cheese wontons, as the name suggests, are the cheesy version of wontons. For this, you should make some dipping sauce to enhance the flavor. For the sauce, mix honey, soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl.
Now make the cheesy filling. Take cream cheese, Sriracha, and green onions and combine them well. In a separate bowl, mix eggs with water. Now, take the wrapper and place the mixture in one corner.
Wash the edges of the wrapper with the egg mix and seal the wontons. Now add oil to a pan and deep fry the wontons. Serve it with dipping sauce, and enjoy.
5. Crispy baked wontons
Crispy baked wontons are another delicious wonton recipe. In a big skillet, cook your pork, turkey, and onions until well cooked. Stir in water chestnuts, soy sauce, eggs, and ginger. Prepare the wonton dough by kneading the flour.
Now simply place the mixture on one corner of the wrapper. Seal it using water. Place the baking sheet in the oven and spray the sheet with cooking spray. Bake it for 12-14 minutes at 400 degrees until they are golden brown. Serve it hot.
6. Steamed pork and prawn wontons
Steamed pork and prawn wontons are a great combo and fulfilling meal one can have.
Simply mix pork, prawns, spring onions, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, oil, and water chestnuts. Make your wrapper by kneading flour and making it in the dough. Fill the prepared stuffing and seal the wrapper with the help of water.
Now in a steamer, add water and place the wontons. Let it steam for 5 mins. Serve the steamed wontons with the help of tongs and garnish them with spring onions. You can also prepare dipping sauce with soy sauce, sherry, and ginger.
Top recipes with dumplings
1. Pork Potstickers
Pork potstickers are a unique variety of dumplings. Simply mix pork, cabbage, mushrooms, garlic, green onions, hoisin, ginger, sesame oil, Sriracha, and white pepper. Make your dough and cut small circles out of it.
Press them into a sheet using a rolling pin. Place the stuffing and seal it with the help of water, creating a half-moon. In a large pan, heat some oil, and place the potstickers in a batch. Cook it until golden brown and crispy. Serve it with dipping sauce, and enjoy the hot pork potstickers.
2. Japanese gyoza
Japanese gyoza is a special Japanese dumpling. Combine cabbage with salt and set it aside. Now, add pork, garlic cloves, chives, ginger, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix them well. Add the cabbage and soy sauce to the same bowl.
Make gyoza which is nothing but a wontons wrapper. Place one gyoza wrapper and one teaspoon of the mixture and seal the wrapper by brushing little water on the edges. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan and place the filled gyoza.
Cook it until lightly golden, and add water. Place the lid and cook until the water has evaporated.
3. Chinese mushroom dumplings
Chinese mushroom dumplings are served with sweet chili ginger sesame sauce. Heat the sesame oil and add the shallots and cook it until caramelized. Add the mushrooms, ginger, and garlic, and cook for about five minutes.
Add some soy sauce and cook everything for another 2-3 minutes. Now make your wrapper by kneading a smooth dough and rolling it into sheets. Place the filling on the corner of the wrapper and fold it. In a bowl, add some sesame seeds.
Grease the dumplings with water and then cover them with sesame seeds by dipping them in the bowl. Now in a pan, heat some oil and cook the dumplings for a few minutes.
Pour some water and cover the lid and let it cook for some more time. Combine sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, and fresh ginger. Serve the dumplings with sauce, and enjoy.
4. Chinese pan fried potstickers
Chinese pan-fried potstickers are unique dumplings made with radish wrappers. Firstly make your filling by adding scallions with arrowroot starch, chicken, sea salt, sesame oil, ginger, avocado oil, and white pepper, and mix them well until a sticky paste is achieved.
For the wrapper, peel the skin of the radish and slice them into circles with appropriate thickness. Place the sliced radish on a large sheet pan, sprinkle some salt, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Pat dry the slices leaving no extra water on them.
Add the mixture to the center. Gently fold the slices one by one, making a half-moon shape, and you are done. In a pan, add some oil. Pan-fry the dumplings until golden.
Pour some water and cover the lid. Cook for some more time, and then serve these yummy and unique dumplings.
6. Sesame chicken potstickers
Sesame chicken potstickers are very easy to make. Add some chicken mushrooms, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, and white pepper in a bowl. Now make your dough, break it into small circles, and roll it into sheets.
Add the mixture and seal the wrapper, and secure the filling. Now in a pan, add some oil. Cook the dumplings from both sides until crispy and golden. Serve the dumplings immediately. You can serve them with dipping sauce as well.
7. Pork Dumplings
Pork dumplings are a very juicy and delicious dumpling recipe. Firstly make your pork filling by adding pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg, and cabbage in a large bowl. Make your wrapper by following the usual steps.
One by one, place the wrapper in your hand. Fill the wrapper with the mixed ingredients. Moisten the corners of the wrapper with water and seal the dumplings. In a steamer, add water and place the dumplings on the steamer.
Steam the dumplings for about 15 mins until the pork is cooked well. Serve this with soy sauce or chili sauce, and enjoy these steamed and juicy pork dumplings.
8. Miso Dumpling soup
Miso dumpling soup is made with autumn squash. In this recipe, dumplings and soup are prepared separately, and then dumplings are cooked in the soup. First, make your dumplings. Mix the turkey, spinach, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, and curry paste in a bowl.
Prepare your wrapper and place the filling in the center. Now fold the dumplings in your desired shape. Now prepare your soup. Combine the water, miso, ginger, squash, and mushrooms to make soup. Please bring them to a boil on high heat.
Now reduce the heat to medium flame and cover. Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes until the squash is fork-tender. Now, uncover and increase the flame. Add the dumplings one by one. Cook the dumplings with soup for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, sprinkle some chopped green onions, and stir the soup well. Serve the dumplings and soup in a bowl and garnish with more green onions.
9. Pan fried dumplings
Pan-fried dumplings are a very quick and delicious recipe. Simply make your filling, fill them in the wrapper, and pan-fry them. For the filling, combine pork, zucchini, carrot, cabbage, eggs, garlic, green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, mirin, and sugar.
Add salt and white pepper. You can put or change the ingredients used in the filling as per your choice. Lace the wrapper in your hand. Put the pork mixture and fold the dumplings, and secure the filling.
Add some oil to the pan and cook the dumplings for a few minutes until light brown. Add some water to the pan and cook the dumplings until the water evaporates. Now serve these yummy dumplings.
You can also serve them with dipping sauces of your own choice. Make sure to add an appropriate amount of water to prevent dumplings from getting soggy.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Which is healthier?
Wontons and dumplings are both healthy and filled with protein and vitamins. The ingredients used are the main source of nutrients. However, wontons are healthier as they have a heavy filling with a thin wrapper.
Dumplings can be eaten with or without any stuffing. Wontons are a healthy version of dumplings.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Which is Tastier?
Without any doubt, wontons have great taste. They have a rich filling and can be eaten with or without complimentary sauces or dippings. On the other hand, dumplings have light or no filling.
The flavor of dumplings is mild, whereas wontons are seasoned really nicely. So based on taste, wontons score more points than dumplings.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Which is more versatile?
Clearly, when it comes to versatility, dumplings are more versatile. They can be eaten as a full-fledged meal or as an appetizer. Wontons are generally eaten as a complete meal.
When we talk about varieties of dumplings and wontons, wontons are actually Chinese dumplings. There are a number of varieties available in dumplings. Dumplings can be eaten as it is or added to soups or other dishes. So, dumplings win in versatility.
Wontons Vs. Dumplings | Which is better?
Dumplings are better as compared to wontons. They have a wide variety of recipes. They can be eaten as it is or with soups and sauces.
They are more versatile and can be paired with other dishes. Wontons are also great for a full meal, but remember that wontons are nothing but Chinese dumplings. On a personal note, I would give great points to dumplings if compared to wontons.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can we steam the wontons?
Yes, wontons can be steamed. They can even be boiled or fried in oil as per your choice.
Are dumplings and wontons the same?
No, dumplings and wontons are not exactly the same. Wontons have a proper filling, whereas dumplings do not require fillings as such. They can be eaten without stuffing as well.
Can we eat wontons with soup?
Yes, you can make wontons in soup as well. The great thing about wontons is that you can customize the recipe as per your preference.
What flour is used for dumplings?
Mainly wheat flour is used for dumping wrappers because the wrapper made for dumplings is thicker as compared to wontons.
Can we make wonton made with vegetables?
Yes, you can make vegetable wontons by making the stuffing with vegetables. Different recipes are available, and you can customize them as per your choice.
Is eating dumplings and wontons healthy?
Yes, if the ingredients used in stuffings are filled with nutrients, then they can be healthy as well as a very delicious meal for you.
Finally, we are at the end of the discussion on wontons vs. dumplings, and I don’t know about you, but I am for sure craving a bowl of hot and flavorful dumplings or wontons. Wontons and dumplings are easy to make and can be eaten as a complete meal.
Now we know the major difference between the two, even though they are Chinese cuisines. You can either steam them or boil them or even fry them. They are, for sure, very versatile and have amazing flavors.
I hope this was helpful and that you try some recipes because they are yummy and appetizing. We will be back with such a delicious discussion. Until then, wrap your filling in the thin sheet and deep fry or steam and enjoy with soy sauce.