Cepelinai I Recipe - Traditional Lithuanian Vegetarian Dish

Cepelinai I

Cepelinai I Recipe - Traditional Lithuanian Vegetarian Dish
Region / culture: Lithuania | Preparation time: 45 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 6 | Vegetarian diet


Cepelinai I
Cepelinai I

Cepelinai, also known as Zeppelins, are traditional Lithuanian potato dumplings filled with a savory mixture of mushrooms, onions, and seasonings. These hearty and satisfying dumplings are a popular dish in Lithuania and are often enjoyed as a main course.


Cepelinai are believed to have originated in the early 20th century in Lithuania. The dish is named after the famous airship, the Zeppelin, due to its resemblance to the shape of the dumplings. Cepelinai quickly became a staple in Lithuanian cuisine and are now enjoyed by people all over the world.




How to prepare


  1. Grate raw potatoes using the fine side of a grater.
  2. Place grated potatoes in a folded cheesecloth, ensuring it is folded over at least twice.
  3. Squeeze out as much juice from the grated potatoes as possible.
  4. Do not discard the juice.
  5. Set aside the potato juice while preparing the filling.


  1. Heat a sauté pan.
  2. Add oil, then butter.
  3. Add the mushrooms and onions.
  4. Sauté until all the liquid from the mushrooms has reduced.
  5. Set aside until it cools down enough to handle.
  6. Continue working on the potato mixture while the filling is cooling.
  7. Place the grated raw potatoes and mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Take the reserved potato juice and pour off the liquid, leaving the potato starch at the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Scrape out the starch and add it to the grated potato mixture.
  10. Add salt to taste.
  11. Knead the mixture with your hands until well blended.
  12. Return to the filling mixture and add the egg, breadcrumbs, and seasonings.


  1. Take a handful of the potato dough.
  2. Shape it into a ball, approximately the size of a large meatball.
  3. Flatten the ball into a patty.
  4. Take some of the filling and form it into a ball about the size of a ping-pong ball.
  5. Place the filling in the center of the potato patty.
  6. Enclose the patty around the filling, squeezing and smoothing it with your hands to ensure the potato mixture completely encases the filling and seals it well.
  7. You will end up with a filled potato dumpling about the size of a lemon.
  8. Place the dumplings in lightly salted boiling water.
  9. Boil for approximately 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon and drain them well.
  11. To serve, top each dumpling with a dollop of sour cream.


  • Try filling the dumplings with ground meat, such as pork or beef, for a different flavor.
  • Add grated cheese to the filling mixture for a cheesy twist.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the grated potatoes to ensure the dough holds together well.

- Make sure the filling is completely cooled before assembling the dumplings to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky.

- Seal the dumplings well to prevent the filling from leaking out during cooking.

Serving Suggestions

Cepelinai are traditionally served with sour cream and a side of pickles or sauerkraut.

Cooking Techniques


Ingredient Substitutions

You can use ground meat instead of mushrooms for the filling.

- Gluten-free breadcrumbs can be used in place of regular breadcrumbs.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the dough and filling ahead of time and assemble the dumplings just before cooking.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Cepelinai on a platter garnished with fresh herbs for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Cepelinai pair well with a crisp salad or steamed vegetables.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Cepelinai in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, steam or microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Calories: 300 per serving


Carbohydrates: 45g per serving


Total Fat: 10g per serving

Saturated Fat: 3g per serving


Protein: 8g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Cepelinai are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and iron.


Contains: Wheat, eggs


Cepelinai are a hearty and filling dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, making them a nutritious meal option.


Cepelinai are a delicious and comforting dish that is sure to satisfy your cravings for hearty, traditional cuisine. With a flavorful filling encased in a tender potato dough, these dumplings are a true delight to enjoy.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the excitement that washed over me when I first saw this recipe for Cepelinai. It was handed down to me by my dear friend, Maria, who had learned to make this traditional Lithuanian dish from her own grandmother. The thought of trying my hand at making these potato dumplings filled with meat made my mouth water.

Maria had invited me over to her home for a cooking lesson one sunny afternoon. As soon as I walked into her kitchen, I was greeted by the delicious aroma of simmering meats and spices. Maria was bustling around the kitchen, gathering ingredients and preparing the dough for the Cepelinai.

She showed me how to grate the potatoes and squeeze out the excess water, so that the dough would be the perfect consistency. I watched in awe as she expertly shaped the dough into large oval dumplings, filled them with a savory mixture of ground pork, onions, and spices, and then boiled them in a pot of salted water until they were tender.

As we sat down to enjoy our meal, Maria shared with me the story of how Cepelinai had become a staple in Lithuanian cuisine. She told me that the dish was originally created by a chef in the town of Kaunas, who was inspired by the shape of zeppelins flying overhead during World War I. The chef wanted to create a dish that would not only be filling and delicious, but also a symbol of national pride.

I listened intently as Maria recounted the history of Cepelinai, feeling a sense of connection to my own heritage and the traditions of my ancestors. I knew that I had to learn how to make this dish for myself, so that I could pass it down to future generations.

After my lesson with Maria, I went home and immediately set to work in my own kitchen. I followed the recipe she had given me, measuring out the ingredients carefully and shaping the dough with love and care. As the dumplings boiled on the stove, I could already taste the rich flavors of the meat and potatoes melding together.

When I finally sat down to enjoy my own homemade Cepelinai, I was overcome with a sense of accomplishment. The dumplings were tender and flavorful, the perfect combination of hearty and satisfying. I knew that I had succeeded in mastering this traditional Lithuanian dish, thanks to the guidance of my dear friend Maria.

From that day on, Cepelinai became a regular part of my cooking repertoire. I would make them for special occasions and family gatherings, sharing the recipe with anyone who was willing to listen. Each time I made them, I felt a sense of pride in preserving this culinary tradition and honoring the memory of Maria and her grandmother.

As the years went by, I continued to refine my technique and experiment with different fillings and seasonings. I discovered that Cepelinai could be adapted to suit any taste, whether it be with mushrooms and cheese for a vegetarian option, or with a spicy sausage and tomato sauce for a more contemporary twist.

Now, as I sit here writing this story, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of this recipe and the joy it has brought me over the years. I am proud to carry on the tradition of making Cepelinai, and I hope that one day my own grandchildren will learn to make them as well, passing down the recipe for generations to come.


| Dumpling Recipes | Lithuanian Recipes | Lithuanian Vegetarian | Mushroom Recipes | Potato Recipes |

Recipes with the same ingredients