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Shanghai Soup Dumplings {Xiao Long Bao 小笼包}

by Shirley

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Shanghai Soup Dumplings {Xiao Long Bao 小笼包}

Shanghai soup dumplings are hugely popular and well-liked food in China. People enjoy them as breakfast or side dish. They feature soupy, juicy, and savory pork fillings wrapped within thin & soft skin. Vinegar coupled with fine julienne cut ginger slices serves as a typical dipping sauce to complement & contrast the flavor and taste.

Keep reading to learn the simplified, straightforward way to make this delicious food at home perfectly every time!

What do you need to make Shanghai Soup Dumplings?

Wrappers – No doubt home freshly made thin & soft wrappers are the best. If you have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer or manual pasta machine, it is unbelievably easy to make these wrappers in under 20 minutes.

Homemade Dumpling Wrappers
Homemade Dumpling Wrappers

Alternatively, you can use store-bought dumpling wrappers. Roll them a bit to make them thinner a little more.

Ground PorkQuality ground pork is essential to the tasty dumplings. Home ground pork which contains 40% pork belly and 60% pork shoulder or butt finely chopped together using a meat grinder has the ideal balance of juiciness and meatiness.

home ground pork

I use KitchenAid Stand Mixer Meat Grinder attachment to grind the pork roughly every quarter for all my ground pork needs.

When my husband bought the KitchenAid stand mixer over 10 years ago, I secretly thought it might be another tool we actually do not use. Yet, I ended up using it multiple times a week.

Leveraging various attachments & accessories, I use it for making noodles, wonton wrappers, dumpling wrappers, whipped cream, home-ground pork, you name it.

Alternatively, you can use store-bought ground pork out of the quality pork containing 70% or less lean percentage.

Marinating Sauce for the Pork – It is the key to the juicy & tasty pork fillings. What goes into the secret marinating sauce? Simpler than you thought, but work together incredibly like magic – aged soy sauce, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, egg, arrowroot flour, Chinese five-spice powder, green onion, and ginger.

Tips & Tricks Making Shanghai Soup Dumplings Perfectly Every Time!

See the Recipe for detailed step-by-step guide. I’d like to highlight a few tips & tricks here:

Use homemade dumpling wrappers if you can

Read here for detailed recipe and tutorial.

Prepare juicy, tasty pork fillings

Making Pork Filling for Shanghai Soup Dumplings
Making Pork Filling for Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Wrap the dumplings as if they are mini buns

Read here for detailed and easy to follow tutorial.

how to wrap shanghai soup dumplings

Prepare liner for the steamer

Since Shanghai soup dumplings have thin & soft skin containing loads of yumminess, we will need to prepare a liner for the steamer. Otherwise, they will simply stick to the surface. I often use carrot slices as the edible liner.

Using a Mandoline slicer‘s thinnest setting, slice a large carrot vertically. It works out great. Each carrot slice can then serve as an individual liner for the freshly wrapped Shanghai soup dumplings. Alternatively, you may use vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber as well.

Or you can use parchment paper. I recently discovered the unbleached parchment paper. Use a hole punch to punch some holes and you shall have a restaurant-style steamer liner.

Freshly Wrapped Shanghai Soup Dumplings
Freshly Wrapped Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Steaming Techniques

A 14-inch wok (about 4-inches in height) coupled with a 12-inch bamboo steamer works out great as a steaming pair. You wouldn’t need an additional rack to support the bamboo steamer.

For steaming the food, the water level should follow a Goldilocks principle, not too much but not too little either.

Too much water, the boiling water will end up touching the bottom of the food during steaming. As a result, the food will get soggy and affect the taste and flavor.

With too little water, the wok might get dried out during steaming, which may turn into dangerous kitchen hazards. This is because water gets evaporated into steam quickly during the steaming process. Please always do some tests and stay in the kitchen monitoring the steaming process as you learn the process and get to know your steaming set.

For steaming Shanghai soup dumplings, 10-minute on medium-high heat is all you need. 5 cups of water will support a 10-minute steaming well. This will also leave enough space between the water level and the bamboo steamer bottom to avoid boiling water to touch the dumplings during the steaming process.

Freshly wrapped Shanghai Soup Dumplings ready for steaming
Freshly wrapped Shanghai Soup Dumplings ready for steaming

Add 5 cups of water into the wok, bring it to a boil and then add the bamboo steamer. Steam for 10 minutes and then turn off the heat.

Serve Shanghai Soup Dumplings

Once you are done with steaming, remove the steamer immediately from the wok, and serve hot. Freshly steamed soup dumplings are the best. They contain juice inside the dumplings that will eventually get absorbed by the wrappers. Therefore, enjoy freshly steamed, juicy & soupy Shanghai soup dumplings whenever you can.

Zhenjiang vinegar with thinly cut ginger slices is a popular dipping sauce. They just complement and contrast the flavor so well.

Shanghai Soup Dumplings {Xiao Long Bao}
Shanghai Soup Dumplings {Xiao Long Bao}

Do you like authentic, healthy Chinese food made easy at home? Make sure you check out the following.

Shanghai Soup Dumplings {Xiao Long Bao}

Shanghai Soup Dumpling (Xiao Long Bao) Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Shanghai soup dumpling is a popular breakfast food in China native to the Yangtze River Delta area. Juicy & delicious pork fillings wrapped inside thin skin mini buns.


  • 50 Homemade soup dumpling wrappers

For the fillings:

  • 1 lb ground pork, home ground preferred
  • 1 tbsp naturally aged soy sauce {Jiang You}, or dark soy sauce {Lao Chou}
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce {Sheng Chou}
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 large cage-free egg
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp cane sugar, organic unrefined preferred
  • 1/2 tsp star anise powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds powder, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped

For steaming the Soup Dumplings

  • half large carrot

For the dipping

  • 4 tbsp Zhenjiang vinegar
  • 8 thin slices of ginger


Prepare Dumpling Wrappers:

For homemade dumping wrappers, read here for a detailed step-by-step tutorial.

Prepare the Soup Dumpling Filling:

  1. Slice the gingers and chop the green onion into bite-sizes. Add them into a mini chopper and cut & chop into a smooth mixture
  2. Add pork, aged soy sauce, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, egg, arrowroot flour, sugar into mixing bowl.
  3. Use a narrow wooden spatula to break down the pork first, and then fold & mix everything together. Once everything is mixed together, use a swift turn motion to turn the ground pork mixture in one direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise until the whole thing turns into a stretching paste
  4. Add green onion and ginger mixture into the mixing bowl and turn in the same direction a little more

Prepare the Dipping Sauce:

  1. Slice the gingers into very thin julienne cuts
  2. Add Zhenjiang vinegar into a sauce bowl, add the ginger, and mix well and set aside

Wrap the Soup Dumplings

  1. Wash and peel the carrot using a peeler
  2. Use a Mandoline slicer to slice the carrot. Each piece of the slice wills serve as the base for one soup dumpling to sit on in the steamer during the steaming process
  3. See the step-by-step guide to wrap the soup dumpling. Once it is done, place it on top of one carrot slice in the steamer

Steam the Soup Dumplings

  1. Fill the wok with 5 cups of water, bring it to a boil, add the bamboo steamer, cover the wok & bamboo steamer with a dome-shaped lid, and steam for 10 minutes
  2. Turn off the heat, remove the steamer from the wok immediately and serve with the dipping sauce.


  • I use a 14-inch wok and a 12-inch bamboo steamer as a steaming set. They work out well. The steamer rests nicely on the edge of the wok and doesn't require a rack.
  • The soup dumplings might contain temperature hot soup inside when it is freshly steamed. Make sure you take a small bite, let off the steam a little first.
  • 1 lb ground pork produces about 60 Shanghai soup dumplings using this recipe.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 servings Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 555Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 905mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 36g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Leave a Comment


eat chimac January 27, 2021 - 8:06 am

I really loved it,Thanks For Sharing this with us ,i will definitely try this ..

Shirley January 27, 2021 - 11:55 pm

You are so welcome! Let me know how it turns out and if you have questions & comments.


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