Wonton soup has long been one of my favorite foods.
It was one of the only things I ate a small child and I have many fond memories of my small self, kneeling on a chair at our round laminate kitchen table, meticulously wrapping wonton for dinner. I would always make the wonton extra tiny.
I loved eating wonton wrappers, more so the the wonton filling, and my wonton would be 10 percent meat and 90 percent wrapper. They didn’t look anything like the wonton my family would order by the bowlfuls on the weekends at our local wonton congee noodle restaurant, but I loved making those misshapen, wonky wontons.
To me a bowl of wonton soup is all about comfort. It brings me back to when my teenage best friend and I would have hour-long discussions on why her grandpa’s chicken wontons were the best thing she’s ever eaten, to when Mike and I spent a whole day in Hong Kong eating and rating bowls of wonton noodle soup on an intricate five point-five-value scale, to late night 3 am emergency bowls of wonton with friends.
Biting into a wonton is biting into life.
How to make wonton soup
- Make the broth. Bring the broth ingredients to a simmer and let infuse.
- Cook the wonton. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. When at a rapid boil, gently drop in the wonton and stir to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The wonton will sink down at first and then start to float as the water comes back up to a boil and they are cooked through. Take one and cut it open to make sure, then scoop out all of the cooked wonton.
- Serve. Ladle the broth into a bowl. Add the wontons and finish with scallions. Enjoy!
What does wonton soup taste like?
The soup itself is a clear bullion (made from pork or chicken) that is rich and flavorful with hints of shrimp, ginger, and toasted sesame oil.
The wonton dumplings are like a meatball wrapped in a thin dumpling skin: firm, yet soft and juicy seasoned with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce.
What are wonton?
Wonton are Chinese dumpling filled with meat, typically served in a flavorful clear broth or dressed in sauce. Unlike most other Chinese dumplings, wonton wrappers are squares or trapezoids. The wrappers are slippery, thin, and supple. Wontons are usually filled with ground pork, shrimp, and aromatics. They’re incredibly popular, both as a snack, side dish, or meal. They’re served at home, in restaurants, as night market street food, You can make them at home easily and they also sell them premade, frozen, in lots of grocery stores. Weirdly, you can even get them on Amazon. But the best is homemade, which is what we’re doing here.
How to make wonton filling
Wonton fillings are where it’s at! Everyone and their grandma has a secret recipe for fillings. Usually when you get wonton the filling is ground pork with shrimp, but nowadays there are MILLIONS of filling combinations.
The simplest way to make wonton filling is to put everything in a bowl and mix it up. Here are some tips:
- Protein. Wontons are a meat based dumpling, so it’s best to use a protein with some fat in it so the filling stays juicy and fluffy after cooking. This is why pork is so popular. Ground pork has just enough fat to protein ratio. Adding in some bouncy shrimp is a pro move because they add some textural contrast. That being said, you can use any ground meat you like (or even tofu), just know that your wonton will probably be a bit more dense if you’re using extra lean meat.
- Aromatics and seasoning. Ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and shaoxing wine (read more about shaoxing here) are my weapons of choice to make these wontons absolutely irresistible.
- Cornstarch. Mix together a bit of cornstarch with water then stir it into the ground pork. Stirring in a bit of cornstarch and water will make the insides of your wonton super tender. It’s the secret to juicy, tender wonton! When you stir in the water-cornstarch mix everything will come together into a homogenous paste, which is exactly what you want.
How to fold wonton
The simplest way (and the way I did it when I was small) is to just put 2 teaspoons of filling into the middle of a wonton wrapper and squish up the wrapper around the filling. That’s what I did in the photos in this post and they look chubby and cute. It’s the classic Hong Kong style wrapping. However, if you want a bit more pizzazz, you can try this:
- Lay the wonton wrapper out as as diamond. Place some filling near the corner closest to you.
- Fold/roll the wrapper up, enclosing the filling in a triangle.
- Press the sides to seal.
- Bring the opposite ends of the wrapper together and use a dab of water to seal.
Which wonton wrappers to buy
Wonton wrappers are always square, just look for a square package of dumpling wrappers (they’re in the fridge section). They’re supposed to be very thin, so choose the package that has the thinnest wrappers. You’ll find a better selection of dumpling wrappers at your local Asian grocery store. Some major grocery stores sell wonton wrappers as well, but they tend to be thicker.
How to freeze wonton
I like making a big batch of wonton and then freezing them so we have wonton on hand when we want a quick and easy meal. To freeze, just lay out the wonton in a single layer on a tray or baking sheet, not touching, and freeze until firm. Then gather them up and put them in a freezer safe bag or container. Cook from frozen, adding a couple of extra minutes on the cooking time.
What does wonton mean?
I’ve always loved wonton, mostly because of how they taste, but also because wonton in Chinese (雲吞) means swallowing clouds. They kind of do look like fluffy little delicious clouds floating in broth 🙂
How many wonton per person
A good rule of thumb is 8-10 as a snack/starter and 12-16 as a main.
How much soup per person
I would say 1 1/4 cup of soup per person is a good amount.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I’m allergic to shrimp, do I need shrimp in wonton?
Nope, if you don’t like shrimp or are allergic, you can simply omit the shrimp and add in the equal amount of extra pork. Obviously you would leave the dried shrimp out of the soup as well. If you want to add extra umami, add a dried shiitake to the soup where you would add the dried shrimp.
- I don’t eat pork, what can I make wonton with?
Chicken wonton are wonderful, as are turkey wonton. I don’t really do beef wonton much because I like how much more tender ground chicken and turkey are.
- What vegetables can I put in wonton soup?
If you want to add more vegetables to your wonton soup to make it more veggie forward, the good news is that you can add just about any vegetable to make it more hearty and healthy. Try adding sliced mushrooms, kale, or spinach.
- How do I add noodles to wonton soup?
If you want to make wonton soup a meal and go the Hong Kong route and make wonton noodle soup, simply cook your noodles according to the package (not in the wonton soup) drain well and then add them to the soup with the wonton. The kind of noodles used for wonton noodle soup are, unsurprisingly, called wonton noodles. They’re thin, egg noodles that are springy, chewy, and seriously good. You can find them in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores labeled thin wonton noodles.
One last (really important) thing
There are are a lot of wonton soup recipes out there. Heck, there are actually a lot of different kinds of wonton soups in the world. That being said, if you’ve been poking around the internet and aren’t sure if the recipe you’re looking at is authentic or not, I will give you this tip: Chinese people will NEVER ever boil wontons in the soup they’re serving them in. Don’t do it!
Boiling wontons in the soup will make your soup slimy and taste weird. There’s a reason why all wonton noodle houses have at least 2 giant boiling pots: one filled boiling water for cooking wontons and one filled with that delicious broth the wontons bathe in after they’ve been cooked.
PS – Try these in spicy chili oil, they’re amazing
Biting into a wonton is biting into life.
- 8 cups chicken stock no sodium preferred
- 1 inch ginger peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp optional
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce or to taste
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/4 cup green onions thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 lb shrimp peeled, deveined, and chopped
- 1-2 packs fresh wonton wrappers as needed
- 1 cup green onions thinly sliced
- 1 lb briefly blanched leafy greens: bok choy, gailan, etc
- 1/4 cup chili oil
- 1 tbsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp black vinegar
Make the soup: Combine the chicken stock, ginger, and dried shrimp in a stock pot over medium low heat and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to very low (1 to 2 bubbles) while you make the wonton.
In a bowl, mix together the pork, ginger, scallions, soy, Shaoxing, sesame oil, salt, and white pepper. Whisk the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water and mix into the filling until the pork forms a paste. Mix in the shrimp.Optional: Massage the shrimp with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing throughly, chopping, and mixing into the wonton filling.
Take a wonton wrapper and place 2 teaspoons of the meat filling near the edge. Fold/roll the wrapper up, enclosing the filling. Bring the opposite ends of the wrapper together and use a dab of water to seal. Alternatively, just wet the edges of the wrapper and bring together and pinch into a small pouch. Keep the wrappers and finished wonton covered with saran wrap as you work, to keep them from drying out.
Bring a second large pot of water to boil over high heat. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add in your wonton. Stir gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. They will start to float once they’re cooked through. Cook for 3-4 minutes (depending on size) or until cooked through – cut one open to check.
Strain or scoop the solids out of the broth. Taste the broth and add in the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, to taste. Fill a bowl with the soup and add the cooked wonton and greens. Finish with scallions and enjoy!
The dried shrimp, which you can find at an Asian grocery store will add a deep amount of umami to your wonton soup and make it ten thousand times better. If you don’t have any, you can skip it. I put mine in a disposable teabag for easy removal.
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 39
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 0.9g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.