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Are Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings fully cooked?

Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are a popular frozen food item at the grocery store chain. The dumplings are filled with chicken and vegetables in a broth. On the packaging, they are labeled as “fully cooked,” which leads consumers to wonder – are Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings ready to eat straight from the freezer? Or do they require additional cooking for food safety? This article will examine if Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are already fully cooked when purchased frozen, if they need to be heated or cooked further before eating, and provide cooking instructions and food safety tips.

Are the dumplings pre-cooked?

Yes, Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are fully cooked when purchased frozen. The dumplings are prepared and cooked at a manufacturing facility before being frozen and packaged for sale at Trader Joe’s stores.

This means the raw chicken and vegetables stuffed inside the dumpling wrappers are already cooked through when you buy them frozen. You do not need to cook the dumplings from scratch as you would with raw dumpling dough.

Why are they labeled as fully cooked?

The Trader Joe’s packaging states the dumplings are “fully cooked” for an important reason – food safety regulations. Pre-cooked, frozen foods sold at grocery stores must be cooked to safe minimum internal temperatures during manufacturing.

For chicken dumplings, the safe minimum cooking temperature is 165°F. This ensures any potential foodborne pathogens like salmonella are killed before freezing.

By labeling the dumplings as pre-cooked, Trader Joe’s is indicating to consumers that the product has already been heat treated to a safe temperature.

Food safety standards

Frozen food manufacturers must follow strict USDA and FDA food safety guidelines. Here are some of the required steps Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings go through before being frozen:

  • The raw chicken filling is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • The vegetable fillings are also cooked to safe minimums – 165°F for potatoes, 135°F for vegetables.
  • The dumpling wrappers are heated until steaming hot.
  • The dumplings are immediately individually frozen to 0°F or below.
  • The frozen dumplings are stored and transported at 0°F until sold.

Following proper frozen food safety protocols ensures the dumplings are safe to eat directly from the freezer.

Do they need to be cooked more before eating?

While Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are pre-cooked, they are still frozen solid when purchased. For best texture and flavor, the dumplings do need to be heated up until piping hot before eating.

So while additional cooking is not required for food safety, thoroughly heating the frozen dumplings makes them edible and more enjoyable.

Here are some tips for heating up the frozen soup dumplings:


Microwaving is the fastest and easiest way to heat up a few frozen dumplings:

  • Remove desired number of dumplings from bag.
  • Place on a microwave-safe plate, leaving space between each.
  • Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until hot throughout.
  • Check temperature before eating.

The dumplings may start to split and leak broth when microwaved. Be careful when removing from the microwave as the hot liquid inside can burn.


Steaming is a gentle heating method that keeps the dumplings intact. Follow these instructions:

  • Bring a steamer pot or bamboo steamer with water to a boil.
  • Carefully place frozen dumplings in steamer basket, not touching.
  • Steam covered for 6-8 minutes until heated through.
  • Check internal temperature to ensure they are hot enough to eat.

The dumplings will be heated without splitting open when steamed. The broth inside stays contained.


You can also simmer the frozen dumplings in broth, soup, or sauce:

  • Add dumplings to a simmering broth or sauce.
  • Gently simmer uncovered for 6-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Simmer just until the dumplings are hot all the way through.
  • Serve in bowls with broth.

This cooking method allows you to infuse more flavor into the dumplings. Just avoid boiling them vigorously to prevent splitting.

Pan frying

For crispy texture, pan fry the soup dumplings:

  • Add 1 tsp oil to a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Place dumplings flat in pan and cook 2 minutes per side until browned.
  • Steam the pan covered for 5 minutes to heat through.

The dumpling skins will become golden brown and crispy when pan fried. Use oil with high smoke point like avocado or grapeseed.

Safe Internal Temperatures

Regardless of cooking method, it is important the dumplings reach the safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F before eating. Use a food thermometer to take the temperature in thickest part.

This ensures any areas that may still be partially frozen are fully reheated. Check temperature in a few dumplings to account for uneven heating.

Microwaving, steaming, simmering, or pan frying the frozen dumplings to 165°F internal temperature makes them safe to eat while also improving the texture.

Reheating Leftovers

For any uneaten dumplings you want to save as leftovers, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days. Reheat to 165°F before serving again.

Do not leave dumplings or any leftovers at room temperature over 2 hours. Toss any dumplings that have been left out too long.

Storage and Shelf Life

Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings come frozen in resealable plastic bags. Follow these storage guidelines:

  • Store unopened dumpling bags flat in the freezer at 0°F or below.
  • Use frozen dumplings within the “best by” date on the packaging.
  • Once opened, reseal bag tightly and use within 1-2 months for best quality.
  • Do not refreeze dumplings after they have thawed.

The dumplings will maintain top quality when kept continuously frozen. If thawed in the refrigerator, use within 1-2 days.

Freezer Burn

To prevent freezer burn, limit exposure to air during storage. Keep the dumpling bags sealed tightly. Pack in an airtight freezer container if storing for longer periods.

Signs of freezer burn include dried out spots, changes in color, or off smells and flavors. Dumplings with mild freezer burn are still safe to eat but quality may be lower. Discard severely freezer burned dumplings.

Nutrition Information

Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are a relatively healthy meal or snack option. Here is the nutrition information per serving (4 dumplings):

Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories 140
Total Fat 3.5g
Sodium 520mg
Total Carbohydrates 19g
Protein 9g

Each serving provides 20% of the daily value for protein. They are low in saturated fat and high in vitamin C.

The main nutritional considerations are the high sodium content and refined carbohydrates from the white flour dumpling wrappers. Overall, the frozen dumplings can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation.

Cost Comparison

Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings provide an affordable alternative to takeout dumplings from restaurants. Here’s how the cost compares:

Dumplings Price
Trader Joe’s Chicken Soup Dumplings $3.99 for 15 pieces
Takeout Soup Dumplings $6-12 for 6-10 pieces

Buying frozen allows you to stock up on multiple packages. And cooking at home avoids delivery fees and tips from ordering takeout.

The convenience and low cost make Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings a budget-friendly meal option.

Taste Test Results

Overall, shoppers seem very satisfied with the flavor of Trader Joe’s fully cooked chicken soup dumplings:

  • They have a 4 out of 5 star average rating on the Trader Joe’s website based on over 100 customer reviews.
  • The most common positive reviews cite the juicy chicken filling, savory broth, and tender dumpling skin.
  • Some reviewers say the chicken filling tastes similar to the soup inside xiaolongbao dumplings.
  • Most negative reviews mention the filling can be a bit dense or doughy compared to restaurant dumplings.
  • Many reviewers loved eating the dumplings straight from the microwave or served in broth.

While they may not be quite as delicate as gourmet soup dumplings, the Trader Joe’s version still delivers on flavor for the low price. Following the proper cooking instructions helps achieve the best texture too.

Chicken Soup Dumpling Recipes

Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings are pre-seasoned with a simple savory flavor. You can also use the fully cooked dumplings in recipes to add more complex layers of taste:

Chicken Dumpling Noodle Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz pad thai rice noodles
  • 6 Trader Joe’s chicken dumplings
  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  1. In a pot, combine broth, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add noodles and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add dumplings, cabbage and carrot. Simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Top with green onions.

This quick noodle soup lets the pre-cooked dumplings shine in an easy broth-based dish.

Sesame Chicken Soup Dumplings

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 12 Trader Joe’s chicken dumplings
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ginger and garlic in a bowl.
  2. Place dumplings in a skillet with sauce mixture. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes turning occasionally until heated through.
  3. Remove dumplings to a serving bowl. Drizzle with remaining sauce.
  4. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

The sesame glaze gives the chicken dumplings tons of added flavor. Serve as an appetizer or main dish.


Trader Joe’s chicken soup dumplings deliver satisfying flavor and tender wrappers at a budget price point. While they are fully cooked when frozen for safety, properly heating them before eating improves the texture greatly. Microwaving or steaming are easy ways to make this freezer convenience food taste like fresh dumplings. With creative seasonings and additions, the pre-cooked chicken dumplings can be used to upgrade any soup, noodle dish or appetizer.