4 Ways to Steam Dumplings Without a Steamer (Step by Step!)

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When it comes to preparing dumplings, whether you’re whipping up your own homemade Jiaozi or cooking frozen ones, one of the top cooking methods that people recommend is steaming.

And while I love a good steamed dumpling, I admit it can be intimidating if you’re new to it.

After all, most tutorials revolve around using a fancy metal steamer like this, or bamboo steamers like these.

But what if you don’t own a cool steaming contraption? What if you want yummy steamed dumplings without all the extra gadgets? Don’t worry – this post will guide you through how to steam dumplings without using a steamer.

Now, if you make dumplings often, I really do recommend getting at least some bamboo steamers. Not only are they inexpensive, the smell of the bamboo while your dumplings steam is just addictive and amazing!

But hey, if you’re just in need of a quick dumpling fix, here are some foolproof dumpling steaming methods you can DIY in a pinch.

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Method A: Use a Wire Rack to Prop Up a Plate

If you don’t have a steamer to make dumplings, one of the easiest ways to DIY one is by using a wire rack to prop up a plate in a pot filled with water.

Any kind of elevated metal rack will work well for this purpose, like these.

To steam dumplings using this method, simply fill a pot or wok with a few inches of water, and then place your wire rack at the bottom, and use it to hold up a plate or dish, making sure that the water doesn’t actually touch the dish itself.

Before adding your dumplings, either brush the plate with a thin layer of oil OR add some parchment paper OR some leafy vegetables like cabbage to prevent your dumplings from sticking on the plate.

Then carefully place your dumplings on the dish, giving them some space so they don’t stick together…

Bring the water to a boil then put a lid over your pot/wok, and let steam for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.

When your dumplings are done, remove your dish from the DIY steamer (be careful – the plate will be hot!) and enjoy your dumplings with your favorite dumpling dipping sauce.

Method B: Use Aluminum Foil to Prop Up a Plate

Okay, but what if you don’t have a wire rack to prop up your dumpling steaming dish?

Don’t worry – another super simple DIY method of steaming dumplings without a steamer involves a very common household item – aluminum foil!

Simply scrunch up three (equally sized) balls of aluminum foil and use them in place of a wire rack in the method outlined above.

To recap, these are the steps you would follow:

  • Fill a pot or wok with a few inches of water, and then place your balls of aluminum foil at the bottom
  • Use the aluminum foil balls to prop up a plate or dish, making sure the water doesn’t actually touch the dish itself
  • Prep the dish for dumpling steaming by either brushing it with some oil, or placing some parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent the dumplings from sticking
  • Place your dumplings on the plate (ensuring you leave space between them)
  • Bring the water to a boil, then put a lid over your pot and steam the dumplings for 10 minutes until done
  • Serve with your favorite dumpling dipping sauce and enjoy!

Method C: Steam Your Dumplings in the Microwave

Wondering if it’s possible to steam dumplings using just a microwave?

Yes indeed you can!

This method of steaming dumplings without the use of a steamer is one of our top TikTok dumpling hacks.

As seen inĀ this TikTok from @cookingbomb, you can easily steam dumplings in the microwave using just a Ziplock bag and water.

You can also boil dumplings in the microwave, as we explain in this post

Method D: Steam Your Dumplings Along with Some Instant Noodles

If efficiency if what you’re looking for when steaming dumplings without a steamer, then consider trying this fun trick popularized on TikTok by @cookingbomb, which allows you to steam dumplings while making instant noodles.

Simply whip up some instant noodles in a pot, then balance some chopsticks over the pot to create a makeshift rack for dumplings. Place the dumplings on the chopsticks, put a lid over your pot and watch in awe as your noodles and dumplings steam at the same time!

Photo by Xiaoqian Gao on Unsplash

I Hope You Enjoyed This Guide to Steaming Dumplings Without a Steamer!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other dumpling steaming hacks or tricks to share.

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