These Russian pelmeni are traditional dumplings stuffed with juicy ground meat, onions, and simple seasoning. Serve them on a cold winter’s day with sour cream or melted butter!
Pelmeni originated from Siberia, the eastern-most region of Russia. It’s no wonder my husband loves them so much! He immigrated to the US from Siberia at nine years of age and lights up with joy any time I work up the energy to make pelmeni homemade.
In this recipe, you’ll learn how to make these Russian dumplings by hand or by using a special mold. In Russian, the pelmeni mold is called a “pelmenitsa”. To make the process easier, you can snag one for yourself on Amazon. You’ll be amazed at how much it streamlines the process!
Have you ever tried Georgian dumplings? They’re like Russian pelmeni, but with a twist!
What are Russian Pelmeni?
Pelmeni are traditional Russian dumplings made with a simple dough of flour, water, eggs, and salt. Typically, they are stuffed with a filling of ground pork, chicken, turkey, or beef seasoning with onions and salt and pepper. Largely considered the national dish of Russia, you will find these tasty dumplings served in homes, cafes, and fancy restaurants throughout the country.
- Flavor: Mild non-leavened boiled dough is contrasted with a rich and savory filling of ground meat and onions.
- Texture: The soft boiled dough is filled with a ground meat filling, making for an explosion of texture in your mouth.
- Time: From prep to table, these dumplings take just under an hour and a half to make.
How to Make Pelmeni Using a Pelmeni Mold
Below, find a quick overview of how to make these traditional Russian dumplings using a specialized mold.
- Roll the Dough Out: With a rolling pin, roll out a flat piece of dough and place it on a well-floured pelmeni mold. Fill each hole with the meat mixture. Next, roll out another piece of dough and lay it directly on top of the first.
- Shape the Dumplings: Using a rolling pin, roll over the top dough several times until each dumpling is separated.
- Flip the Mold: Flip the mold over and gently shake the raw dumplings out. Dust them with flour and freeze them for later or cook them straight away!
How to Make Pelmeni by Hand
If you don’t have a mold or prefer the true classic pelmeni, find a brief overview of how to shape the dumplings by hand.
- Roll the Dough Out: Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a flat piece. Next, use a circular cookie cutter to cut out small circles from the dough.
- Shape the Dumplings: Top each dough circle with a spoonful of the meat mixture. Fold over the sides to create a half-moon shape. Next, pinch the pointy edges together, securing them tightly with your fingers. Dust with flour and freeze for later or boil to eat straight away!
Pelmeni can be served as a meal all on their own or as an appetizer dish before a traditional Russian meal of cabbage rolls and cream mushroom potatoes. They are delicious eaten plain or topped with sour cream, melted butter, and fresh dill.
- Refrigerator: Store leftover dumplings in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should keep for up to a week.
- Freezer: To freeze raw dumplings, generously coat each dumpling in flour. Place them on a baking sheet dusted with flour and pop it into the freezer for a couple of hours or until the dumplings are completely frozen. Transfer the dumplings to a freezer-safe bag and store them for up to 3 months.
Can I pan fry pelmeni?
Like pierogi, you can finish pelmeni by pan frying them if you want a nice outer crispy. To do so, place them in a skillet with a bit of butter and fry each side until golden brown.
What is the difference between pelmeni and pierogi?
Pelmeni are meat-filled boiled dumplings while pierogi are typically boiled and pan-fried and can be filled with an assortment of sweet and savory fillings.
What are pelmeni traditionally made with?
Pelmeni are meat dumplings that are traditionally filled with ground beef, pork, or lamb.
How long does it take to make homemade pelmeni?
It takes just under an hour and a half to make homemade pelmeni.
Can you freeze cooked pelmeni?
Yes, you can freeze cooked pelmeni. To do so, first let them cool completely. Next, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop the entire baking sheet in the freezer until the pelmeni are completely frozen. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and store them for up to 3 months. To reheat, cook them in boiling water until they float to the top.
Other Russian Recipes to Try
- Halushki (Traditional Ukrainian Dumplings) – Ukrainian-style dumplings with bacon and sauteed veggies
- Dumpling (Pelmeni) Soup – Comforting pelmeni soup
- Classic Russian Red Borscht Recipe – Classic Russian beet soup
- Chebureki (Russian Fried Dumplings) – Meat and onion filled dumplings
Ingredients for Pelmeni Filling
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Add water.
- Using a stand mixer, mix the dough until smooth. Sprinkle flour onto a flat work surface.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, grated onion, salt, and pepper with your hands until well-combined.
Assemble the Pelmeni (Mold or By Hand)
- To save time, use a pelmeni mold to shape the dumplings. To do so, roll out a flat piece of dough and place it on the well-floured mold. Fill each hole with meat.
- Make another flat, round piece of dough and place it on top. Sprinkle with flour and use a rolling pin to roll over the dough until each dumpling is separated.
- Flip the mold over and shake out the pelmeni. Dust them with flour. At this point, you can either freeze them for later or boil them to eat immediately.
- Alternatively, you can make the pelmeni by hand. To do so, roll the dough out and cut small circles out of it using a cookie cutter. Place the meat mixture in the middle and fold over the sides into a half-moon shape, pinching the edges together to secure the filling inside. Connect the two corners together. Repeat until you have no dough or meat mixture left.
when you say ground meat do you mean all the meat you listed?
Hi Mio, You can choose which meat to use or you can use 2 sorts at a time. I hope this makes sense. Thank you for reaching out!
I love the taste of this recipe, however, I really struggle rolling out the dough. It takes at least ten minutes for me to roll out one piece big enough to cover the mold. It’s a literal pain. Is there a trick to making it roll out faster? It’s elasticity and just slides back to its original size.
Hi Angelina, you can add a little oil to the dough to help it be a little easier to roll out. Also a lot of it has to do with the flour you use. Which brand are you using for this recipe?
Yum! I've made these twice and both times, my dough has been too thick and chewy. The first time I used a pelmeni mold. I let the pelmeni boil a few minutes after they started to float, so I thought maybe I overcooked the dough. The second time I purposefully rolled the dough thinner, handmade the pelmeni, and I stopped cooking as soon as the pelmeni started to float, but my dough turned out about the same. I don't have a stand mixer so I hand kneaded the dough just enough to mix it together both times. Any thoughts on why this is happening? Do I just need to roll the dough REALLLLY thin? Other than that, they taste amazing!
Hi Kayla, Hmmm I am thinking maybe there is too much flour in the dough. What kind of flour are you using?
Thank you for your response! I used just regular old Gold Metal all purpose white flour.
That may be the reason the dough is chewy. I work with Bob's Red Mill flour. For the Gold's I would try to use less flour. That may be the issue. I hope this helps. Thank you for reaching out!
These are so good. I wanted to share that these can be made Gluten Free (my partner is celiac) using Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Flour (not the all-purpose flour). I grew up eating Pelmini's but my family always called them "perminnies"... not sure where that came from. We eat them with white vinegar, soy sauce, and sometimes worcestershire sauce/HP. Yum!
Hi Dani, thank you so much for that tip! I love the sauces you eat them with, I will have to give it a try. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback, enjoy!
This looks good
Hi Dylan, Thank you very much! I hope you get a chance to try it!
How big should the rolled out snapped circles be?
Hi Nina- I'd love to help but I'm not understanding the question. Are you referring to the dough circles?
I think Nina is asking this:
To make by hand, you say to roll out the dough and "cut small circles." But "small" is a relative and imprecise term, and cookie cutters come in different sizes. Can you recommend a diameter for the dough circles in inches or centimeters?
Hi Simone, Thank you for clarifying. I would recommend you cut the dough in 2 - 2.5 inch diameter.
Can you please add details to the recipe about how many pieces to separate the dough into for the mold? You don't mention anywhere how many pelemeni this recipe is supposed to make. You only say how many servings, but we don't know the serving size.
Hey Christina, it really depends on the size you would make them. Some molds are larger than others but in general we get 6 per serving. Which makes about 80-85 Pelmeni. Keep in mind, with some brands of flour, you may need to add more or less of it so that can also effect the amount you get. Hope this helps, enjoy them!
I had pelmeni for the first time in Alaska and remember it having a spicy sauce with it also. I’m making some this weekend for an event and wondered if you knew of what that sauce might have been?
Was this in Juneau, Alaska? My hometown Pelmeni place! That place is famous in Juneau... everyone loves it including me! As someone else already mentioned, they put butter, vinegar and curry powder on top and serve it with sour cream and optional sriracha, and they also include a piece of rye bread. I live in California and I crave it constantly.
From Alaska here. We eat them sprinkled with vinegar and melted butter and then dusted with curry powder, top with sour cream and sriracha. Add a piece of rye bread on the side to sop up the juices in the bowl at the end.
What type of vinegar did you use?
Hi Jen, That sounds very tasty! Thanks so much for sharing!
I had it in Alaska too. Not sure if it was the same place but they served it with curry seasoning and sriracha sauce
Was it red? I wouldn't be surprised if you had it with good ol sriracha. When I've had it in the pacific northwest, it's usually served with sour cream and sriracha. I'm not usually a big sriracha person but it's a great combo. 🙂
Its sriracha mixed with white or rice vinegar to thin it out.
Hi Sarah! I wouldn't know what spicy sauce they would have had since we usually eat our Pelmeni with sour cream. If you find out, Id love to know which sauce goes well with them!
Hi Sarah- Can you provide some more details? What color was the sauce? One spicy sauce that comes to mind is "adjika" which is a red sauce made from tomatoes, peppers and other things. Here is the link, let me know if this is it: https://momsdish.com/recipe/1…
Pelmeni in Alaska is served with sriracha vinaigrette, melted butter, curry powder, and cilantro! Sour cream and rye on the side.
Hi Jina, Thank you so much for letting me know! That sounds so interesting, I have never had that before. It is definitely on my "must try" list now!
1:1 sriracha and vinegar sauce applied generously with curry, cilantro, melted butter, served with sour cream on the side-- sooo good! I am also from Alaska, and it is a very popular dish here.
OK, that sounds incredible. Yum!
This looks easy enough. I will be trying them soon. I was also wondering if they could be fried - like the fried wontons you can get at Chinese restaurants. Thank you.
Hey Cherie- They taste best boiled. However you can fry them in a bit of butter afterwards if you want them a little crispy. Enjoy!
Hi! I was thinking of making this for my family of four. How should I reduce the recipe so that everyone gets their fill but there aren’t leftovers? If it makes a difference, I’m thinking of preparing it with a slightly thick, creamy sauce. We always used to get pelmeni in a similar sauce at a small Russian restaurant but it unfortunately closed a few years ago and we’ve all been craving it again. Thanks!
Hi Marilyn - That sounds delicious. The sauce will make the dish more filling. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if it suits you. Let me know how it turns out and thanks for your question.
Are there a lot of onions in the pelmeni? I’m not a big fan of onions. There are a couple of Russian bakeries in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I’m in a rehab facility due to surgery a year and a half ago so I can’t make anything on my own. Thank you, Natalya
Hi Nancy- there is one grated onion in this recipe, but also a couple pounds of meat so the onion is not over powering and adds just the right amount of flavor! I'm sorry you are unable to make this on your own right now post-surgery, wishing you a full recovery!
Hey this turned out very well except the dough was very thick and I think it was the flour I was using. what kind of flour did you use.
(p.s what to do with leftover flour, thanks your the best)
My dough was too think as well.
I think I was just too scared of the pelmeini not holding together so I didn’t roll the dough thin enough. Which would explain why the amount of dough I had wasn’t even close to enough for the amount of filling. Gotta love learning from your cooking mistakes and getting better! Otherwise this was super yummy. I used beef but I think next time I will use pork.
You'll know for next time, Kayla (about the dough)! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe otherwise 🙂
Hi Baduhka - Thanks for reaching out! We use Bob's Red Mill flour for the high-protein count. It works the best, but any Canadian flour will do just the trick. Hope this helps!
I didn’t roll my dough out thin enough so mine came out kinda thick and tough hopefully next time I can roll it thinner🙌🏻
My dough was WET! Had to add so much flour! Turned out thick and chewy ...will find other recipe...too many eggs i reckon
Hi Vika - Thanks for the feedback. What kind of flour did you use if you don't mind me asking? Sometimes that can make a difference. That said, the dough is supposed to be eggy and chewy, as pelmeni have that dumpling-like texture. Hopefully we can help you troubleshoot what went wrong!
Hi Alicia- Ah, now you will know for next time and they will come out perfect. 🙂
Can I use the Pelmeni mold to make pierogies? The dough is the same
I bought a dumpling kit on Amazon that had pelmeini molds and perogi molds, along with a rolling pin, mat and some other things. It was a great purchase!
That sounds like a great kit!
Hi Andrea- are you referring to pierogies like the ones filled with potatoes or cheese? Those are traditionally a different shape from pelmeni. 😊
It was absolutely incredible. Such complex flavors and so deliciously moist
Thank you for the feedback, I'm happy to hear you enjoyed these dumplings!
Made them and they were exactly as I remember making with my ex-husbands Russian parents! The dough is simple and is a bit tough but needs to be in order to be boiled and hold in all the moisture. Pelmeni is usually a family activity where you make an assembly line.
I also halved the meat (or a little more than half) along with adding a bit of grated garlic and I ended up with no extra dough. Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you for sharing, Katelyn! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe.
My fiance is from russia and were buying them and decided to make our own. I serve them in a Creamy Garlic Cheese Sauce. Which is fantastic and so good. I use butter and garlic sautéd in the pan then i add heavy whipping cream and a cup of cheddar cheese with spinach for taste and o my lanta its amazing.
Oh my, Kayla! That sounds so BOMB. I'm going to have to try that soon. Hope you enjoy these!
I followed the measurements for the dough exactly, but it turned out completely tough and chewy. I ended up using much more flour just to get the dough not to stick, and still had to flour the surface. In the end the pelmeni turned out tough and not tasty. I'm not sure if this was error on my end, but the measurements for the ingredients just did not yield a good result.
When russians mean one cup it can be any cup like for champagne or wiskey. so mine turned out same sticky bulgy
Ninulya, your comment made me laugh 😊 I used a measuring cup, but it's true that depending how you measure flour and what type of flour you use it can affect the dough.I'm sorry your dough came out sticky!
Hi Nina - Were you able to sift the flour to make sure there are no lumps? I'm sorry they didn't turn out well for you. I hope I can help!
A small shot glass works just fine as the dough mold/shape. The little cheap variety. The dough is the real trick on keeping it moist enough, yet still workable. We always just eat them with sour cream and sometimes fried onion over the top. Salt & pepper. I got the recipe from our Russian friends.
Hi Deborah - That's a great idea to use a shot glass as the mold! Really smart tip. We love fried onion and bacon on ours from time to time and sour cream is a MUST. Happy New Year!
Our family escaped on horseback across Siberia during the Russian Revolution and settled on the west coast. As family lore goes, there were pelmeni packed in the saddlebags and thrown into the pot of boiling on the fire en route! So for 70 years we've had pelmeni. This generation makes them for Christmas Eve, with everyone bring 200 since the family has grown. We have always made a dipping sauce of A-1 and Cider vinegar---have no idea why! And cold vodka and ginger ale to go with! This is my first year to try the pelmenita---very hopeful it works!
Hi Cathy - Thank you for sharing this! I've definitely heard the stories of pelmeni stored in the saddlebags (my hubby is from Siberia). I'm super excited for you to try the pelmenita - it's always worked for me and I have high hopes it will work for you too! Let us know how it turns out.
Instead of using water try using Heavy whipping cream. My mom has made it that way for years and THEY LOVE THEM.
OH! That sounds fab, Nida. I bet it makes the dough so creamy. We will have to try. Thank you for sharing your family's secrets!
nice looks good
Thank you very much! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
I've never had these before. Do you cook the meat and onion before stuffing into the dough? They look so delicious I want to try them!
Hi Tara, nope that does not need to be precooked, the inside cookies when you boil them. Let me know how it goes when you try the recipe!
Can I use a store bought dumpling wrapper or is it not the correct thickness? Thanks!
Hey Emily, what brand of dumpling wrappers do you have in mind? I want to look them up to see if they would work out. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello from Australia! I have used Gyoza wrappers from the supermarket, and have found them to be ideal, as long as they have salt in them. There are about 30 per packet.
Antalya, could you tell me why my filling is dry? I usually use a mix of pork and beef, or just pork, but they are never as juicy as I remember Mum’s….but then our Mums were just amazing!!
If you use the “lean” or “heart smart” mince we have in Australian supermarkets I found you do tend to get a drier, crumblier result due to the low fat content (may be healthier but unfortunately not quite as tasty). I will sometimes will use half normal and half lean.
Thank you for those awesome tips, Masha!
Hey Olga, it should stay juicy if you use fatty ground beef and add onion. Chicken makes a great juicy filling. Hope this helps!
We LOVE pelmeni in our house ever since I had an exchange student from Krasnoyarsk and went over to Siberia to visit schools there! We live in Ohio and when the winter goes sub-zero, we make pelmeni by the dozens. It was a fun pastime when we had kids and continue to make them to freeze by the gallon bag. Flash freezing them is easier in the cold weather because we just sit the pans of pelmeni on the porch to freeze then bag them up (doesn't take long when it is that cold). I was in Siberia in March and it was, indeed, still cold then. My host family had a burlap bag hung on the patio that was filled with hundreds of pelmeni. You would just go out and scoop up a bunch and throw them in bullion water. I prefer to use your recipe for an onion, carrot and dill mixture with chicken broth. I messed up our meat last year by not putting enough onion in. Won't be making that mistake this year as I'll be using your recipe. Thanks!
Hi Tom, that is absolutely amazing, I love the innovative storage technique! Thank you for sharing that here! Enjoy the recipe, and update me on how they turn out 🙂
Hi Natalya, I'm going to make a bunch of these to freeze and eat this weekend. I have a vacuum sealer. Do you think they may last longer in a vacuum sealed bags? Usually I eat them with sour cream and a little vinegar. They are so good! Thank you so much for the recipe. Also one more thing. Like pasta dough is it best to make the dough and let it rest 30-60 minutes before rolling it out?
Hi J.C, if you plan on eating them this weekend, you can just store them in a ziplock bag. Your combo is a total classic with sour cream and vinegar, making me hungry. 🙂 It's a good idea for the dough to rest a bit but totally not necessary. It's one of the easiest dough recipes to work with. Enjoy
This was such a great walk-through on how to make this! Thank you so much. Mine turned out perfect!
I'm so glad you found the recipe helpful, thank you for your feedback!
This is so good! Thanks for this very easy to follow recipe!
Glad you loved the recipe!
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe! Will surely have this again! Well done!
Glad you enjoyed them! Thank you!
I'm excited to make these. Not sure of the meat to get. I don't care for lamb. It looks like 2/3 beef and 1/3 pork, if I'm correct. What type of ground beef do I get, lean, 80%? Thanks for any help!
Hey Roxanna, you really can do your own mix of different ground meat. It's really up to you what you wanted to use.
My kids and I discovered a Russian restaurant in the DC area when visiting a few weeks ago. The children ordered pelmeni and have not stopped talking about it since. Your recipe sounds very similar to what they ordered and I'm excited to try it. I just have one question for you before diving in. The ones they got were served in a very flavorful light broth. Any ideas about what that could have been?
Hey Hannah, I know people serve them with chicken broth or the water they were cooked in but you may need to add some seasoning to the water. Not sure what exactly the restaurant used. Hope you love them!