Much like the divisive “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate, defining a dumpling can be contentious.

Around the globe you’ll find a rich diversity of offerings that carry the label—stuffed or whole, pasta or pastry, steamed or fried, savory or sweet, the variations are seemingly endless.

So instead of trying to narrow the scope of what a dumpling actually is, why not celebrate the multitude of ways different cultures interpret the highly craveable comfort food? (I guess there is a common thread after all.)

Below you’ll find a whirlwind tour of some of our favorite international dumpling recipes.

Related Reading: Easy Weeknight Dinners for Our 15 Favorite Fall Ingredients

Pfft to Portion Control Pork Dumplings

Photo Credit: Davide Luciano

Chowhound editor-at-large Joey Skalandy’s ode to the classic New York Chinatown dumpling is one of several highlights from his cookbook debut “Basic Bitchen.” The pan-fried pockets stuffed with juicy pork, garlic, cilantro, and ginger are well worth the indulgence. Get the Pfft to Portion Control Pork Dumplings recipe.

Zhēngjiǎo (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings)

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Take the vegetarian route on China’s vast dumpling landscape. Start off by making a batch of our Easy Dumpling Dough (only 2 ingredients!). Spinachcarrotsmushrooms, and tofu are stir-fried in a wok to become the filling. This recipe yields 32 dumplings and freezes well for up to a month. Use a steaming tray set-up for best results, and don’t forget the Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce. Get our Steamed Vegetable Dumpling recipe.

Related Reading: 13 International Vegetarian Recipes to Make Meatless Mondays More Exciting

Mushroom Pierogies

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Pierogies are a staple across the Baltics and Eastern Europe and go by different names and variations. Here, savory mushrooms come together with a herb-packed dry sherry sauce for a filling that won’t have you missing meat (though if you’re craving carne, go ahead and stuff with ground beef). And, since sour cream is folded into the dough, you should have a bit leftover to serve alongside the finished product. Get our Mushroom Pierogies recipe.

Related Reading: 15 Recipes All About That Cream of Mushroom Richness

Shrimp Gyoza

 

Gyozas, Japan’s particular spin on Chinese dumplings, tend to contain more garlic, have a thinner wrapper, and are pan-fried on a single side to crisp perfection. Pork is a popular filling, but if you’re in a seafood state of mind, shrimp is sure to satisfy. Get the Shrimp Gyoza recipe.

Related Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Buying Shrimp

Manti

 

These adorable bite-sized dumplings from Turkey feature a filling of ground lamb seasoned with baharat, a fragrant spice blend. Slather in yogurt  and browned butter tomatoes for a full flavor explosion. Get the Lamb Manti recipe.

Rye Kreplach with Caramelized Onions, Potatoes, and Mint

 

As fun to say as they are to eat, kreplachs are Yiddish dumplings. This recipe calls for a rye dough that creates a gorgeous speckled effect. They’re individually shaped into architectural mini-pyramids with the help of a basic cookie cutter then filled with potatoesricottacaramelized onionsmint, and dill. Eat them on their own or submerge into chicken soup. Get the Rye Kreplach recipe.

Kroppkakor

 

How about a Scandiavian spin on the dumpling? The Swedes prefer to stuff these boiled or fried potato balls with grouse but dark meat from other poultry or even lean ground beef will do. The addition of bacon here gives the filling a hint of smokiness. Get the Kroppkakor recipe.

Gnocchi with Pork Ragu

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These toothsome Italian dumplings are absolutely heavenly, especially when they’re made from scratch. Who needs a filling when you lay your potato pillows to a rest in a vegetable-laden, slow-cooked pork shoulder ragu? Get our Gnocchi with Pork Ragu recipe.

Related Reading: 11 Baked Pasta Dishes to Keep You Warm & Cozy Until Next Spring

Chicken and Dumplings

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This chicken stew with biscuit-like morsels of bliss is pure Southern comfort. In our version, thyme and chives give the dumplings an herbaceous boost while bacon and cremini mushrooms add a welcome earthy depth. Get our Chicken and Dumplings recipe.

Chicken Empanadas

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Empanadas are ubiquitous across South America, and it’s no wonder why. That irresistible flaky, buttery crust stuffed with a flavorful filling (in this case a mouthwatering combo of spiced braised chicken and olives) is the perfect portable lunch. Making them from scratch can be time consuming so consider going big batch especially since they freeze extremely well. Get our Chicken Empanadas recipe.

Five Ingredient Apple Dumplings

Photo Credit: Anna Gass

Savor the fall flavors of warm apple pie without all the effort. Only five ingredients are needed for this classic dessert dumpling with a flaky crust housing a sweet and cinnamony fruit center. Add a double dose of cream (ice and whipped) for extra indulgence. Get our Five Ingredient Apple Dumplings recipe.

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.

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