Is it possible to cook pelmeni (пельмени) — Russian meat dumplings — in the microwave without any precooking either in pot or on pan? What are the steps?

3 Answers 3


Anything that is normally cooked by simmering / boiling in liquid can be cooked in a microwave in the same way, if your microwave can keep the liquid simmering.

So for pelmeni just put them in a bowl of salted boiling water (use a kettle or the microwave to bring it to the boil first), bring back to a simmer and cook on high for the same length of time you'd cook them in a pan on the stove. If your microwave is not powerful enough to keep the water simmering, cook smaller amounts at a time.

It's less efficient than doing it on the stove, takes more time and is more fuss. The pelmeni will take longer to come back to a simmer than they would on the stove, so the dough will be relatively overcooked and soft.

  • good point about boiling water first in kettle!
    – kusoksna
    Dec 24, 2010 at 19:36

It is possible, but considering the fact that the filling for pelmeni isn't pre-cooked (in any recipe that I've seen), you want to make sure to cook it thoroughly.

You can place them in a microwave safe bowl with water and cook them for 9-12 minutes until done.

You can also place pelmeni in a single layer on a plate. Cover with a wet paper towel or clean cloth - it should be thoroughly wet. Cook on high, checking every few minutes to make sure the towel or cloth is still wet. Again, do this for 9-12 minutes.

There's no significant time-savings over doing this on the stove-top, but if you only have a microwave available, it works. They taste better on the stove top.

  • I would not use the cloth method. Sounds like a sure way to overcook the dough and ruin the dish. HOWEVER, if you are making the chicken-filled variety, then yes - make absolutely sure they are cooked through. Jun 16, 2023 at 17:29

In my experience, microwave works surprisingly well for this.

  1. take out 10-15 pelmeni
  2. boil at least one liter of water in the microwave or an electric boiler
  3. place the pelmeni in a container
  4. add water and stir gently to separate and prevent them sticking to each other
  5. place the container in the microwave oven
  6. set the oven to 3-5 minutes (700w+)
  7. let them rest in the water for 1-2 minutes after boiling
  8. drain the pelmeni (or fish them out and reuse the water for next batch)
  9. serve with any of:
    • a bit of pepper
    • oregano
    • mayonnaise
    • sour cream
    • vinegar
    • soy sauce
    • terryaki sauce
    • any korean sauce
    • oyster sauce
    • MSG
    • caviar
    • chicken stock
    • mustard
    • raw onions and salt
    • or even a salad!

Comments to check for readiness

Small portion (6-8) pelmeni in one liter of water can be done in as little as 3 minutes. Some people like to use even more water and more time. Do whatever you do for pasta - if that helps. Salting the water is not necessary, but if you do the result will taste better, but require more time to boil.

For boiling, if three minutes seems like too little, try 3-4 rounds of 2 minutes with a minute in between each round. Since it's not very easy to simmer anything in the microwave, and since it heats the meat and dough and water all at the same time, I find that less time is required with the microwave.

However! I currently live somewhere where the water is pretty hard, with a lot of minerals in it. If your water is soft, or if you use bottled and filtered water, then you may need more time.

However!! If your microwave is less powerful, with the total effect of ~600 Watt or less, then use more time.

However!!! If you are cooking pelmeni with chicken filling, then use more time, I'd say at least 7-12 minutes, starting from boiling water.

It helps to know if you how they should taste when done.


  • if they float on top of the water, they're done
  • if the dough skin is broken, you cooked them too long
  • if they are dry inside (no meat juice), you cooked them too long

If you are still really unsure, keep one pelmen uncooked and defrosted and cut it in two. Compare the color of the meat with one that's cooked. It should look dead and have no red color ;)


Eat them right away after they come out of the water. By the time you are done, some will have cooled down and the magical effect of biting into hot broth will be diminished.

If decide to have pelmeni for dinner when you get back from work, consider taking them out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator in the morning or the evening before. This will marginally reduce the cooking time, or you can fry them in a pan with lots of butter to give them a glorious crust.

O.K. I need to stop writing, I love this dish too much.

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