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Jewish Gateways Holiday Baking: Kreplach Recipe

Kreplach (from Yiddish: קרעפּלעך) are small dumplings filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes, or another filling, usually boiled and served in chicken soup, sometimes fried.

In Ashkenazi Jewish homes, kreplach are traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, at the pre-fast meal before Yom Kippur, and on Hoshana Rabbah and Simchat Torah.

Kreplach are also eaten on Purim because the hidden nature of the kreplach interior mimics the "hidden" nature of the Purim miracle.

In many communities, meat-filled kreplach are served on Purim. A variety with a sweet cheese filling is served as a starter or main dish as part of dairy meals, specifically on Shavuot. Fried kreplach are also a popular dish on Hanukkah because they are fried in oil, which references the miracle of oil at Hanukkah.

Stuffed pasta may have migrated from Venice to the Ashkenazi Jews in Germany during the 14th century.

Some Jewish scholars say the dumplings have a special meaning for Yom Kippur: The filling and its wrapper together serve as a sort of meditation on our inner and outer selves as we approach a sacred holiday. More simply, it's tradition.

Kreplach Recipe by Andrea Quinn

Makes 36 Kreplach


Meat Filling

  • 3⁄4 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 small onion

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 large egg or equivalent egg substitute

  • Salt and pepper

Cheese Filling

  • 1 pound ricotta, goat, or curd-style farmer cheese

  • Sour cream

  • 1 large egg or equivalent egg substitute

  • 1 shallot

  • Salt and pepper


  • 3 eggs or equivalent egg substitute

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


Meat Filling

  1. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes over med-high heat.

  2. Add the garlic in a large skillet.

  3. Add the ground beef.

  4. Cook the meat, pressing it often with a potato masher or slotted spoon to keep the pieces as small as possible.

  5. When the meat is completely cooked through, drain off all excess fat.

  6. Continue cooking the meat until any remaining moisture has evaporated.

  7. Set the meat aside to cool.

  8. Make the dough at this time. You will finish the meat mixture afterward.

Cheese Filling

  1. Mix ricotta (or other cheese listed), sour cream, egg, shallot, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Making the dough by hand

  1. Put the flour and salt into a medium bowl.

  2. Make a well in the center of the flour.

  3. Add the eggs and the smaller amount of water to the well, and beat them with a fork.

  4. Gradually beat the flour into the egg mixture to form a stiff dough. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add water, if it is wet and sticky, add flour.

  5. Knead the dough in the bowl or on a board for about 5-8 minutes or until it is very smooth and silky.

Using a food processor

  1. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl fitted with a steel blade.

  2. Pulse-process a few times.

  3. Add the eggs and pulse-process a few more times until crumbly.

  4. With the machine running, add the water through the tube, using just enough water so that the dough forms a ball.

  5. Add a bit more flour and process a few seconds longer.

  6. Continue processing about 30 seconds to knead the dough. It should be very smooth.

Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap so it does not dry out, and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to 1 hour to relax the gluten and make it easier to roll out. While the dough is resting, finish making the meat filling.

Meat Filling: Return to the cooled meat. For a traditional, fine-textured filling, finely mince the cooked meat mixture in a food processor or put it through a meat grinder. Stir in the egg, salt, and pepper (or add to the processor and pulse-process a few times). The filling should hold together when put into a teaspoon, and not crumble apart. If necessary, stir a few extra teaspoons of beaten egg into the filling.

Rolling and Filling the Dough: Divide the dough into three pieces and rewrap the pieces not being used so they do not dry out. On a lightly floured board, roll out the first piece of dough to a very thin 9” by 12” rectangle that is as neat as possible. Make sure the bottom of the dough is floured and not sticking to the board. Let the dough rest for a few minutes so it does not shrink a lot when cut. Cut the dough into twelve 3” squares using a pastry wheel or sharp knife. Have a small bowl of water handy. Put a generous teaspoon of filling on each square. Use your finger to rub a little water along two perpendicular edges of a square. This will help glue the folded kreplach closed. Fold the dough over on the diagonal to form a triangle, so that the two wet edges meet the two dry edges. Do not wet all four edges or the dough won’t stick together. Press the top and bottom edges together with your fingers, then press on the edges with the tines of a fork to tightly seal them closed. Place the kreplach on a lightly floured surface. Repeat until all the kreplach are formed, using the remaining pieces of dough. If you have a little extra dough or filling, don’t worry about it. You’ll still have plenty of kreplach. If desired, the kreplach may be frozen at this point. Freeze them in a single layer, uncovered, on a baking sheet, then place them into sealed freezer bags for storage. Do not thaw them before boiling; just cook them for about 5 minutes longer.

Final Cooking: To cook the kreplach, gently drop 1/3–1/2 of them into a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until just tender but not mushy. They will greatly increase in size as they cook. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining kreplach. Store them in a covered bowl. They should not stick together after they have been cooked.

Meat Filling: To serve in soup, reheat meat kreplach in hot chicken soup. To serve the kreplach fried, drain after boiling and fry them in a small amount of hot oil, margarine, or rendered chicken fat until they are golden on both sides.

Cheese Filling: After boiling the cheese kreplach, immediately toss with melted butter. To serve the kreplach fried, drain after boiling and fry them in butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until they are golden brown on both sides.


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