Russian pelmeni recipe

by Lelik on July 29, 2009

in Meat


You must be heard from your Russian friends that cooking traditional Russian pelmeni is more pain than a satisfaction.  But that’s not true. Russian pelmeni recipe involves only 2 steps: making the dough and making the filling. Well, assembling pelmeni is also a big step, but very interesting. Do not believe if anyone says that molding pelmeni is a pretty tedious business! It’s all about to having fun! Time-honored tradition of making pelmeni gathers all family members around the table and makes the process cooperative and interesting often accompanied by hours of songs and stories. Pelmeni can be bought pre-made in the freezer section of any Russian supermarket. They are a hearty meal that cooks quickly and easily, but most Russians still prefer the tradition of making them by hand, and Russian housewives consider it a question of honor to do so. Moreover the taste of home-made pelmeni is absolutely different. Anyway pelmeni are tasty and a true taste of Russia.



Now you have a chance to take a liking to pelmeni just following my Russian pelmeni recipe.

Russian pelmeni recipe:

Step one. Dough

To make dough we need

210 ml cold water

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

400 gram flour

I always make dough in a bread maker, it does a great job of making dough, it’s very simple and doesn’t take more than a 20 minutes. Bread maker makes the exact consistence of dough we need to cook a good pelmeni. Very elastic, soft but not too sticky. If you don’t have bread maker sift the flour into a table. Make a dimple in the top and crack the egg into that. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Adding the cold water gradually, knead the dough vigorously 15-20 minutes.



dough in section

dough in section

Step two. Filling.

0.5 lb beef ground

0.5 lb pork ground

1 middle onion

Salt, pepper, spices by taste

Pelmeni filling consists of ground beef and pork mixed with ground or grated onion, salt and pepper. I prefer to add 1 chopped clove of garlic. Combine all ingredients and filling is ready.

making filling

making filling

filling is ready

filling is ready

Assembling pelmeni.

My favorite part! Cut the dough into 2 pieces, one piece cover with something (kitchen towel, bowl) or wrap in a plastic bag otherwise the dough will dry up.  Roll the dough into a long “snake” one inch in diameter. Cut the dough at one-inch intervals and roll the pieces out into circles using floured rolling pin 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch thick. Place a teaspoon of the meat filling in the center and fold the dough over, pinching edges firmly to completely seal each pelmen into a small packet. There should be no holes in the dough to preserve the flavor and consistency of the meat inside. Than pinch 2 sides of pelmen to get the final shape. I hope it would be much easier to follow step by step photo Russian pelmeni recipe than read this one!

making a snake

making a snake

dough snake

dough snake

cut the snake

cut the snake

snake pieces

snake pieces

before rolling

before rolling





put a teaspoon filling

put a teaspoon filling

filling pelmeni

filling pelmeni

pinching edges

pinching edges

pelmeni final shape

pelmeni final shape

all guys are ready

all guys are ready


If dough circles are still available and the filling comes to an end I also boil the circles without filling. They are too good with a sour cream to through them out.

The final step is boiling.

Boil a generous amount of water with 1-2 tsp. salt. Drop enough pelmeni into the boiling water. They are ready to eat when they floating to the top for 3-4 minutes and stay there. Take pelmeni out using skimmer.  Add 1-2 teaspoon butter. Serve with a sour cream. If you did everything right each pelmen should look as shown in the picture, without holes and with a drop of delicious broth inside. Yummy!

boiling pelmeni

boiling pelmeni

hot and ready

hot and ready

boiled pelmeni

boiled pelmeni

From this amount of ingredients there should be 30-40 pelmeni, 3-4 servings.  But traditionally we make 100-150 pelmeni and keep them frozen over time so if you plan to store your pelmeni, freeze them uncooked.

Buy the way, you would like to have a proper book with Pelemi recipe as well as Russian recipes, i would recommend you to check the books below. I have all of them!

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

If you enjoy this site, please subscribe to my

Related posts:

  1. cottage cheese pancakes recipe
  2. Hachapuri. Cheesy boats

{ 1 trackback }
August 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

leonardo from consultoria de qualidade June 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Wall delicious, but surely it must be very different from Brazilian food and seasoning.
I will surely experience a day, maybe I can surpreeender

Rob from Spongebob Costume June 24, 2010 at 11:13 pm

They look just like Ravioli’s! The filling looks almost like a meatball style mixture…very appealing indeed.
Rob @ Spongebob Costume´s last [type] ..About Us

Peter July 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Thanks for the authentic recipe!

My family uses up some extra dough – every time – to make “special” pelmeni for the kids, which don’t have the meat, instead a nugget of dough inside. The kids don’t see the difference, but when it’s time to dish them out, you can make sure they go to the right plates. When the kids complain, we always tell the story about why they are lucky: so many of our family and friends didn’t have anything to eat during famine, war, exile and gulags, and they would have been very glad to have one of the special ones. Food is still precious, still a thing of love, and something worth talking about.

My little branch of the family doesn’t add garlic (or use pork because of a little jewishness in the family tree), but we do add vinegar to the smetana, as well as salt and pepper. Some of my more exotic cousins whose family lived for a few generations in China and Japan use smetana and soya sauce, and add chives or even chilli peppers and ginger to the meat.

One of my great uncles who was interned in Japan during WW2 even sometimes cooked his like Japanese gyoza, by filling a frypan with water to half the pelmeni height and a adding a little oil – they were done when they had steamed and fried.

You can imagine the heated conversations around the table in Melbourne, Australia or Renne, France or Amsterdam, Netherlands, or Da Nang, Vietnam when the cousins get together to make pelmeni for a birthday or New Years party, about what goes in them, how they are to be cooked and what condiments need to be on the table! (We all agree about vodka though!)

Thanks for your lovely recipes!

John Prescott July 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Haha nice recipe! I never really made my own pelmeni, usually bought the ready made one. Anyway, I am soooo gonna try making some one day!

wilma from external cd dvd drive July 9, 2010 at 4:43 am

Sounds good, but What would be your seasoning for this recipe? And how does the pelmeni differs from shumai of Chinese? I love those dumplings and maybe one of this days, I’ll try your recipe.

epoxy flooring July 12, 2010 at 7:55 am

Hi! it is really a nice dish.Pelmeni, a sort of little boiled pasties, is favorite Russian food. It’s a kind of snack (you can buy them in the shops, but it’s nothing comparing to home-made version).

ornela from cheap host July 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

it looks like tortelini, but it seems to be a little bit bigger than tortellini.

cosplay July 31, 2010 at 5:15 am

Hi! it is really a nice dish.Pelmeni, a sort of little boiled pasties, is favorite Russian food. It’s a kind of snack (you can buy them in the shops, but it’s nothing comparing to home-made version). August 3, 2010 at 5:10 am

These look great. You make them so fancy. I usually use my pelmeni mold for these. Great pictures!! I posted a basic dough recipe but have yet to post the pelmeni filling. I mix pork and turkey meat, add a dash of tobasco, s&p and sauteed onion. It turns out awesome!!´s last [type] ..Biskvit Russian Cake Recipe

Vsevalod August 9, 2010 at 12:07 am

Very good with Butter, Lemon and Garlic

Mike from Spice Reviews August 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Thanks! But I’m really gonna try them fried. Is there any difference in meat-and-dough preparation in this case?
Mike Reviews´s last [type] ..Inked Chick Of The Year Award – Round 7

Kate from wedding photography sarasota August 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Another mouth watery recipe. I will surely try this one. Another healthy food we can cook for the family. This is also great for all occasions.

Patricia Herndon August 15, 2010 at 5:42 am

I have searched and found my mother’s true russian recipe. Thank you!

Karl from weddings August 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Pelmeni belong to the family of dumplings, and are related to Ukrainian vareniki and Polish pierogi – a variety of dumpling filled with mashed potatoes or cottage cheese.

Chris August 28, 2010 at 2:32 am

To make it a bit more interesting. Try using one box of chicken stock and one box of beef stock, 2 cups water, onion powder and garlic powder to taste and a few chili flakes and bring to boil. When you serve the bowls add cut green scallions to taste and a good dumpling sauce (mild or hot) also adds a nice touch. I have not had them any other way and I am addicted to having them as much as possible. Of course I am lucky there is one “Russian Grocery Store” that carries them homemade and others that are similar in the bag “russian ravioli”. Also if you make them by scratch try using a bit more pork then beef.

anan from Yacht Directory September 2, 2010 at 11:34 am

What an amazing recipe! Its best for big festivals when you have friends and family around to appreciate your hard work.

Henry Sentosa September 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Great recipes with step by step pictures!

I also heard that Pilmeni basic dough is made of flour and fresh milk instead of flour and water…. anyone could help me to share if this information was right or not

Irina September 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm

2 Henry Sentosa: Im russian and Ive never heard before about milk dough for pelmeni. Youve probably mixed it up with the dough for bliny, another russian dish, pretty good also, but very differ. Btw, this is really authentic and pretty good recipe for pelmeni! Im going to the kitchen right now!

Beachbody Coach September 17, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Looks delicious. I have got to try this. Looks kind of like gnocci.
Beachbody Coach´s last [type] ..I Finished P90X Can I become a Beachbody Coach-P90X Coach

ludmila September 28, 2010 at 1:08 am

Thank you very much for a wonderful recipe and very useful pictures…. Pelmeni is my family best choice for dinner ,especially in cold winter days. My sons like to use butter, black pepper and a little bit of vinegar on a top of a hot steamy ”mountain” of their pelmeni. Almost everybody who tried this old traditional Russian food just once gets addicted to it right away… Usually Russians get together on Friday or Saturday evening [ members of the family, circle of close friends,etc.] and,while making pelmeni, they talk, discuss latest news and even sing… so , it looks more like a social event!!! Very often after making pelmeni people go to bathe in their own”Russian banya”[ a spesial steamy room with a little pool outsibe the house] and only then, clean and relaxed , they enjoy well deserved meal… ah, do I miss all that !!! P.S. I do know some people mix pork, beef and ground mutton for the filling, they say it makes the taste of pelmeni even better!!!

Jamie October 2, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Making these tomorrow for Sunday family dinner. Always a family favorite and reserved for special occasions due to how time consuming. Glad my brother is coming for a visit so we can feast on these! We always add bell pepper to the filling also and have dipping sauces of ranch, BBQ sauce, ketchup and a ketchup soy sauce mixture. I can’t decide which is my favorite!

michelle October 3, 2010 at 2:07 am

Theses were DELICIOUS!!! The dough had great texture and the meat was tender and juicy. I topped with melted butter, curry powder, rice vinegar, sriracha and cilantro.WOW

Tanya October 20, 2010 at 2:43 am

Karl from weddings,
You aren’t completely right!
Dumplings belong to Pelmeni’s family, not vice versa! ;-)

Tanya October 20, 2010 at 2:45 am

And, water your fingers or brush the edges of dough with egg whites when sealing pelmenis!

abgajoy from kek lapis sarawak October 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I wonder it is ok if I replace pork to cow meat or chicken? because for some reason I cannot eat pork..

Tallya January 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

This is a good recipe. I realize that I am replying a bit late but I just had to reply to some of the above comments.

First of,
Lelik, thanks for the great and detailed recipe, I’ll have to try it your way, sounds great. I’ve tried ALOT of different recipes and try to do something different each time to see what works best for us.

Mike from Spice Reviews,
A bit late and hope you get a chance to read this and maybe it will be useful. If you want fried pelmeni, which I absolutely love, you can just boil them until al dente or to the point to where they are just about done, maybe a minute less than usual and then drain them in a colander so they are more on the dry side and put them in a skillet preheated with a little melted butter and fry over med-hi heat, turning often until well browned. There are other methods to doing this but I like this one best :) and it takes less time to make then it took you to read this.

Henry Sentosa,
You can make the dough with milk as well, not sure as to how authentic that is but I have done it and it makes the dough smoother.

Tanya, Karl was actually right, by definition, dumplings are pieces of dough wrapped around a filling and cooked. Therefore pelmeni, as well as manti, ravioli, potstickers and such, are all in the dumpling family :)

abgajoy, You can you any meat you prefer, it might not be authentic but will taste just as great, just try this recipe!

Tallya January 21, 2011 at 10:49 am

I wanted to mention, I love pelmeni with chicken, I just use ground chicken and very finely chopped onion + salt and pepper in the filling and it is absolutely delicious, try it!

Tallya January 21, 2011 at 10:53 am

*correcting my post above, I meant to type “you can USE any meat you prefer”

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: