As delicious as dumplings and wontons are, they are both Chinese in origin. While there are some variations between dumplings and wontons from region to region, there are some general similarities as well. The difference between dumplings and wontons is that dumplings are usually made of dough, and don’t always contain any filling. Let’s explore these two iconic dishes in more detail in this article.
What Are Dumplings?
All over the world, people enjoy dumplings because they are delicious and versatile.
Although there are many different types of dumplings and their exact origins are unclear, most experts believe that Zhang Zhongjing, a Chinese physician during the Eastern Han Dynasty, invented them.
In legend, Zhang Zhongjing observed farmers wrapping their feet in cloth to protect them from the cold, which inspired him to use dough to enclose medicinal herbs.
Dough could be used to deliver medicine directly to patients’ bodies if wrappings could keep their feet warm!
Since their humble beginnings, dumplings have become a staple of Chinese cuisine – and a treasured part of culinary traditions around the world!
A dumpling is made from dough, which can be made from wheat flour, potato flour, or any other type of flour. Dough is mixed by hand, and then formed into small balls with your hands or a spoon.
Meat, vegetables, or cheese can be added to dumplings, or they can be made out of plain dough.
Steaming or boiling dumplings are two of the most popular ways to cook them. They can be served with dipping sauces or eaten by themselves.
Whether it’s a quick meal or a hearty dinner, boiled and steamed dumplings are delicious and easy to prepare.
The filling can be made healthier with vegetables, or it can be rich with pork or beef.
In contrast to steamed or boiled dumplings, fried dumplings have a heavier dough, making them more filling and satisfying.
As soon as they’re fried, the dumpling skin turns crisp and golden brown, making them all the more delicious. The dough is usually flavored with ginger and other spices, which lends them a distinctive taste that pairs well with dipping sauces.
What Are Wontons?
The origins of wontons are unclear, but they appear in a cookbook published during the Tang Dynasty.
Chinese cuisine continues to be a staple of the world today due to wontons’ popularity everywhere.
Since wontons are made with thin, square wrappers and can be filled with meats, seafood, or vegetables, they are considered a type of dumpling!
A wonton is made by placing the wrapper flat in the palm of one’s hand and filling the center with a small amount of filling.
A wonton is sealed by compressing the edges of the wrapper with the fingers. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them until you’re ready to cook them.
The filling of wontons is usually fully seasoned, so they are usually boiled or fried with an optional dipping sauce. They can also be steamed.
Aside from being an appetizer or main course, wontons can also be used in soups. They are often garnished with green onions and fresh ginger in soups.
Dumpling Vs Wontons — Similarities And Differences
There are many types of dumplings, but not all are wontons! Let’s find out what the differences are and how to identify them.
The dough thickness varies with the type of dumpling. Plain dumplings are usually just plain dough. If the dumpling has filling, the dough is usually thicker, providing more cushioning.
As a result, wonton wrappers are typically lighter and more delicate than dumpling wrappers since they are made with a thin, square wrapper that is filled with meat, seafood, or vegetables.
Due to the shape of dumpling dough being circular, no matter the variety, dumplings tend to be round.
Wontons are usually made with square wrappers, so you can use the wrapper in any way you like! You can make a tube, a triangle, a rectangle, or even a square, as long as it neatly wraps up the filling before cooking.
There are a few different shapes of wontons, while dumplings are always round.
It’s possible to fill dumplings and wontons with meat, seafood, or vegetables. The recipes differ slightly, however.
There are dumpling varieties that do not have any filling at all, just dough – these dumplings are often served with soups or as side dishes.
Because dumplings are mainly enjoyed with soup or dipping sauce, the fillings are only lightly seasoned. The lack of seasoning also compliments the thick dough.
Wontons, on the other hand, are heavier dishes that are always filled with meat, vegetables, or seafood.
Stuffing is usually well-seasoned to create a rich flavor profile that can be enjoyed without additional sauce.
There are some dumplings that are just plain dough with no filling – some are even just plain dough without any filling. Dumplings are usually steamed or boiled, so their flavors tend to be mild.
The dumplings are typically served with a dipping sauce, such as oyster sauce or soy sauce, or they can be added to soup to enhance its flavor.
Generally speaking, wontons are well flavored, with a well-seasoned filling, and a thin wrapper that makes them quite tasty even without a sauce.
There are also varieties of wontons that can be fried, which enhances the texture of the wrapper and enhances the taste of the filling – this is why they can be enjoyed without any dipping sauces.
Any dumpling that is made from dough, whether it has a filling or not, is a dumpling.
The dumpling comes from China, but they can also be found across Asia (even in Russia!). This makes dumplings a much more diverse dish than wontons.
Each country has its own version of a dumpling, such as Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai dim sum), Mandu (Korean dumplings), or Gyoza (Japanese potstickers).
Dumplings are often served with dipping sauces in Japan, for example, and are typically made with pork and cabbage.
Unlike in Korea, dumplings are typically made with beef or vegetables and are usually served with a larger meal.
Unlike wontons, which differ only in their fillings, shapes, and cooking methods, dumplings only differ in their fillings.
The varieties of wontons are not as varied as those of dumplings, and they are mainly associated with Chinese cuisine.
Making dumplings and wontons isn’t difficult, but it can be very labor-intensive.
A Lunar New Year ritual involves Asian families making and wrapping dumplings together because they are labor-intensive.
The dough or wrapper needs to be made, and the filling ingredients need to be chopped and mixed. The filling is then stuffed into individual wrappers and cooked.
Dumpling wrappers are usually thicker than wonton wrappers, so if you want to speed up the process, buy store-bought wrappers.
Chinese dumplings and wontons are both traditional Chinese foods made from dough and typically filled with fillings.
There is a main difference between the two in that a dumpling can either be filled or unfilled, whereas a wonton must be filled.
There are usually meat, vegetables, and seafood fillings in dumplings, and chicken, shrimp, or pork fillings in wontons.
Dumplings are usually boiled or steamed, and dipping sauces are always served with the dish.
There is no need for a sauce to accompany wontons, which are typically fried or added to soup.
Whether you like your dumplings or wontons boiled, fried, or filled with chicken, shrimp, or pork, one thing is for sure: these delicious traditional Chinese dishes will not disappoint.