Holding and serving steamed dumplings at buffet

Joined Sep 6, 2012
I'd like to serve steamed dumplings at an upcoming buffet, though I'm not sure of the best way to put them on the buffet without ending up with either overcooked dumplings or a sticky mess. I could easily put them into a chafer, but I expect they will stick together and become a mess. I could put them in a bamboo steamer, but Im concerned that the tower of steamer trays will be unwieldy and messy, plus continually steaming them might overcook the dumplings. Obviously, we can serve a small amount at a time placed far apart on chafer trays, and continually refresh, but the reality is that we can't likely put enough out that we won't be refreshing immediately. How about steaming them and tossing in oil, would that prevent sticking?

Anyone with experience?
Joined May 5, 2010
I have experience with this. I worked Polish food buffets and roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut were always on the menu. I buttered a folded piece of parchment and laid it in the chaffing dish. Brushed a bit more and then laid the dumplings down. Only one layer. I tried shingling them but they stuck. I used only one Sterno underneath as both of them were too much.
Changed the pan frequently, but at least I served a better product.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I worked with breakfast items everyday in a steam table. When I held some of the items I needed to use a buffer so the steam hitting the bottom of the 2" full pan wouldn't over heat and hurt the quality of the item. What you want to try to accomplish is to get heat and steam without intense heat hitting the bottom of the pan. I have used a piece of cardboard with a piece of parchment paper on a wire rack in a 2" pan to hold delicate items. You could also spray the parchment paper with a non stick spray. When I did catered buffets and had delicate items I would have someone serve up to the guests. If you have a line attendant they can alert the buffet runner to replenish the dumpling pan as needed. Good Luck.........ChefBillyB
Joined Sep 6, 2012
So things worked out pretty well for us. We started with 'lightly' steamed dumplings, in other words, we didnt steam them until they were completely mush. Next, we lined a hotel pan with a single piece of cardboard, which was wrapped in aluminum foil. This provided slight insulation so the dumplings wouldnt stick to the hot pan. The foil was sprayed with non-stick and we put a single layer of product on top. Then we gave a sheet of wax paper a quick non-stick spray on both sides and and used it as a separator for the second layer. The food stayed, hot, relatively moist and in good condition.

Thanks for those who offered great advice.

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