How to cook pot stickers correctly, every time

November 3, 2019

(Originally published March 10, 2016)

Do not pay attention to the cooking instructions on the label. Some brands get it right; some get it horribly wrong.

I mean, some instructions for cooking pot stickers suggest it’s okay to microwave them in a bowl full of water. That is madness. And it is vulgar.

Here’s what you need: a large pan with a cover, frozen pot stickers, sesame oil, and some water. That’s it.

Coat the room-temperature pan with the oil. Place as many pot stickers as you can in this pan without letting them touch each other. Or, you know, they can touch each other, but don’t smush ‘em tight like it’s the A train at rush hour.

Add a little bit of water. Like… a little bit. Enough that it barely reaches all edges of the pan? Maybe?

Place the uncovered pan on the stove at high heat. In a minute or two, your thin layer of oil and water will begin to boil. When it begins to boil, turn the heat down to a smidge over medium and cover the pan. Walk away. Do not pick up the lid. Just walk away.

Return after eight minutes and remove the lid. The pot stickers should be fairly well steamed at this point, but there’ll likely some liquid left at the bottom of the pan. Depending on your preference you may want to leave them on the hot stove for a while longer, uncovered, until all that liquid is steamed off and the pot stickers get a bit of crust to them. I happen to prefer them on the slightly chewier side than crunchy, but your mileage may vary.

Pull them out with tongs when you are ready.

If you wish, you can dip them in soy sauce. Or shrimp sauce. I’ve dipped both chicken and pork pot stickers in barbecue sauce, and it’s delicious, odd as that may seem at first. But my favorite condiment for pot stickers is soy sauce mixed with a healthy glob of sriracha. Gives it the kind of punch in the nose I like.