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Potato-Meat Dumplings Recipe - Lithuanian Cepelinai


Lithuanian Cepelinai Dumpling at Racine Bakery in Chicago

Lithuanian Cepelinai Dumpling at Racine Bakery in Chicago

© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Lithuanian Potato-Meat Dumplings are known as zeppelins - cepelinai - because of their shape. These are hearty affairs that take some time to make but are well worth the effort. There are also potato-cheese cepelinai.

Here is a larger picture of Lithuanian Cepelinai and the steps for making potato-meat dumplings.

Makes 6 servings of Lithuanian Potato-Meat Dumplings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • Dumpling Mixture:
  • 8 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled, boiled and riced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  • .
  • Meat Mixture:
  • 1 pound ground pork or 1/3 pound pork, 1/3 pound beef, 1/3 pound veal
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • .
  • Gravy:
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, mix all the meat ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  2. Add a drop or two of lemon juice to the grated potatoes so they don't turn brown. Place them in a fine-mesh cheesecloth or cotton dish towel and twist over a large bowl to get rid of the excess water. Pour off the water, reserving the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.

  3. Unwrap the cheesecloth and place potatoes in bowl with the potato starch you reserved from the bottom of the bowl. Add the riced boiled potatoes, grated onion and salt. Mix well.

  4. Put a large stockpot of water on to boil. To form the zeppelins, take about 1 cup of dumpling mixture and pat it flat in the palm of the hand. Place 1/4 cup or more of meat mixture in the center and, using slightly dampened hands, fold the potato mixture around the meat into a football shape, sealing well. Continue until both mixtures are gone.

  5. Carefully lower dumplings into salted, boiling water to which 1 tablespoon of cornstarch has been added (to prevent dumplings from falling apart). Make sure water returns to the boil and continue boiling for 25 minutes. Remove dumplings, drain briefly on a clean dish towel and place on a heated platter.

  6. While dumplings are boiling, make the gravy. Fry the bacon and onion until tender. Drain and combine with sour cream and black pepper. Thin with 1-2 tablespoons milk if necessary. Drench dumplings with gravy or pass it in a gravy boat at the table.
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