Russian Chicken Pelmeni Recipe

Like Borsch or Pirojki, Pelmeni are a classic Slavic tradition. They are commonly made with beef, but I’m changing things up with a juicy chicken filling. These chicken pelmeni are time consuming, but are fun to make when you get your whole crew involved.

The little fingers in your family will love making shapes out of the dough. Try cooking their creative little shapes, butter them up and enjoy with sour cream; they’ll love it! We had Christmas trees and all kinds of critter shapes in the pot. Recruit some muscle to roll out your dough (the Mr. filled this role very well) 😉

Ground chicken thighs the juiciest of all chicken cuts) works best for this recipe. I realize it’s hard to find pre-ground chicken thighs in the supermarket, so if you don’t have a meat grinder to do it yourself, by all means buy ground chicken breast.


Ingredients for the Chicken Pelmeni:

For the dough:

2/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp sour cream
2 cups warm water
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp salt
7 cups + about 6 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more to dust

For the Chicken Filling:

(p.s. click here for a Pork & Turkey Filling)
1 3/4 lb ground chicken thigh (leave the fat on if grinding it yourself)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp Cooking Oil, or mild olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Ingredients/ Ideas for Toppings:

Butter, melted
Sour cream, vinegar, ketchup
Fresh dill

chicken-pelmeni

How to Make Basic Vareniky or Pelmeni Dough:

1. Using the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat together: 2/3 cup buttermilk, 2 cups water, 2 eggs,  1 Tbsp  of sour cream, and 1/2 Tbsp salt until well blended.

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2. Using the dough hook, mix in 4 cups flour. Mix on speed 2 until well blended.

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3. Add 3 more cups of flour one cup at a time, allowing the dough to become well blended with each cup.

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4. Add the rest of the flour 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough is no longer sticking to the the bowl (I used an additional 6 Tbsp flour). Once dough is no longer sticking to the bowl, continue to mix 5 min. (Total mixing time is about 20-25 minutes from the time you first start adding flour). Your dough should be soft and elastic. Cover your dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel to keep it from drying out until ready to use.

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How to Make Chicken Pelmeni Filling:

1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a medium skillet over med/high heat. Add chopped onion and saute until golden and soft (4-5 min) Add garlic and saute another minute then remove from heat.

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2. Mix together: ground chicken 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, and sauteed onion and garlic.

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A handy tip: The KitchenAid mixer is very useful for mixing ground meat so your fingers don’t turn into popsicles if your meat is cold.

If using a pelmeni mold:

A pelmeni mold will make your life a little easier. It looks like this and you can pelmeni mold on Amazon.

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1. Cut off about tennis-ball-size chunks of dough, place over a smooth, lightly floured surface and roll out into a circle that is wider than your mold.

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2. Generously flour your mold and place rolled dough over the mold. Fill each pocket of the mold with 1/2 tsp of your filling.

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3. (Make your husband) Roll out another chunk of dough and place over the mold. Use a rolling pin to role over the top of the second layer of dough on your mold; working from the center – outwards until the pelmeni are well-defined.

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4. Turn the pelmeni maker over and push the pelmeni out with your finger by pushing in the center of each one, or knock the mold against the cutting board to loosen them (if you get so lucky) onto a well-floured cutting board. Kids love popping them out too! If you find any rebel pelmeni with open edges, pinch them to seal or the meat may float out while cooking. Mine turned out nice and plump, but don’t overfill them or they may be hard to pop out of the mold.

 

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If making pelmeni by hand:

1. Shape a portion of the dough into a 1 to 2 -inch thick log. Cut off 1 piece at a time (about gum ball sized) and roll into disks to form a 1.5-inch circle with rolling pin. Sprinkle rolling pin and surface with flour if needed.
2. Place 1 tsp pelmeni filling in the center,
3. Fold the dough in half over the meat and pinch the edges tightly to seal the dough.
4. You should have a half-moon shape. Pinch the two corners together to form your classic ravioli/diaper shape.

Freezing Pelmeni for lazy days:

5. Place pelmeni onto a well-floured cutting board. Arrange pelmeni evenly on the cutting board, sprinkle with flour and place in the freezer.
6. Once they are fully frozen, transfer to large ziploc bags and freeze them for lazier days.

To Cook Chicken Pelmeni:

Bring a pot of water to boil (add 1 Tbsp salt for a large soup pot, or 1 tsp salt for a smaller 4 quart pot). Add fresh or FROZEN (do not defrost) pelmeni and return to a boil. They should float to the top, then boil for 3 minutes longer (or until meat is fully cooked). Drain pelmeni and place them in a clean bowl. Toss pelmeni with butter and sprinkle with parsley or dill (optional). Serve them warm with ketchup, sour cream or vinegar (my personal favorite).

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Russian Chicken Pelmeni Recipe

4.9 from 7 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Serving: 10-12

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ Tbsp salt
  • 7 cups + about 6 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more to dust

For the Chicken Filling:

  • 1¾ lb ground chicken thigh (leave the fat on if grinding it yourself)
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil, or mild olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Toppings and condiments

  • Butter, melted
  • Sour cream, vinegar, ketchup

Instructions

Making the Dough:

  1. Using the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat together: ⅔ cup buttermilk, 1 Tbsp of sour cream, 2 cups warm water, 2 eggs and ½ Tbsp salt until well blended.
  2. Using the dough hook, mix in 4 cups flour. Mix on speed 2 until well blended.
  3. Add 3 more cups of flour one cup at a time, allowing the dough to become well blended with each cup.
  4. Add the rest of the flour 1 Tbsp at a time, until the dough is no longer sticking to the the bowl (I used an additional 6 Tbsp flour). Once dough is no longer sticking to the bowl, continue to mix 5 min. (Total mixing time is about 20-25 minutes from the time you first start adding flour). Your dough should be soft and elastic. Cover your dough with plastic wrap or a tea towel until ready to use.

The Chicken Filling

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium skillet over med/high heat. Add chopped onion and saute until golden and soft (4-5 min) Add garlic and saute another minute then remove from heat.
  2. Mix together: ground chicken, sauteed onion and garlic, ¾ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper and 2 Tbsp chopped parsley. A handy tip: The KitchenAid is very useful for mixing ground meat so your fingers don't turn into popsicles if your meat is cold.

Using a Pelmeni Mold:

  1. Cut off about tennis-ball-size chunks of dough, place over a smooth, lightly floured surface and roll out into a circle that is wider than your mold. .
  2. Lightly flour your mold and place rolled dough over the mold. Fill each pocket of the mold with ½ tsp of your filling.
  3. (Make your husband) Roll out another chunk of dough and place over the mold. Use a rolling pin to role over the top of the second layer of dough on your mold; working from the center - outwards until the pelmeni are well-defined.
  4. Turn the pelmeni maker over and push the pelmeni out onto a well-floured cutting board. If you find any rebel pelmeni with open edges, pinch them to seal or the meat may float out while cooking.

Shaping Pelmeni by hand:

  1. Shape a portion of the dough into a 1 to 2 -inch thick log. Cut off 1 piece at a time (about gum ball sized) and roll into disks to form a 1.5-inch circle with rolling pin. Sprinkle rolling pin and surface with flour if needed.
  2. Place 1 tsp pelmeni filling in the center,
  3. Fold the dough in half over the meat and pinch the edges tightly to seal the dough.
  4. You should have a half-moon shape. Pinch the two corners together to form your classic ravioli shape.
  5. Place pelmeni onto a well-floured cutting board. Arrange pelmeni evenly on the cutting board, sprinkle with flour and cook (see instructions below) or place in the freezer.

Freezing Pelmeni:

  1. Once they are fully frozen, transfer to large ziploc bags and freeze them for lazier days.

Cooking Pelmeni:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil (add 1 Tbsp salt for a large soup pot, or 1 tsp salt for a smaller 4 quart pot). Add fresh or FROZEN (do not defrost) pelmeni and return to a boil. They should float to the top, then boil for 3 minutes longer (or until meat is fully cooked). Drain pelmeni and place them in a clean bowl. Toss pelmeni with butter and sprinkle with dill (optional). Serve them warm with ketchup, sour cream or vinegar (my personal favorite).

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Ina
    November 28, 2016

    Hi Natasha, would it be okay to half this recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 28, 2016

      Hi Ina, yes that would be fine 🙂 Reply

  • Julie
    June 29, 2016

    Hi Natasha, you think I can use a dough roller for this? Like a pasta dough roller? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 29, 2016

      Hi Julie, I’ve never tried it that way but I’m concerned that the dough might be too soft and might get stuck in a dough roller. I haven’t tried it though to say for sure. If you test it out, let me know how it goes. It sounds nice if it works! 🙂 Reply

  • Tatiana
    June 13, 2016

    Natasha, can I use bread-maker for dough? (Instead of kitchen aid). Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 14, 2016

      Hi Tatiana, I haven’t tried it that way but I think it could work, although my bread machine has a warm setting for rising the dough and if yours does too, you might take the dough out before that happens. This dough does not need to proof/rise. Reply

  • Kathleen
    June 4, 2016

    Once again, you’re a lifesaver! My Russian partner’s birthday is on Monday and he’s been pining for this. (Honestly we both have.) Our Russian store stopped selling the good stuff. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 5, 2016

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing 😁. Reply

  • Vitaliya
    May 27, 2016

    Natasha can I omit the buttermilk? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 27, 2016

      The dough turns out softer and tastier with the buttermilk. I haven’t tried buttermilk substitutes, but there are quite a few quick methods of making your own buttermilk, such as this oneReply

  • Rita
    May 9, 2016

    I’m out of buttermilk and was wondering if i can just acidify my milk with vinegar… Would that work? I don’t want to spoil the dough… Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 9, 2016

      Hi Rita, to be honest, I haven’t tried substituting that way so I can’t say for sure. I think it would work but without trying it myself, I’m not 100% sure. Reply

  • Alla
    January 9, 2016

    Approximately how many pelemeni do you get from your recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 10, 2016

      Oh my goodness I can’t believe I didn’t count them. It’s hard to guess but I’d say it’s well over 100. Reply

  • Ali
    March 20, 2015

    Hey I was wondering if you could do this dough in the bread machine?? What do you think? Thank you for the recipe by the way! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 20, 2015

      I haven’t tried making it in the bread machine so I can’t really advise for or against it. My bread machine has a warm setting for rising the dough and if yours does too, you might take the dough out before that happens. Reply

  • irina
    February 20, 2015

    I’m confused on how much salt you add to the dough. The ingredient list says 1/2 tsp but directions say 1 1/2tsp.
    help! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 20, 2015

      Oh sorry for the confusion. 1/2 Tbsp is actually equal to 1 1/2 tsp. I changed the instructions to read 1/2 Tbsp to clarify. Reply

  • Lidia
    October 31, 2014

    Hello Svetlana,
    Can you please give me the recipe for the Oreshki dough? God bless you, thanks:) Reply

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