Advertisement

9 Frozen Dumpling Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

frozen dumplings assortment
frozen dumplings assortment - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

Dumplings (also called gyoza or potstickers) are perfect little pouches of goodness. It's a simple concept, really; a thin, bendable dough is wrapped around a meat or vegetable filling and crimped shut. Then, the dumplings are steamed, pan-fried, or otherwise cooked. They are always fun to eat and are almost always delicious. The best dumplings are not just made with quality ingredients but rather the ones with a symphony of flavors and a balanced combination of textural elements.

The best ones are also typically found at good restaurants, hole-in-the-wall shops, or, at the very least, takeout spots. But sometimes, price, availability, and convenience are all factors that would push you to make your way to the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store instead to satisfy your dumpling craving.

We set out to find the best-tasting frozen dumplings on the market. Our team sampled several different brands and ranked them, from our least favorite to our favorite, and provided recommendations so that you can feel confident choosing the best product for your needs.

Read more: 30 Popular Frozen Pizzas, Ranked Worst To Best

9. Feel Good Foods

Feel Good Foods frozen dumplings
Feel Good Foods frozen dumplings - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

Feel Good Foods advertises itself as a brand that wants to bring back nostalgic flavors and foods we ate as children, sans the gluten, fillers, and preservatives. It's great as a concept, but how does that sentiment translate to actual food? Overall, we felt that we could definitely detect the simplicity of ingredients in these dumplings, especially since we chose a box of plain vegetable potstickers.

The outer wrapping is translucent and very thin, which caused a problem when we tried to heat the potstickers in our pan. We noticed the dumplings easily stuck to the surface, and with a delicate dough, it was a recipe for a dough-tearing disaster. So, we recommend expressing extreme caution when preparing a batch of these at home.

We didn't find much flavor in these particular dumplings. The vegetables tasted like vegetables because there wasn't much seasoning or spice to switch things up. It's an average dumpling, and they still tasted nice, but it was all-in-all pretty bland.

8. Bibigo

Bibigo steamed frozen dumplings
Bibigo steamed frozen dumplings - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

When we opened a box of these dumplings, we were greeted with a somewhat unpleasant smell. Honestly, it reminded us of something spoiled or rotten. We confirmed the dumplings were not expired, so everything was technically safe, and they didn't taste off. But still, the initial impression was not great and made us wary to try them.

Once that was all over and done with, we found that Bibigo's steamed chicken and vegetable dumplings had some pros and cons. The pros included how a quick pop in the microwave makes for an easy, super convenient meal. Also, the dough had a pleasant consistency. There was a bit of chewiness and a touch more flavor than we expected. Plus, the cute, circular shape made them very fun to eat.

However, the filling didn't fully deliver, and it was obvious that these were a grocery-store purchase as opposed to takeout. Still, there's going to be nothing stopping us from trying other flavors, shapes, and sizes of Bibigo products for quick and relatively tasty bites.

7. P.F. Chang's

P.F. Chang's frozen dumpings
P.F. Chang's frozen dumpings - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

P.F. Chang's is a well-known casual restaurant specializing in Chinese food, so it makes sense that it would also have some frozen items on grocery store shelves for those who want to dine at home. There really were only slight differences between the higher-ranking products on this list and this one. The P.F. Chang's chicken dumplings are essentially your average run-of-the-mill, basic frozen dumpling.

The dough was bland, while the filling was one note and nondescript. Overall, the texture was on the weaker side, too. We even had to double-check to make sure that the dumplings were indeed chicken since you could have told us there was just about any meat wrapped up inside. Maybe some more cabbage and scallions would have helped.

The most refreshing part of this meal was the accompanying packet of "signature sauce." Whatever makes it signature is probably also what makes it so good.

6. Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's frozen pot stickers
Trader Joe's frozen pot stickers - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

Trader Joe's has the best of everything, from a seemingly endless supply of the absolute best snacks to both seasonal and permanent rotations of baked goods. Lucky for everyone, the chicken gyoza potstickers are a popular option at the grocery store and don't seem to be going anywhere. After we tasted this flavor, we can assure you that it is a solid choice to pick up during your next Trader Joe's shopping spree.

The dumplings are on the larger side relative to the other brands on this list — and that's not a bad thing. The dough doesn't have a lot of flavor, nor does it have the softest, most buttery texture, but it was absolutely adequate. It did the most important thing, anyway: Hold in the filling. The chicken was juicy, and we could taste some light spices and herbs. There should have been more vegetables, though, since it's advertised as such. But if you prefer straight-up meat in your dumplings, you won't mind.

5. Ling Ling

Ling Ling dumplings bag
Ling Ling dumplings bag - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

The dumplings we tried had a much wider range in size, texture, and flavor than we thought they would. Ling Ling's dumplings were some of the bigger, heartier frozen dumplings. These potstickers had a thick, doughy shell and were filled with meat. As with many of the dumplings on the market, you can choose between a few fillings. We chose pork and vegetables, but we're not sure if it would have tasted much different with chicken.

Ling Ling's dumplings are great for a side dish to a meal, especially when served with a dipping sauce. They're not so much the ones on the list that you would really savor. Instead, they're more of a fun party appetizer. This is because the dumplings aren't very artisanal-tasting or special in any sense. They taste like a regular frozen dumpling, with a nice wrapper and a pleasant ground meat filling. These dumplings didn't stick out to us in any way except that you get a good bang for your buck.

4. Wegmans

Wegmans frozen dumplings on table
Wegmans frozen dumplings on table - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

We've said it before, and we'll gladly say it again: Wegmans is great. Trader Joe's is fun and quirky and all, while Target is excellent if you also want to take a pit stop in the home goods aisle, but as for grocery stores? Wegmans is the best, hands down.

Once again, Wegmans came through with a high-quality taste in its pork and vegetable potstickers. Most of the time, when tasting the different dumplings, we didn't really think much of the dough. With these potstickers, however, there seems to be an authentic taste and hand-crafted texture. The filling had more complexity than other products we sampled, and the meat tasted rich and real. There's a great balance with these dumplings; we loved that we could taste the vegetables alongside the meat rather than just the pork. We usually find that Wegmans' brand products taste like they're made with slightly more care and precision, and these potstickers proved us right.

3. Good & Gather

Good & Gather frozen dumplings
Good & Gather frozen dumplings - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

Who would have thought that Target's Good & Gather brand would place so high? These turned out to be the sleeper hit of the ranking. We tried the spicy Korean pork potstickers, which are made with pork and cabbage and flavored with chili paste and salted sake. Each ingredient comes together to create an intensely flavorful dumpling that quickly became one of our favorites.

Obviously, these dumplings have a certain heat level, but it's nothing that we would bat an eye at. We detected some sweetness, too, as well as sourness, which were both flavors missing from many of our lower-ranked brands. Also, we really appreciated that the vegetables were very much present and had a pronounced taste. Although we don't normally think of Target's Good & Gather brand as one of the higher quality or more exciting brands for basics like frozen food, we're definitely going to expect a little more of the brand now that we have tried these fantastic dumplings.

2. Laoban

Laoban frozen dumpings on table
Laoban frozen dumpings on table - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

We all know that good things come in small packages. Though, we wouldn't normally associate the expression with frozen dumplings.

Although a package of Laoban's pork and chive dumplings is a mere 8 ounces, it's not cheap. We purchased ours for $6.99 — but even this was a sale price. The high price might have something to do with the artful, aesthetically pleasing packaging that really makes you feel like you're about to consume a gourmet product. Well, in our opinion, you kind of are. The Laoban dumplings are a real treat.

These are some of the smallest dumplings that we tried. There were no fancy, frilly scalloped edges either, so overall (once we got past the lovely packaging), the dumplings themselves were unassuming. The dough was tender, neither too flimsy nor too thick. But the star of the show was the filling. It's not super generous, but it is some of the best we tried. The pork meat was succulent and ridiculously juicy and had a subtle but pleasant flavor. Laoban has created light, elegant little dumplings that are a delightful bite. If you're looking for an intensely flavored or super substantial dumpling, go for one of the other brands we sampled. But if you want a light, dainty dumpling made with quality ingredients, try these.

1. Mila

Mila soup dumplings on table
Mila soup dumplings on table - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

These delicate little Mila soup dumplings looked just so stinking cute. The perfect cinched swirl on the top really adds to the whole effect. After all, visuals matter even in frozen food. All the better if it doesn't look like something you pulled out of a bag.

Even though it wasn't exactly recommended for the other dumplings, either, it was tempting just to heat them up using the microwave rather than using a pan, steamer, or other cooking method. However, you really can't microwave these authentic soup dumplings. These are not fully cooked nor ready to eat with a quick nuke in the microwave. Instead, the dumplings come raw, so you do have to take the typical precautions that are advisable when handling raw meat, even if it's wrapped in dough. We were more than happy to take the extra time to prepare them properly because once we did, we were met with a rewarding product.

These soup dumplings are exquisitely tender and manage to hold both light and savory soup as well as a combination of meat and vegetables. Everything just melds together and melts in your mouth. Spices, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce all help provide a flavor boost. These are the kind of dumplings that allow you to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making them. Mila is an excellent discovery and shortcut if you want soup dumplings that are not quite as laborious as the ones made from scratch.

Our Methodology

Mila soup dumplings on plate
Mila soup dumplings on plate - Judy Moreno/Tasting Table

We scoured a wide variety of popular grocery stores, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market, Target, and more, to find as many different frozen dumplings as we could for this review. Though there are surely many more available in other grocers, these picks are some of the more accessible brands.

We then prepared the chosen dumplings according to the package's instructions -- whether by pan-frying or gently steaming. Most of the brands came pre-cooked, which expedited the cooking process. Then, we tasted them against each other and developed our ranking based on flavor and consistency. Overall, we can confidently say there were no "bad" dumplings -- only better ones.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.