Hot Pockets

A universal comfort during the winter months, dumplings of all sorts can be found in every corner of the globe, whether steamed, fried, boiled, or baked. An added bonus: They can be made or bought in large batches and kept in the freezer for a rainy day. Travel the world with us to find recipes for the usual suspects as well as some lesser-known varieties.

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ShyMan/istockphoto

Pierogi (Eastern Europe)

Often filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, and revered for the crispy edges that come from a quick fry in butter before being served, these are a crowd-pleasing dumpling from Eastern Europe. Not to mention, they may be one of the easiest dumplings to make at home. We would be hard-pressed to find someone who could resist a homemade pierogi. (Addicted to spuds? Here are 27 Delicious Ways to Cook Potatoes.)

A typical serving of a plate of Momo with Sesame Yellow Sauce and Red Ginger Chilli Sauce in Nepal3 / 16
A typical serving of a plate of Momo with Sesame Yellow Sauce and Red Ginger Chilli Sauce in Nepal by

Momo (Southeast Asia)

Hidden behind an unassumingly simple wrapper is a world of flavor heavily influenced by the spices of the Indian subcontinent. These meat-filled steamed dumplings hail from Tibet but can be found everywhere in the neighboring regions. They are often steamed over soup, lending them that extra touch of flavor and aroma.

Recipe: Tasty

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wsmahar/istockphoto
Bánh bột lọc trần containing shrimp, ground pork, and mushrooms5 / 16
Wikimedia Commons

Bánh Bôt Lọc (Vietnam)

These Vietnamese snacks have a tapioca wrapper that gives them their distinct chewiness. Originating as an emperor’s snack, each dumpling is meticulously wrapped in a banana leaf before it is steamed. (But if that’s not your speed, we’ve got your back.) Bánh bôt lọc are traditionally filled with shrimp and pork, but feel free to experiment!

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DiAnna Paulk/istockphoto

Amish Apple Dumplings (United States)

Here’s one on the sweeter side of things, and perfect if you are craving pie but can’t be bothered to bake a whole one in these times of social isolation. Hailing from the Pennsylvania Dutch, these dumplings consist of cored apples that are spiced, wrapped in flaky pastry, and baked until golden brown. We suggest a generous dollop of ice cream or vanilla whipped cream.

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KroXi/istockphoto

Khinkali (Georgia)

Khinkali lined up on a plate look like the mountainous regions from which they originate. They are filled with minced meat and a variety of aromatic vegetables. A simple steam makes these a quick and honest dinner. Don’t even think about picking these up with anything other than your fingers or you can prepare to be sneered at by any Georgian onlookers.

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Fred_DL/istockphoto

Crab Rangoon (United States)

An offspring of Chinese American restaurants across the nation, these old-time favorites have a special place in the hearts and palates of many folks. A filling of what is essentially crab dip is wrapped and fried to a crisp, offering a uniquely American, and decadent, late-night snack.

Levantine shishbarak served in yogurt sauce9 / 16
Levantine shishbarak served in yogurt sauce by Peteravivangel (CC BY-SA)

Shish Barak (Middle East)

The ravioli of the Middle East, these are filled with lamb and spices and served in a creamy yogurt-based sauce. If you are longing for warmer days and a Mediterranean breeze, these shish barak will transport you to a place where the air is laden with spices and the cuisine is a delicate balance of complexity.

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viennetta/istockphoto
xiaolongbao11 / 16
xiaolongbao by Eason Lai from 上海 (CC BY-SA)
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Knedlíky by hikinghillman (CC BY-NC)
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DerekNeumeier/istockphoto

Pupusas (El Salvador)

Like a portable, hot-pocket version of a taco, these Salvadoran snacks consist of filling stuffed into a masa package that is griddled until crisp and golden brown. Traditionally filled with cheese, the cook’s cue that they are ready is when the filling oozes out of them and sizzles on the pan. These are equally good with refried beans or plantain, just don’t forget your favorite hot sauce! (If that sounds good, here are 23 Traditional Hispanic Foods Most Americans Don’t Know About — but Should.)

Spinach Ravioli14 / 16
Carpe89/istockphoto
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"Kroppkaka" from Blekinge, Sweden. Served with lingonberries and melted butter. by

Kroppkakor (Sweden)

Kind of like giant gnocchi that are sometimes filled with ham or other meat, kroppkakor hail from the southern regions of Sweden. Easy enough to make, these Swedish dumplings are served with butter and lingonberry jam, so if you’re out of lingonberry jam and don’t want to make the schlep to Ikea, just swap out some leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving in a pinch!

Recipe: Sweden.se

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Aonip/istockphoto

Mochi (Japan)

Chewy, sweet, a simple delight — Mochi are one of those things that feel like a special treat no matter the occasion. While we often see these Japanese dumplings filled with a sweet filling or (even better!) with ice cream, it is not uncommon to fill them or glaze them with something savory.