Homemade Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
Mandu are delicious Korean dumplings filled with pork, cabbage, chives and Korean glass noodles. This homemade mandu recipe will help you make juicy dumplings from scratch with these step-by-step instructions.
“I just made these today and my family LOVES them. I had to use dried chives instead of fresh Asian chives, and grape juice instead of sweet rice wine but it still tasted amazing to us. My great-aunt said that they tasted as good as restaurant dumplings. Thank you so much!”Emma
When it comes to Lunar New Year traditions in Korea, you can’t skip homemade Korean dumplings (Mandu, 만두) as a part of a New Year celebration. These dumplings are filled with juicy meats and vegetables. Taking a bite is truly satisfying and enjoyable experience.
What is Mandu?
Mandu (만두) is Korean dumpling filled with a different types of savory filling called “So (소)” and folded in different patterns. The style of mandu vary across regions in Korea. The most typical dumpling filling is consist of meat (usually pork), garlic chives, and vegetables. Steam, deep fry, pan fry, or boil these dumplings and dip them in the dumpling sauce to enjoy.
Mandu makes a great Korean style dumpling food, such as a Korean dumpling soup (mandu-guk, 만두국) for the New Year celebration, or dumpling hotpot. Turn them into pan-fried mandu (gun mandu, 군만두) for a delicious appetizer.
Although Kimchi Tofu Pork Mandu (김치만두) is one of the most well known mandu dumplings in Korea, people also like to fill their mandu with a variety of fillings. These are made with ground pork, cabbage, chives, leek, and Korean sweet potato noodles (dangmyun, 당면).
Can’t have pork or meat?
For vegetarian dumplings, just omit the pork in the filling, which will easily turn into vegetable mandu (yachae mandu, 야채만두)
Korean Lunar Year Tradition
My childhood memories of Lunar New Year are filled with helping my mother preparing Rice Cake Soup – the must have Korean New Year dish – and other Korean Lunar New Year foods to celebrate. These Korean pork dumplings are one of them. I recall that she tried a different filling for her mandu every year.
Making homemade Korean mandu is a wonderful family activity that brings joy and happiness during the Lunar New Year. Since my father was the heir in his family lineage, all of his siblings including my uncles, aunts, and cousins, came to our house to celebrate the Lunar New Year together.
Imagine a scene of family members gathered around the table working with their hands to make delicious dumplings together to celebrate the new beginning of a year. After all, these dumplings are believed to bless you and your family.
These dumplings are one of the authentic Korean recipes that you can enjoy every year. If you would like a variety of mandu recipe, my cookbook, Korean Cooking Favorites, shares a recipe for steamed buns. So check it out.
Also, I recommend making homemade dumpling more than enough and freeze. Make Korean dumpling soup (mandu guk) with the frozen dumplings. It’s a quick comfort soup that can be fixed within 15 minutes.
Making homemade mandu has two components; dumpling wrappers and dumpling filling.
1. Dumpling wrappers (mandu pi, 만두피)
Don’t be afraid to make homemade dumpling wrappers from scratch. If you are looking for a true Korean mandu experience, I recommend my Homemade Korean Dumpling Wrappers (mandu-pi) recipe.
Korean dumpling dough is made with flour, sweet rice flour, and a little cornstarch. The tender yet chewy texture of these dumpling wrappers make quite a difference compared to most other Asian dumpling wrappers.
On the other hand, store-bought dumpling wrappers do come in handy, and they make delicious semi-homemade mandu as well. When making Koran style mandu, look for the large size wrappers, about 5 inches in diameter.
2. Dumpling filling (Mandu-sok,만두속)
Traditional Korean dumplings are made with minced pork. Its mild yet juicy flavor and texture mingles well with any vegetables you add. Chopped sour kimchi, mung bean sprouts, and tofu are typical filling ingredients to go with pork.
I recommend using slightly fatty ground pork for the filling, about 80/20 meat to fat ratio. The fat makes the filling juicy and tender. Pork that is too lean yields a dry texture — you don’t want that.
How to make Mandu from scratch
Ingredients for Mandu filling: ground pork, nappa cabbage, Asian chives, Asian leek (or green onion), Korean glass noodles (dangmyun).
Glass noodle Recipe: Check out my easy japchae recipe for another idea of using Korean glass noodles.
Step 1. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt on the chopped cabbage and let it soak for 10 minutes. When the cabbage becomes lifeless, squeeze it out to get rid of moisture.
Step 2. Chop chives and leeks finely. If you can’t find Asian chives, increase the amount of green onion.
Step 3. Boil Korean glass noodles according to the package directions, about 6-7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Chop into small pieces.
Step 4. Put pork, cabbage, chives, leek, and noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with soy sauce, sweet rice wine, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper; mix well with your hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
How to fold dumplings
My mother used to say if you can fold a pretty dumplings, you will have a good looking son. If you can make Korean sweet rice cakes (songpyeon) into a perfect shape, you will have a pretty daughter.
I think she was right! I do have a good looking son and a pretty daughter.
There are so many different shapes and patterns of folding dumplings. Here are the two of the most popular and easy.
1. Half moon shape
Half moon shaped dumplings are the most common in Korean dumplings. This shape is perfect for steaming and making soup. If you are thinking of making Korean dumpling soup, use this shape.
- Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of wrapper, wet the edges of wrapper with water using your finger.
- Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together.
- Bring the both ends toward the center.
- Pinch the ends together to complete.
2. Pleated shape
Pleated shape is a great option for both steamed and pan fried dumplings. If you have never folded dumplings before, try with a small amount of filling inside first.
- Put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and wet the edges with water using your finger.
- Bring one edge to the other and pinch in the center first, then make a small pleat on one side facing toward the center .
- Continue to make more pleats, usually about 4 pleats.
- Create the same number of pleats on the other side, facing the pleats toward the center.
How to steam dumplings
- Bring a small amount of water in a large pot to boil. (Make sure the bottom of your steamer doesn’t touch the water.)
- Place dumplings without touching each other in a bamboo steamer (or regular steamer), lined with a cheese cloth or a steam liner.
- When the water boils, place the steamer over or in the pot.
- Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
How to pan-fry dumplings
- Heat a pan on medium-high with a couple tablespoons of oil in it.
- Working in batches, add dumplings (either fresh or frozen) in a single layer and cook until bottoms begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Then add some water, about 3-4 tablespoon to create a steam. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
- Once the water has evaporated, it should take about 3 minutes for the bottoms of your dumplings to become crispy and brown. Remove the dumplings and serve.
To make fried mandu: heat a generous amount of oil in a skillet over medium heat, and fry mandu until all sides are golden brown and crisp. Watch out for any oil splash while frying.
Mandu dipping Sauce
Korean mandu dipping sauce is made with 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part vinegar, and 1-2 teaspoon of Korean chili flakes (gochugaru). Mix all together in a small bowl and serve with hot dumplings.
How to freeze dumplings
It is always a good idea to make abundant homemade mandu because they freeze beautifully. Make sure to sprinkle flour on a large tray so that they won’t stick to the tray.
Place dumpling pieces on the tray without touching each other. Freeze for an hour or until they are frozen solid. Transfer mandu pieces to a freezer bag. They can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
More authentic Korean Recipes
If you are a Korean food enthusiast, here are a few of authentic Korean recipes that you can easily make at home.
Homemade Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
- 40 large dumpling wrappers, about 5-inch (13 cm) diameter
For mandu filling
- 7 oz (200 g) napa cabbage
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 oz (85 g) Korean glass noodles (dangmyeon)
- 1 1/2 lb (680 g) minced pork
- 1 cup (25 g) finely chopped Asian chives
- 1 cup (80 g) finely chopped Asian leeks or green onion
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim)
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
For dipping sauce
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), optional
To make the mandu filling
- Chop napa cabbage very finely and put it in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tsp salt and toss together; let it sit for 10 minutes. When the cabbage becomes lifeless, squeeze it out to get rid of moisture.
- Boil Korean sweet potato noodles according to the package directions, about 6-7 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Chop into small pieces.
- Put pork, cabbage, chives, leeks, and noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with soy sauce, sweet rice wine, ginger, sesame oil, and pepper; mix well with your hand until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
To shape half moon dumplings
- Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of wrapper, wet the edges of wrapper with water using your finger. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the edges together. Bring the both ends toward the center. Pinch the ends together to complete.
To shape pleated dumplings
- Put some filling in the middle of the wrapper and wet the edges with water using your finger. Bring one edge to the other and pinch in the center first, then make a small pleat on one side facing toward the center. Continue to make more pleats, usually about 4 pleats. Create the same number of pleats on the other side, facing the pleats toward the center.
To steam the mandu (dumplings)
- Bring a small amount of water in a large pot to boil. Make sure the bottom of your steamer doesn't touch the water. Place mandu without touching each other in a bamboo steamer (or regular steamer), lined with a cheese cloth or a steam liner. When the water boils, place the steamer over or in the pot. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Meanwhile, make dipping sauce to go with dumplings. Combine all the sauce ingredients and drizzle it over dumplings.
Making this for my Korean best friend this weekend for his birthday, one question though. When you say freeze is that before or after the steaming? Is it possible to fill and shape the dumplings, refrigerate overnight and stream the next morning?
You can freeze the dumplings before steaming. Make sure that dumplings won’t touch each other to prevent from sticking. You can also shape the dumplings and store in the refrigerator and steam next day. Thanks.
감사합니다 – (gam-sa-ham-ni-da) Holly!
Out to buy ground pork, though 1.5 lbs is not sold here…..ground meats are packaged at 1lb. Will just adjust the recipe accordingly!
You can use 1 lb of ground pork and adjust the recipe accordingly. Or get 2 packages and use 1.5 lb, and save the rest for another use, which I often do. Thanks!
I will be trying this recipe this week. Thanks for your hard work.
I just happened to travel to the nearest Asian market and picked up glutinous rice flour – not even knowing it is what is used for mandu….I use rice flour in bread baking to handle the wet dough.
One question. I am growing Chinese garlic chives. Are these the chives mentioned in this recipe? I find them so dry and hard….I would think they would need to be blanched before using in the dumpling….or perhaps cut small enough it won’t matter?
Yes, Buchu is Chinese garlic chives I used in the recipe. You will need to chop them very small, about 1/2 inch in length. Raw garlic chives are dry and hard as you mentioned, but once cooked, they become soft and pliable, and very aromatic. Hope this helps and good luck with making Korean dumplings!
I lost my Korean Mother a little over a year ago. She tried to teach me her methods for mandu and I think I got most of it down. But, your pictures and directions on how to form the mandu are excellent and I need to practice more! She never suggested sweet potato noodles in ours – but we always had chop chae (sp??) with those noodles. I am so glad I found your blog – even at the ripe old age of 66! I see I have lots to learn still and then I can pass the methods and recipes down to my daughter. Thank you for sharing everything in Korean cooking!
I just made these today and my family LOVES them. I had to use dried chives instead of fresh Asian chives, and grape juice instead of sweet rice wine but it still tasted amazing to us. My great-aunt said that they tasted as good as restaurant dumplings. I’ve never had dumplings before this, now I’ll be comparing every other kind of dumplings I try to your Mandu. The half-moon shaping was by far the easier method to me. Thank you so much! And I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
I am so glad to hear that you tried my recipe and loved it. Yes, half moon shape is the easiest one to make. Hope you get to try other recipes from my site soon. Let me know if you have any question regarding my recipes. Thanks for the comment.
Is there any replacement for Asian chives as there not available where I’m from??
You can use finely chopped green onion instead of chives. Thanks.
Hello! I’m making these today, and only have rice vermicelli, will that be ok, or should I just omit the noodles?
You can just omit the noodles. Rice vermicelli is different than glass noodles and it gets soggy quickly.
what is ginger puree?
Ginger puree is a store-bought pureed ginger, usually sold in a tube or jar. You can replace it with grated fresh ginger (but use a slightly less amount than specified).
Thanks for the recipe. The Mandu were perfect and so much fun to make!
I have a question. Recently I saw the Korean series Chocolate and had great fun watching the food prep and the variety they ate. There was one dish that translated as Dumpling stew. It looked like Mandu in a broth. Any thoughts of what kind of broth that could be? And some of the Mandu were ENORMOUS,,
I’m so glad to hear the my mandu recipe turned out perfect for you. It surely is fun to make, isn’t it?
To answer your question..
Yes, there is a dish called mandu guk (dumpling soup). It is easy to make if you have dumpling already made. All you need to to make soup stock to simmer the dumplings in. The typical stock we use for dumpling soup in Korea is the anchovy stock. Check my Korean soup stocks for more information.
You can also use chicken or beef stock as the dumpling soup stock as well if anchovy is not your thing. Kimchi on the side is a must when you serve Korean dumpling soup. Hope this helps.
I have been looking for dumplings, this recipe is amazing
Haha – I love your mother’s comments about having a good looking son and daughter! Based on these dumplings, I think it’s safe to say you do indeed have a good looking son and daughter. These look amazing! I’ve never made dumplings at home from scratch, but the pandemic seems to be a good excuse to tackle a project like this. My mouth is watering just thinking about these!
Thanks David for your nice comment. I do, indeed, have beautiful son and daughter. Making homemade dumplings every New Year wishing for beautiful kids did seem to work!
Hope you get to try. It’s time consuming, but therapeutic and relaxing work to do with loved ones. You will be rewarded.
Hello, I made your dumpling wrapper and filling for Valentine’s day and Lunar new year. So good. I don’t know why I was intimidated in making dumplings. My daughter and I made them together. It took a bit of time getting used to rolling out the wrappers. I finally got it circular towards the end. The filling is very good and juicy. My daughter, a teen, said it was good and that’s huge. I’m excited to make more and freeze. Thank you!!
That’s so neat to hear you and your daughter loved my dumpling recipe. How sweet it is to make dumplings together as a family! I know making dumplings from scratch can be intimidating at first. But I think, with a little practice, anyone can make beautiful dumplings. Glad that you are making more. Enjoy!
Quick update, my husband and son came back later in the day. Son, gobbled them up. Loved the filling. And husband kissed me and told me to make more. Followed your recipe exactly.Thanks again. Sending you a big hug!
Happy Lunar New Year Holly! What a fabulous post with great tips and step by steps for making Korean dumplings. Photos are just gorgeous too. Wishing you a super weekend ahead.
Thank you. Wishing you a happy healthy New Year to you as well.
I love all types of dumplings and these mandu are are no exception! They look delicious! Love the pleating instructions too. Thanks for stopping by my site, Holly! Glad to meet you here 🙂
Thank you Michelle. Dumplings of all kind are the best thing in the world!
I love dumplings of every sort. These sound great. My son is home from Taiwan and we plan on making a bunch this weekend!
I used to live in Taiwan, about 25 years ago, and I miss that place a lot. Good food!
I am sure it is so nice to have your son coming home from far away. Hope you have a good time with him making dumplings. How fun!!
They look very yummy and just remind me that I haven’t made or had dumplings in a while. Wish I could taste some of yours now 🙂
I wish I can share with you, too. Hope you get to try some dumplings soon.
Love, love, LOVE dumplings! Any and all. 🙂 These look so terrific — thanks.
I can eat any dumplings all the time, too.
Fabulous! I used egg roll wrappers and they were fine. Also couldn’t find sweet potato noodles, so used ramen. Only problem, they take hours to prepare and seconds to eat!