Juicy filling wrapped with crispy pastry, fried wontons make a crowd-pleasing appetizer. They can be either deep-fried or air-fried.
What are fried wontons
Wontons, alongside their culinary cousins Jiaozi (dumplings), hold a special place in the world of Chinese cuisine. Popular in many regions of China, they’re cooked and enjoyed in various ways.
Cantonese wontons are boiled and then served in an umami soup, while Sichuan wontons are coated with a hot and numbing sauce. In contrast, fried wontons (炸云吞) are celebrated for their rich taste and satisfyingly crispy texture.
In today’s post, I’m introducing two ways to make fried wontons: the traditional deep-frying method and the contemporary air-frying alternative. Filled with a juicy mixture of pork and shrimp, these wontons are folded into pretty shapes, and cooked to perfect crispiness.
Before we delve into the details of the recipe, let’s first get familiar with some helpful tips:
- The wrappers dry out easily, so cover them well if they’re not in use
- The filling included in this post is just one example. Feel free to explore other recipes found in the Dumpling & Wonton collection
- It’s crucial to seal the wontons completely to avoid leaking, thus minimizing oil splashing during frying
- Deep-frying produces a more authentic taste and crispier texture, whereas air-frying, which requires less oil, is a healthier alternative.
Choose the wrappers
Wonton wrappers are thin, square pieces of dough uniquely used for making wontons. Do not confuse them with dumpling wrappers, which are thicker and round-shaped.
It’s easy to prepare homemade wonton wrappers if you have a pasta machine. Otherwise, ready-to-use ones can be found in the chilled or frozen sections of Chinese/Asian stores. Both off-white and yellowish wrappers (see image above) work for this recipe .
I’ve found a version for deep-fried wontons that are slightly larger and thicker than the regular ones used for boiled wontons. Use them if available, but this isn’t a compulsory choice.
Remember to defrost frozen wrappers beforehand. Do so in the fridge overnight, and keep their package unopened until the moment you start assembling the wontons.
Make the filling
For today’s recipe, I’m using a pork and shrimp filling that I often use for wontons, Siu Mai, and dumplings. It shows you how to prepare a filling that is tasty, tender, and moist. Here are a few helpful tips:
- Use ground pork (or beef/chicken) that has a high-fat content
- Cut shrimp into small chunks, rather than mincing them. This adds crunchy bites to the filling
- Add scallions and ginger to enhance the aroma
- Season the filling with Shaoxing rice wine, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper
- Incorporate water to keep the filling moist and use cornstarch to tenderize the meat.
Please feel free to use other fillings for fried wontons. My post on Dumpling Fillings provides a variety of ideas. Also, you can find inspiration in other recipes, such as pork & cabbage dumplings, chicken potstickers, vegetarian dumplings, and vegan dumplings.
Fold the wontons
There are many ways to shape a wonton. Among the six methods I introduced in my post How to Fold Wontons, I’ve chosen one for today’s fried wontons, which I learned in my childhood. Here’s how you proceed:
- Wet two neighboring sides of a wonton wrapper with a little water. Put some filling in the middle.
- Fold the wrapper into a triangle, squeezing out any trapped air, then pinch the edge to seal it completely.
- Bring the two sharp corners of the triangle towards each other. Lay one on top of the other then press to make them stick.
Option 1: Deep-frying
For deep-frying, choose cooking oil that has a high smoking point, such as sunflower, canola, vegetable, corn, peanut, rapeseed, avocado oil, etc.
Use a wok, pot, or a deep-fryer for the job. The oil you’ll need should be about 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Make sure the cookware is deep enough so that its high side can prevent any splashing oil from greasing the surrounding area (The saucepan I used for shooting this recipe was too small, so I learned my lesson).
- Heat oil over high heat until it reaches 350°F (180°C), then turn the heat down to low.
- Carefully slide the wontons into the oil, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry in batches if necessary.
- Flip the wontons once or twice during frying. As soon as they turn golden brown, remove them from the oil and lay them on a tray/plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
🌟 TIP: If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, you can test the oil temperature by dipping a chopstick into it. The oil is hot enough if small bubbles appear immediately around the chopstick.
Option 1: Air-frying
If you are not keen on deep-frying and wish to consume less oil, consider air-frying these wontons. Despite its name, air-frying actually involves no frying, but rather a speedy roasting process. So the result will be different, but still is tasty nevertheless.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
- While waiting, use a pastry brush or spray to thinly coat each wonton with oil.
- Place them in a single layer over the crisper tray of the air fryer.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then flip them over and cook another 2 minutes until golden
🌟 TIP: Depending on the performance of your air fryer, the cooking time required may vary. Pull out the frying drawer to check and adjust accordingly.
Store & reheat
It’s best to enjoy fried wontons while warm. So I suggest you only fry the amount you plan to serve immediately. Here is how you store uncooked wontons:
- Lay them in a single layer on a tray. Put in the freeze until they’re fully frozen.
- Transfer them into airtight containers/bags. Store for up to two months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before frying.
If you happen to have some leftover fried wontons, reheat them in the oven at 350°F (180°C) or in the air fryer at 375°F (190°C) until they regain the crispness.
Fried wontons taste great on their own. However, a dipping sauce complements them well. My favorite is homemade chili oil, sometimes mixed with a dash of black rice vinegar. Other options include chili garlic sauce or sweet chili sauce. You can also find inspiration in my post on Dumpling Sauces.
Crispy and tasty, fried wontons are not just perfect as party appetizers, they make delightful snacks as well. I also enjoy serving them at regular lunches or dinners, pairing with a comforting soup, such as Egg Drop Soup, Tofu and Veggie Soup, or a classic Hot and Sour Soup.
Other Chinese appetizers
Looking for other small bites for snack or dinner parties? Check out these popular ones:
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Fried Wonton, Two Ways (炸云吞)
- 40 pieces wonton wrappers - homemade or shop-bought
For the filling
- 8 oz ground pork - or beef/chicken
- 7 oz shrimp - raw and peeled, cut into cubes
- 1 stalk scallions - finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger - minced
- 3 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 pinch sugar
- Neutral cooking oil - see note 1
Prepare the wrappers
- If your wonton wrappers are frozen, thaw them in the fridge the night before. Do not remove the packaging until you’re ready to assemble to prevent them from drying out.
Mix the filling
- Put ground pork and shrimp into a mixing bowl. Add scallions, ginger, water, and all the seasonings. Constantly stir in one direction until everything is well mixed and the liquid is fully absorbed.
Fold the wontons
- Wet two neighboring sides of a wonton wrapper. Place a portion of the filling in the middle. Fold the wrapper into a triangle and pinch the edge to seal, making sure there is little air trapped inside.
- Dab a little water over one of the triangle’s sharp corners. Bring the other sharp corner over and lay it on top of the wet corner. Pinch them together to stick (see note 2).
Option 1: Deep-fry
- Heat cooking oil in a wok or a pot, about 2 inches (5 cm) deep. When it reaches about 350°F (180°C), turn the heat down to low, then gently slide in wontons one by one (see note 3).
- Leave to fry until they become golden (flip them once or twice during the process for even browning). Fry in batches and do not overcrowd.
Option 2: Air-fry
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Brush a thin layer of oil over the wontons. Lay them over the crisper tray of the air fryer in a single layer without overlapping.
- Leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Flip them and cook for a further 2 minutes or so (see note 4).
- Only fry what you intend to serve on the day. Store uncooked wontons in the freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost them in the fridge before frying.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.