If you’re new to making dumplings at home, or just curious to see what it takes: here’s the truth…… you can easily make dumplings at home without any fancy tools or equipment.
As a natural cheapskate, this is how I’ve operated for ages.
BUT I do have to admit… if you’re willing to spend a little, there are a wealth of amazing tools out there that will get you infinitely better results (and make you feel a lot more legit in your home kitchen too).
So, here’s a list of affordable tools you can buy to make your home dumpling factory run a lot smoother.
1. A Bamboo Steamer
Of all the kitchen purchases I’ve made in my life, my bamboo steamer is one of my proudest. Seriously, these things are dirt cheap, last forever (I got mine for less than $20!) and they will completely change the way you make dumplings.
Even if you’re not making homemade dumplings, having a steamer will completely revolutionize the way your store-bought bao and dumplings taste.
Getting a bamboo one specifically is important because the smell is indescribably amazing and they just look… really cute. Sorry – I’m vain.
You can buy them at any Asian supermarket or grocery store (that’s where I got mine) but they’re also available in abundance on Amazon for really cheap. Click here to browse the selection.
NOTE: You should also look into getting some reusable liners like these so you don’t need to waste a bunch of parchment paper or cabbage every time you steam your dumpling BBs or sides to go with your dumplings. Lining the steamer is 100% mandatory, so it makes sense to get something reusable from the get-go.
2. A Dough Scraper
I am very bad at dough. It is kind of the bane of my existence, especially when it comes to clean-up… But if you intend to make dumplings or work with dough at all, a good dough scraper like this is is one of those super cheap tools you can buy that will simplify your life x1000. Not only are they great for quickly dividing dough for wrappers, they help you get those stubborn dough bits off your workspace. Worth every penny!
3. Digital Kitchen Scale
A kitchen scale is one of those tools you don’t feel like you need….. until you get one and realize how freaking handy it is. I bought this super cheap one and my life has been changed.
Trust me, I’m a born eyeballer. I rarely measure anything when it comes to recipes, but having a scale is great for ensuring consistency in things like wrappers and filling.
While experienced cooks and dumpling makers can easily eyeball the right size for a piece of dough, peasants like me cannot, so being able to double-check with a scale is essential to creating consistent dumplings. I use mine all the time when making my foolproof pork dumplings.
I know that having weirdly sized dumplings aren’t the end of the world, but when you venture into more complicated dumplings where precise cooking times matter, then it’s important that your dough babies are more or less the same size.
4. A Small rolling pin
Dumpling skin technique is……. difficult.
I’ve always been lazy and bought my own dumpling skins, but staying at home during lockdown has made this more difficult so I’ve been forced to learn how to make my own.
It’s actually really easy, but the technique takes some getting used to and rolling wrappers out with a giant wooden rolling pin isn’t ideal.
That’s why getting a cheap little mini-rolling pin is important! Trust me – it’ll save you lots of stress and cursing.
They’re available for super cheap at most Asian supermarkets/grocery stores.
Unfortunately, I’ve had a hard time finding small ones online apart from this set, but you can easily DIY your own with some wooden dowels!
5. Dumpling mold/press
A dumpling mold is definitely not a mandatory tool. As someone who loves the pleating aspect of dumplings, I don’t use one… but if you’re impatient and want an easy way to make dumplings, you can get cheap molds like this one that make the process super easy. You can even get them in a set like this with molds for cutting wrappers, etc. to save even more money.
6. Specialized Stamps/Presses
Depending on the the type of dumplings you intend to make, there are a lot of specialized stamps/presses out there that will make your life way easier.
For instance, if you want to make ravioli, there are awesome stamps like these that allow you to make your ravioli in fun shapes.
Alternatively, if you want to make pelmeni, there are lots of pelmeni molds like this one that make it much faster. Remember: there’s no shame in shortcuts!
7. Pasta maker
I’ve resisted getting a pasta maker for ages because it just seemed like an unnecessary expense… but when I started making dumplings (and now stuffed pasta) from scratch, it became a necessity, and wow what a game changer.
Rolling dough is a workout that nobody needs, trust me… getting this pasta maker has helped save me SO much arm work and yields perfect results every time.
The best part is it’s not as expensive as you might think! There are cheap ones like this with amazing 5 star reviews. I would definitely recommend getting a pasta maker if you plan to make dumplings/pasta often. It’s a great tool, and well worth the cost.