Our favorite Jewish dumplings

Yes, the matzo ball is a dumpling (a bread dumpling if we want to get technical).
Fried kreplach and onions. (Photo: orlick/flickr)

Dumplings, nearly every culture has a recipe that features dough (sometimes stuffed) that’s in a bite sized shape.

For Ashkenazi Jews they’re called kreplach, or pierogis (Polish), or vareniki (Ukranian), or dampfnudel (German), the list goes on leading to the most famous dumpling of all— the matzo ball (known as knaidl in Yiddish). Persian Jews have gondi, Bukharans have manti and dushpara, Iraqi Jews have kubbeh, the list goes on.


Kreplach ready for the boiling pot. (Photo: ebarney/flickr)

Kreplach is the Swiss Army knife of Ashkenazi dumplings. They’re small, sometimes filled with ground meat, mashed potatoes or some other filling including dairy. Kreplach are usually boiled and served in a soup, but they may also be fried and served on their own (basically they’re like a Jewish ravioli).

Kreplach can be found at meals across the Jewish calendar— they are traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, at the pre-fast meal before Yom Kippur, and on Hoshana Rabbah and Simchat Torah. But, living up to the Swiss Army knife of foods, kreplach with a sweet cheese filling is served on Shavuot and fried kreplach are popular on Chanukah.

The name “kreplach” comes from Yiddish for “a piece of pastry.”

Matzo Ball

The always delicious matzah ball soup.

Yes, the matzo ball is a dumpling (a bread dumpling if we want to get technical). We won’t bother you with which recipe to use because it can get very personal on what you do with your matzo balls (do you make your own meal or use pre-packaged, onions or no onions, the controversy only grows).


Gondi lined up ready to be cooked. (Photo: oferico/flickr)

Gondi is a Persian Jewish dish that resembles matzo balls but are made from ground lamb, veal or chicken. Traditionally they are served on Shabbat and can be found in a soup.


Dushpara dumpling soup. (Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Manti is a dumpling very popular in Turkey, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, the Balkans, and even with Chinese Muslims. Bukharan Jews eat them and also have a dumpling soup called dushpara.


Making kubbeh. (Photo: katherine_martinelli/flickr)

Hailing from Iraq, kubbeh come in many different flavors but they are mostly made from bulgur, semolina, potatoes or rice and then stuffed with minced meat and herbs.

Kubbeh hamo is popular soup that first popped up in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market.