Yes, you can definitely freeze dumplings. In fact, dumplings are the ultimate freezer food. You don’t have to wait for them to defrost, just use them straight from the freezer as needed.
How to Freeze Dumplings
Should you freeze dumplings before or after cooking (see also Can You Freeze Suet Dumplings?)? The good news is, dumplings (see also Can You Freeze Gnocchi) can be frozen at any stage. Whether fresh, steamed, or even fried, they can definitely be frozen. If you can choose, though, we recommend freezing fresh dumplings and cooking them afterwards.
Freezing Fresh Dumplings
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve both a pack of fresh dumplings (see also Can You Freeze Matzo Balls?), or you made them yourself (it’s really fun and easier than it looks), the process of freezing is the same. Before storing your dumplings in the freezer, you’ll want to ‘flash-freeze’ them first.
To do this, you’ll need a baking sheet or some other large tray that will fit into your freezer compartment. Arrange the dumplings on it so that they are not touching each other. You can put them fairly close together to save space, but the surfaces shouldn’t touch – this will prevent the dumplings from sticking together when frozen.
If you use baking paper under the dumplings, it will be much easier to slide them off later. Once you have arranged the dumplings on the tray, place them in the freezer. There is no need to cover them with anything. They will need to stay like this in the freezer only for about an hour.
When the dumplings are frozen, you can take them out and transfer them into a freezer-safe container of your choice. You can use a hard-sided container or a freezer bag. Because you pre-froze the individual dumplings, they will not stick together in a block so you can always take out just as many dumplings as you need. If you want the dumplings to last longer in the freezer, you might want to consider vacuum-sealing them at this point. All you need to do now is label your bag and store it.
Freezing Cooked Dumplings
While freezing fresh dumplings is optimal, you can also freeze cooked dumplings. No matter if they were cooked, steamed, or fried, the process is the same. First, you’ll want to let the dumplings cool down completely.
Then, you’ll want to use the same flash freezing method we use with flash dumplings. You can coat the dumplings with a drop of cooking oil before freezing to help preserve their texture – especially if they are steamed and very soft. Then, spread the dumplings on a large tray and freeze for an hour or two. You can also spread the dumplings on the tray while they are still warm and let them cool there. This will help dry them out a bit, and less surface moisture means less risk of freezer burn. Once the dumplings are frozen, transfer into a freezer safe container and use at your convenience.
How to Defrost Dumplings
Dumplings are pretty much the easiest thing to defrost. In fact, they are ready to use right out of the freezer. Dumplings don’t need to be defrosted before cooking! If you’ve frozen fresh dumplings, simply go ahead and prepare your dumplings using your favorite method.
The most hands-off approach to making dumplings is boiling them. You basically just need to drop them in a pot of boiling water and wait a couple of minutes. Boiled dumplings are quite soft. A popular method (and authentic to Asia) is steaming dumplings. Steaming will give these treats a unique, soft but firm texture. Put the frozen dumplings directly into a steamer and wait for about 10 minutes.
If you are looking for that extra crunch, pan-frying your dumplings is a fun method. To do this right, you’ll want to fry the dumplings a bit and then add water to the pan. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. This will let the dumplings cook evenly throughout. Then, let the water evaporate and fry the dumpling for a couple of minutes.
When you have cooked dumplings in the freezer, our favourite method is pan-frying them quickly. You could also steam your dumplings again. Reheating in the microwave is not recommended as it can turn the dumplings soggy. If you must use the microwave, try reheating the dumplings in a bowl of broth.