A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Xiao Long Bao

The delicate Soup Dumpling, popularly known as Xiao Long Bao here in Manila (and the rest of Southeast Asia), is Shanghai’s signature take on dim sum. Most restaurants serve six to twelve of these inside a large bamboo steamer lined with cloth. The steamer’s lid is then opened to reveal precious meat-filled dumplings that burst with a mouthful of savory soup in every bite.

Xiao Long Bao main

Making them on your own is not as difficult as you think—but it can be very time-consuming. A lot has to do with the preparation of the soup, which makes its way inside the raw dumpling skin in gelatinized form. Now, the traditional way to do this is to simmer down pork and chicken bones until the collagen (the connective tissue that holds together the joints and bones) breaks down into a stock, which when reduced and chilled resembles Jell-o. But of course, you can always make things easier by adding a bit of packed gelatin to the soup (like we did) to achieve an identical consistency. Once that’s done, follow the process below to assemble your set of xiao long bao.

Xiao Long Bao Steps

This is a recipe where you cannot substitute the homemade dumpling wrapper for the store-bought variety since the latter cracks easily and tends to crumble. You’ll need your dough to be flexible enough to fold them into their proper shape, so we also provided the recipe for that below. The measurements we gave for the wrapper yields a thicker skin, but feel free to thin it out by rolling it flatter so you get a skin that’s similar to Lugang’s and Din Tai Fung’s.

Xiao Long Bao

Total Time: 3 hours
Yield: 3 dozens

Ingredients: Wrapper

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp oil

Ingredients: Filling

  • 1 cup ground pork
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp xiao xing wine
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated 
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • salt, optional
  • 1 cup gelatin broth

Ingredients: Broth

  • 2 liters water
  • 1/4 kg chicken neck
  • 1 cup pork fat
  • 1/4 cup bacon, chopped
  • 1 stalk leeks
  • 1 pc thumb-size ginger
  • 1 pack gelatin powder
  • chicken powder or salt, to taste

Procedure: Wrapper

  1. Put flour in a bowl.
  2. Make a well in the middle and pour in boiling water and oil.
  3. Mix with fork until flour is moistened.
  4. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes or until dough is smooth.
  5. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll into logs with 1” diameter. Cut into 3/4” pieces. Flatten and roll out into a circle, about 3” diameter. Make sure to cover dough with towel at all times, to prevent it from drying.

Procedure: Filling

  1. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined.
  2. Store in the chiller until ready to use.

Procedure: Broth

  1. In a soup pot, put in water, chicken neck, pork fat, bacon, leeks and ginger. Boil for 2 hours. Yield will be 2-3 cups.
  2. Season with chicken powder or salt. Add in gelatin and dissolve.
  3. Transfer to a container to cool down.
  4. Store in the chiller until ready to use.

Assembly and Cooking

  1. Remove the gelatinized stock from the fridge or chiller and chop into small pieces as seen in the image above.
  2. Fill a piece of rolled dough with a tablespoon of meat filling and a bit of the chopped gelatinized stock.
  3. Lift edges, and seal in a circular motion with pleats.
  4. After sealing, pinch the top part to seal in all the pleats you’ve made.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Put in containters, with spaces in between.
  7. Store in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before steaming.
  8. To make it firm. Steam for 10-12 minutes or until cooked.

Note: You can keep gelatin stock in the freezer for future use.


Serving Size

Active Time

Total Time

9 Responses

  1. hi! where could i go about finding xiao xing wine? i also live in manila and am dying to try this recipe!! thank you!! – mare

  2. I’ve tasted this one at one of the Chinese Restaurant in Malate, Manila but I didn’t know it’s called Xiao Long Bao. It’s pretty delicious tho.

    1. Hey Althea, thank you for pointing this out and we apologize for the oversight! We updated the procedure already that includes the adding of the broth. Hope this helps! 🙂

      1. You also missed “1 cups pork fat”, “1 stalks leeks” and “floured surfave”. 😀

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