Are dumplings vegan?

dumplings in a wooden bowl

What can be more wholesome or filling than a dumpling? 

Be it floating in a stew or sitting on a plate ready to be dipped in soy sauce, there’s something about dumplings that’s made them popular worldwide. 

In the UK, we primarily use the word ‘dumpling’ for a doughy ball often cooked in a stew or hotpot, but did you know that “dumplings” is actually an umbrella term that includes several dishes found all around the world, from raviolis to gyozas?

This means one thing: vegan dumplings are not only possible; they are readily available, and delicious. However, not all are vegan, so it’s essential to know your dumplings before you dive right in. 

But that’s why we’re here!

How to make sure your dumplings are vegan

3 dumpling with chopstick

Dumplings at their most basic are balls of dough, sometimes stuffed and sometimes solid. And whether a dumpling is vegan or not will generally depend on two elements:

  • The ingredients used for the dough
  • The ingredients in the stuffing

The dough can be made from a variety of ingredients but is often composed chiefly of flour or potato. However, it’s not uncommon to use non-vegan ingredients such as suet or butter.

As for the stuffing, even though vegan stuffing has been used for centuries in many cultures, many dumplings are stuffed with meat or dairy products.

One other thing to take into consideration is that dumplings are found across the globe, with most countries having their own version, or versions, of this food. This means some dumplings are traditionally vegan, while others are not.

So, let’s have a look at the most famous “kinds” of dumplings and assess whether they are vegan or not

(And anyway, even for traditionally non-vegan dumplings, there are easy ways to adjust the recipes to make them vegan without losing out).

Are gyozas vegan?

fried gyozas

Gyozas are a Japanese dumpling, where dough made from water and flour is rolled flat and then stuffed with a filling before being pinched closed. 

Gyozas are a Japanese version of the Chinese jiaozi, though both are largely similar.

Like many dumplings, gyoza/jiaozi come in many different forms. What matters, here, is the filling. 

Meat fillings are common, however, vegan gyoza (or, of course, vegan jiaozi) include recipes stuffed with cabbage, mushroom or mixed vegetables.  

So are gyoza dumplings vegan? 

Well, not always, but the vegan Chinese dumplings certainly are readily available. 

Are thai dumplings vegan? 

thai dumpligs

Another relative of the jiaozis are Thai dumplings, also known as Pun Sip Neung.

Like gyoza and jiaozi before them, meat fillings are popular, but as with all good Thai cuisine, there’s plenty of tasty vegan options.

Popular vegan fillings include aromatic mixes of chillies, herbs and mushrooms. 

Are ravioli vegan?

ravioli in a plate

We don’t tend to think of ravioli as a type of dumpling, yet technically they are. Ravioli is composed of two sheets of pasta pressed over a filling. 

In general, this Italian dish is not vegan as traditionally made pasta is made of durum wheat flour and egg. Plus, the most popular fillings include meat and cheese.

However, vegan ravioli is available, with the pasta made without the use of egg and vegan ravioli fillings being used. 

Vegan fillings can include traditional Italian tomato sauce, spinach or lentil bolognese.

Some vegan ravioli brands to look for are Suma, an organic vegan brand, and Kite hill, who use an almond milk-based ricotta.

Are pierogi vegan?

pierogi in a plate

Pierogi are of Central and Eastern European origin, but today are also popular in the USA and Canada. 

Pierogi are made of dough rolled flat and cut into a square or circle. The dough is then folded over the filling and pressed closed. 

Pierogi are mostly boiled and then baked or fried. 

The problem with pierogi is that there are many different versions that can be made using a number of other recipes, with both the filling and the dough containing a range of ingredients. 

Although the dough is often made vegan, with only flour, water and sometimes potato, it can also include curd or eggs. 

Then popular fillings include dairy products such as cheese or quark, or meat. Sweet fillings are often made of fruits or dairy. They are also often eaten with butter or sour cream. 

However, vegan pierogi do exist, with fillings such as sauerkraut, potato and onion. 

Yet, with meat and dairy featuring so heavily in many pierogi recipes, you may be best off making your own, with plenty of tasty vegan recipes available. 

Is gnocchi vegan?

gnocchi

Gnocchi are an Italian potato or semolina dumpling made by mixing potato, egg and flour and then boiling the dough. Unlike many of the other dumplings on our list, they are not stuffed.

Gnocchi are an Italian potato or semolina dumpling made by mixing potato, egg and flour and then boiling the dough. Unlike many of the other dumplings on our list, they are not stuffed.

Yep, they traditionally use egg for the dough…but vegan gnocchi do exist ready-made and are easy to make. 

We have an article dedicated to gnocchi that includes vegan brands to look for and a list of amazing vegan recipes!

Are vegetable dumplings vegan?

vegetable dumplings

Most types of dumplings have a vegetable version, usually stuffed with a vegetable filling. 

Whether they are vegan or not depends mainly on what has been used within the dough, as this can contain butter, egg or cheese, and what other ingredients are included with the filling.

Sadly therefore, you can’t assume vegetable dumplings will also be vegan. 

Are Aunt Bessie’s dumplings vegan?

aunt bessie's dumplings

While Aunt Bessie’s dumplings are advertised as vegetarian and do not contain any non-vegan ingredients, they do not carry a vegan certification.

While Aunt Bessie’s dumplings are advertised as vegetarian and do not contain any non-vegan ingredients, they do not carry a vegan certification.

This is because the company cannot guarantee there is no likelihood of cross-contamination from other non-vegan products on their production line. 

Top Vegan Dumpling Recipes

How to make vegan dumplings

Vegan dumplings come in many different shapes and sizes.

They can be Japanese gyozas, Polish pierogi and good old British dumplings. 

All these different recipes have different techniques and ingredients, but the most straightforward recipes involve mixing flour and water and kneading the dough until it’s smooth. 

This dough can then be boiled or steamed, usually within a watery dish like a stew. 

More complex recipes often involve rolling out the dough so it can be folded around a filling.

Vegan dumplings recipe

Vegan dumplings

You don’t have to go complex to get a tasty vegan dumpling. 

Follow this straightforward recipe to make traditional dumplings without the meat suet.

Vegan gyoza recipe

vegan gyoza

Gyoza’s may seem a little fiddly at first, but the more you make, the better they get. 

Filled with satisfying Japanese flavours and wholesome mushroom and bamboo, there’s plenty of good reasons to start learning.

Vegan dumplings for stew

Vegan dumplings for stew

Stew and dumplings just go together.

Great for a winter warmer dinner and simple and easy to make.

Vegan mince and dumplings

Vegan mince and dumplings

Mince is a British favourite, but why not jazz up this dish by adding crispy vegan dumplings.

Fluffy vegan dumplings

Fluffy vegan dumplings

Often we think of dumplings as an addition rather than the main event, yet these monsters are hard to ignore. 

Gluten-free vegan dumplings

Gluten-free vegan dumplings

Gluten-free dumplings are easy to make, and there are many options available.

However, if you want a challenge, these Chinese steamed dumplings are a fancy feast for a special occasion.

Vegan steamed dumplings

Vegan steamed dumplings

Steamed Chinese dumplings are tasty and moreish. 

And the great thing is you don’t need any special equipment to help you steam these delights.

Vegan bread dumplings

Vegan Bread Dumplings

Wonderfully simple to make, these Austrian dumplings provide a different slant and texture to the dumpling.  

Vegan potato dumplings

Vegan potato dumplings

Gnocchi is one of the most accessible dumpling varieties to make. A great family activity to get the kids involved in. 

Vegan sweet potato dumplings

Vegan sweet potato dumplings

An unusual Asian sweet potato dumpling provides a tasty dessert while keeping things surprisingly nutritious and healthy.

Vegan apple dumplings

Vegan apple dumplings

Who doesn’t like baked apple and cinnamon?

And of course, everything can be made better by covering it in pastry. 

Vegan casserole with dumplings

Vegan casserole with dumplings

This healthy casserole can provide you with most of your five a day while helping you to some cheeky dumplings as well.   

Final thoughts

So the good news is the world of dumplings is vast and varied and delicious. 

While many dumpling varieties are not always vegan, there are plenty of vegan recipes if you want a challenge.

So why not do a global tour of the dumpling cuisine of different cultures?

You’ll certainly never be short of new things to try out.