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Tang Yuan Wrappers

For Tang Yuan, Yuan Xiao, or Mochi

by Shirley
Published: Updated:
sweet rice flour dumpling wrapper

Tang Yuan Wrappers use water-milled sweet rice flour. They are extra soft and have just the right amount of chewiness.

Sweet rice dumplings using sticky rice flour are traditional Huai Yang food. We can make a savory version using pork filling. Or, we can make a sweet version using sweet red bean paste fillings.

What ingredients do you need to make Tang Yuan Wrappers?

Simple ingredients of water-milled sweet rice flour and water.

Ingredients for making Tang Yuan Wrappers

Sweet rice flour is naturally delicious. When people mill the sweet rice submerged in the water, it creates extra soft and smoother sweet rice flour called water-milled sweet rice flour, or Shuo Mo Nuo Mi Fen 水磨糯米粉 in Chinese.

Water-milled sweet rice flour is very popular in China’s Yangtze River Delta area to make all kinds of desserts and pastries. It is the secret ingredient behind the super-soft mochi in the classic Huai Yang style “Red Bean Mochi Soup ( Hong Dou Xiao Yuan Zi 红豆小圆子”.

red bean mochi soup
Red Bean Sweet Rice Flour Minis {Hong Dou Xiao Yuan Zi 红豆小圆子}

How to Make Tang Yuan or Yuan Xiao Wrappers?

The first is the ratio between the flour and water

The dough should be very soft but must have a certain stiffness and be pliable so we can shape it like pottery. Here, we’d like to shape each sweet rice ball into a small bowl shape.

Because of its delicate nature, I use the metric system gram as a unit for precision purposes. The rule of thumb is that the ratio between the water and flour is about 1:1.15 as a starting point. 15% extra flour compared to water as weight.

shapping sweet rice flour wrapper for dumplings
Shape Tang Yuan Wrappers

Surely other factors play important roles too. For instance, the various brands of flour, the humidity level in the air, etc. I am making this in Chicago’s winter, which is very dry. If you are in a humid area, you may need slightly less water.

It is the reason I recommend adding the last 20% of water in the recipe slowly so you have room to address these factors.

Tip No.2 is to use room temperature water for making Tang Yuan Dough

The Sweet Rice Flour Dumplings or Tang Yuan {汤圆} will taste softer and smoother.

Tip No.3 is to keep hands damp while handling the sweet rice flour dough

Keeping hands damp is essential in order to shape the sweet rice dough relatively easier. Frequently dip your fingers into the water, rub your two hands together during the wrapping process.

sweet rice flour dumpling wrapper

Tang Yuan Wrappers {汤圆】

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Sweet rice dumplings, known for Tang Yuan {汤圆} or Yuan Xiao {元宵} in Chinese, is one of the Huai Yang classics, featuring water-milled sweet rice flour which is extra soft and smooth, just the right amount of chewiness, and naturally delicious. They are great for either sweet fillings such as red bean paste, or sesame filling or savory fillings such as pork.


  • 454 g (1 lb) water-milled sweet rice flour, 1 lb Shui Mo Nut Mi Fen {水磨糯米粉}
  • 410 g water, room temperature, previously boiled or filled
  • 1 cup of water for keeping the hands damp


  1. Measure out water-milled sweet rice flour and water respectively.
    sweet rice flour wrapper ingredients
  2. Add water-milled sweet rice flour into a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, and gradually add water while mixing and kneading, go extra slow adding water when there is about 20% water left, until form a soft dough. The dough shall be very soft and a little sticky in the beginning. As you keep kneading, it becomes smoother.
    water-milled sweet rice flour dough
  3. Divide the dough into 4 or 5 equal portions, press each portion using two hands, and roll into a cylinder. Cover the rest of the cylinders with a food film to prevent them from getting dried out while you are working through making wrappers.
    water-milled sweet rice flour dough
  4. Snip regular meatball-sized dough chunks off the dough cylinder. Each portion should weigh around 30 g. For each chunk, use two hands to roll into a ball
    sweet rice flour ball
  5. If the dough appears to be a little dry, dip your fingers into the water and gently rub between your palms to wet the fingers and palm areas.
    Rub hands with room temperature water
  6. While your left-hand holds the sweet rice flour ball, use your right-hand thumb to press & poke in the middle of the sweet rice ball, while the rest of your right-hand fingers lean against the exterior wall of the sweet rice ball
    making sweet rice flour wrapper
  7. Your right-hand thumb and other four fingers continue to press against each other, with the wall of the sweet rice ball wall in the middle, and rotating the sweet rice ball clockwise at the same time.
    shapping sweet rice flour wrapper for dumplings
  8. Dip your fingers into the water to wet the fingers if the dough appears to be dry. Keep pressing while rotating, our goal is to make a bowl shape sweet rice flour wrapper.
    making sweet rice flour wrapper
  9. Gradually move your right-hand thumb up to the edge while pressing & rotating, press the edge a bit more to make sure you have a thinner edge which helps the wrapping and taste.
    sweet rice flour wrapper for dumplings
  10. Hooray! You have made a sweet rice flour dumpling wrapper. Now let's wrap some sweet rice flour pork dumplings.
  11. Keep wrapping the Sweet Rice Flour Dumplings. See a detailed tutorial here.
    wrapping sweet rice flour dumpling


  • The dough should be very soft but have a certain stiffness and be pliable so we can shape them like pottery. Here, we'd like to shape each sweet rice ball into a small bowl shape.
  • Frequently dipping fingers into the water to wet the hands is the key to shaping the sweet rice correctly.
  • For sweet rice flour dumplings, we make the wrapper and wrap the dumpling in one contiguous series of actions. Make sure you check out "How to Wrap Sweet Rice Flour Dumplings".
  • This recipe makes about 40 Ping Pong sized Tang YuanWrappers.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 4 wrappers
Amount Per Serving Calories 170Total Fat 0.6gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0.6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 1.1gSugar 1.1gProtein 3.4g

Nutrition calculation is provided by"NutritionValue.org" to the best of my knowledge. Nevertheless, I use lots of homemade, all natural, unprocessed, unrefined raw & wholesome ingredients which are not always readily available in the referenced source. Therefore the calculation may not always be accurate.

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Leave a Comment


rachel March 14, 2022 - 11:39 pm

How do I cook them? Just boil in broth? Thanks.

Shirley March 15, 2022 - 8:23 am

Hi Rachel, yes, you boil them like dumplings. Fill a big pot at least 8 Qt with 70% water and bring it to a boil. Add about 15 sweet rice dumplings, let it reach a boil again and then add a cup of cold water, wait for it to reach a boil again and then add another cup of cold water. Repeat a few times. You can make red bean paste or pork sweet rice flour dumplings. See here for detailed guided recipes on how to wrap sweet rice flour dumplings, how to make pork sweet rice flour dumplings and how to make red bean sweet rice flour dumplings. Hope this helps. Let me know should you have additional questions or comments.


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