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Tvorog Vareniki (Farmer's Cheese and Chives Dumplings)

Delicious and creamy Russian dumplings filled with cheese, probiotic kefir and chives, from the restaurant and cookbook KACHKA!
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Russian
Servings 6 people


Dumpling Filling

  • 1 pound farmer's cheese (I couldn't find this in my grocery store, so I substituted ricotta cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup kefir (Or mix a scant ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt with 3 Tbsp of milk)
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ cup minced chives

Dumpling Dough

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp cold water

Dumpling Sauce & Toppings

  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 6 tsp white vinegar
  • 6 pinches kosher salt
  • minced chives, for garnish


Make the Dumpling Filling

  • Blend the farmer's cheese (or ricotta), egg, kefir (or Greek yogurt thinned with milk), parmesan, flour and salt in a food processor until it is smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a container with a lid and stir in the chives.
    Refrigerate the cheese mixture overnight.

Make the Dumpling Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the flour and salt.
  • Mix in the egg.
    Slowly add the water while mixing the dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a stand mixer, or 20 minutes by hand, until it becomes a smooth and elastic ball.
  • Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least one hour.

Assemble the Dumplings

  • Flour a baking sheet, on which you'll place the finished dumplings.
  • Divide the dough into eight even balls. Keep the dough balls that aren't being used covered until plastic wrap so they don't dry out.
  • Dust flour on a clean work surface and roll out the first dough ball slightly larger than the size of your dumpling-maker.
    Drape the dough over the dumpling maker and use your hands or a dumpling press to make a little wiggle room for the filling.
    Re-flour your work surface as needed, and roll out the second ball of dough, to prepare the top layer.
  • Fill the dumplings with about one heaping teaspoon of the cheese filling.
  • Drape the second sheet of dough on top, and use a rolling pin or the blunt end of a wood spoon to press the two dough layers together to seal the dumplings.
    Carefully take the dumplings out of the dumpling maker and put them on a floured baking sheet, spread out so none overlap and stick together.
  • If you don't have a dumpling maker, simply divide the dough into four even balls and roll it out to the same thickness as fresh pasta.
    Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter or a drinking glass to cut rounds of dough.
    Fill the rounds with one heaping teaspoon of the cheese filling.
    Brush the edges of the dough with water and fold them into half-circles. Press the edges to seal the dumplings.
  • Repeat the steps to roll out the dough, fill them with the cheese filling and seal the dumplings closed.

Cook & Eat the Dumplings

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
    Add about 10 dumplings at a time, so you don't crowd the pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any dumplings that get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Boil the dumplings for about 5 minutes, until the noodles are al dente and the cheese filling is gooey and hot.
  • For each serving, mix hot dumplings with 1 Tbsp butter, 1 tsp white vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and minced chives.
Keyword cheese, chives, dumpling, noodles, ravioli, Russian, tvorog, vareniki, vegetarian