Can you freeze dumplings?

Dumplings go back to the 13th century when dumplings were food for peasants. The dumpling wrapper would act as a perseverative for the limited meat that was available. Today’s dumplings can be bought from the takeaways as a quick snack or from the groceries store as part of your Chinese-themed meal for family and friends. But can dumplings be frozen?

Dumplings go by many different names. In China, they are wontons which mean swallowing clouds. In Italy, they are called ravioli, pierogi in Poland, and momos in India. The common thread is they are all a form of dumpling.

This article uncovers the longevity of dumplings and if they can be frozen successfully. We answer many frequently asked questions to provide you with the answers you have been looking for.

Let’s get into it.

Do dumplings expire?

Dumplings do expire, some have a longer shelf life than others, but they have one common thread, they all have a short shelf life.

Chinese dumplings are made fresh and last for just two to three days when stored in the fridge. Once they are cooked and stirred in an airtight container, the dumplings don’t really last any longer and must be eaten in a couple of days if they are not to spoil.

Ravioli also has a short shelf life. Depending on the fillings, they can last for up to four days in the fridge in an airtight container. Italian ravioli can contain a lot of cheeses that will shorten the shelf life further.

Polish pierogi lasts for up to a week in the fridge. Maybe the meat used contains more spices and preservatives, giving the pierogi an extra shelf life.

If you buy fresh store-bought dumplings in a blister pack that has been flushed with nitrogen, you can expect the dumplings to last for a week to ten days stored in the fridge unopened.

Of course, there are canned dumplings for those of you who need a quick fix of dumplings at any time of the day or night. Canned food can last for a very long time, and you could expect the canned dumpling to still be in good shape a couple of years after purchasing if the can is not damaged.

The cooking method of dumplings, such as boiling or frying, does not extend the shelf life of the dumpling if they are fresh.

Do dumplings need to be refrigerated?

With the exception of canned dumplings, dumplings should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Dumplings can become tainted by strong odors in the fridge from the likes of onions, so an airtight container is essential to maintain the flavor profile of the dumpling.

The outer shell of the dumplings is just simple flour, salt, and water, nothing else, which makes the outer shell delicate and prone to drying out if stored outside of the fridge.

If you didn’t know, the inner section of the dumpling is raw, so if you have chicken or meat dumplings, the meat needs to be cooked through boiling or frying.

The raw filling contributes significantly to the short shelf life of the dumpling.

Do dumplings need to be covered in the fridge?

Yes. The delicate flour and water casing of the meat will absorb flavors from the fridge, making the dumpling less appetizing. The airtight containers maintain the integrity of the dumpling shell and filling.

Covering the dumplings will help to prevent bacterial buildup in the dumplings and prevent any cross-contamination with foods that are cooked and have been placed in the fridge.

How long can dumplings sit out?

If you are resting the dumplings before cooking, they should only sit out for a short while. Fresh dumplings waiting to be boiled or fried will grow bacteria rapidly once at room temperature.

You may think that cooking the dumplings will destroy the bacteria it will, but it does not destroy the toxins left behind by the bacteria that are potentially harmful if ingested.

Cooked dumplings sitting out have a shelf life of two hours. According to the USDA, the dumplings will have been contaminated with bacteria during the two hours and will not be edible.

Dumplings are considered to be perishable foods, so two hours is the limit to sit out raw or cooked.

Do unopened cans of dumplings go bad?

Yes. Even canned foods go bad at some point, but the best-before date on canned foods is only an indicator of the food’s peak texture and flavor and has nothing to do with the food going bad.

Canned dumplings could easily exceed the two-year mark if the can is in good condition and it has been stored in a cool place for the duration of its life.

If cans have dents or seepage, consider the contents as being bad and discard the can of dumplings immediately.

How long do dumplings last in the fridge?

Fresh raw dumplings have a similar shelf life to cooked dumplings in the fridge, and the similarities don’t stop there. They should both be stored in airtight containers to prevent tainting from other foods and to prevent bacteria build-up.

The life of dumplings in the fridge is a maximum of 5 days for cooked and just a couple of days for raw dumplings.

Dumplings are delicate morsels and should be treated this way. Most delicate things have a shorter shelf life.

Can you put warm dumplings in the fridge?

It’s not advisable. Placing warm dumplings in the fridge will elevate the interior of the fridge’s temperature. Once the temperature elevates beyond 40℉, the contentious of the fridge is in the food danger zone where bacterial growth accelerates exponentially.

If the fridge remains above 40℉ for two hours, the contents of the fridge should be considered garbage and thrown away without delay.

Refrigerators are not as efficient as you may think, and it takes time for th temperature to fall to 40℉, making storing warm foods a risky strategy.

Do frozen dumplings go bad?

In theory, anything stored at 40°F or below has an indefinite shelf life. But the truth is food does become damaged in the freezer with prolonged freezing.

Dumplings, delicate morsels, have a relatively short shelf life in the freezer. The dumpling will last for two to three months if stored correctly. Beyond three months, the dumplings will be exposed to freezer burn, which will render them tasteless but not bad.

You can store raw dumplings in Ziploc bags. If you have a large batch to freeze, it’s worth making portion-size bags so you can thaw what’s needed only.

Protecting the dumplings from freezer burn is essential. If you wrap the Ziploc bags with foil and then place the bags in an airtight container, the dumplings should keep perfectly.

Freezing cooked dumplings is the same procedure. Clearly, never mix the cooked with the raw dumplings but follow the same protocol, and the dumpling will be good for up to three months.

Beyond three months, the dumplings will degrade. They may get freezer burn and lose their texture, with the pastry becoming brittle and powdery. After extended freezing, the dumpling will lose its flavor profile completely, they would be safe to eat, but there will be no point.

Are frozen dumplings already cooked?

If you buy frozen dumplings from the grocery store, you should know they are raw and need to be thawed and cooked.

You can pan-fry them, boil or steam the dumplings until the fillings are piping hot.

Eating a raw dumpling could have serious consequences.

Should you defrost dumplings before cooking?

You can go straight from the freezer to the pan, but if you refer to cooking a softer dumpling, you can leave them on the side for ten minutes, and they will thaw quickly.

Of course, cooking from frozen does extend the cooking time by some minutes, so adjust the heat setting accordingly, so the dumpling is piping hot.

How do you know when dumplings go bad?

There are telltale signs that a dumpling is not as good as it should be. A dumpling that has seen better days will start to crumble at the pleats and edges. This is a sure sign the dumpling is old.

Dumplings develop mold easily. If you have moldy dumplings, discard them immediately. Never be tempted to remove the moldy dumpling and eat the other. Mold spores will have been spread, and it can cause harm resulting in a trip to the ER.

The raw dumpling will smell awful. They are filled with raw meat, so there will be no hiding from a raw dumpling. Toss them in the bin immediately.

Final thoughts

Raw or cooked dumplings have a short shelf life when stored in the fridge. They last for just a few days. The only way to keep dumplings is to freeze them.

You can freeze dumplings for 3 months, and they will be perfect when cooked. Dumplings will not go bad in the freezer, but they will degrade and get freezer burn making them tasteless and unappealing.

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