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The Art of Preparing Perfect Potstickers Like the Shanghainese

The Art of Preparing Perfect Potstickers Like the Shanghainese

How Are Shanghainese Potstickers Different from Others?

As someone who loves cooking, I have always been fascinated by regional cuisines and how to master traditional dishes. Potstickers/dumplings are enjoyed throughout China but the Shanghainese style is renowned for its unique taste. While all potstickers have a pork and vegetable filling wrapped in a thin dough, the Shanghainese method results in a particularly crispy bottom that sets them apart.

Through research and carefully watching online tutorials, I noticed some key differences in their technique:


The Shanghainese use a higher ratio of minced/ground pork to vegetables like cabbage compared to other styles. This creates a richer, juicier filling.


Instead of the popular round shape, theirs are smaller and rectangular for easier folding. The dough also contains egg to result in a crackly exterior.

Cooking method

Maybe the most important distinguishing factor – they cook the potstickers over higher heat without any oil or water first. This allows the bottoms to develop a delicious crispy crust before liquid is added to steam the top.

How Do You Make the Perfect Shanghainese Potsticker Dough?

The dough is arguably the most crucial element for those signature crispy bottoms. Here is the method I’ve developed after some trial and error:


  • Flour – I use bread flour for its high protein content but all-purpose works too
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Water

Kneading technique

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp salt. Make a well in the center and add 1 egg and 1/3 cup water. Gradually mix until a shaggy dough forms, kneading gently until smooth. If it’s too dry, add more water 1 tbsp at a time.

Rest and roll

Cover dough and let rest for 30 minutes. Then divide into 6 equal pieces and use a rolling pin to roll each into a thin rectangle about 6×4 inches.

Folding methods

The thin, pliable dough allows for perfect triangular folds. Practice your folding skills to get the tidy corners the Shanghainese are known for.

How Do You Prepare the signature Rich and Savory Filling?

No potstickers can be great without the right filling. Here is an authentic Shanghai-inspired recipe:


  • Ground pork1/2 lb
  • Shredded cabbage1 cup finely shredded
  • Ginger1 tbsp minced
  • Soy sauce2 tbsp
  • Sesame oil1/2 tsp
  • Salt and white pepper

Cooking method

In a skillet over medium high heat, cook pork until no longer pink. Remove and mix in remaining filling ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

The key is to not overmix after combining. The filling should be moist but not wet. Cool before using or it can make sealing the potstickers difficult.

How Do You Achieve Crispy Bottoms By Pan Frying Without Oil?

Mastering this essential Shanghai technique is what makes their version truly stand out. Here are the steps:


  • Potstickers filled and sealed
  • Water

Pan frying

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, lay potstickers in pan seam side up. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until bottoms are golden brown and crisp.

Adding water

Once crisped, add 1/3 cup water to pan. Immediately cover tightly with a lid and reduce heat to low. Steam for another 5 minutes>.


Remove lid and allow remaining water to evaporate. Once bottoms are dry and maximally crispy, transfer potstickers to serving plate. Enjoy while hot!

I hope these tips help you achieve restaurant-worthy Shanghainese potstickers at home. With practice of their key techniques, you’ll be impressing friends and family in no time. Please let me know if you have any other questions!



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