These are my Ukrainian mother-in-laws Pelmeni Recipe! Pelmeni are little plump meat dumplings made from a hand mold (called the pelmennitsa.) It makes a hearty batch that you can freeze for later! An Eastern European Comfort food, dolloped with sour cream! 

pelmeni dumplings with sour cream


Pelmeni are the meat version of dumplings! Craving cheese-filled Vareniki or Cabbage filled Pierogies? Don’t leave hungry! Making pelmeni is a labor of love, but once you have a stash in the freezer, you’ll be set! Typically there is two ways to make them, either by hand or with a Dumpling Mold, and did you know you can pipe out the meat filling? Easy, I know and if you want to make them even easier or in bulk, then invest in a commercial dumpling machine!

How Do You Eat Pelmeni?

There are generally a few ways to eat and prepare Pelmeni. Meat dumplings are typically boiled, however sautéing is optional once the dumplings have simmered. My ultimate favorite way to eat them is to toss them in vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, once done then dolloped with sour cream! My cousin makes a butter dipping sauce seasoned with Vegeta as a side, which also sounds yummy! But sour cream, butter, and vinegar are some of the most common ways to enjoy them.



How to make Pelmeni:


What ingredients are in Russian Pelmeni?

  • flour
  • egg
  • salt
  • oil
  • sour cream
  • milk/water
  • ground meat
  • onion
  • pepper
  • salt

How do you make using a mold?

When using a mold for homemade dumplings you need to roll dough large enough to cover the mold surface. Then a meat filling can be piped into each capacity hole and topped with another layer of dough to seal the filling. Commercial dumpling machines are handy for this kind of job in bulk.

How do you make it by hand?

The best way to make these meat dumplings by hand is to cut the dough into circles. Then fill them in the centers and seal the edges to make half-moon shapes. Some people even pinch the two ends together to make a round dumpling-like seen here.

When can you fry dumplings?

If you can fry Pierogies, then you can fry Pelmeni! It’s best pan-fried after it has been parboiled.

What are the storing requirements?

Dumplings are best when served fresh. To extend their freshness, keep frozen. There is no need to thaw them when preparing.

How long should Pelmeni be boiled?

From the time the water boils and the dumplings get added anywhere from 8 minutes is good, depending on the quantity preparing. The less Pelmeni you make, the faster it boils. The more Pelmeni the longer it will take for the water to come back to a boil.

What is the difference between Pelmeni and Pierogi?

Though Vareniki are similar, the name Pierogi is considered a Polish term for dumplings. Ukrainians call dumplings Vareniki, the Polish call them Pierogi’s and the Russians call them Pelmeni. All of which consist of the same concept, “filled unleavened dough” that gets boiled. Fillings vary from preference and doughs tend to get altered but are generally similar.


  1. Pipe out the meat filling! It’s much easier than spooning the mixture into the mold!
  2. Let the little helpers roll out the dough for a speedier process!
  3. Flash freeze first, to prevent clusters!
  4. Use Pelmeni to make this delicious Pelmeni soup in an easy onion broth!

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EASY Pelmeni (Meat Dumplings)

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 16 dozen
Author: Alyona's Cooking
These are my Ukrainian mother-in-laws Pelmeni Recipe! Pelmeni are little plump meat dumplings made from a hand mold (called the pelmennitsa.) It makes a hearty batch that you can freeze for later! A Russian Comfort food favorite, dolloped with sour cream! 


Pelmeni Dough:

  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk

Meat Filling:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper


How to make Pelmeni:

  • Combine all the dough ingredients and knead until a soft dough forms. Let rest 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the meat filling by combining all the filling ingredients. Set aside.
  • Portion dough into 10 pieces then roll out each piece into a circle. Dust flour over the mold and place one piece of dough over the mold. Fill each hole with meat then top with another piece of dough.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll tightly over the top, then invert Pelmeni onto a floured tray. Flash Freeze or Boil 8 minutes.


To Cook Pelmeni: Add frozen or fresh Pelmeni to boiling water and cook 8 minutes. 
To Serve Pelmeni: Drain from water and toss in butter or oil to lightly coat dumplings. Serve with a side of sour cream.
Vinegar Salt & Pepper Topping for Pelmeni: Optional but super tasty and my preferred way of serving Pelmeni. For every 2 cups of cooked and drained Pelmeni add 1 Tbsp of White Distilled Vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Super good! 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1Pelmeni PieceCalories: 24kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 14mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg

Have Leftover Filling? Make Chebureki!

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Recipe Rating


    • Swick

    Hi can I omit the sour cream or are there any substitutes for it?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Swick, that’s the ingredient my mother used, but I suppose you could add a bit of buttermilk or yogurt in place.

    • Lisa Januska

    What is vegeta, where can I find it? Also the tray you used to prepare? My husband is Lithuanian decent, and I would love to try preparing this!

      • Alex

      Hi Lisa, Vegeta is an all-purpose seasoning that you can completely omit for these pelmeni. Im assuming you meant the Pelmeni mold for the tray, those you can find on amazon or eBay if you search pelmeni molds.

    • Matthew Jett

    Wonderful recipe. Ever since going to Russia in high school I have loved slovic food and pelmeni is one of my favorites. Have made this recipe twice now. The first time it turned out amazing, the second time, the filling was very watery. On the second batch I used pre-packaged ground pork and didn’t realize that it had broth added until it was to late. If you make this recipe find fresh ground pork for the filling otherwise it will be a watery mess. But the flavors in this pelmeni are amazing! Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • Matthew Jett

    Amazing recipe! Thank you so much for posting! I have loved slovic food since going to Russia in high school. Have made this recipe twice now. The first time turned out amazing. The second, filling turned out very, VERY wet. Used fresh ground pork the first time, and pre-packaged pork the second. The pre-packaged had pork broth added and I think that was the problem. This is however an amazing recipe full of flavor and is one of my favorite slovic foods. Thanks for posting it!

    • Zhenya

    I was making pelmeni today. I made so much of it. So glad to learn this helpful trick ( zip back for filling) thanks a lot.

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Zhenya, thanks for sharing your experience:) I think the zip-loc bag idea is brilliant! Thank God for women who pass down helpful tips from there cooking experience.

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