According to cookbook authors Nate Tate and Mary Kate Tate, the Mandarin Chinese word for “pot stickers” is guo tie, or guotie, literally “pot stick.” It’s an apt name, one the dumplings earned from their cooking method. “Chinese cooks first steam guotie in giant flat-bottomed iron pans. When all the water is absorbed by the dumplings, they’re left in the pan to crisp and stick to the pan,” explain the Tates. Gotta love literalness. And authors who hew to tradition as they translate another culture’s tastes.–David Leite

When is it appropriate to serve pot stickers?

What’s that, you ask? When is an appropriate time to serve pot stickers? We honestly can’t think of a time that’s not appropriate. All manner of occasions seem apprropriate. Lunch. Dinner. Hors d’oeuvres. Oh-shit-the-kid-is-melting-down-because-he’s-hungry moments. (Trust us, kids love them for their dunkability. Heck, truth be told, so do adults.) We even reach for leftover pot stickers for breakfast, chopping and sizzling them in a skillet until crisp and warmed through before tucking them within omelets or, for the omelet-challenged, stirring them into scrambled eggs. Catch our drift? And if you’re wondering about pot sticker-appropriate utensils, chopsticks will do quite nicely.

A white oval plate filled with pot stickers, a pair of chopsticks, and dipping sauce.

Pot Stickers ~ Guotie

5 / 5 votes
These pot stickers, or guotie, are an Asian appetizer made with ground pork or beef, scallions, ginger, and soy sauce stuffed into dumpling wrappers, pan-fried, and served with a black vinegar-soy dipping sauce.
David Leite
Servings36 pot stickers
Calories59 kcal
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes


For the dipping sauce

  • 1 cup Chinese black vinegar, (you can find this at Chinese markets, but buy the good stuff with real ingredients and not “caramel coloring”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

For the dumplings

  • 12 ounces ground beef or ground pork, (preferably not lean)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3/4 cup minced scallions, light green and white parts
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch salt
  • About 36 (3-inch) round dumpling wrappers, (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil


Make the dipping sauce

  • Whisk together the black vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, cilantro, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand at room temperature.

Make the dumplings

  • In a bowl, combine the meat, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, scallions, sugar, sesame oil, and salt and stir in one direction with a chopstick until just mixed. [Editor's Note: We don't understand the rationale behind the one-chopstick thing, either. Nor did our recipe testers,  even the ones who grew up making pot stickers at their mothers' sides. So try it or not. Up to you.]
  • Fill a small bowl with some cold water. Hold a dumpling wrapper in the palm of your hand and place 1 heaping teaspoon filling in the center. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the wrapper (this helps make a good seal). Lightly fold the wrapper over on itself, but don’t touch the edges together yet. Only seal the edges in the middle. Then, starting at one end, use your fingers to make a small pleat in the edge of the wrapper closest to you. Then press the pleat into the edge beneath it and pinch together to seal. Keep making pleats along the dumpling opening in this way until it's completely sealed. The pleating should produce a dumpling that stands up on a flat bottom, pleats sticking up. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. (You can freeze the uncooked dumplings for up to a few months.)
  • Heat 1/2 to 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 12 dumplings, pleat side up, in a single layer in the skillet so they're just barely touching each other. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
  • Decrease the heat to medium-low, carefully pour 1/4 cup water into the skillet (watch out, it may spatter), and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed by the dumplings and their bottoms are crusty brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat this process twice more with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.
  • Serve the dumplings on a platter or in a bamboo steamer and pass the dipping sauce on the side.


In-Advance Note

To freeze the pot stickers, spread the uncooked dumplings in a single layer on a baking sheet that’s lightly slicked with oil, taking care that the pot stickers don’t touch each other. Place the sheet in the freezer until the pot stickers are almost frozen, at least 30 minutes. Then gently place the dumplings in a large resealable plastic bag and toss in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to chow down on the pot stickers, take out as few or as many as you need. But don’t defrost the dumplings. Cook them frozen exactly like you would fresh dumplings—just add 3 minutes to the cooking time after you’ve added the water to the skillet.
Feeding the Dragon Cookbook

Adapted From

Feeding the Dragon

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 pot stickerCalories: 59 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 3 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 7 mgSodium: 129 mgFiber: 0.2 gSugar: 0.5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Mary Kate Tate | Nate Tate. Photo © 2011 Mary Kate Tate | Nate Tate. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

If these pot stickers are indicative of good Chinese home cooking, I’m going to need to learn a lot more about it. These were insanely delicious and a huge hit with my entire family. And I love that you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the freezer.

I used 6 ounces each ground beef and pork. I was unable to find dumpling wrappers so I used wonton wrappers, which worked perfectly. They took 1 minute to fry and 8 minutes to steam and they were finished. The dipping sauce is a wonderful accompaniment—don’t skip it!

I’d never had pot stickers before, and for some reason I’d thought they were deep-fried. Now the name finally makes sense. I was worried about making these, wondering if the dumplings would take me much longer than the 45 minutes of hands-on time, given I had never even used dumpling wrappers before. I also worried that all my filling would spill out. But my worries were for nothing. If anything, it took me less 45 minutes to make and shape these.

I used a large nonstick pan and it only took me 2 batches to complete all the dumplings. When I removed them, they looked very browned on the bottoms, so I hoped they weren’t overcooked. They were perfect—a little crunchy brown on the bottom but not too crunchy and soft on top. The flavor of the pork filling was wonderful on its own, but it was even better with the dipping sauce. I rarely make a recipe where I wouldn’t change a thing, but this one was perfect as written. I’ll definitely make these again, and I love knowing that I can make and freeze them! So easy and so good.

Putting together the filling for these dumplings was a cinch. The filling was tasty. Being ginger lovers, we’ll use a little more the next time. And more salt. But then, “a pinch” isn’t precise, so maybe the author’s pinch was bigger. The dumplings cooked and browned perfectly.

Not having black rice vinegar, I ignored the “no substitution” rule on the sauce and made it with the rest of the ingredients and half reduced balsamic, half rice vinegar. Can’t say how it differed, but it worked well, anyhow.

This recipe takes a little while to prepare due to the time it takes to assemble the pot stickers, but it’s well worth it. The filling comes together very quickly and the dipping sauce is very easy to make and well worth what it takes to find the Chinese black vinegar. (I only found one store in my area that carried it.)

I made my pot stickers with ground beef, and the taste wasn’t quite what I expected, but I think that’s because I was expecting them to taste like the pork ones I’m used to having. Next time I’ll use pork and I’m certain this will be a 10. I did find that the instructions to pleat them were a little confusing. This recipe is a keeper.

After seeing this recipe just this morning, I was in the store and back home within a few hours to start making these yummy little treats for lunch. The filling and dipping sauce were quite simple to make.

I used store-bought dumpling wrappers, which made the assembly of these little dumplings rather easy. As this was my first attempt at making Chinese dumplings, I followed the link to how-to pictures as a guide to sealing and folding the dumplings. This recipe was a huge success and I’ll definitely be making these again. I did tweak the ingredients after my first time. I added to the meat mixture another tablespoon soy sauce, a splash sherry vinegar, and a pinch white pepper for some extra spice. I actually made 2 batches—one with ground pork, the other with ground chicken.

What a difference from the prepackaged frozen potstickers that are in your local grocery store. These were met with rave reviews. Though the recipe intimidated me a bit (actually the forming of the potstickers that intimidated me), everything came together very quickly, and after following the how-to photos, the potstickers were a cinch to put together.

The thing that took me the longest time was finding black vinegar…I actually gave up and made my own version of a dipping sauce. Yes, I stirred with a chopstick in one direction and unless that has something to do with the kitchen gods, I am not sure why a spoon would yield any different results. I used ground beef and store-bought dumpling wrappers.

I froze some leftovers and cooked them successfully from the frozen state the next day and they cooked up beautifully. I am determined to find black vinegar and give this dipping sauce a try next time. Make a lot of these. They taste great and will disappear quickly!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe! The link to this recipe was sent to me by Dawn English when she heard I was attempting to make them for my family New Years party. What a SUCCESS! My family commented on how good they were, and kids kept making rounds in between play to eat more. I did not have time to make the dipping sauce. I used ground pork and all the other ingredients except green onions (because I forgot them at the store). But leaving out the green onions worked for the kids because seeing anything green in their food makes some of them cringe. I did combine this recipe with another and added finely chopped Napa cabbage (mix the Napa with salt and let sit for 10 mins or so to extract and squeeze out the water before adding to meat mixture). Napa is not as green so the kids didn’t notice it. I added a raw egg. I made the mixture one day, refrigerated, and wrapped the next day. I had no room in the freezer to be freezing up trays of it, so I just wrapped and cooked it the same day. Also, I pan fried half of them and boiled the other half. Both equally good. However, the store bought wrappers I used do not do well with the boiled dumplings left in a crockpot. They stayed hot but the wrappers fell off the meat and turned into mush after about an hour. However people were able to look past it. My niece still took a bowl of it home! 🙂

    1. Nanette, all and all it sounds like it was a success! Were you keeping them in the Crock-Pot to keep them warm? They shouldn’t be in water for more than 10 minutes.

  2. 5 stars
    Wonderful pot stickers and I have used this recipe for years. Today, I’m feeling all globally and will add my comments to this deserved recipe. I used 1 pound of pork, added a touch more of the other ingredients and I was heavy on the ginger. My favorite add-in is minced jalapeño. Can’t go wrong with this one. Oh yeah, my only potsticker wrapper is the Dynasty brand gyoza! Works great and looks professional after a few tries! Thanks, David. I promised to comment more.

    1. Minnie, wonderful! I’m so happy this recipe is getting more reader love. It’s one of my favorites, and, as you say, the results look so professional. And, please, do comment more! And send me photos, and I’ll post them for you.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made 3 batches of these since the recipe was first posted on the site last week. [Editor’s Note: You can read Dawn’s initial wow after first making these dumplings in her TC comment above.] The dumplings do freeze well on a sheet tray and can be stored in a freezer bag once frozen so they don’t stick to one another. The time invested in making these pays off, especially when I’m too busy to “cook” and just need a quick snack or meal straight from the freezer to plate in under 15 minutes.

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. I purchased the dumpling wrappers and dipping sauce ingredients from my local Chinese market. I made one batch with ground pork and two batches with ground chicken thighs. The flavor of the mix if using pork or chicken is slightly bland. I felt it needed a little more salt and seasoning, so I added 2 tablespoons oyster sauce to the uncooked ground chicken mixture and it really made this last batch taste spot on.

    I love the dipping sauce! I added a little chili oil for some extra heat.

    When I have more time I’ll make my own dumpling wrappers, but the store-bought ones are a nice, quick way to get these done. Using a homemade dough will eliminate having to wet the edges of the dough, so I’m looking forward to trying it out some time.

    1. Dawn, that’s what I like to see. Someone who’s thinking ahead. So you make a big batch of these, throw them in the freezer, and you’re eating whenever you want. Thanks for the tips about adding the oyster sauce. Everyone’s tastes is a bit different, so it’s great to have another option for readers.