How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings


Shuumai or shumai dumplings (焼売)are a standby for dim sum, and are very well suited to bentos. They are small, freeze very well, and are a lot easier to make than gyoza dumplings.

You’ve probably encountered shuumai dumplings in the freezer section of Asian or Japanese grocery stores. Frozen ones are usually pretty good, but if you make them yourself you know exactly what you put in them. I just make a double or triple batch whenever I decide to make shuumai for dinner. (I sit myself down in front of the TV with my dumpling ingredients and go at it.) Just follow along with the photos and you’ll be turning out lots of shuumai yourself.

Step-by-step: Basic shuumai

You will need:

  • Shuumai skins. Shuumai skins are square, and are a bit smaller than wonton skins. This is a Japanese brand, but there are Chinese brands too. They are made simply of flour and water. (I guess you could make your own skins, but to me that crosses the line into Too Much Work.)


  • Filling of your choice. I made two type of shuumai here, shrimp and vegan tofu. The recipes for both fillings are at the end of this article. Whatever filling you use, it should sort of stick together when formed into a ball.

Place a skin on your hand. (The skins do tend to dry out and become brittle quickly, so keep the rest covered with a damp cloth or under an upside down bowl while you work.)


Put about 1/2 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the skin.


Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger.


Push the shuumai skin down into the circle formed by your finger and thumb.


Squeeze the dumpling gently from the sides, while pressing the top and bottom.


Here is a shuumai from the side.


A completed shuumai. It should be a little cylinder shape that is taller than it’s wide, since it will spread out a bit horizontally when you cook it.


Optionally decorate the top with a green pea or an edamame. Frozen is fine.


To cook, oil the bottom of a steamer and place the shuumai in there so that don’t touch. (If you squish them in too tightly they will get stuck to each other.) Steam for 10-15 minutes.


Alternatively, you can steam-panfry them in a non-stick frying pan. Add a little oil to the pan, put in the shuumai, add water to about half the height of the shuumai, and cook with a lid on for about 10 minutes. This steam-panfrying method is similar to the one used for gyoza dumplings.

Here are the two types of shuumai I made. The vegan ones are decorated with green peas to differentiate them from the undecorated shrimp shuumai.


Freeze the steamed shuumai after they have cooled down to room temperature. You can then just microwave them for a few minutes covered with plastic wrap, steam them, or steam-panfry them to use for bento. You can also deep fry them for crispy dumplings.

You can eat shuumai just as they are, or with a dipping sauce. My favorite is plain mustard (mustard powder reconstituted with water) with soy sauce. Soy sauce with vinegar is also good.

Recipe: Shrimp shuumai filling

This makes about 25 to 30 shuumai, depending on how much you pack into each skin.

  • 225 g / 1/2lb uncooked shrimp (fresh or frozen), roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 120 g / 4 oz ground pork
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. shaoxing wine or mirin
  • 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch

Combine the pork, ginger, seasonings and cornstarch, and mix well until it forms a paste. Add the onions and shrimp and mix very well. Use to fill shuumai skins.

(Shaoxing wine is type of Chinese rice wine. Mirin or sake can be substituted, or sherry.)

Recipe: Vegan tofu filling

This makes enough to fill 25-30 dumplings.

  • 1/3 cup cooked whole grain (such as brown rice, barley, wheat berries)
  • 120 g / 4 oz extra firm tofu, very well drained
  • 4 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 Tbs. miso
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil
  • Ground pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1-2 Tbs. cornstarch or potato starch

Lightly fry the cooked grains in half of the sesame oil until the grains are a bit toasty. Let cool.

Mash the tofu until it’s quite smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. If it seems too wet, add a little more cornstarch or potato starch. Use to fill shuumai skins. Shuumai made with this filling will be softer than the shrimp shuumai. This mixture has quite a lot of flavor so you probably don’t need a dipping sauce.

Any filling that holds together when formed into little balls will work as a shuumai filling. Experiment!

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Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate these (and many other foods) with your photos. Without the step-by-step lesson, I doubt I would try these. You make it enticing — and easy. We appreciate your efforts, worldwide!

My husband loves these!

For some reason I never thought about doing this at home. Definitely something I should try.

Thanks for the recipe!!!

Thank you so much for posting the vegan recipe! I tried to make a seitan version of these a couple of weeks ago and failed miserably. I’ll try your tofu version. Is there anything you can suggest to use as subs for miso and mustard?

For the mustard in the

For the mustard in the dipping sauce, I’d just use another dipping sauce like a little vinegar in soy sauce, or just soy sauce. The shuumai are flavorful enough so you don’t necessarily need dipping sauce.

For the miso it’s a bit difficult, since the miso adds lots of umami. I guess I might try just leaving it out and perhaps adding a bit more soy sauce, or some oyster sauce perhaps.

MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm!!!!! I

MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm!!!!! I love it so much. Thank you for the recipe.

How Delicious!

I love these things but I would never have tried making them without your wonderful instructions and photos. Thank you!


My husband (japanese) and i

My husband (japanese) and i have just discovered your great site..we`ll definately try these..they look divine…our mouths are watering. Thank you!

two questions - could you

two questions -

could you steam these in a colander in a big pot? I don’t have a steamer.

where on earth can I find Shuumai skins? there’s nothing locally here and a google search doesn’t turn up anything (this page comes up first! :)) ANYWHERE online I can get these?

Thank you so much!!! these look scrumptious!

2nd question

“where on earth can I find Shuumai skins? there’s nothing locally here”

You’ve not indicated which country you come from, let alone which area. But not to worry, Maki has already anticipated your query in her other site, just follow this link:

Sure, as long as you can

Sure, as long as you can suspend the colander over boiling water (water shouldn’t touch the dumplings) they should be fine.

As Loretta said you can get the skins at any Japanese grocery store. Chinese grocery stores have them too, usually in the refrigerated or frozen sections (they might also be spelled siumai)

If you can’t find skins, you can make sort of pseudo-shuumai. Make little balls of the filling, and then coat them rather thickly in a mixture of white flour and cornstarch. You may need to double-coat them (coat them first, shake off the excess, dip in water and then coat again). Then steam them. This is a lot messier than using skins, but makes pretty tasty little dumplings with a very similar texture/flavor!

could you use wonton skins

could you use wonton skins if you put a little bit more filling in there? the store I go to has wonton but not shuumai skins…

Sure, you can use wonton

Sure, you can use wonton skins - the shuumai will be on the large size though,.

ooh I love these I’ll

ooh I love these I’ll definitely need to be trying these recipes out

Other skins

I could find no other wrapper except egg roll wrappers. I cut them into quarters and they worked like a charm.

Thanks so much for your continued inspirations!

I made the shrimp shuumai,

I made the shrimp shuumai, and it was yummy!! Very easy, too! Oddly enough, I used wonton wrappers (from walmart) and they were the perfect size. They weren’t too big at all, and if anything might have been a tad smaller than the shuumai you show.

They taste just like steamed gyoza to me. I just steamed it in my rice cooker, so the actual prep time was like…5 minutes or less, then 15 to cook. So easy! Thanks a ton!

super good!

thanks for the recipes. i made the shrimp one first and the next day i made the tofu ones. they are so good! definitely will be making more soon.

Great pictures! I used the

Great pictures! I used the technique for Shumai but used your Chicken Tsukene recipe from “Just Bento” for the filling, as I had boneless chicken thighs and not pork. They were fantastic!! Now I have to try the fillings above too! Thanks!

wow i was looking for a

wow i was looking for a recipe like this! I think i’ll stick to steaming…the last time i tried the steam fry thing I nearly died of a heart attack as a 3 foot flame shot up from my microwave is still slightly darker where the flame hit it…annywhooo thanks!

Substitute: What kind of wantan skin

Great tutorial. I'll try them out.
Sadly, my asian grocery has no shuumai skins, but two kinds of wanton skins. I'm going to try them with wanton skins for soup wantons, or do you think wanton skins for fried wantons would be better (I have no clue how they differ, they look the same to me)?

Re: Substitute: What kind of wantan skin

It just depends on how big the skins are. For small shuumai select the smaller, for larger ones the larger. Basically wonton skins are the same as shumai skins, made of flour and water.

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

i also found another technique for the filling. ground beef (:
here is the link if anyone is interested.
i can't wait to try this

can you freeze them?

after making the shumai can i freeze them because i would like to fry them and turn them into mini japanese burgers

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

I was wondering is there any way you can subsitute the shrimp for something else like chicken? My husband is allergic to shirmp and shell fish.

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

faechildmom: Sure, you can substitute chicken, or increase the amount of pork. Of course it won't have the same taste and texture, but it should still be good.

littlepoko: yes you can freeze the shuumai (though why not just make mini hamburgers and freeze those?)

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Just wanted to post that the chicken worked perfectly with the ground pork. Next time I'll chop the chicken up in littler pieces but it was still really good. About to try using ground beef since it's before payday and thats all I have left in the house... lol.
Thanks so much,

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

hum........I tried it the other day but it was an epic fail. Somehow when i steamed my pork and shrimp shumai the stuff came loose and tasted as if shrimp were overcooked and pork was undercooked. I don't really understand why it didn't work. too little starch?

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

You really need to mix it very well (preferably with your hands), so that it all comes together as one and forms a paste-like consistency. That is how that sort of springy-chewy texture of shumai happens. (The veg. shumai don't have that texture as I stated in the recipe, and are softer and more crumbly, but you are talking about the pork/shrimp shumai.)

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

You really need to mix it very well (preferably with your hands), so that it all comes together as one and forms a paste-like consistency. That is how that sort of springy-chewy texture of shumai happens. (The veg. shumai don't have that texture as I stated in the recipe, and are softer and more crumbly, but you are talking about the pork/shrimp shumai.)

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

thanks for the reply. I tried it again, little bit better this time, did not completely fall apart but not the same as restaurant texture either. the filling definitely was more paste like this time. Maybe I should cut the shrimp smaller so it blends better with the pork.

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

If you want the texture to be very bouncy/rubbery (not in a bad way - I know this is how many dim sum restaurants have it) you may want to grind up the shrimp to a paste. Or, to enjoy the texture of shrimp two ways, chop up some and grind up the rest, and mix very well with the pork.


Looking at this recipie instructions answered many questions, but how long do they last in the freezer since they are made fresh?

Using nori?

Thank you for this recipe! I used ground chicken instead of pork and it turned out pretty well. I even forgot to season my first batch with salt and pepper and it still tasted great. My daughter loves it!

I steam mine for around 25-30 mins because it doesn't stay together yet at 15 mins.

I have a question though, would this work using nori? Some of the siu mai vendors here sell nori-wrapped siu mai and call it "Japanese siomai" and I was wondering if this is actually done in Japan.

Re: Using nori?

I have made similar rolls using nori. I made a fish and shrimp filling flavoured with spring onion, lemon zest, and a little chilli - a bit like a Thai fish cake. I bound it with egg. Then I spread it on a nori sheet leaving one edge bare. I rolled it up and used a little water to seal the edge. I steamed the rolls for about 10 minutes. Slice across like norimaki to serve. They look very pretty. Serve either hot or cold with a Thai style dipping sauce or a ponzu sauce.

Maki's recipe may work just as well.

I use them as an appetiser. I never thought of using them in an obento. A good idea though.

I don't have a steamer but...

I don't have a steamer, but couldn't I just make the filling and put them in waton wrappers, closing them all the way, and boil them in water?

Re: I don't have a steamer but...

Sure, you can do that, though then you will have wonton dumplings, not shuumai ^_^

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

wow... just made these tonight and they are AMAZING!!!! Thank you for the recipe!

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Hmmm...I tried to make these with Quorn and springroll wrappers. They didn't work. Taste lovely but the wrappers wouldn't hold shape and they all stuck together in the pan so now I have one very large mass of Shuumai. The skins didn't seem to soften either. Any suggestions?
:)k (very new to bento)

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Springroll wrappers are too thick to use for shuumai, since they are designed to just wrap around the contents, not stick to them. I suspect the Quorn is not stick-together enough either. Shuumai are essentially meatballs with a very thin wrapper around them. Try using shuumai or, in a pinch, wonton wrappers.

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Thanks for that. The quorn worked fine actually. I just used a bit more of the cornstarch mix and they formed lovely little balls. I'll find different wrappers and try it again.


Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Hey i really like ur recipe. And I was wondering what if u don't have a steamer, what could u use to replace the steamer?

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

Thank you so much for the site!

I have a Mr. Bento box and made these dumplings with pork instead of shrimp. I left 3 in the fridge to kook for the morning unfrozen and froze the other uncooked. Two questions about saftey. 1. Is it ok just to freeze them and cook them fresh every day/morning? 2. Once they are cooked how should I put them in my box? I have the two hot contains filled with rice and curry, and the top filled with string beans. The third bowl is a perfect size but it isn't kept warm and am worried about the cooked port ( I steam/pan fry them.)


Best site ever! Bento box companies everywhere should thank you

Re: How to make shuumai / shumai dumplings

1. Sure you can cook the shumai in the morning. Make sure you freeze them quickly after forming them if they're uncooked. You can also steam them, then freeze the steamed ones, then defrost them overnight in the refrigerator or microwave them for a couple of minutes. Texture and taste wise there isn't a big difference between the two methods.

2. You can pack the shumai in the non-insulated part of your bento container, as long as you let them cool down completely before packing. If you eat them within a few hours (e.g. pack in the morning and eat at lunch) they will be fine. See the articles here about keeping your bento safe, like here.

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