Chebureki are pan-fried dumplings that are stuffed with a savory ground meat filling. Our tortilla hack gets this street food on the table fast!
Chebureki are savory turnovers that are the definition of Slavic comfort food. In this recipe, we use an off-the-beaten-path hack to help you whip them up at lightning speed – raw tortillas! Yes, this is not 100% traditional, but the outcome is so similar to authentic chebureki that you’ll hardly notice the difference. Who doesn’t love a good shortcut anyways?
Where can you find raw tortillas? Costco has an amazing pack of raw tortillas in the refrigerated section. If you don’t have a membership, you can find them at most grocery stores.
What are Chebureki?
Chebureki is a popular Slavic pastry that has roots in both Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Deep-fried or pan-fried, the turnover is filled with a savory blend of ground meat, onions, and simple seasonings. Despite the turnover being pioneered by Crimean Tatars, you’ll find it served in many restaurants and street markets throughout Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and beyond. Below, find an overview of the flavor, texture, and time it takes to make our simplified version of this snack.
- Flavor: The rich and savory filling of spiced chicken and beef is complemented by the earthy, slight sweetness of the tortilla.
- Texture: The texture of chebureki features crispy pan-fried tortilla that’s sandwiched around a tender filling of ground meat and crunchy onions.
- Time: From prep to table, these chebureki take just under 40 minutes to make.
Did you know? Traditional chebureki is made with a yeast dough that is rolled out into a super thin layer with a rolling pin. If you want to skip the tortillas and make the authentic version, you can get the recipe in our eBook on The Ultimate Russian Recipes.
How to Make Chebureki
Making our version of chebureki only requires 7 ingredients you likely already have hanging out in the kitchen and some super simple prep. Below, find a high-level overview of the recipe before you dive in.
- Make the Filling: In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, salt, pepper, egg, and chopped onion until well-combined combined.
- Assemble the Chebureki: Place a few tablespoons of filling on one side of the raw flour tortillas. Next, fold the tortillas over and use a fork to pinch the sides together.
- Cook the Chebureki: Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Fry the chebureki on each side until golden brown. Then, place the fried chebureki on a large plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Enjoy!
Hot Tip: Spread the filling in a thin, even layer so it cooks through consistently.
4 Top Tips for the Best Chebureki
Here you’ll find a collection of our top tips for the best chebureki.
- Use lean ground meat. To prevent your dumplings from turning out super oily and soggy, opt for lean ground meat (90% lean or more).
- Opt for raw tortillas over cooked tortillas if you can. Raw tortillas yield the best texture when pan-fried. In a pinch, it’s okay to use precooked tortillas.
- Add in some fresh herbs. For a pop of earthiness, add some fresh parsley or cilantro to your filling.
- Play around with different ground meats. You can use any combination of ground beef, lamb, chicken, pork, or turkey for the filling. Experiment with different combinations until you land on one you love!
Storing and Freezing Chebureki
Whether you have a couple of leftover chebureki to store in the fridge or a batch you’d like to freeze for later, find our top tips for storing and freezing here.
- Refrigerator: To keep chebureki on hand for up to 3 days, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. This will keep them from turning soggy faster.
- Freezer: Chebureki are best frozen before cooking and can be kept on hand for up to 1 month. After you assemble the dumplings, wrap them in plastic wrap and stick them in a sealable plastic bag or layer them between parchment paper in a freezer-safe container to prevent them from sticking. To thaw, place them in the fridge for a couple of hours and then fry them according to the recipe instructions.
Reheating Tip: Chebureki are best reheated in a conventional oven, toaster oven, or air fryer (check out this model by Cosori that I love if you don’t have an air fryer yet) until they’re crispy again. Avoid microwaving the dumplings, as they’re prone to turning soggy.
Can you add anything else to the filling?
Oftentimes, you’ll find a couple of tablespoons of milk added for moisture or some minced garlic.
How much salt and pepper should you add to the filling?
This really depends on your personal preference. Typically, we add about a teaspoon of each.
Can you make these in the air fryer?
Yes, the air fryer would get the chebureki crispy without the need for added oil. Just make sure to coat the tray well with cooking spray so the tortilla doesn’t stick.
Can you bake them instead?
It’s not recommended to bake the chebureki, as they won’t get as crispy. If you do, make sure to flip them halfway through cooking time and coat them well with oil.
Do you need to cook the meat filling first?
There’s no need to cook the meat filling before assembling the dumplings. Just ensure you spread a thin enough layer of the filling so that it fully cooks during pan-frying.
More of Classic Recipes
- Savory Piroshki – Fried pastries stuffed with a savory filling
- Dumpling (Pelmeni) Soup – Dumpling soup that cooks in just 30 minutes
- Meat Potato Pierogi – Eastern European comfort food with a meat and potato filling
- Poppy Seed Buns (Piroshki) – Fluffy buns filled with sweet poppy seed paste
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat with the egg, chopped onion, salt, and pepper. Place a couple of tablespoons of the filling on one side of the tortilla and press the filling into a thin layer. Fold the tortilla over to cover the filling.
- Press a fork alongside the open edge of the tortilla to seal the filling inside. Repeat the process until all your tortillas are filled and sealed.
- Preheat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Fry the chebureki one or two at a time depending on the size of your skillet until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove the cooked chebureki from the skillet and let them rest on paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Enjoy immediately!
I need to make this gluten free, but I have never seen raw gluten free tortillas, any suggestions?
Hi Kenny, I Do not have a gluten free tortilla recipe. I have not tried making them gluten free either. I wish I could be of more help. If you try to make it, I would love to know the process and how successful it was. Good luck!
Would love to know how to pronounce these correctly. Can you spell it out phonetically ? They sound so good
Hi Dana, They are said CHE-BOO-RE-KEY. I hope you get the chance to try them! They are quite delicious!
Dear Natasha thank you very much for sharing your delicious recipes I am a big fan of you, every recipe I tried came perfect and delicious I will definitely try this one.
Hi Lourdes, I am so glad to hear it! Thank you for your honest feedback! When you give the Chebureki a try, I would love to know how they turned out!
Pretty sure it is not a russian dish ... most likely stolen from another culture as is most of what is wrongfuly considered russian (or correctly moZkovian)
Hi Svit,In the blog, we made the distinction that this is in fact a Crimean Tatar dish, not a Russian one. This is a recipe for the type of chebureki you’d find in Russian street markets. I hope you get the chance to try them. They are quite delicious.
Dear Natasha - I just ran across this recipe today and haven’t had a chance to make it yet.
I’m writing, however, to apologize for all you must put up with when your only intention is to provide delicious recipes in such a cheerful and delightful manner. I love your videos and blog and as a 79 year old widow without a lot of energy to cook for myself, I’m inspired to do so when I see such delicious, mouth watering recipes. Thank you for making the world a brighter and better place.
Those who are critical need to follow your example of grace and patience.
Hi Susan, I am so grateful for your kindness! Thank you so much for reaching out. I am so glad to hear that my recipes are inspiring people into trying new things!
Hi. How many minutes per side. Can you put pre cooked meat in there? How about finishing it off in the oven? I feel like I won’t know when it’s cooked…. Since I am judging by the color of the tortilla. Thank you.
Hi Nazy- they taste best fried! You'll want to cook them for roughly 3 minutes per side, adjust heat as needed so they don't burn. I wouldn't recommend pre-cooked meat, but to ensure your raw meat is cooked through just spread a thin enough layer on the tortillas.
Aw who cares if it’s Russian or not it’s absolutely delish !! I remember they were selling those on the Streets in Moscow !
They are beloved by many, Yulia! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Chebureki is a word of Turkic origin. "Çiberek" or "Çiğ börek" refers to a dish made of dough, with raw ground beef (not chicken or pork). Each turnover is then fried. Even the Wikipedia (English) identifies Chebureki as a national dish of Crimean Tatars. You are misleading people by calling them "Russian fried dumplings" or labeling them as Slavic.
Hi Inci, thank you so much for sharing your feedback, this is helpful.
This is not a Russian food! It is Crimean Tatar. Shame on you!
Hi Sandra - Sorry this upset you. We simply posted a Russian rendition of the dish and noted within the blog that it is in fact a Crimean Tatar dish through and through. We appreciate your feedback and honesty!
Cultural appropriation! This is a Tatar dish from the days of Golden Horde and Mongolians. Absolutely not a Slavic dish!
Hi Cemil - Thank you for reaching out. As we shared in the blog, this dish has undoubtedly been created by Tatar culture. That said, this is simply a rendition you would find in Russian street markets. The obsession has surely spread around the globe for this delicious dumpling!
It's 100% Tatar recipe, please kindly change this article's title. I'm one Tatar and this situation is not nice. By the way, I liked the tortilla hack and I'll try as soon as possible.
Original recipe for filling is: non-fat ground beef (no chickens or else), onions should be grated (not chopped), salt, pepper and (1/10 of total meat volume) water to keep dough soft during frying. Water is the ultimate trick
Hello, yep I mentioned that the turnover was pioneered by Crimean Tatars, but you’ll now find it served in many restaurants and street markets throughout Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and beyond. It is a delicious recipe that many people share. Thank you for sharing the tips on how you make it that sounds amazing! I am so glad you found the tortilla tip helpful, thank you for your feedback!
But it is a Tatar dish. By the same logic, you might well be arguing that pizza is a Russian dish, as I’m sure you will find it served in all kinds of places through Russia 🙂 It is important to clearly acknowledge such historical and cultural issues.
Hi Arnaut - Thank you for the feedback. I guess it's more along the lines of the difference between American pizza and Italian pizza - American is not quite the same, but people love it in it's own way. Hopefully the blog makes it clear this is a Crimean Tatar dish through and through.
Yum - great recipe my family really loved your recipe, can't wait to make these again!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe, thank you for taking the time to comment!
Yum! These are so delicious! The leftovers are perfect in lunch boxes and these are so great as an "on the go" kind of meal!
Yes! They're a great grab-and-go treat! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
I've never had this before and I'm so excited to try it!
I hope you love the recipe, Katie!
Typically 2 tbsp of water or milk is added to filling to increase moisture content. Also, lamb is the most traditional filling for us Tatars (OK, at least this is true in my family, not sure how widespread that is.) Some garlic often goes in the filling too.
Jeff, thank you for sharing all those tips. 🙂 I know they will be helpful to many!
How much salt and pepper do you add?
Hi Lydia, I typically add about 1tsp of black pepper.
Have you tried to make these in the air fryer?
Hey Ineta, I haven't but if you spray them with oil you can use the air fryer. It will still create a nice crispy layer.
Really? Russian? How about you admitting that it is a #Crimean #Tatar traditional food called Chiborek - Chi meaning beautiful in old Turkic and borek meaning savory dough pie.
Ha!! thanks for sharing this. I guess you could say "slavic" 🙂 I appreciate inside info on this.
Only in your smoked mind an original Crimeean Tatar dish can be "slavic"!
Hi Ramsay - Thank you for your feedback. As noted in the text, we acknowledge this as a Crimean Tatar dish. That said, this is simply a Russian rendition you would commonly find in street markets throughout the country. It has surely become popular in so many different places in the world!
Hi i appreciate you promoting this dish. I would kindly request a correction . Chiborek is a national dish of Crimean Tatar cuisine. Crimean tatars are not “Slavic” . I know that our culture is not very well known and I would appreciate to be promoted well. Thank you for your understanding
Hi Fildane - Thank you for the kind words. In the blog, we made the distinction that this is in fact a Crimean Tatar dish, not a Russian one. This however is a recipe for the type of chebureki you'd find in Russian street markets. Hope this helps!
what meat do you use in this recipe?
I like ground turkey with beef. Thats my favorite combo lately.
In Egypt, we call it "Hawawshi" and usually use bread, and some people use puff pastry instead, and cooked whether in the oven or in skillet. Hope you like it. 🙂
Wow, thanks for sharing this with me. I think they would be wonderful baked in a puff pastry. Looks amazing!
So I made these today too. But saved a batch to make fresh for my husband afterwork... I'm wondering if I could brush them with oil and bake them instead? Do you think they would turn out all right?
I haven't tried that but if you broil them for some time and turn it could work. Maybe bake a little before you broil, to cook the meat. Let me know if you try this, I want to know if it works. I want to try this idea also 🙂
Do you cook the meat mixture first? That's probably a silly question but I don't know.
Thanks for answering.
Oh no problem at all, ask away! 🙂
No, you don't need to precook meat. As you layer it on tortilla in a thin layer it wil cook while frying. Hope this helps 🙂
So quick & easy to make. Thank you for this recipe. Took me a while to find uncooked tortillas, but with my husband's help I found them!
oh lol, husbands can be useful. 🙂 But I actually saw them even at Winco now. (by cream cheese)
oh, that is really great to know.
i just found some at walmart too 🙂 by the cheeses.
I made those today 🙂
Yes, if it's uncooked tortilla
lovely!!!do you think wholemeal tortilla would work in this one?
They are sold in Costco(fridge section), also Fred Meyers... I am sure other stores sell it, its in refrigerator section. Ask at the store where you can find it.
YUM! I remember my mom making these... however, I have had trouble finding uncooked tortillas. Where do you buy them?