Wontons (雲吞)

Learn how to make your own Cantonese-style wontons at home!

Prep Time
50 min
Total Time
60 min
Yields
6 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

If you've never had wontons, it's basically a juicy, chewy ball of minced meat folded into a thin sheet of dough.

Wontons are a quintessential Chinese dish with a ton of variations on folding techniques and fillings throughout the different regions of China. In Cantonese, it's pronounced wàhn tān, which roughly translates to "swallowing a cloud". They're a staple of Cantonese culture, and in places like Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it's almost impossible to NOT run into a restaurant or food stall that sells a cheap, heartwarming bowl of wontons or wonton noodle soup.

Wontons are like a warm hug in your mouth, and they'll always remind me of my childhood. Growing up, my parents almost always served me a hot bowl of wonton noodle soup for breakfast before school. This recipe will always be near and dear to my heart, and I hope my kids get to experience the same warmth and love that I felt eating this all the time.

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
6
    Main Ingredients
  • 14 oz wonton wrappers (

    1 package, about 100 wrappers

    )
  • 12 oz pork shoulder
  • 4 oz shrimp (

    peeled, deveined, size 41-45 is ideal

    )
  • 2 pieces green onion
  • Flavors
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Shrimp Marinade
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • white pepper

Selecting Wonton Wrappers

We talk about this at great length in our video, but for a quick overview, you'll want wrappers that are square, thin, and yellow.

What are the best cuts of pork?

My dad uses pork butt, also known as "Boston butt” or "pork shoulder”, and this seems to be among the most popular cuts for wontons.

It’s ideal to use more fatty cuts, so some other options would be the pork neck end or pork belly. 

Try to avoid using leaner cuts like pork loin or pork chop.

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard to find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most or all of what my dad uses in this recipe can be found on Amazon:​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

I've also included some other Chinese kitchen essentials, used in many of my dad's other recipes.

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

Alternatives to Oyster Sauce

If you're vegetarian or need to stay away from gluten, we have three alternatives for you!

Vegetarian Oyster Sauce

Since oyster sauce is made out of oyster extract, here are some alternatives that have a similar taste without using the actual oyster:

Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Wok Mei has a gluten-free oyster sauce, but it still contains oyster extract, so it's not vegetarian friendly.

Vegetarian + Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Unfortunately, we don't know of a vendor that sells an oyster sauce that caters to both dietary restrictions, so you'll need to DIY the sauce.

Mix equal parts gluten free soy sauce and gluten free hoisin sauce. This isn't exactly the same as oyster sauce, but it's pretty close.

We'll chop our green onion (2 pieces) into small pieces. Most (or all of it) will go into the filling, but we can optionally save some for garnish later.

We'll start by cutting our pork shoulder (12 oz) into slices, then into strips, and then into small bits. We don't want to mince them excessively into fine bits like our fish ball recipe - we want a bit of chewiness to it.

Then, we'll rinse the pork in water and gently massage it to get some of the myoglobin (redness, more bloody/irony flavor) out.

Drain the pork with a colander, and let it continue to drain passively as we move on to the next step.

Assuming the shrimp you bought was peeled + deveined, we'll chop our shrimp (4 oz) into roughly fingernail-sized bits.

Then, we'll add cornstarch (1 tsp) and a dash of white pepper ()​.

The cornstarch acts both as a sort of glue to hold the filling together, and also helps to seal in the moisture and juices inside of the meat.

Mix the shrimp around for about 15-20 seconds to make sure they're all evenly coated.

Before we marinate the pork, we'll want to squeeze as much water out of it as we can. Press the pork firmly against the colander repeatedly.

Then, we'll mix cornstarch (2 tbsp), salt (1 tsp), white pepper (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), water (2 tbsp), and chicken bouillon into a bowl. Mix it with a spoon until it's an even liquid.

Add the pork, and mix the bowl thoroughly for about 30-45 seconds.

Add sesame oil (1 tbsp), and mix for another 30 seconds.

Add the shrimp and green onions to the bowl but DON'T MIX them together yet. We'll cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the filling for at least 30 minutes to let the meat absorb the marinade. If you start folding immediately, then the wrappers will be too wet.

Refrigerating overnight is fine too, with an absolute max of 2 days (or the filling will become too dry).

Wet a spoon with some water, and proceed to mix the pork, green onions, and shrimp together for about 30-60 seconds until everything is evenly mixed.

The wet spoon helps prevent the filling from sticking to it.

I should preface by saying there are A LOT of different methods of folding wontons out there. In our video, my dad explains two easy methods to try.

In general, as long as your filling is tasty and the wrapper isn't breaking or falling apart, then my dad says not to stress too much about the wrapping.

Add about 1 tsp of filling to the center of the wrapper.

For this first method, we'll dab a bit of water on the 4 corners. Then, we'll take the opposite ends and fold the wrapper into a right triangle. Next, we'll fold each of the 45 degree corners into the 90 degree corner. Pinch the top to fully enclose the wonton.

If you don't use all of your wrappers, seal the wrappers in a plastic bag, and place them in the freezer.

For the second method, all we need is a spoon. After putting about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, we'll press our thumb and index fingers into a hole and drape the wrapper over the center of hole.

Add about 1 tsp of filling to the center of the wrapper.

Then, with our spoon, we'll press the center of the wrapper into the hole. Finally, we'll close the wonton by pressing the tops of the wrapper with our thumb and index finger.

If you don't use all of your wrappers, seal the wrappers in a plastic bag, and place them in the freezer.

After folding, you can cook them immediately and skip this part.

However, if you made a bunch of wontons like my dad, then to freeze them, you'd lay them on a tray, place them in the freezer for 3-4 hours, and once they're about half frozen, you can place them in a bag to take up less space. If you freeze them right away, then the skins will all stick together.

To cook frozen wontons, we'd just need to defrost them for 1-2 hours before cooking.

Next, we'll bring a pot of water to a boil to start cooking our wontons.

Once boiling, add the wontons to the pot. Stir the wontons with chopsticks to prevent them from sticking to the pot (which causes breakage).

After placing our wontons in, our stove is set to high heat until the pot returns to a boil. Once it's at a boil, set the stove to medium heat.

In total, we're boiling our wontons for about 4-5 minutes.

  • Once the wontons are floating, my dad recommends adding some cold water (optional). This happened about 3 minutes into the process after the pot returned to its first boil.
  • After adding the cold water, we let the pot return to another boil, which took us about 2 minutes.
  • They're generally done once all of the wontons start floating.

We'll transfer the wontons out of the pot to stop them from cooking. Call your loved ones over! It's time to eat :)

Summary

Wontons (雲吞)
Learn how to make your own Cantonese-style wontons at home!
  • Prep Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 60 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 14 oz wonton wrappers (

    1 package, about 100 wrappers

    )
  • 12 oz pork shoulder
  • 4 oz shrimp (

    peeled, deveined, size 41-45 is ideal

    )
  • 2 pieces green onion
  • Flavors
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Shrimp Marinade
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • white pepper
Step 1 - Chop green onions↑ Jump to details

We'll chop our green onion (2 pieces) into small pieces. Most (or all of it) will go into the filling, but we can optionally save some for garnish later.

Step 2 - Prepare pork↑ Jump to details

We'll start by cutting our pork shoulder (12 oz) into slices, then into strips, and then into small bits. We don't want to mince them excessively into fine bits like our fish ball recipe - we want a bit of chewiness to it.

Then, we'll rinse the pork in water and gently massage it to get some of the myoglobin (redness, more bloody/irony flavor) out.

Drain the pork with a colander, and let it continue to drain passively as we move on to the next step.

Step 3 - Chop & marinate shrimp↑ Jump to details

Assuming the shrimp you bought was peeled + deveined, we'll chop our shrimp (4 oz) into roughly fingernail-sized bits.

Then, we'll add cornstarch (1 tsp) and a dash of white pepper ()​.

The cornstarch acts both as a sort of glue to hold the filling together, and also helps to seal in the moisture and juices inside of the meat.

Mix the shrimp around for about 15-20 seconds to make sure they're all evenly coated.

Step 4 - Squeeze & marinate pork↑ Jump to details

Before we marinate the pork, we'll want to squeeze as much water out of it as we can. Press the pork firmly against the colander repeatedly.

Then, we'll mix cornstarch (2 tbsp), salt (1 tsp), white pepper (0.50 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tbsp), water (2 tbsp), and chicken bouillon into a bowl. Mix it with a spoon until it's an even liquid.

Add the pork, and mix the bowl thoroughly for about 30-45 seconds.

Add sesame oil (1 tbsp), and mix for another 30 seconds.

Step 5 - Refrigerate filling↑ Jump to details

Add the shrimp and green onions to the bowl but DON'T MIX them together yet. We'll cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the filling for at least 30 minutes to let the meat absorb the marinade. If you start folding immediately, then the wrappers will be too wet.

Refrigerating overnight is fine too, with an absolute max of 2 days (or the filling will become too dry).

Step 6 - Mix filling↑ Jump to details

Wet a spoon with some water, and proceed to mix the pork, green onions, and shrimp together for about 30-60 seconds until everything is evenly mixed.

The wet spoon helps prevent the filling from sticking to it.

Step 7 - Folding wontons - Option 1↑ Jump to details

I should preface by saying there are A LOT of different methods of folding wontons out there. In our video, my dad explains two easy methods to try.

In general, as long as your filling is tasty and the wrapper isn't breaking or falling apart, then my dad says not to stress too much about the wrapping.

Add about 1 tsp of filling to the center of the wrapper.

For this first method, we'll dab a bit of water on the 4 corners. Then, we'll take the opposite ends and fold the wrapper into a right triangle. Next, we'll fold each of the 45 degree corners into the 90 degree corner. Pinch the top to fully enclose the wonton.

If you don't use all of your wrappers, seal the wrappers in a plastic bag, and place them in the freezer.

Step 8 - Folding wontons - Option 2↑ Jump to details

For the second method, all we need is a spoon. After putting about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, we'll press our thumb and index fingers into a hole and drape the wrapper over the center of hole.

Then, with our spoon, we'll press the center of the wrapper into the hole. Finally, we'll close the wonton by pressing the tops of the wrapper with our thumb and index finger.

If you don't use all of your wrappers, seal the wrappers in a plastic bag, and place them in the freezer.

Step 9 - Freezing wontons (optional)↑ Jump to details

After folding, you can cook them immediately and skip this part.

However, if you made a bunch of wontons like my dad, then to freeze them, you'd lay them on a tray, place them in the freezer for 3-4 hours, and once they're about half frozen, you can place them in a bag to take up less space. If you freeze them right away, then the skins will all stick together.

To cook frozen wontons, we'd just need to defrost them for 1-2 hours before cooking.

Step 10 - Boil wontons↑ Jump to details

Next, we'll bring a pot of water to a boil to start cooking our wontons.

Once boiling, add the wontons to the pot. Stir the wontons with chopsticks to prevent them from sticking to the pot (which causes breakage).

After placing our wontons in, our stove is set to high heat until the pot returns to a boil. Once it's at a boil, set the stove to medium heat.

In total, we're boiling our wontons for about 4-5 minutes.

  • Once the wontons are floating, my dad recommends adding some cold water (optional). This happened about 3 minutes into the process after the pot returned to its first boil.
  • After adding the cold water, we let the pot return to another boil, which took us about 2 minutes.
  • They're generally done once all of the wontons start floating.
Step 11 - Plate & enjoy↑ Jump to details

We'll transfer the wontons out of the pot to stop them from cooking. Call your loved ones over! It's time to eat :)

Step 12 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 13 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

My sister and I have many, many happy memories enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

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About Made With Lau

We started Made With Lau to honor and share the legacy of our wonderful parents, Jenny and Chung Sun Lau.

Our hope is that these posts give you (and our future generations) a glimpse into how great they are!