The BEST homemade Pelmeni recipe! Thin dough rolled out and filled with seasoned ground meat then cooked. These pelmeni are a classic dish in Russian cuisine just like red beet borscht and olivier salad.

Pelmeni recipe with a meat filling in a bowl with fresh dill and sour cream.

What are Pelmeni?

Pelmeni are meat dumplings from Siberia, Russia (though some claim Ural). They have become so popular that they are served in most European homes and restaurants.

The unleavened dough is filled with seasoned ground meat, boiled, then tossed in butter, and served with sour cream or vinegar.

What is the difference between Pelmeni and Pierogi? You use the same unleavened dough in both, but pierogi traditionally are stuffed with a potato filling and are larger, while pelmeni are stuffed with ground meat and are smaller in size. Some regions in Poland and Eastern Russia use the terms interchangeably.

Are Vareniki and Pelmeni the same? They use the same dough, but the filling and size differentiate them. Vareniki can be filled with a sweet filling, sauerkraut, or even sauteed vegetables and are larger in size, while pelmeni are filled with ground meat.

Russian dumplings with a meat filling in a bowl with fresh chopped dill and sour cream.


Traditional pelmeni dough is made with water, egg, salt, and flour. However, I love what milk does to the dough. The dough comes out soft and pliable and so easy to work with. If you’ve never tried adding milk to the dough, you must give it a try.

How to Make Pelmeni Dough –

Making dough for pelmeni is so easy, and we have a detailed post on How to Make Pelmeni dough.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add water, milk and whisked egg, give the mixture a quick stir.
  2. Add the flour and mix until combined.
  3. Allow the dough to rest for 15-30 minutes.

What Filling Do You Use For Pelmeni?

The most traditional meat used for pelmeni filling is pork and beef. However, we love adding ground chicken to the filling as well.

How to Make Pelmeni Filling –

  1. Grate the onion on the protruding side of a box grater.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ground chicken and pork, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, dill, vinegar and water.
How to prepare pelmeni filling with ground pork and chicken with onion, garlic and dill.

How to Shape Pelmeni?

Pelmeni may be shaped with a mold or by hand, we’ll go over both in detail.

Make Pelmeni with a Mold:

We love using a mold for shaping pelmeni. It’s inexpensive and works great.

  1. Generously dust pelmeni mold with flour so that the dough won’t stick.
  2. Cut off and roll out enough dough to cover the pelmeni mold. Be sure to roll the dough almost paper-thin.
  3. Fill each hole with meat; don’t overfill the holes, or you’ll have difficulty getting the pelmeni out.
  4. Roll out another dough to cover the top of the filled meat, this one can be a little smaller than the first since it won’t be filled.
  5. With a rolling pin, press on the dough and keep rolling until the shapes of the pelmeni are separated.
  6. Flip over the mold and gently push out the pelmeni, you can do so by hitting the edge of the mold against a cutting board. Transfer pelmeni to a well-floured plate or platter and repeat until remaining dough and filling is used.
How to make pelmeni with a pelmeni mold.

Make Pelmeni by Hand –

Be sure your work surface is generously covered with flour along with your rolling pins so the dough doesn’t stick.

  1. Divide the dough into three equal parts and shape each part into a ball.
  2. Take one ball and roll out the dough until thin. We don’t like a lot of dough in our pelmeni so I roll out the dough super thin. It’s easier to roll out if you are going from the center of the dough outwards.
  3. Take the dough and begin by overlapping until all the dough is used and the shape looks like an accordion. Cut the dough into even strands, the bigger the strands, the bigger the dumpling will be.
  4. Once cut, stack the strands and cut into even squares.
  5. Add meat to the center of the squares.
  6. To shape the pelmeni, take one square and bring together to close the square securing the ends. Then, shape the ends into a dumpling.
How to make pelmeni, how to roll out the dough and form the pelmeni.

How to Cook Pelmeni –

  • FRESH– If cooking freshly made pelmeni, bring a pot of water to a boil, season with salt to taste and add a bay leaf. Once the water is boiling, add the meat dumplings and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • FROZEN– bring a pot of water to a boil, season with salt to taste and add a bay leaf. Once the water is boiling, add the meat dumplings and cook 3-4 minutes.
  • FRY– To fry cooked pelmeni, add the dumplings to a skillet with butter and cook until desired crispiness is reached and pelmeni are heated.
How to assemble this pelmeni recipe, making them by hand.

Freeze Pelmeni

Yes, pelmeni is extremely popular to freeze. Because they are a bit messy and time-consuming, you typically make several batches at once and freeze the dumpling. They can stay frozen for 2-3 months in a freezer bag.

  • To Freeze: Generously dust a cutting board or plate and lay out the dumplings in a single layer; don’t overcrowd them. Dust tops with flour. Freeze until completely hard (time will vary depending on your freezer). Once frozen, transfer to a plastic storage bag.

How to Serve Pelmeni?

  • Once cooked, strain the pelmeni and transfer to a serving bowl. Add cubed butter and toss to coat and serve. Add fresh dill before serving.
  • Dumplings are traditionally served with sour cream or vinegar. I add hot sauce or Sriracha to my sour cream for some heat.
How to make meat filled dumpling recipe. Two different methods of making pelmeni.

Tips for the Best Pelmeni –

  • Be sure to keep the working surface generously covered with flour at all times. (This means countertop, rolling pin and any plates used.)
  • Keep the dough that you aren’t using covered tightly so it doesn’t become dry.
  • Don’t speed the process, the dough really does need to rest.
  • Vegeta is an amazing seasoning to add to the filling, add some if you enjoy Vegeta. It can be added when boiling the water as well.
  • Don’t overcook the dumplings. They will start to fall apart and become mush.
  • Store leftover dumplings in an air-tight container. Like any pasta, it will dry out and not taste pleasant.
  • The SECRET to the most delicious filling and not having that taste in your mouth after you’re done eating is vinegar. So don’t skip the vinegar in the filling.
Cooked pelmeni with sour cream on a fork.

I am just so excited for you to give our version of the popular Russian dish a try. I’m just as excited to hear your feedback so don’t forget to leave a comment below.

I am just so excited for you to give our version of the popular Russian dish a try. Don’t forget to leave us feedback if you try the recipe.

More Russian Recipes –

We grew up on Russian and Ukrainian cuisine, we share so many recipes of Russian cuisine! Here are some of our most popular recipes:

Pelmeni Recipe (Meat Dumplings)

Author: Valentina
4.88 from 8 votes
Classic Russian Pelmeni recipe. Unleavened dough recipe rolled out thin then filled with meat and shaped.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings


pelmeni filling-

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, grated in protruding holes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp dill, chopped



meat filling:

  • In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling until well incorporated.
  • Cover and set aside until ready for use.

shape pelmeni-

  • To shape with mold, roll out enough dough to cover mold.
  • Fill holes with meat.
  • Roll out another dough and cover the meat.
  • With a rolling pin, roll over the top of mold until edges of the molds protrude.
  • Gently push out pelmeni.

cook dumplings-

  • Add enough water to completely cover pelmeni once added.
  • Bring water to a boil and season.
  • Cook 2-3 minutes once the pelmeni float to the top.
  • Serve the meat dumplings with sour cream.


Vegeta- If you like Vegeta, add some to the filling and reduce the salt. 


467kcal Calories56g Carbs23g Protein16g Fat6g Saturated Fat87mg Cholesterol427mg Potassium2g Fiber1g Sugar46IU Vitamin A2mg Vitamin C39mg Calcium4mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Pelmeni Recipe (Meat Dumplings)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 467 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 87mg29%
Potassium 427mg12%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 23g46%
Vitamin A 46IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)