VirginiaLynne has been experimenting in the kitchen for almost 50 years. She loves to share her recipes, cooking tips, and reviews.
Easy Chinese Appetizers
My family loves homemade wontons and potstickers, but we are trying to cut down on fat. So I came up with this recipe that uses no-calorie butter spray instead of oil for both recipes. I've also learned that you can make up meat or vegetable fillings, put them in wonton skins, and cook them as either wontons or potstickers, depending on your mood or what the family feels like eating.
I've also learned that I can freeze a batch to cook later to make a quick snack or as an addition to a homemade or takeout Chinese meal. Decide you want to splurge? You could also cook these in oil if you want a more "authentic" taste. My easy recipe is adaptable for pork, chicken, beef, turkey sausage (a family favorite), or vegetables. I've also included directions on how to make cream cheese wontons and crab rangoons. Yummy!
How to Make Wontons From Leftovers
What I especially love about potstickers and wontons is that they are something you can make from whatever leftover meat and vegetables you happen to have. Generally, I just look around at what I have leftover and mix it together. It takes about two cups of minced vegetables and meat to fill one package of potsticker skins. If I don't have enough, then I fill the rest of the wrappers with cream cheese. Because I can freeze these, I usually have enough for a second meal later, which saves even more time.
Lowfat Meat Potstickers and Wontons
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yield: 54 potstickers
- 1 cup cooked meat (e.g., pork, turkey bacon, chicken, turkey sausage. or ham), chopped or minced
- 1/4 cup medium onion, chopped or minced
- 1 cup vegetables (e.g., zucchini, cabbage, bok choy, water chestnuts, or mushrooms), chopped or minced
- 1 package wonton wraps, square or round
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth, for potstickers only
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 small bowl water
- Homemade or store-bought dipping sauce, for serving (optional)
- Use a knife or a mini-chopper to mince the meat, onion, and vegetables. Put minced items in a bowl and mix them together.
- Optional: You can add a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil, dry bouillon, ginger and/or garlic for more flavor (this also adds sodium and a few more calories)
- Line wonton skins in a row on a flexible cutting board or piece of foil (I usually do 4 rows of 3). Place about 1 teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of each wonton skin.
- Put water in a small bowl. Use a finger to put a little water on two sides of each wonton skin. Fold the skin into a triangle and press down on the edges. Repeat with the remaining skins.
- To cook potstickers: Heat a fry pan on medium. Spray on no-fat cooking spray in the pan. Put potstickers in the pan close together but not touching. Fry until they are lightly brown (about 1 minute). Turn them over and fry the other side the same way. Pour on 1/4-1/2 cup of broth (amount depends on the size of the pan, you should have it about 1/4 inch deep). When the broth comes to a boil, turn the potsticker over and cover the pot.
- For firm potstickers: when the broth has boiled into a thick sauce, lift off the potstickers and serve. These taste great hot or cold. You can add a dipping sauce but they don't really need it.
- For softer potstickers: Add another 1/4 cup broth and cover the pan. The skins will absorb the broth and expand.
- For wontons: Cook the same way as potsticker, but as you turn them, continue to spray with nonfat cooking spray. Press the sides of the wontons down so that they will cook. You will see the skins get small bubbles and get lightly brown and crispy.
- Serve: The potstickers and wontons are great on their own, but you can also serve them with soy sauce, duck sauce, or sweet and sour sauce.
Vegetarian Potstickers and Wontons
If you prefer potstickers or wontons without meat, you can use a variety of vegetables instead. Below are ones that I often use, but any vegetable that you can mince should work.
- 2 to 3 cups vegetables*, minced in a food processor
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry bouillon
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
* Any of the following vegetables work well: cabbage, onion, zucchini. red bell pepper, bean sprouts, mushrooms, celery, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bok choy, or eggplant. Carrots are also good, but be careful not to add too many as they tend to overpower the flavor.)
- In a bowl, combine the minced vegetables with the remaining ingredients. (The remaining ingredients help the vegetables stay together and have a better.)
- Put vegetable filling on the wonton skins, seal, and fry as described in the recipe above. These are also able to be frozen for use later.
Homemade Dipping Sauce Recipe
Making your own homemade dipping sauce is easy, and it really enhances the flavor of the potstickers.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped green onions (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Cream Cheese Wontons and Crab Rangoons
My family loves cream cheese wontons as well as potstickers. You can make these at the same time that you make potstickers, and they freeze just as well. Here is how to do it:
- Make wontons using the instructions above but substituting 1 teaspoon of cream cheese for the filling. Of course, regular cream cheese tastes the best, but low-fat or nonfat has fewer calories. For crab rangoons, mix the cream cheese with an equal mixture of crab meat (real or imitation).
- Heat fry pan on medium and spray generously with nonfat cooking spray. Usually, I like to use butter flavor spray. Put wontons on the pan not quite touching. Spray the tops of the wontons generously with cooking spray.
- Fry until they are lightly brown. Turn and fry the other side. You can spray one more time with cooking spray for a crispier outside. Press down on the sides of the wontons to make sure they are fully cooked (you will see little bubbles appear).
- Drain on paper towels and serve while hot. My kids like to dip them in our homemade dipping sauce, soy sauce, or Kikkoman sweet and sour.
How to Freeze Potstickers and Wontons
Frozen potstickers are great for a quick appetizer or snack. Usually, I have at least one tray to freeze for later when I make a recipe. Here are the steps to freeze potstickers or wontons:
- Place the potstickers on a plastic cutting board or cookie tray covered with foil or parchment paper. You can place them close together but not touching.
- Put in freezer for about 20 minutes or until frozen solid.
- Take them out of the freezer and pop them off the cutting board or foil. Put them in a plastic bag and seal it.
- To use, cook as above. You can make these into fried wontons or potstickers. They take just a little longer to cook and you may want to cover the potstickers with a lid to make sure they do cook through inside.
Our Favorite Store-Bought Dipping Sauces
If you don't have time to make your own sauce or want a variety of tastes, try one of our other favorite dipping sauces:
- Kikkoman Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Panda Express Orange Sauce.
- Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Mustard (or wasabi) mixed with soy sauce
Easy Kids' Recipe
My kids learned to make these potstickers and wontons when they were in elementary school. Because we don't use oil, they can make them more safely. They love seeing the chopper mince everything together and work together to fill the wonton skins while I cook the rest of the dinner. That not only saves me time but teaches them valuable cooking skills!
Daniel Tanner on August 26, 2014:
Daniel: This looks really good! I'm going to have to forward this to my mom because she loves pot stickers. Whenever we go to an Asian restaurant she always orders potstickers.
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 28, 2012:
iguidenetwork--I haven't tried doing fruit won tons--great idea!
Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on December 28, 2012:
Excellent hub Virginia. Low fat comfort food - What a concept! I go crazy when I hear a diet guru extolling the virtues of raw carrots - Ho Hum. Voted up and useful.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 28, 2012:
i love wanton wraps. Some are cook in soups and fried. I prefer fried, crispy and crunchy. Goes well with chillie sauce. Nice recipe. Will bookmark until i get my wanton wrappers. Voted up
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on December 28, 2012:
Great recipe! And sounds really easy as kids can also make them. I also like your wonderful vegetarian ideas as well.
I think wonton wrappers are also good for sweets too, particularly with fruits. Like fritters but inside the wrappers. And then dust them with sugar after getting them out of the pan.
Voted up and useful. :)
Virginia Kearney (author) from United States on December 27, 2012:
Hi Carol--I usually find them in the fresh vegetables section near the tofu. I live Millonaire Tips idea of using tofu inside the pot stickers--I'm going to try that!
carol stanley from Arizona on December 27, 2012:
I need to find these little wrapper gems. I like the idea you can make them totally vegetarian..though I am not one. Thanks for sharing this. Voting UP and pinning.
Shasta Matova from USA on December 27, 2012:
I found where the store was keeping these wrappers (next to the tofu in the health food section), and they looked so great I bought some. When I was wondering what to do with them. I used tofu crumbles and cabbage and they turned out awesome. It is great to now have additional ingredients I can use to make more. They are a lot of fun and a great change from the usual. Voted up.