Savory Russian Dumplings

Every culture has its own version of dumplings. China claims pot stickers, pierogies can call Poland home, and Italy boasts its famous gnocchi. Russia’s are pelmeni, meat dumplings found easily across the country—although most Russians believe they originate from Siberia because they are most often purchased frozen. Lore has it that Siberians made them by the hundreds and froze and stored them outside throughout harsh winters, but they are tasty no matter what the season. Though you may find them fresh in any number of Russian restaurants—or perhaps sample them on our Russia Revealed river cruise—you can also try your hand at making them at home as a savory snack or a meal. Top-rated Program Director Evgeny Zalberg shared his family recipe, and suggested serving with kvass, a popular carbonated fermented drink that’s made with rye bread.

Beef & Pork Pelmeni

Pelmeni can have any number of fillings. This recipe uses pork and beef, but you can make them with chicken or turkey if you’d like. Serve alone or with dipping sauces, such as sour cream or balsamic vinegar.


1 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
Garlic to taste

  1. Combine the flour, eggs, water, and 1/2 tsp salt to make the dough.
  2. Knead them until well mixed, then leave aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp salt, pepper, and garlic to make the filling.
  4. Cut the dough into three equal portions. Roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger.
  5. Cut the dough cylinders into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll until very flat and thin, a disc about 2 inches across.
  6. Put some of the filling into the center of each disc. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges to seal them.

Boil the pelmeni in salted water for seven minutes, or until they float to the surface.

Serves: 4