Russian holodets. Jellied minced meat.

Holodets or Jellied minced meat

Have you ever heard about Russian Holodets” {kholoudets}? Usually each Russian family is cooking it at the New Year holidays, it’s some kind of a tradition to make the following 3 dishes on the New Year’s eve, these are “Holodets“,Olivier salad (the Russian a bit specific version of it), and “Seledka pod Shuboi”{s’eelyodka} {po’d} {shoo’boy} smth like that I guess, salad which literally means “Herring Under The Fur Coat” or Dressed Herring. Sounds a bit funny, right? OK, come back to our Holodets! We eat it with strong Russian horseradish sauce, vinegar, mustard (it’s much bitter than Dijon). Well, it’s very simple to cook and simply delicious! It takes about 6-7 hours from the beginning to the end, but ..STOP! C’mon! I see now you are telling me “WHAT THE..?” Just take a look at the picture listed below,  don’t you think this beauty doesn’t worth it? It’s VERY tasty, I promise! The texture of it is like a small pieces of meat in a cold jelly. Try to cook it once with me and I’m sure you’ll never be disappointed!

Russian holodets

Russian holodets

Let’s start cooking this simple traditional Russian cold dish, do you remember the name of it? Well, never mind.  :) I’m pretty sure you’re still thinking about 6-7 hours of standing by your kitchen table. Actually, it’s not true and it isn’t too long either. Let me explain you why. Almost all 6 hours it’s boiling in a low heat by itself, all you need is just to put all things together to cold water and leave, than spend couple of minutes to finish some things and that’s it! Don’t forget to have fun!

First of all you need to buy 2-4 knuckles and wash them thoroughly!

dirty knuckles

dirty knuckles

wash them thoroughly

wash them thoroughly

be carefully with a knife

be carefully with a knife

when you are satisfied with theirs cleanness, take a big and sharp knife and make a double shallow notch on each knuckle on two side peaces as shown in the picture

notch each knuckle

notch each knuckle

If you don’t like how they smells, put them in a water with a bit vinegar for a couple of minutes. When all knuckles are clean, notched and smells nice put them in a pot and cover by cold water. When it starts to boil, pour it out, clean knuckles and the pot. Put knuckles into pot and add cold water (I added 4 liters*, but it depends on the amount of holodets).  Then leave it on a low heat for 4 hours.

*4 liters = 135.3 fl.oz or 141 oz or 8.454 pt

put knuckles into cold water

put knuckles into cold water and cook for 4 hours on a low heat

4 hours passed… great! Now you can add a piece of beef into the pot if you like, if you don’t have it or do not like beef just do not add it, it’s not a big deal. I added a small piece of beef, 1,5 table spoon of a salt (add salt by taste), 4 berries of black pepper, bay leaves and 1 unpeeled onion. Cook 2 more hours.

After 6 hours you should have smth like this

6 hours passed

6 hours passed

6 hours passed! Awesome! Knuckles should be boiled soft

knuckles should be boiled soft

knuckles should be boiled soft

Take all the ingredients out of the pot

take all ingredients out

take all ingredients out

throw away the onion, black pepper peas and bay leaves. Remove all small bones from the knuckles and dice the meat. Use tools! :)

dice meat

diced meat

and spread out in a set of dishes

spread out in a set of dishes

spread out in a set of dishes

Finally cover the meat by the remain broth and put into the fridge to thicken. That’s it!

Holodets is ready! All you need is to add some mustard or vinegar!

Holodets is ready! All you need is to add some mustard or vinegar!

p.s. American recipes are my new passion! I invite you to share it with me. I’ve just joined Secret Recipe Forum and bought a really interesting and useful resource – Cook book collection with Restaurants recipes, it’s called America’s Secret Recipes. If you like and enjoy food like i do – you should give it a try. Really nice community to be with!

pelmeni recipe


  1. says

    Thank you very much! I’m trying to update my blog every day! Please ask if you have any questions or “need more Russian!”

  2. says

    to Elaine – The Gourmet Girl

    this recipe is really easy to cook but a bit hard to explain “how to”, it has some…. hm.. secrets, you know. I hope step by step photos should help.

  3. says

    to Rachel ‘Tha Pizza Cutta’ Joyce

    thank you very much, hope you’ll try to cook holodets by yourself some day!

  4. Tallya says

    Dharma, I come from a Russian family but am personally grossed out by the pig feet. The concept is awesome though. What I do is simmer meat (chicken, lamb, or beef usually) for at least an hour with the onion and bay leaves and salt. Then I take out the meat, shred it, put it into bowls along with some sliced boiled carrots and fresh dill for presentation. Mix some unflavored jelatin into the broth (read jelatin package for liquid to jelatin ratio) let it dissolve and pour over meat. You might want to pour a bit on the bottom of the bowl before placing meat and vegetables and refrigirate until set to keep everything at the bottom of the bowl after you put the rest of the broth in, otherwise it floats to the top, which is fine as well. It tastes good after it is set. I see how salty jello might sound really weird but this is actually really good and you’ll forget you’re eating jello. Try it! Email me and let me know how it was if you do decide to try it, my way or not :)

  5. says

    My grandmother used to make something similar to this with beef bones. When I was a kid I used to eat it with lemon juice on top.
    .-= Rachel @ Flavorwave Oven´s last blog ..Neckline Slimmer Reviews =-.

  6. says

    Great recipe but I really don’t like pork. Will try the same for lamb meat. I guess lamb is much more tender so will take a lesser time. Very nicely explained with pictures.
    .-= Mayers@kitchen tables´s last blog ..Pine kitchen table =-.

  7. John Prescott says

    The knuckles are scary. It took me a few second to digest the fact that those are pig’s knuckles, I was like “Ohhhh wtf is this?!”. I used to eat the salmon version of this. I think they are called aspic.

  8. says

    In our village (which is in Kerala, Southern state of India) we won’t even consume pork. The holodets is looking like a sweet item for me. @John Prescott, For me also the knucles of pig looks scary. But i think it’s very tasty :)

  9. says

    thanks for the amazing post :) the recipe is great as well but it is the picture view of cleaning n cooking up knuckles which make it look sooo easy. BTW i have always detested working with knuckles. but this one makes me inspired :)

  10. says

    I am a chef in my own restaurant diner. I am very fond of updates on latest delicacies and menus of foreign category for me. As I am reading and watching this post’s message and pictures, I am thrilled to try this one out and serve it to my own resto. I really am grateful for this post and am thanking the author who posted this one.

  11. diane says

    loved your post. I also love meat jelly and make it all the time with beef bones and chicken. So many uses …This is most important – it is super good for your health. minerals by the millions. Keep pushing it. Diane

  12. Alexander says

    Guys, you don’t have to use pork knuckles. You may use any parts of a cow (bones-joints, part of a head, and then discard it) which produce a real natural gelatin. (Of course you can use gelatin from the store but the dish won’t be that tasty.) You can test the stock by dipping your fingers into the stock (it’s hot!!!). If your fingers are sticking to each other and you have to make an effort to separate them, that means the stock is good and in some hours it will turn into a nice tasty transparent aspic. Yes, it goes gorgeous with vinegar, horse raddish,.. well mustard’s ok. If you want to know some more little secrets (nuances of taste, presentation), e-mail me

  13. Sergey says

    I make it in pressure cooker. 2 hours for pork or cow feet,
    then add turkey throat and/or pork hocks and/or not-so-tender beef and flavorings,
    close and cook another 2 hours.
    In Russia we used pork head, but I cannot find it here.

  14. Chrystina says

    I am Russian myself. I’m 16 years old and I already know how to make a lot of Russian food. It’s very exciting to learn from my Aunt and my mom. Things I need to know how to make, so that when I marry I’ll cook for my kids and husband. Of course some of it is hard to make. This holodets was easy!! (: We made it with beef and chicken. Very yummy, my dad loves it. We can’t get enough of holodets. Lol, But I also love making pelmei! I remeber doing it, a few years ago. My sisters, my mom and my brother all were doing it. We made a lot, and then froze the extra we made. After 4 hours, we could relax and enjoy it (: I love Russian culture A lot.

  15. Xosgul says

    Leila, Thank you for the recipe. I tried holodets for the first time during a trip to Saint Petersburg over ten years ago. Honestly, it was so new to me that I didn’t enjoy it. Since then, I have eaten this dish in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. Now, I love holodets! I was looking for a recipe and found your blog. I also like the riba farshinoviya dish around the holidays. Thanks again.

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