How to Fold Wontons : A 2022 Round Up

how to fold wontons

When I published this post on how to fold wontons in 2006, information on Chinese cooking are hard to find. Now, so many home cooks are showing off their Chinese cooking skills with the help of social media and information on wrapping wontons has mushroomed.

I showcased 10 wonton wrapping techniques then. Now, I wanted to do a round up of all the new information I have come across as well as correct my mistakes.

Tips on wrapping wontons

Before you go off to buy that packet of wonton wrappers, take note of the following tips:

Tip 1 – Pick the right wrappers

I am quite sure many of you have come across various types of wrappers in the supermarkets. There are the egg roll wrappers, the dumpling wrappers, the round gyoza wrappers and the wonton wrappers. Pick the right one for the job.

Wonton wrappers are square. They measure about 9 cm or 3.5 in. They are smaller than egg roll wrappers, and thinner than dumpling wrappers. They can be yellow (egg) or whitish (no egg).

You may have also seen the thin or thick wonton wrappers. Thick wonton wrappers are specifically for making the big Northern wontons. They are not suitable for frying or baking.

Tip 2 – Keep wonton wrappers under wrap

Do not leave wonton wrappers uncovered during wrapping time. Always cover both unused wrappers and completed wontons with damp tea towels.

Several cookbooks I came across say to lay the wonton wrappers out on a baking sheet, place the filling in the middle of each wrapper and then wrap. I guess they took the idea from baking. This “lay-them-all-out” method is fine for cookies and pies and turnovers but it is a big No-No when it comes to wrapping wontons.

The wrappers dry easily and become brittle. After opening a packet, they should be kept moist. Take one piece out at a time to wrap. After wrapping, keep the wontons covered in the same way.

Tip 3 – Mind the amount of filling

Let me tell you a true story. When I was still little and thought I was the cleverest kid around, I tried to save time by wrapping big wontons. I struggle to wrap it all up and the skin broke. When I did manage to wrap a big one without breaking the skin,  the filling and the wrapper parted ways in the boiling water.

Moral of the story?

Do not try to overfill the wonton wrappers. They aren’t very stretchable unlike most pastry. And once they tear, you can’t “patch them up”. The general rule of thumb is about 1 teaspoon heap per sheet.

Tip 4 – Mind the wetness of the filling

We all enjoy juicy wontons. One common method of achieving juiciness is to add water or soup stock to the filling mix. If you do that, be careful not to add too much liquid and to mix it really well. A wet filling = a wet wrapper = breakage.

How to fold wontons for frying or baking

Wontons come in so many shapes. There are the ingot (shape of ancient gold or silver) , the envelope, the samosa, the swallow, the folded arms, the bonnet / ingot, the flower and more.

Besides regional differences and personal preferences, you may want to choose a style that is more suitable for the types of wrappers you are using, the way they are to be cooked and eaten. Here are some that are better suited for frying or baking

1. Ravioli wonton

The ravioli wonton is not a Chinese technique. I just thought it easy for ultimate beginners.

  1. Place a wonton wrapper on a dry clean surface
  2. Place 1 teaspoon of wonton filling in the center of the wrapper
  3. Wet the edges of the wrapper with a little water
  4. Take another piece of wonton wrapper and lay it over the filling
  5. Press the top wrapper gently but firmly over the filling, working out any air between filling and wonton wrapper

Because you are using two pieces of wonton wrappers for each wonton, either buy extra wonton skins or make less filling or you might run out of wrappers and have to make meatballs too.

Try to push all the air out between the filling and the wrappers. If you don’t, the air will expand during cooking and your wontons might burst. Sealing properly is important unless you want your wonton to spill its “treasures”.

When you boil them, they are going to do cartwheels in the water. When they finally stop and stay afloat, it means they are cooked.

I think this technique is great for using up leftovers roasts. Best for frying.

2. Samosa wonton

The samosa technique is basically making a triangle by folding the square wrapper in half.

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a clean cutting board
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Wet the sides of the wrapper with some water
  4. Pick up one corner and fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle
  5. Work out any air between wrapper and filling
  6. Press to seal the wonton

I will usually lay the wrapper on my hand, fill and fold the wonton without using the cutting board. This may be too fiddly for those new to wrapping wontons. Laying it on a cutting board to fold provides more control. 

Although I boiled mine, I think the samosa is best for frying. The edges are thin and will crisp up nicely in the hot oil.

3. Envelope wonton

This is also not a Chinese wonton wrapping technique. It is here because I think it is easy to fold and looks cute. Make a triangle and fold the 2 sides in.

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a dry clean surface
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle
  4. Work out any air between wrapper and filling
  5. Wet sides of wrapper and press firmly to seal the wonton
  6. Wet the two side corners of the triangle
  7. Fold the two side corners one on top of each other

The envelope wonton is great for baking. Imagine spreading nutella and a thin slice of banana in this. Bake till golden brown and dust lightly with icing sugar.

4. Four star wonton

Image credit: M.M. Cassidy at Flickr

This four-pointed star, like the envelope, is not a traditional Chinese technique. It is suitable for both baking and frying.

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a dry clean surface
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Wet the sides of the wrapper with water
  4. Lift up the middle of the 2 opposite sides so that they meet. Squeeze lightly together
  5. Bring the middle of the 2 other sides to close the wonton
  6. Gently squeeze to close the wonton

See how this technique is used to make fried crab rangoons at https://www.seriouseats.com/

How to fold wontons for boiling

5. Swallow wonton 燕子 (yan zi)

This is one of my favorite techniques. Not too difficult but not too boring to make. 

This is known as the swallow because the overlapping corners resemble the tail of the bird while the opposite corner is the beak. What do you think?

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a dry clean surface
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Wet the sides
  4. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle.
  5. Work out any air between wrapper and filling
  6. Gently pull the two side corners of the triangle together and press firmly. Wet the corners with some water if needed

This video has a clear demonstration.

In 四川 (si chuan), this is served in a spicy oily sauce. It is called 红油抄手 (hong you chao shou). The shape allows the spicy oil to cling to the wonton better.

6. Comet wonton 扁食 (bian shi)

This technique is a little more challenging. The shape reminds me of a comet. A round head with a flaming tail. It is commonly seen in Hokkien 福建 (fu jian) wontons, a region in southern China where it is called 扁食 (bian shi) or 扁肉 (bian rou).

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a dry clean surface
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling near a corner of the wrapper
  3. Fold the corner over the filling and fold over again but not all the way up, leave the opposite corner free
  4. Flatten the two ends of the wrapper
  5. Pull them together sideways and press firmly. Wet the corners with some water if needed.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to fold this technique. She uses a pair of chopsticks to place the filling and fold the wontons. So quick.

7. Ingot wonton 元宝 (yuan bao)

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on a clean cutting board
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Shape the filling into a rectangular shape, parallel to the wrapper
  4. Fold the wrapper in half
  5. Work out any air between wrapper and filling
  6. Fold the wrapper in half again
  7. Flatten the two ends of the cylindrical shape
  8. Pull them together and press firmly. Use some water to seal

The ingot technique is similar to the swallow except the wonton is folded into a rectangle instead of a triangle. When you connect the two ends together, you can choose to connect the diagonal sides together or from end to end. Note that your choice can result in two very different wonton shapes. Try it.

The Chinese likes the ingot because it is a symbol of prosperity. This technique has also been called the bonnet.

8. Crepe wonton 绉纱馄饨 (zhou sha hun tun)

  1. Lay a wonton wrapper on your palm
  2. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper
  3. Flatten the filling
  4. Fold the corners of the wrapper towards the center of the wrapper
  5. Place your thumb in the middle and squeeze as if you are scrunching up a piece of paper

The crepe wonton looks like a creased shirt when it is cooked. What do you think? Jokes aside. This technique creates a tail-less wonton. It reminds me of a silk flower ball 红彩花球 (hong cai hua qiu). See how a master chef makes it.

9. Cantonese wonton 广式云吞 (guang shi yun tun)

Image credit: Angeimoarm at Wikimedia

I always thought this technique creates a wonton that resembles a goldfish. A big head with a flowy tail.

  1. Place a wrapper onto your palm
  2. Dab a little water around the wrapper where it will be sealed
  3. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper
  4. Use your fingers to close the wrapper over the teaspoon, squeeze gently to seal

Many people have said they find this technique challenging. It does need a certain degree of dexterity. It is different from just bunching up the wrapper and creating a thick neck. But this is also one of the quickest wrapping technique once you master it.

This wonton is best served in soup. Not great for frying or baking.

10. Folded arms wonton 大馄饨 (da hun tun)

I call this technique the folded arms wonton. It is commonly used to make big Northern wontons. The wonton wrappers are thicker and rectangular. The most famous representative is the Shanghai big wontons 上海大馄饨 (shang hai da hun tun). See how they are wrapped in the video below.

It is similar to the ingot wonton except leaving a space between the corners and the “body”.

New Wonton Wrapping Techniques: lotus, little goldfish, caterpillar, angel, Butterfly wontons

This video showcases 12 ways to fold wontons. Some of them are covered in this post, but there are 4 new techniques: lotus flower, little goldfish (suitable for frying), the caterpillar and angel.

The second video below also showcases several ways to fold wontons. The fourth method is new to me. It is called the butterfly.

To end

There are no right or wrong wonton wrapping techniques. In fact, unlike 饺子 (jiao zi) dumplings, wontons tend to lose their shapes after they are cooked. What most people remember is the burst of flavour and the texture of the wonton wrappers in their mouths.

So, pick one style you like and fold away.

We have come to the end of this post. If you have found it useful, do let me know by liking it or sharing it or leaving a comment about what you like.

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Happy cooking!

If you are wondering about the difference between wontons and dumplings, head over to this post: What is a wonton? Irregularly shaped pasta or swallowing cloud.

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