Are dumplings are gluten free?

Dumplings are a popular food found in many cuisines around the world. They are made of a dough wrapper enveloping a savory or sweet filling. Common dumpling fillings include meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruits. Dumplings can be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. With so many varieties of dumplings, an important question for those avoiding gluten is: are dumplings gluten free?

The gluten content of dumpling wrappers

To determine if dumplings are gluten free, we first need to look at the main ingredient – the dumpling wrapper. Traditional dumpling wrappers are made from wheat flour, which contains gluten. Wheat flour gives the dumpling wrapper its characteristic stretchy, chewy texture. Here are some common types of dumpling wrappers that contain gluten:

  • Wheat flour dough – This is the most common type of dumpling wrapper. It’s made from a dough of wheat flour and water.
  • Egg roll wrappers – Wheat flour is the main ingredient in egg roll wrappers.
  • Gyoza wrappers – These Japanese-style dumpling wrappers also contain wheat flour.
  • Wonton wrappers – Wheat flour is used to make wonton wrappers.

Since wheat flour contains gluten, dumplings made with traditional wheat flour wrappers are not gluten free. Fortunately, there are some alternative gluten free options for dumpling wrappers. These include:

  • Rice flour – Rice flour naturally does not contain gluten and can be used to make gluten free dumpling wrappers.
  • Tapioca flour – Tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) is another gluten free alternative for dumpling wrappers.
  • Cornstarch – A mixture of cornstarch and rice flour can mimic the texture of wheat flour dough.
  • Mung bean starch sheets – These transparent starch sheets are made from mung beans and are used for spring roll wrappers.

There are also pre-made gluten free dumpling wrapper options available to purchase. So if you want gluten free dumplings, look for ones specifically made with rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, or mung bean starch rather than wheat flour.

Hidden sources of gluten in dumpling fillings

Aside from the wrapper, we also need to consider potential sources of gluten in dumpling fillings. Even if the wrapper is gluten free, the filling may contain ingredients with hidden gluten. Here are some common examples:

  • Soy sauce – Many dumpling fillings contain soy sauce, which is typically made from wheat. Be sure to use a gluten free tamari soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce – This savory sauce often contains wheat flour. Use gluten free oyster sauce if following a gluten free diet.
  • Teriyaki sauce – Like soy sauce, standard teriyaki sauce contains wheat. Opt for a gluten free version.
  • Stuffing mixes – Pre-made cornbread or other stuffing mixes may contain glutenous grains or additives.
  • Thickeners – Roux made from wheat flour is sometimes used to thicken dumpling fillings.

When buying pre-made dumplings or assembling your own filling, double check the ingredient list for any of these hidden sources of gluten. Also look out for barley malt, malt vinegar, beer, and croutons – these can end up in dumpling fillings and are not gluten free.

Are popular types of dumplings gluten free?

Now that we’ve looked at the wrappers and fillings, let’s examine if some popular types of dumplings are gluten free:

1. Potstickers

Potstickers are pan-fried Chinese dumplings commonly filled with pork and vegetables. The wheat flour gyoza wrapper and soy sauce in the filling means most potstickers are not gluten free unless specifically made with a gluten free wrapper and filling.

2. Soup dumplings (xiao long bao)

These Chinese dumplings filled with seasoned pork and broth are traditionally made with wheat flour wrappers, making them not gluten free. The filling may also contain soy sauce. Gluten free soup dumplings would need to use rice or other gluten free flour.

3. Dim sum

Dim sum is a style of Chinese dumplings usually steamed or fried. Shrimp dumplings, siu mai, har gow, and many other classic dim sum contain wheat flour and are not gluten free. There are some rice flour or tapioca starch based gluten free dim sum options at certain restaurants.

4. Pierogi

Pierogi are filled dumplings from Poland and Eastern Europe. Traditional pierogi are made with wheat flour, eggs, butter, and stuffed with potato, farmer’s cheese, sauerkraut, or meat. Unless substitutions are made, most pierogi are not gluten free.

5. Manti

These Central Asian steamed dumplings are stuffed with lamb and onions. Manti are typically made from wheat flour dough, placing them in the not gluten free category.

6. Samosa

Samosa are fried dumplings popular in South Asian cuisines. They are usually filled with potatoes, onions, lentils, and spices. Wheat flour is the most common ingredient used to make the outer shell. Most samosas are not gluten free unless rice flour is substituted.

7. Empanadas

Empanadas are stuffed pastries found in Latin American cuisines. A traditional wheat flour dough is used to make the exterior. Fillings may also contain glutenous ingredients like bread crumbs or wheat flour as a thickener. Empanadas are typically not gluten free.

8. Kreplach

Kreplach are small Jewish dumplings usually filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes, or cheese. Wheat flour dough is traditionally used to make the wrapper. Most kreplach are not gluten free, but can be adapted to use gluten free flour.

9. Mandu

Mandu are Korean dumplings which can be steamed, fried, or boiled. The wheat flour wrapper and fillings containing soy sauce mean traditional mandu are not gluten free. Gluten free mandu can be made by substituting rice flour.

10. Momo

Momo are a type of South Asian steamed dumpling usually filled with vegetables, meat, or cheese. Wheat flour is the most common wrapper ingredient, making most momo not gluten free. However, rice flour or buckwheat flour offer gluten free options for the wrapper.

Can dumplings be made gluten free?

Yes, it is possible to adapt dumplings to be gluten free. This requires using alternative gluten free flours like rice flour, tapioca flour, mung bean starch, or buckwheat flour to make the wrappers. For fillings, avoid ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, roux, and other hidden sources of gluten. Check labels carefully for gluten free tamari, fillers, and starch mixtures. With some substitutions to the wrappers and fillings, many popular types of dumplings can be made gluten free.

Gluten free dumpling recipe

Here is a recipe for gluten free dumplings:


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1⁄2 cup tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 cup boiling water
  • 1⁄4 cup cold water
  • Filling of your choice (cooked ground pork, chicken, shrimp, veggie, etc. Avoid soy sauce in filling.)


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the rice flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. Add the boiling water and stir vigorously until a dough forms.
  3. Add the cold water and knead the dough until smooth and pliable.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope and cut into 10 equal pieces.
  5. Roll out each piece into a 3-4 inch round wrapper about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper.
  7. Wet the edge of the wrapper with water and fold in half, crimping to seal. Create pleats if desired.
  8. Steam, pan fry, or boil finished dumplings until cooked through.

This simple gluten free dumpling recipe uses a rice flour and tapioca flour dough. The filling is kept gluten free by avoiding soy sauce or other gluten containing seasonings. These dumplings can be filled with any cooked meat, veggies, cheese, fruits, or sweets.

Are store-bought dumplings gluten free?

When buying pre-made dumplings from grocery stores, restaurants, or food vendors, caution is still required on the gluten free diet. Package labels should be carefully inspected for any mention of wheat flour, soy sauce, wheat starch, barley malt, and other typical sources of gluten. Phrases like “wheat flour wrapper” or “may contain wheat” mean the product is not gluten free.

Some brands producing gluten free pre-made dumpling options include:

  • Wu Wu Bao – Offers vegan soup dumplings and potstickers with brown rice flour wrappers.
  • Jenny Cookies – Sells gluten free vegan potstickers with wrapper made from rice flour.
  • Asian Pears – Makes gluten free gyoza, potstickers, and dumpling wraps using rice flour.
  • O’Doughs – Uses corn-based dumpling wrappers for their frozen gluten free dumplings.

When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask questions about whether the dumplings are made with wheat flour wrappers or fillings containing soy sauce or other gluten ingredients. Many restaurants have gluten free or rice flour dumpling options if requested.

Are dumpling wrappers gluten free?

Dumpling wrappers made from wheat flour are not gluten free. However, dumpling wrappers specifically made with gluten free flours can be found:

  • Rice flour dumpling wrappers
  • Tapioca starch / tapioca flour wrappers
  • Mung bean starch wrappers
  • Buckwheat flour dumpling wrappers
  • Cornstarch-based dumpling wrappers

Check ingredient labels closely, as some brands may contain a mix of wheat flour and gluten free starches. When purchasing dumpling wrappers, look for ones that specifically say “gluten free” or only contain gluten free flours.

Gluten free alternatives to dumplings

For those avoiding gluten, here are some alternative gluten free foods that can satisfy a dumpling craving:

  • Gluten free steamed buns or bao buns
  • Rice paper spring rolls
  • Lettuce wrap tacos or fajitas
  • Guacamole cups made from bell pepper halves
  • Stuffed mushrooms or sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa bites
  • Chickpea flour socca flatbread wraps

While these alternatives do not mimic the exact taste and texture of dumplings, they provide a similar experience of wrapped, stuffed, and flavored gluten free appetizers.


Most traditional dumplings are made with wheat flour wrappers, making them not gluten free. However, by substituting the wrappers with rice, tapioca, or other gluten free flours, and avoiding hidden sources of gluten like soy sauce in the fillings, it is possible to prepare or purchase gluten free dumplings. When eating out or buying pre-made dumplings, always check if the restaurant or brand can accommodate gluten free diets. With some modifications to ingredients, cooking methods, and awareness of hidden gluten, those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can still enjoy delicious gluten free dumplings.

Leave a Comment