How to Make Chinese Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao Recipe)

Traditionally called xiao long bao (pronounced shau-long-bow in mandarin) these flavorful purses of soup are one of Shanghai’s most popular street foods.

The magic inside each Chinese soup dumpling is a pocket of gelatinized broth. When steamed, the broth gelatin melts to create savory purses of delicious hot soup. In this broth recipe, we use agar agar powder, a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart that is obtained from red algae. Discovered in Japan in 1658, agar agar has become a popular gelling agent in many Asian cuisines.

Though these do take a little time, anyone can create delicious Xiao Long Bao recipe from home. If you’re new to Chinese cooking, find all the speciality tools you need with this Chinese Soup Dumpling Kit.


Chinese Soup Dumpling Recipe

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 28 Dumplings


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup boiling water
2 tsp. vegetable oil

    1 piece of raw bacon, chopped
    1” knob fresh ginger, sliced
    1 green onion stalk, chopped
    2 ½ cups chicken, pork, or beef broth
    1 ½ tsp. agar agar (included in our kit)

      4 oz (¼ lb) ground pork, fatty
      4 oz (¼ lb) raw shrimp, minced
      2 green onion stalks, minced
      2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
      2 tsp. soy sauce
      2 tsp.Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
      1 tsp. sesame oil
      1 tsp. sugar
      ¼ tsp. salt

        Xiao long bao ingredients

        Step 1: Make the Dough

        Place flour in a medium bowl and use a spoon to create a deep well. Add oil and just-boiled water in the center of the well and mix with a fork until the dough is shaggy.

        Continue to mix by hand inside the bowl until all the loose flour is pressed together into a ball.

        Transfer to a clean surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and stretchy like soft modeling clay.

        Place the dough in a plastic bag and seal it well, pushing out all of the excess air as you close the bag. Set aside and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

        Xiao long bao dough ball

        Step 2: Make the Soup

        In a small saucepan, cook bacon, until fat is rendered, about 3-4 minutes. Add onion and ginger until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth to deglaze the pan and boil on medium for 6-8 minutes. Strain out solids. 

        Measure 1 3/4 cup broth and return to sauce pan. Over medium-high heat, whisk in agar agar powder until fully dissolved. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Using a 9x13 dish, pour broth into dish and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set. Carefully remove from dish using the wooden paddle provided in the kit. Cut into 1/8 inch cubes, place in a bowl and refrigerate.

        Xiao long bao gelatinized soup broth from agar agar powder

        Step 3: Mix the Filling

        Combine all filling ingredients into one bowl, mix well. Add the refrigerated broth jelly cubes and be sure the cubes are mixed in evenly. Store filling in refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.

        Chinese soup dumpling filling ingredients in glass bowl

        Step 4: Assemble the Dumplings

        After 1 hour, remove the dough from the plastic bag. Cut the ball in half and put the other half back in the plastic bag and seal well.

        On a clean surface, roll out the dough into a 14” log, using a ruler. Cut into 14 equal pieces and place under a damp towel so they don’t dry out.

        One at a time, flatten each disk with the heel of your palm and roll out with the dough roller until it’s paper-thin and 4” in diameter.  Pick up and rotate the dough often to keep it from sticking.

        Tip: Avoid rolling out wrappers in batches so that the thin dough don’t dry out. Fill and assemble the dumplings immediately.

        rolling out chinese soup dumpling dough into wrappers

        Delicately take the wrapper and hold it in your slightly cupped hand or place it on the counter. Using the bamboo spatula, scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of filling and place in the center.

        Use both sets of index fingers and thumbs to pleat and pinch the rim of the wrapper repeatedly to form a closed satchel. Pinch and twist the top so the soup stays sealed inside. Place finished dumplings on parchment paper until ready to steam. 

        pinching and folding chinese soup dumplings closed

        Step 5: Steam the Dumplings

        Place the bamboo steamer in a large pan and fill with about 2” of water.

        Line the bamboo steamer trays with parchment liners and place the assembled dumplings in the steamer about ½” apart.

        Steam each batch of dumplings over boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

        Chinese soup dumplings cooking in bamboo steamer

        We want to know - where did you have your very first Chinese soup dumpling that got you hooked? For us, it was at Din Tai Fung in Los Angeles, and we've been obsessed ever since!

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