Are Soup Dumplings Healthy? A Detailed Look

Soup dumplings, also known as xiaolongbao, are a popular dim sum dish, especially in places like Shanghai. With a thin wrapper and piping hot broth inside, they are certainly delicious. But many people wonder, with all that oil and salt, are soup dumplings actually healthy?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Soup dumplings can be a healthy food choice in moderation. While the dumplings themselves tend to be high in calories, sodium, and fat, the filling ingredients like pork, cabbage, scallions, and ginger have nutritional value.

Eating a few dumplings while balancing them with vegetables and whole grains can fit into a balanced diet.

In this comprehensive article, we will analyze the nutritional content of soup dumplings, compare them to other dim sum dishes, look at healthier soup dumpling options, and provide tips for enjoying them as part of balanced eating. Read on for the full story!

Nutritional Content of Soup Dumplings

Calories and Macros

Soup dumplings, also known as xiaolongbao, are a popular Chinese dish that consists of a thin dough wrapper filled with flavorful soup and meat or vegetable filling. While they are undeniably delicious, many people wonder about their nutritional value.

When it comes to calories and macros, soup dumplings can vary depending on the filling and size. On average, a typical soup dumpling contains around 40-80 calories. The filling can consist of pork, chicken, beef, or vegetables, providing a source of protein.

The dough wrapper is usually made from flour, water, and sometimes oil, contributing to the carbohydrate content.

It’s important to note that the cooking method can also affect the nutritional content. Steaming is the most common method for cooking soup dumplings, which means they are not fried and generally have less fat content compared to other dumpling varieties.


Soup dumplings can provide some essential micronutrients. The filling often includes vegetables, such as cabbage or mushrooms, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These nutrients play a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being.

Additionally, the broth inside the dumpling is often flavorful and can be made from bone broth, which contains collagen, a protein known for its potential benefits for skin, hair, and joint health.

While soup dumplings can offer some micronutrients, it’s important to remember that they should not be relied upon as a sole source of nutrition. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet is essential for a balanced and nutritious eating plan.

Portion Size Matters

When it comes to soup dumplings, portion size matters. While they can be a tasty treat, it’s important to be mindful of the quantity consumed. Too many soup dumplings can lead to consuming excess calories and potentially unhealthy amounts of sodium.

One way to enjoy soup dumplings while keeping portion sizes in check is to pair them with a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. This can help balance the meal and provide additional nutrients.

Remember, moderation is key when it comes to any food, including soup dumplings. Enjoying them occasionally as part of a well-rounded diet can be a delightful and satisfying experience.

Comparison to Other Dim Sum Dishes

Soup Dumplings vs Siu Mai

When it comes to comparing soup dumplings and siu mai, both are popular dim sum dishes, but they have some key differences. Siu mai is a type of Chinese dumpling that is typically made with ground pork, shrimp, and mushrooms. It is usually wrapped in a thin dough and steamed.

While siu mai can be a delicious and satisfying choice, it is often higher in fat and calories compared to soup dumplings.

According to a study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, siu mai contains an average of 120 calories per serving, with 6 grams of fat. On the other hand, soup dumplings contain about 80-100 calories per serving, with 2-3 grams of fat.

One of the reasons soup dumplings have fewer calories and less fat is because they are traditionally made with a thinner dough, which reduces the overall calorie and fat content. Additionally, the filling of soup dumplings often consists of a flavorful broth and a small amount of meat, which helps to keep the calorie count lower compared to siu mai.

Soup Dumplings vs Spring Rolls

Another popular dim sum dish to compare with soup dumplings is spring rolls. Spring rolls are typically made with a thin rice paper wrapper filled with vegetables, meat, or seafood. They are then deep-fried until crispy.

While spring rolls can be a tasty treat, they are generally higher in calories and fat compared to soup dumplings.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a typical spring roll contains about 160-200 calories and 8-10 grams of fat per serving. In comparison, soup dumplings have about 80-100 calories and 2-3 grams of fat per serving.

The higher calorie and fat content in spring rolls is mainly due to the deep-frying process, which adds extra oil and increases the overall calorie count. In contrast, soup dumplings are typically steamed, which helps to retain more of the nutrients and reduces the need for added oil.

Other Healthy Dim Sum Choices

While soup dumplings can be a healthier option compared to siu mai and spring rolls, there are other dim sum choices that are even more nutritious. Here are a few examples:

  • Steamed Vegetable Dumplings: These dumplings are usually made with a mixture of finely chopped vegetables and are steamed to perfection. They are low in calories and fat, making them a great choice for those looking for a healthier dim sum option.
  • Steamed Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow): Har gow is a classic dim sum dish made with a thin dumpling wrapper filled with shrimp. It is steamed and typically has a lower calorie and fat content compared to other fried dim sum dishes.
  • Steamed Chicken Feet: While it may not be for everyone, steamed chicken feet are a popular dim sum dish that is rich in collagen and protein. They are often seasoned with flavorful spices and herbs, making them a unique and nutritious choice.

It’s worth noting that portion sizes and cooking methods can also affect the overall nutritional content of dim sum dishes. It’s always a good idea to enjoy dim sum in moderation and balance your choices with a variety of healthier options.

For more information on the nutritional content of dim sum dishes, you can visit websites such as Nutritionix or FatSecret.

Healthier Soup Dumpling Options

When it comes to soup dumplings, many people wonder if they can enjoy this delicious treat while still maintaining a healthy diet. The good news is that there are several healthier options when it comes to soup dumplings.

By making a few simple choices, you can indulge in this flavorful dish without compromising your health goals.

Chicken, Shrimp or Vegetable Fillings

One way to make soup dumplings healthier is by choosing fillings that are lower in fat and calories. Opting for chicken, shrimp, or vegetable fillings can provide a lighter and leaner alternative to traditional pork fillings.

These options not only add variety to your meal but also provide essential nutrients and vitamins. Additionally, these fillings offer a great flavor profile that complements the broth inside the dumpling.

Whole Wheat Wrappers

Another way to make soup dumplings healthier is by using whole wheat wrappers instead of traditional white flour wrappers. Whole wheat wrappers are higher in fiber and contain more nutrients compared to their refined flour counterparts.

They can help you feel fuller for longer and provide a healthier alternative to processed ingredients. Whole wheat wrappers also add a nutty flavor that pairs well with the savory filling and the broth.

Steamed vs Fried

When it comes to cooking methods, steamed soup dumplings are a healthier option compared to fried ones. Steaming helps retain the nutrients in the ingredients and minimizes the amount of added fat. Fried dumplings, on the other hand, absorb more oil during the cooking process, making them higher in calories and unhealthy fats.

By choosing steamed soup dumplings, you can enjoy all the flavors and textures without the guilt.

Tips for Enjoying Soup Dumplings in a Balanced Diet

Soup dumplings, also known as xiao long bao, are a popular Chinese dish that is loved by many. These delectable treats are filled with juicy meat and a flavorful broth, making them a favorite among dumpling enthusiasts. But are soup dumplings healthy?

Let’s take a detailed look at some tips for enjoying soup dumplings in a balanced diet.

Choose Steamed Dumplings

When it comes to soup dumplings, the cooking method can make a difference in their nutritional value. Opting for steamed dumplings instead of fried ones can be a healthier choice. Steamed dumplings are cooked without oil, reducing the amount of fat and calories in the dish.

This way, you can still enjoy the deliciousness of soup dumplings without the guilt.

Watch Your Portion Size

Soup dumplings can be quite filling, and it’s easy to overindulge in them. To maintain a balanced diet, it’s important to watch your portion size. Instead of ordering a large plate of soup dumplings, consider sharing it with a friend or ordering a smaller portion.

This way, you can satisfy your cravings without overloading on calories.

Pair with Nutrient-Rich Sides

While soup dumplings may not be the most nutritious food on their own, you can make them a part of a balanced meal by pairing them with nutrient-rich sides. Consider adding a side of steamed vegetables or a fresh salad to your meal.

This will not only enhance the nutritional value of your meal but also add some variety to your plate.

Balance with Other Food Groups

When enjoying soup dumplings, it’s essential to balance them with other food groups. Make sure your meal includes a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Including foods like lean meats, whole grains, and healthy oils can help create a well-rounded and nutritious meal.

Enjoy Moderately

While soup dumplings are delicious, it’s important to enjoy them in moderation. It’s alright to indulge in your favorite dumplings occasionally, but eating them as a regular part of your diet may not be the healthiest choice.

Balance is key, so enjoy your soup dumplings in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.


While soup dumplings are high in calories, sodium, and fat compared to some other foods, they can still be incorporated into a healthy diet. Choosing lighter fillings, opting for steamed over fried, and balancing them out with vegetables, whole grains and lean protein are all smart strategies.

At the end of the day, we should enjoy our favorite foods in moderation as part of an overall balanced approach to eating. Soup dumplings are no exception. With some mindful adjustments to fillings, cooking methods and portion sizes, we can continue to savor these special delicious dumplings as part of healthy lifestyle.

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