Cepelinai (Lithuanian stuffed potato dumplings)

Picture of Cepelinai (Lithuanian stuffed potato dumplings)
I've been lucky enough to spend a fair amount of time in Lithuania since 2009. Often my trips have been almost too much fun. Like most northern countries the traditional food is hearty, filling, it uses a lot of root vegetables/meats and abstains from spice. My second favorite Lithuanian dish of all time is Cepelinai (pronounced Szep-eh-lin-aye). They are a lot of work to make, the texture is strange/dense/gluey, they are incredibly heavy and though I would normally consider these qualities negative, I love them when it comes to Cepelinai...especially in the cold and dark of winter.

Their name Cepelinai (zeppelins), comes from their shape which resembles the antiquated airships.

What you will need to Cepelinai:
  • 10kg potatoes (you don't want to deal with any less)
  • Citric acid tablets
  • 1 to 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
- For a traditional meat filling, combine the following ingredients:
  • 1 kg ground pork
  • 1 red onion, diced finely
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
- For a traditional cheese filling, combine the following ingredients:
  • 1 kg curd cheese/ricotta
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
- For a traditional vegetable filling, combine the following ingredients:
  • 1 kg carrots
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp salt

You will also want a food processor, a large pot for boiling and cheese cloth or some other fine cloth for straining the water from your potatoes.

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Step 1: Exfoliating potatoes

Picture of Exfoliating potatoes
Peel all of your potatoes and then rinse them.

Step 2: Liquefying potatoes

Picture of Liquefying potatoes
Puree all of your potatoes in the food processor. While you are pureeing the potatoes, every so often puree a citric acid pill with them and stir the mixture; if you do not mix citric acid with your potatoes, they will oxidize and your potatoes will turn brown/pink.

*If you do not have a food processor, and cannot borrow one, you can boil/mash the potatoes.
Cheese Queen10 months ago

My Lithuanian grandmother made these, but they weren't called Cepelinai (of course she was born in 1902, and undoubtedly learned cooking from her own mother- long before there were zeppelins).

Any idea what another name would be?

I am lithuanian and it could be didžkukuliai
Birute62 Matatas7 months ago
Babune also remembers cepalinai called didzkukuliai. whichever way they are worth the hours of work. make and enjoy!
emtsevilla9 months ago

NOW I'M HUNGRY. gee, thanks :)) i gotta make these sometime.

I need to ask for a clarification on one step (because OM NOM NOM I need to make these. :) ) When you say that you liquify the potatoes in the food processor--are they cooked at that point, or raw?

If you don't have a food processor then you can boil/mash the potatoes and then follow the remaining steps but it is best if you can just puree them uncooked.

Thank you! (Erm. Do you think a blender instead of a food processor would work for small batches? I guess I could try it out and see, then report back... :-D)

I think it could work if you cut the potatoes in 1/8ths or 1/16ths before blending. With the food processor you are able to just drop the whole potato in. You're welcome!

Just reporting back to say that using a blender totally works! (And your cepelinai are delicious! And filling. Oof, I just ate three potatoes. :-) )

I diced the potatoes into 1cm (0.5 inch) cubes, put them in the blender with 1/2cup of water to help it blend (because hey, I'm going to squeeze it all out later, anyway), and it worked beautifully. Thanks so much for introducing me to this yummy dish!

Aaaand reporting back one more time to say that your cepelinai recipe helped me finally figure out how to make gluten-free gnocchi that stick together.

I wrote up an instructable here ( and gave you full credit for helping me figure it all out. :)

Argh; link went funny. It is:

Justin Tyler Tate (author)  jjdebenedictis11 months ago

Neat! But my middle name is "Tyler", not "Taylor"; just sayin'.


Dwgystyl1 year ago

Wow this is close to Acadian Poutine râpée, Tried to make it once for my wife.. came out all wrong.. I think i will try using this as the base for the Potatoes..

streetrod51 year ago

These look awesome! I'm going to make these - have you ever tried frying them in oil?

first boil it then cut in half and then fry

This looks really good but seems a bit labor-intensive. Do you make these often, or is it for special occasions only?

In Lithuania we make thes just for special occasions
Justin Tyler Tate (author)  General Zod1 year ago

It is definitely labor intensive but it can be really fun too when you have a bunch of people around to make them with (which is usually how it happens). I believe they do get made for special occasions but when I've made them it has just been with a bunch of friends getting together to make/eat/socialize. Pealing of the potatoes, extracting the liquid from the potato, forming the Cepelinai and cleaning up are the really laborious parts.

Super smagu kad netik lietuviai domisi ir moka pasigamint lietuvisku skanumynu. Pabandyk pagamint bulviniu blynu su mesa :)
I must say, that is an extremely unappetizing first image. (Reminded me of a dirty worm) It certainly did not make me want to try this. Luckily after reading through the rest of the 'ible it seemed quite good. I'm intrigued by the "potato dough" concept.
DOT.1 year ago
I am lithuanian and this is my favorite dish! My mom makes them just for special occasions. I'm very happy that you people are interested in making them :)
bfoster141 year ago
my wife is Lithuanian but she doesn't know how to make this one. Her mom made it for me once but she passed away. Thanks I've long desired this dish!
dvilkaite1 year ago
this is amazing. thank you for putting such a great instructable.
Kiteman1 year ago

Love the opening image!

Justin Tyler Tate (author)  Kiteman1 year ago