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How to Cook Steamed Xiao Long Bao

Nothing beats the perfect pouch of soupy goodness that we’ve come to love from xiao long bao. Although steaming xiao long bao is straightforward, there are a few important steps to remember before getting started!

3 key elements to steaming the perfect Xiao Long Bao

The operative word in soup dumpling is ‘soup.’ So naturally, the cooking process should highlight and preserve the integrity of the soup. 

Dumplings all over the world can be found boiled, pan-fried and in some cases, deep-fried. However, the pairing of a delicate, tender wrapped xiao long bao with a refreshing mouthful of soup calls for a more gentle approach.

Steaming creates a high-temperature, moisture-rich environment that quickly cooks both wrapper and filling. Without the abrasive, water-logging effect that a vigorous boil can have. 

Although you can pan fry xiao long bao in a jiffy, we recommend trying the traditional method of steaming. It allows you to experience the well balanced complexion of broth, mince and wrapper before adding oil and the maillard reaction (read: seared, brown, crispy bits). 

These three key elements will ensure your XLB are nice and brothy:

  1. Separation of dumpling and steamer
  2. Start from boiling
  3. Cooking duration

A common mistake is to cook the dumplings directly on the steamer. This will result in the dumplings cooking onto the steamer, and tearing open upon retrieval. That’s the last thing you want.

To prevent this, you will need to use a food-safe liner such as XCJ’s perforated parchment liners or a cabbage leaf (or any comparable vegetable). You can use a pinch of cooking oil to grease the steamer. We find this to be messy and adds unnecessary oiliness - but you know what they say: the best steamer liner is the one you have. 


Don’t forget to preheat your cooking instrument! This cooking faux pas will leave you disappointed.  Make sure the water is boiling to ensure consistency and repeatability to achieve a juicy soup dumpling.

Finally, don’t forget to use a timer

If your dumplings cook for too long, they will expand and eventually burst, losing all their soup--be kind, do time. 

If you’ve just received your dumpling delivery, make sure to move them to the freezer and keep them frozen until you’re ready to nosh. 

What you will need:

  • Liner: steamer sheet, cabbage leaf or some cooking oil
  • Steamer: Bamboo Baskets + wok or Steam Rack in a pot with a lid
  • Chopsticks or tongs
  • Soup Spoon (trust me, you need it)
  • Frozen XCJ Dumplings

What you will do:

  1. Put your pot or wok of water on the range and bring to a boil
  2. Prepare your steamer basket or rack by placing your liner down. Next, place your dumplings down with one inch of separation between each one
  3. When water is boiled, carefully put your steamer in place and steam for 10 minutes. 

  • Warning! Steam burns are no fun--use the appropriate protection and/or wait until your setup has cooled sufficiently to handle and serve.
  • Once cooked, you can eat them straight off your steamer or carefully place them onto a serving dish. Let them cool for at least 1 minute before eating to A) protect your mouth and B) allow them to rest for handling, as they will be most delicate right after cooking. 
  • Enjoy!

Okay, so we won’t judge if you scarf these down, burning your mouth in the process. 

But if you care for tradition, use your chopsticks and gently place your dumpling on your soup spoon--the bigger the better. Nibble a small hole into the side of the dumpling, allowing steam to vent and soup to fill the bowl of your spoon. Now you can choose your plan of attack; blow-to-cool, slurp immediately, dip in sauce, etc. 


How to eat soup dumplings (##小笼包)! Are you team safe or team asian dad style? ##asianfood ##chinatown ##soupdumplings

♬ original sound - Nom_life

Don’t have dumplings to steam? 

Let’s fix that. Click here for XLBs! Our dumplings are always made fresh to order. 

Xiao Chi Jie is a Chinese Street Food inspired restaurant located in Bellevue. We deliver frozen soup dumplings so xiao long bao lovers can eat fresh, restaurant quality dumplings at home. 


Nancy Silver 5 days ago

My wok is coming. I am from NYC but live in Santa Fe. I love where I live except the Chinese food here is terrible. I grew up with access to outstanding Chinese restaurants so I’m so looking forward to my first dumplings.
One question….do I keep the water boiling?, simmering? Etc as the dumplings steam?

Christopher Wong 5 days ago

So… I had to experiment a bit… I don’t have specifics as far as temperature….
What FAILED first:
-Too High of a Boil (various instruments)…. This caused the dumplings to break for me….
-Steam Oven did not work… or didnt have the right temp set…

What Worked:
-Simmer Steam…. so that the dumplings dont break….
-Specifics of what finally worked… 8qt Instant Pot with 7in bamboo steam basket… Saute Mode (CUSTOM = LE2 setting)… then when the steam is ready put dumplings in for the recommended time. PLEASE use the air fry divider on top of TRIVET … otherwise youll break your dumplings because its too close to the water as the basket will overlap the trivet…

Leanne 5 days ago

This looks really exciting and interesting. Do you make any that are vegetarian?

Ali 5 days ago

I ordered my first batch around Christmas time, and my timing was off. UPS couldn’t deliver for a week because of a snow storm. Thank you so much for replacing my product. I love your product so much. I’m ordering again and next time moving on to be a subscriber. After steaming them and loving them, I tried to crisp them up – shouldn’t left perfect alone. I like them best steamed. I use the cabbage leaf method. Thank you for making an excellent product. I’ve been searching for dumplings for a long time. So happy to have found you and I shared with a friend who ordered too! Keep on keeping on!

Theodore Gibson September 15 2022

12/14/21. Just ordered dumplings for my son’s birthday. Tuesday. Shipping to NH. Want to make sure he has them by Saturday. Thank you.

Jessy George September 15 2022

These are amazing ! I have the best of intentions and always plan to get a photo of my bowl before I start eating and when the time comes I can’t help myself I’m halfway done and have to photo .

Deanna Birch October 25 2021

When I ordered I didn’t put much expectation for this dumplings. I tried many frozen soupy dumplings but it always end up disappointed results. I thought in order to get nice dumplings, I have to go to the restaurant.
What a surprise! It was superb and great quality. I felt like eating at the restaurant. Thank you, thank you, and thank you so much again!
Also your Ginger sauce is wonderful! I will order again and again!

Shelley Simmons September 2 2021

I read an article about your dumpling and would like to order.

BV Nguyen August 6 2021


I received my first order today (3 bags) but there was no liner anywhere in the box. My first try to steam them so they weren’t the best of look but still taste yummy!

Toni Sim August 6 2021


My order packing slip says they come with the liners but I didn’t see any liners in my box. Are they in the bag with the dumplings that are now in my freezer?

Thank you

Toni Sim August 6 2021


My order packing slip says they come with the liners but I didn’t see any liners in my box. Are they in the bag with the dumplings that are now in my freezer?

Thank you

Caleb @ XCJ June 17 2021

Hi Isaac! Thanks for the good question.

The answer is that we are trying to make it the most affordable for our customers! We have two methods of getting our dumplings to you.

First is by air shipping across the nation from Seattle which would be in the $40 range per box for just the carrier fee.

The second approach which we have figured out is to ship a big finished batch to the mini warehouses and then ship regionally from those points which cuts the shipping fee by 70%.

That’s how we can keep the prices low for you guys!

Let me know if any other questions!

Isaac Wong June 17 2021

Your website says dumplings are made fresh then frozen and shipped every day from bellevue. So why is my order shipped from Ohio?

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