Chebureki (Fried Beef Pockets)

Thin, crispy pastry filled with juicy ground beef, these Homemade Chebureki are perfect as an appetizer, on-the-go snack or even main dish!

Chebureki (чебуреки) are delicious Crimean Tatar pastries that are incredibly popular throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Russia, where we first tried Chebureki, they are often sold as a street food and can be found on almost every corner. Today we’re sharing our homemade version of the crispy beef-filled pockets!

Fried crispy Crimean Tatar hand pies.

Key ingredients

Measured ingredients to make homemade Chebureki.
  • Flour: All purpose flour is the main Chebureki dough ingredient. For accuracy, measure the flour with a kitchen scale if possible. If using cups, use the spoon and level method described in the recipe notes.
  • Vodka: Vodka contributes to a super crispy crust and also helps the Chebureki develop more of their characteristic bubbles. I always add vodka if we have it on hand, but it doesn’t affect the overall taste so I wouldn’t rush to the liquor store just for this recipe.
  • Egg: One egg helps bind the dough together and creates structure, making this dough super easy to work with.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness to the dough and contributes to a tender texture.
  • Ground beef: The main ingredient in the filling is ground beef. Ground lamb would also be great in these Chebureki.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley balances the richness of the meat.
  • Onion: You can either grate or finely dice the onion. I prefer to grate the onion using the large holes on a box grater. Don’t forget to add any liquid from the onion to the filling as well.
  • Seasonings: I use soy sauce and garlic powder to season the beef filling. Soy sauce is a non-traditional addition, but really ups the umami notes!
  • Water or broth: This is what makes the beef filling so juicy! I tend to use whatever broth we have on hand — vegetable, chicken and beef broth are all great options. But water will also work in a pinch.

Step by step instructions

Step 1: Make the dough. I generally use a stand mixer, but this dough isn’t too difficult to whip up by hand.

Step 2: Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes. This step is very important! The rest time allows the gluten to relax, making the dough easier to work with.

Step 3: Make the beef filling. Simply mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl!

Step 4: Separate the dough into 12 portions and roll out. Roll out each piece of dough into a circle.

Step 5: Fill the Chebureki. Add a thin layer of the meat mixture on one side and then fold in half. Use a fork to seal the edges.

Step 6: Fry to golden brown perfection! Heat about an inch (2.5 cm) of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry for two minutes on each side until golden brown. They’ll puff up quite a bit while frying, so make sure you’re using a pan that’s deep enough to avoid any oil splattering.

Storage and freezing instructions

Leftover Chebureki can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

To store uncooked or cooked Chebureki in the freezer, place the Chebureki on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure the Chebureki aren’t touching. Place in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to three months.

Uncooked and cooked Chebureki should be thawed in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Fry uncooked Chebureki according to recipe instructions. To reheat cooked Chebureki, bake in an oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) until warmed through.

Expert tips

  • Make sure your Chebureki are well-sealed. You can reseal the edges with a fork right before frying to prevent the Chebureki from opening during the process.
  • Give the beef filling a good stir before using. The liquid in the filling tends to pool at the bottom of the bowl, so make sure to give the mixture a good stir right before you’re ready to add it to the dough.
  • Keep the dough covered. Keep the dough covered when you’re not working with it. This will keep it from drying out and make it more pliable.

FAQ

Where did Chebureki originate?

Chebureki (singular: Cheburek) originated as part of Crimean Tatar cuisine on the Crimean Peninsula. The deep-fried beef pockets are popular throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Can you freeze Chebureki?

Yes! Both cooked and uncooked Chebureki can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

Can you fry Chebureki from frozen?

I’ve tested this and it didn’t really work for me. It just takes too long to heat the beef mixture through. I ended up finishing them in the oven, so it wasn’t a total bust. But they weren’t as crispy. If freezing your Chebureki, I find it best to let them thaw in the fridge overnight before frying.

Can I bake these Chebureki?

No, this dough is formulated for frying.

Crispy beef Chebureki on a serving platter.

Loving this Chebureki recipe? For more recipes popular in Russia and surrounding countries, make sure to check out these posts:

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Plate of beef Chebureki.

Chebureki Recipe


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12
    • Prep Time: 1 hour
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Category: Dinner
    • Method: Frying
    • Cuisine: Crimean Tatar

Ingredients

Chebureki Dough

  • 3 ¾ cups (480 grams) all purpose flour, spooned and leveled*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water, just boiled
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Beef Filling

  • 1 pound (450 grams) ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, grated with liquid
  • ¼ bunch (15 grams) parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (120 ml) water or broth
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, briefly mix the flour and salt. Add the hot water and mix on low speed until large coarse crumbs form. To make the dough without a mixer, see recipe notes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, egg and vodka. Pour into the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 8 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, make the filling. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and mix well.
  5. Separate the dough into 12 pieces. Make sure to keep the dough covered when not using so it doesn’t dry out.
  6. Roll out each piece into a circle approximately 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter or about 2 mm thick. Cover half of the circle with a layer of the meat mixture and then fold in half. If you want, use a pizza cutter or knife to trim any uneven edges. Press the edges down with a fork to seal.
  7. Heat about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of oil in a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. The oil is ready when it reaches 350°F (180°C). Fry the Chebureki for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

Notes

Measuring flour: We highly recommend using a kitchen scale to measure flour. If measuring by volume, use the spoon and level method to avoid over-measuring the flour. Lightly spoon flour into the measuring cup until it’s completely full. Then run the back of a knife over the cup to gently scrape off any excess.

Making the dough without a mixer: This dough can easily be made without a mixer, follow the steps as written and use a spatula to mix until the dough comes together. Once the dough has formed, knead with your hands until smooth and elastic, approximately 10 minutes.

Storage: Leftover Chebureki can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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5 Comments

  1. Hi Michael!
    This dough isn’t really suited to baking. Puff pastry would probably give you the closest result. If you decide to try it, I also recommend omitting the broth from the filling and cooking the meat before baking.
    I hope that helps and let us know if you have any more questions!
    Brittney

  2. I’ve grown up eating these, and no! You can’t bake them! Piroshky can be baked although grandma always fried them but chebureki is fried!

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