Chicken Kreplach

To bring us into the weekend, I thought I’d share one of those wonderful old-fashioned Jewish dishes– you know, the sort of dish that warms your tummy and your heart. It’s the kind of cooking that brings back memories of Bubbe in the kitchen, making her family recipes from scratch with a “pinch of this” and a “handful of that.” I never had a bubbe (mine were both called “grandma”), but if I had I’m sure this soup would have been one of her favorite recipes. I’m talking about homemade Chicken Kreplach!

Kreplach are stuffed noodle dumplings, a Jewish dish that has been around since Medieval times. Kreplach originated in Eastern Europe as fried pastries stuffed with meat, known as krepish. In the 15oo’s krepish evolved into stuffed pasta; the shift was likely inspired by Italian or Asian influence in the region. The dish became popular throughout Europe under different regional names (varenikes in the Ukraine, pierogi in Poland, agnolotti in Italy). In Eastern Europe and within the Yiddish community, they became known as krepl, which evolved to the plural word kreplach that we use today. It’s now considered a quintessential Jewish dish that has become standard fare on deli menus across the country.

Kreplach can be made with a variety of fillings. You can use boiled soup chicken, as this recipe does, which allows you to create both soup broth and kreplach filling from the same chicken. Other fillings include ground beef fried with herbs, leftover brisket or roast meat, and dairy kreplach stuffed with cheese. The cheese filling is often enjoyed during Purim, a vegetarian Jewish holiday, and assembled in a triangular shape to resemble “Haman’s hat.”

Kreplach are generally served in a bowl of soup broth, but they can also be served on their own, like dumplings. Cheese kreplach are often topped with sour cream. My husband grew up eating kreplach topped with chopped walnuts, a tradition handed down from the Russian side of his family. They can even be stuffed with fruit or preserves and served as dessert.

My kreplach recipe is an adapted version of my mom’s homemade egg noodle recipe, with a little oil added to the dough for flexibility. They’re stuffed with a basic chicken kreplach filling– minced soup chicken, herbs, chicken fat and onions. I fry the onions to caramelize them and bring out their flavor before adding them to the filling. My herb of choice is dill, because in my family we’re dill fanatics. If you’re not a fan, you can substitute fresh parsley instead. And I always add a touch of the skimmed chicken fat from the broth for moisture and flavor. If I’m feeling naughty, I throw in a little of the fatty chicken skin. It might sound weird, but when ground in with the filling the fat produces a silky texture and adds a ton of flavor.

Did you know that kreplach can also be fried? Frying stuffed kreplach creates little mini pies that are similar to empanadas. They are totally delicious, and they make fun appetizers for a party. I usually fry them in corn oil; if it’s a meat filling and you’re feeling indulgent, you can fry them in schmaltz for even more flavor. Instructions are provided in the recipe below.

Before you tackle homemade kreplach, keep in mind that this is a Sunday kind of project– it takes time. It’s also messy. Wear an apron, and prepare to get flour everywhere. I’ve provided step-by-step instructions with pictures to help keep you on track. It’s a long process, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort. Because it is a laborious process, kreplach are usually reserved for special occasions and holidays. They are traditionally served on the evening before Yom Kippur, the seventh day of Sukkot, on Purim, and on Shavuot (Shavuot is a dairy holiday, so cheese kreplach are usually served then). If you’re looking for an easier way to make kreplach, my friend Bella Hadar gave me the tip of using won ton dough– you can find it in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. It won’t taste like homemade, but it’s a workable sub if you’re in a hurry or don’t have the patience to roll out the dough from scratch.

We’re now in the weeks leading up to Passover, and I seem to be cravings carbs– perhaps because I know that soon I’ll be restricted to matzo, with no chametz in sight. This kreplach completely satisfied my need for comfort food. It’s one of those dishes that just feels good to eat. There is a popular Yiddish expression, “Kreplach esn vert oykh nimis,” which roughly translates to– “One even gets bored of eating kreplach.” It’s the Yiddish equivalent of the American phrase, “Too much of a good thing.” Kreplach really is a good thing. Really really. And it’s hard to imagine having too much of it. So go on, make some kreplach! Shabbat Shalom. :)

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Chicken Kreplach

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp corn oil, divided (9 tbsp if frying kreplach)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups flour
  • 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs.
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 5 celery stalks, cut into thirds
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbsp whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper
Total Time: 3 - 4 Hours
Servings: 10
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Place the chicken into a large stock pot. Cover with 4 quarts of water.
  • Bring water to a boil over medium high heat. Let the chicken boil for 10-15 minutes, skimming the foam and particles that rise to the surface of the water periodically, till most of the foam is gone.
  • Replenish the liquid that was removed during scumming with hot water (it's usually around 1-2 cups). Do a final skimming to remove any leftover foam. Add the carrots, celery, parsley, peppercorns, cloves, and half the fresh dill to the pot. Add 2 tsp salt to the water (if you're salt sensitive or using a kosher salted bird, salt less). Bring back to a boil.
  • Put the lid on the pot and vent it. Reduce heat to medium low so the soup is slowly simmering. Let the soup cook for 90 minutes. While the soup is cooking, mince up 1/4 cup of the remaining fresh dill and reserve.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of corn oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place the diced onion into the skillet. Let it fry for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, till the onion turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Reserve the onions and oil in the skillet.
  • After 90 minutes of cooking, when the chicken is tender, turn off the heat. Use a pair of tongs to carefully pull the chicken from the broth. Put it on a plate. Taste the chicken broth and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Allow the chicken and the broth to cool.
  • Meanwhile, make your kreplach dough. Beat 3 eggs and 3 tbsp of the corn oil in a small bowl till frothy. Reserve.
  • Sift 1 1/2 cups of flour with 1 1/4 tsp of salt into your mixing bowl (if you're salt sensitive or on a low sodium diet, use less).
  • In your mixing bowl, make a “well” in the center of the sifted flour and pour the beaten eggs in.
  • Use a fork to mix the eggs into the flour until it is evenly moistened.
  • Sift more flour into the bowl, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to stir until a soft dough forms. When the dough gets too thick to stir, use your hands to knead. Stop adding flour when the dough holds together and is only slightly sticky to the touch (it will be soft). Let it rest uncovered for 20 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, carefully strain the broth into another pot through a mesh strainer. Reserve the vegetables; discard the spices and herbs. Skim the fat from the top of the broth and pour it into a bowl. Reserve the fatty liquid (schmaltz).
  • Pull the meat from the chicken in small pieces.
  • Chop up and measure out 1 1/2 cups of the boiled chicken pieces. Place the chopped chicken in a food processor. Add the fried onion with its oil, 3 tbsp of the chopped dill, and 2 tbsp of the reserved fatty liquid from the broth to the food processor. If you're feeling indulgent, you can also throw in some of the fatty chicken skin for a more silky filling texture (not healthy, but tasty!).
  • Pulse the chicken mixture in the food processor till it becomes a chunky paste. You will only need to pulse it a few times. Don't over-process it, you don't want a puree-- it should still have texture, like tuna salad. Alternatively, you can mince the dill (and optional chicken skin) by hand, use a meat grinder for the chicken meat, and combine the mixture by hand.
  • Put the chicken mixture into a bowl. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Don't be afraid to season generously, kreplach can turn out bland if you don't season it well. I like to add plenty of black pepper.
  • Now you are ready to roll your dough. Cover your rolling surface with a thin layer of sifted flour. Scoop up half of the dough from the bowl; cover the remaining dough with a slightly damp towel. Lightly flour your rolling pin. Roll out the dough till it’s very thin, flipping the dough occasionally and reflouring the board and rolling pin as needed. Some people like their kreplach on the thicker side (more dumpling-like), some like it thinner (more wonton-like). For a thicker dumpling texture, roll it out to 1/8 inch thick. For a more delicate texture, roll it out as thin as possible without tearing the dough.
  • I usually stop rolling when the dough is translucent-- when I can almost see through the dough when I hold it up to the light. When it's rolled out thin enough to your liking, it's ready to cut.
  • There are a few different ways to cut and fold kreplach. I'm sharing three methods in this blog; there are other ways too. No matter which fold you choose, keep a small dish of water nearby.
  • TRIANGLE KREPLACH: Cut the dough into strips 3 inches wide. Cut 3 inch squares from the strips. Gather any remaining scraps and place them in the bowl with the other half of the dough and recover with the damp towel.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of each square. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the square.
  • Fold one corner to the opposite corner to create a triangle. Seal the triangle by pinching the seal gently with your fingers. This shape is typically made for the Purim holiday.
  • HALF MOON KREPLACH: Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut 3-inch circles from the dough. Gather any remaining scraps and place them in the bowl with the other half of the dough and recover with the damp towel.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the circle.
  • Fold the circle in half to create a half moon shape. Seal the kreplach by pinching the seal gently with your fingers. Roll the curved edge towards you to create a raised edge around the curve.
  • THREE CORNER KREPLACH: Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut 3-inch circles from the dough. Gather any remaining scraps and place them in the bowl with the other half of the dough and recover with the damp towel.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the circle.
  • Take the two upper edges of the circle and fold them together over the top half of the filling. Pinch to seal. The bottom half of the filling will still be visible.
  • Fold the lower flap of the circle up and over the bottom half of the filling. Pinch to create an edge and seal the kreplach closed.
  • Once you've assembled your first batch of kreplach, gather the other half of the dough and the scraps. Roll it out and repeat the cutting and folding process. If you have enough scraps, repeat the process once more.
  • You should end up with 40-50 kreplach (if you rolled the dough out thicker, you will end up with less).
  • Once your kreplach are assembled, there are two ways to cook them. The most popular way is in boiling water or in the soup broth. Cook them in boiling water if you are feeding a large crowd; the kreplach will soak up some of the broth, which will make for one or two less servings of soup. I prefer to cook them straight in the broth so they soak up the chicken flavor-- you may end up with a little less broth, but your kreplach will taste amazing. You can always top the soup off with a little canned or boxed chicken broth if you need to.
  • Bring the broth or water to a boil. Gently drop the kreplach into the pot. At first they will sink to the bottom, then they will slowly start to rise to the surface.
  • Some people say to let the kreplach cook till they all float to the surface (which only takes about 5 minutes). I like to cook them for a bit longer-- around 20 minutes-- so they get nice and tender. You can test them to see when they're cooked and soft enough for you. While the kreplach are cooking, chop up the cooked vegetables and add them back to the pot (I usually just use the carrots) along with the remaining tablespoon of chopped fresh dill. You can also add some of the leftover soup chicken pieces, if you'd like. Store any remaining soup chicken pieces in an airtight plastic zipper bag for future use.
  • When the kreplach are cooked to your liking, serve them in bowls of the hot soup broth.
  • Alternatively, you can fry the kreplach to cook them. If you want to fry the kreplach, it's best to fold them in either the triangle or half moon shape-- these shapes have a more flat and even frying surface. Heat 1/4 of corn oil in a skillet till hot enough to fry. Keep it on the low end of frying temperature (I usually keep in over medium heat) so they brown, but don't burn.
  • Place the kreplach into the skillet and let them fry on each side till the dough is golden brown and cooked throughout.
  • Serve hot. My husband's family likes to serve the kreplach boiled with a small amount of broth ladled over, topped with melted margarine (or butter, if you're not keeping kosher) and chopped walnuts. It's a Russian tradition from his father's side of the family. No matter how you choose to serve them, homemade kreplach are out-of-this-world delish!

Comments (41)Post a Comment

  1. This looks phenomenal! From my Polish side, I’ve always had a fondness for pierogi and even attend the annual PierogiFest just outside Chicago. Definitely reminds me of grandmother’s cooking. (Well, when she actually cooked.) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    that looks wonderful!! my family came from the Ukraine and my great grandmother made Varenikas stuffed with cherries and also made the Kreplach. Unfortunately she died way before I was born so I didn’t get to taste them. Yours look great. I don’t know if I will make them or not….maybe one day, if I get brave.

    Have a good Shabbot

    1. Hi, Sandi. I came from Kiev Ukraine. And I remember my Babe was making vareniki with sour cherries, you absolutely right and kreplach also. Now thanks to Tori, I will do kreplach. And as soon, as I find sour cherries – vareniki. That’s going to be awesome. And you should try too. Don’t have to be brave, just need time. Shabat Shalom, it is so good to say that to you, my friends.

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Girl, you are one of the few people i know besides me who still makes homemade kreplach! Even my Mother would never bother, it went right from my Bubee to me. I have never made them with chicken, i must try that. I always put a little piece of flanken in my pot of chicken soup and use that meat. You never know the beef is there…but yours are a good way to use up the soup chicken. This is something I usually only make for Rosh Hashanah…but now you have given me a craving. I could tuck into that beautiful bowl of soup right this minute! Great pics! Shabbat Shalom!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I love-love-love your step by sep photos, and the two ways of folding kreplach is so awesome. Funny how dumplings are an almost universal dish across all cuisines. Great blog and mouth-watering post!

  5. Hello, Your recipes look delish! I’ll be trying the hamantashen today with my 3 year old son who just learned in school how to make them. I am wondering if these Kreplach can be made ahead of time and frozen.

    Thanks, Sheryl

  6. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I LOVE kreplach! My grandmother used to make this amazing beef kreplach that was a special treat. I remember it being time consuming, but SO worth it!

  7. I thought I was the only one still making kreplach. My mom used to make them, and I guess her mom did too. Now I am a Bubbe and my family waits for Rosh Hashanah for me to make them. I only use beef, and when I grind the meat in attachment to my Kichen Aid mixer, and then mix the dough in my food processor, I imagine the women who went before me shaking their heads at how much easier I have it!

  8. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Thanks for the great recipe. I do admit though I cheat a little. I use raw won ton dough squares that you can buy in the refrigerated section of a supermarket. I put the filling into these and boiled the won tons according to the package directions. Less mess and fuss. If I want to flash freeze them I just fill them and put them on a parchment lined cookie pan. When they’re frozen I put them in a plastic freezer bag. I take out as many as I want and leave the rest in the freezer for another time I make chicken soup.

  9. My mouth is seriously watering over the thought of this soup and those dumplings, and I’ve never had it before! I also have to say I LOVE the fact that you rolled your dough out with a rolling pin instead of using a pasta machine :D

  10. very good article the pictures remind me when i lived on long island and it was snowing i used to stop at a jewish deli in plainview and pick up 3 dozen fried kreplach and eat some while sitting in the traffic.
    dont have kreplach here in the desert in arizona wish their waere more bubes here to cook some maybe ill take a try at this with my next gefilte fish barbecue

    alan from arizona

  11. Hi Tory,

    I LOVE your blog! I’m also a huge fan of kreplach, but am Gluten-Free. Can you recommend any g-free substitute flours for me that will hold up in the boiling process?

    Thanks!!

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Great recipe! If you want to speed up the process, wonton skins work quite well, too.

    I’m using your recipe for the filling (to use with the remainder of the wonton skins) to make kreplach.

    Thanks, Tori!

  13. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This looks great! Similar to a recipe I got recently from my Jewish father-in-law, except he includes a little beef along with the chicken. Also a lot like a traditional Slovenian boiled dumpling called zlikrofi, which I just made. I grew up eating it, but my Slovenian American mom called it wonton or kreplach!

  14. Love the recipe and instructions. If I want to make ahead and freeze do I freeze before the kreplach are cooked or afterwards?

  15. The best food photography I’ve seen on the internet!
    (The tutorial was first class as well.)
    Now, let’s make sue I have all the ingredients so I can get to work!
    ;-)

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi, this soup looks delicious, can I use chines wrappers they come in small squares and round it will save me time and its u kosher. ty I love your blog!

  17. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I haven’t made the Kreplach Soup just yet but I plan to in a day or two. It truly sounds delish and your photos are awesome. Thanks so much! I had a vague idea about how to make it but Shicksa or not, you spelled it out nicely and gave great tips. Kudos to you! Thanks again. I think I’ll be coming back to your site again. I don’t keep kosher but I miss the foods I grew up on and my area only has one Jewish Deli, but I enjoy making things myself.

  18. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I made this for m husband yesterday and it came out amazing!! He even said it was better than his grandma’s!! Thank u so much for sharing this recipe

  19. Kreplah or pierogi are bigger in size made with variety of filling (sweet or sour or meat). The one you serving with chicken soup (or sour beet soup, but not borscht ) are being called ” uszka” ; they are very tiny with ground meat and onion – just for one bite.

  20. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Both the soup and the kreplach are delicious. Thank you so much for the step by step directions…even I could follow it! I am going to try and freeze the whole pot–soup, cooked kreplach and all, and serve next week. We’ll see…Thanks again.

  21. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Miss Tori! Amazing! I have never seen such honesty and accuracy in detail (correctly done) in a recipes’ instructions in my life. Being somewhat new to internet recipe searching and naturally suspicious and skeptical of most information whose source I am unable to verify myself I rarely try or follow anyone’s recipe or instructions to the letter because invariably most lack either professional accuracy or one can easily tell from the ingredients that not only something is missing but that it won’t taste good before you start. Not so here! A novice could follow you and come up with professional results and a professional could LEARN a few things! While most will add a little something to give the broth a “boost” that is no doubt common for those who prefer a Traditional style broth I suggest using more backs and necks onions and garlic as well as parsnips as one might in Europe today. You put almost every “Authority” (Martha, Giada, Rachel etc…) to shame with your accuracy and ease of style. I tried these exactly as written (something I NEVER do) and they were PERFECT. You will get more advertising from me telling everyone I know for the next 1000 years than I will have given any other person regarding food or cooking since I have stirred a pot (51 years). I thank you for restoring my faith in the recipes of others and this medium. Krystofyr.

  22. This was my first time making and eating kreplach, and I must say I’m in love. The recipe was easy to follow and I am super satisfied with the outcome! Can’t wait to share this with others!

    1. Hi Joyce, honestly I’ve never frozen these but I’ve searched a few forums and it seems they can be frozen either uncooked or cooked. If I were trying it I would probably freeze them uncooked and then cook them from frozen, but I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t make any promises on the result.

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