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Why You Should Be Eating Dumplings for Lunch

February  3, 2015

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Stuff some dumplings, then stuff your face for lunch. Betty Liu of le jus d'orange inspires lunch envy with tips on packing and making homemade dumplings.

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As the temperature stubbornly remains in the single digits, I find myself drawn towards warm lunches, avoiding staples like cold salads. One of my favorite warm things to bring for lunch, and among the easiest to prepare ahead of time, is dumplings with rice. During the weekends, I'll often make large batches of dumplings (dumpling parties, anyone?), then freeze the extra, and cook them the night before I pack them for lunch.

The best part about dumplings is that you can use anything to make fillings. I tend to lean towards two of my favorites: pork and chives for my meat option, and chives, egg, and vermicelli for my vegetarian option -- but these are only two out of numerous recipes out there. You can get creative with these and make them anything you'd like -- I remember that when I was maybe four years old, I would secretly wrap dumplings with no filling so that they came out as just chewy morsels of dough

Some tips for packing dumplings:

  • After pan frying and steaming the dumplings to cook them, make sure they are completely cooled to room temperature before packing them. This will prevent excess odor and condensation.
  • Pack with rice, or another layer of food to prevent the smell of chives from escaping your tupperware.
  • If you can store your dumplings in a refrigerator, then feel free to pack meat ones. If not, you may want to pack vegetarian dumplings instead so they don’t spoil. Plus, heat will intensify odors, and with these chives dumplings, it may not be pleasant for your co-workers!
  • If you don’t want to bother with bringing containers of dipping sauce, simply increase the amount of soy sauce you add to the filling when making your dumplings. 
  • Seal the tupperware tightly for your commute, as always!

When it’s finally lunchtime, simply pop them into the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy a warm, hearty meal of dumplings. 

View (and save and print) Betty's full recipe for vegetarian and pork fillings and dumpling wrappers.

Photos by Betty Liu

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • BaliThai
  • Dianecpa
  • Carolyn Selheim-Miller
    Carolyn Selheim-Miller
  • Miss Hangrypants
    Miss Hangrypants
  • M.McAwesome
betty is a food blogger and wedding photographer based in Boston, MA.


BaliThai February 4, 2015
The low-carb version? Take the filling and make it into mini-meatloafs. I've never been a fan of typical meatloaf, but one day had the epiphany that my favorite dumpling fillings would make a marvelous meatloaf! We now eat them fairly regularly!
Betty February 5, 2015
Genius!! Must try that :)
Dianecpa February 4, 2015
I have looked in many asian markets, all I can find is is nasoya won ton wraps that are square and they are refrigerated.....are they in a different part of the supermarket? Frozen maybe? I know I can make them, is that what most people do, make their own?
Betty February 4, 2015
Oh! That's weird - usually they are pretty common!! Refrigerated, not frozen! It's completely up to you, but I usually prefer homemade wrappers, because they are thicker, and chewier (just the way I like them!). I'm sorry I'm not able to help more! You could ask one of the supermarket workers to see if they store it somewhere else?
Dianecpa February 4, 2015
Where do you find the round wrappers?
Betty February 4, 2015
Hi!!! You can make them yourself (, or you can buy them at an asian supermarket!
Carolyn S. February 4, 2015
I could eat dumplings for any meal! But I never thought about packing them with rice. I suppose I have no choice now! My favorite is shrimp and edamame:
Miss H. February 3, 2015
like kimchi dumplings. really offends people next to me hahaha
Betty February 4, 2015
Aha, YES. I remember that one time I brought kimchi as a side... Oops :). But you gotta love it anyways!!!
M.McAwesome February 3, 2015
Yes! I actually make a ton of them and freeze for lunches. Then just stick a few in a container on my way out the door. A bit of water to microwave and that is it. Best grab and go lunch. And everyone in my office is so jealous.
Betty February 4, 2015
YES YES YES. THIS. I knew I wasn't the only one :).
Billy H. February 3, 2015
Love dumplings and eating them with rice! Its a delicious combo but a high carb one :( Still going to try the dumplings though!
Rebecca @. February 3, 2015
I'd prefer a meat dumpling with a side of meat, please :) Oh, and I guess some veggies...if I have to.
Betty February 4, 2015
Ahaha yes it is high carb, but as long as we don't eat this combination every day, right? :)
Billy H. February 4, 2015
True but I can see it helping me with not bonking during my training rides on my bicycle. :)
Billy H. February 4, 2015
That's what I'm talking about! Best sides to a meaty meal is more meat! Oh and maybe some of that green stuff ;)
Rebecca @. February 4, 2015
One of the best parts about training for the Ironman was being able to eat ALL THE CARBS. I'll have to stash this recipe for the next go-around!