Wholesome Cook

Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)

These Northern Chinese lamb dumplings or dim sum are traditionally made for Lunar New Year. Steamed to release the yummy broth, then lightly fried they are absolutely irresistible and go down a treat. 

Lamb dumplings for Lunar New Year

Chinese Lamb Dumpling Recipe

Traditionally, these lamb dumplings are made by whole families on Chinese for Lunar New Year and eaten just after midnight. In Chinese culture, dumplings signify wealth so many consider them a lucky food for the festivities. In the Northern provinces, they are eaten all year round, hence why their name is attributed to that region. 

The most common stuffing in Chinese dumplings would have to be pork. A mixture of pork and prawn popular in dim sum. However, lamb used in the North can be a delicious and moreish alternative. A mixture of cumin, coriander and black pepper adds depth and warmth to the flavour of the filling. They are truly delicious.

For ease of preparation, use store-bought wonton wrappers. The pastry comes ready-rolled and is easy to work with. Most grocers nowadays stock them. Or you can choose to make your own using this dough recipe.

You can use regular cabbage, shredded finely, but wombok (or Chinese cabbage) is more of an authentic choice for the filling. Use any leftover to make a tasty slaw.

Northern Chinese lamb dumplings

I love how these Chinese lamb dumplings are a communal affair. We, too, think that making a batch of these dumplings is a nice way to spend some family time any day of the year.

Now I am not the biggest fan of lamb so when I say these are super tasty, it means they really are.

chinese lamb dumplings

If you prefer a gluten-free lamb dumpling and dim sum, I have provided such dumpling skin recipe in The Wholesome Cook cookbook.

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3.85 from 19 votes

Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings (饺子)

We used store-bought gow gee wrappers and 3 star lamb mince (17% fat content) which helps keep the meat moist and makes up the nice broth inside the dumpling skin.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings: 4 (makes 30)


For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:

  • 1 (30 pieces) packet gow gee wrappers

For the Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:

  • 500 g lamb mince
  • 1/2 red onion diced finely
  • 100 g wombok (Chinese cabbage) shredded finely
  • 20 g garlic chives chopped finely
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds ground
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds ground
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil + extra

To serve:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 spring onion chopped
  • 1 slice ginger julienned


To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumpling filling:

  • Place onion with 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a small pan and cook on low heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons peanut oil and shredded wombok. Cook over low heat until the cabbage has wilted and halved in volume.
  • Transfer to your mixing bowl.
  • Add garlic chives, Worcestershire sauce, ground cumin and coriander seeds and black pepper. Mix well.
  • Add mince and using your hands mix the filling until well combined.

To make Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:

  • Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the gow gee pastry round.
  • Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water to help them stick.
  • Fold the pastry in half and stick edges together.
  • You should end up with a half moon-shaped dumpling. Now, working from one end to another, crimp the pastry seal all the way around.
  • Set aside and repeat with the rest of the dumplings.

To cook Northern Chinese Lamb Dumplings:

  • You can cook these in rapidly boiling water for 3-4 minutes, but steaming them in a traditional bamboo steamer is a more delicate process that won’t rip the pastry.
  • Place 4-5 dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper and set over a pot of boiling water.
  • Steam for 8 minutes – just make sure to fill up the pot to about half way after every 3 batches.
  • When ready, (drain boiled dumplings – no need to do this for steamed) and transfer to a pan set over medium heat, greased with extra peanut oil – they may splatter a little.
  • Cook until they are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom.

To serve:

  • Serve hot dumplings with a side of a soy, ginger and spring onion dipping sauce. Leftover dumplings can be reheated in a microwave and re-fried.
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Northern Chinese lamb dumplings


Sara (@bellyrumbles) April 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Love love love dumplings. I must admit I am not a fan of lamb, but I know my boys would love these. They look fantastic and would happily whip these up using pork or veal (or combination of both).

Just A Smidgen April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Your dumplings are really a work of art! And the colors of the minced lamb.. the plates you’ve used.. Excellent photography! And a fantastic recipe as well:)

muppy April 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

These look so yummy, l love dumplings :) hope you are well.

Sissi April 10, 2012 at 4:16 am

Martyna, these dumplings look so perfect! I never manage mine so neat and beautiful.
Lamb is not a very frequent meat in Chinese cookery books nor in restaurants, but I have already heard about the Northern regions cooking it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Michelle April 10, 2012 at 7:37 am

Love dumplings. Love lamb. These look fabulous.

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide April 10, 2012 at 9:24 am

I need to make these. They look great and ground lamb keeps going on sale!

Courtney April 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

They look so pretty! And I kinda like lamb, so I bet I’d love these.

thelifeshemade April 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Do you have any left over? I love any kind of dumplings. I’ve never had lamb ones. I tried making my own pork and prawn dumplings once and they worked out wonderfully, but I now have a great appreciation at how long each morsel takes to create!

Wholesome Cook April 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Unfortunately, they are all gone. And yes, they do take a while to make but many hands make light work. Employ your friends or family to help :-)

Anna @ the shady pine April 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I adore dumplings and these certainly sound fantastic. Lamb is a great variation here.

afracooking April 12, 2012 at 2:47 am

What a fabulous variation – I have made dumplings before but never with lamb. Must try these one day!

Jonathan April 12, 2012 at 3:42 am

i love the use of lamb. i know i’d love these! fabulous change from the everyday pork or shrimp mince.

Jonathan April 12, 2012 at 3:43 am

excellent use of lamb over the same old pork and shrimp mince! i’ll have to try this!

Tifferss April 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

when does one cook the lamb. You never say that

Wholesome Cook April 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

The lamb cooks while you cook / steam the duplings. You don;t pre-cook it. I hope that helps.

Purely.. Kay April 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Just look at those dumplings. I honestly think they’re calling my name right about now lol. So delish! Gotta save this

Jolanda Strassner April 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Thanks for your write up Northern Chinese lamb dumplings (饺子) Wholesome Cook. I haven’t looked at this before. It is often a wonder what you are able find out online.

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Kim December 31, 2014 at 2:30 am

I want ot make these for a new year’s party. Will these reheat? If so, how would you reheat them?

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook December 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hi Kim,
Yes, you can reheat them again my steaming in batches for 2-3 minutes. Enjoy! and Happy New Year!

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Stacey Ng January 31, 2022 at 7:54 am

Loved this recipe. The dumplings were very tasty!


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