Russian/Ukrainian Pampushki Recipe

Deep Fried Cheese Balls
LauriPatterson / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
235 Calories
6g Fat
38g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 235
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 14mg 5%
Sodium 490mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 7g
Calcium 137mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for pampushki is common in Russia, Ukraine, and other parts in Eastern Europe. Some fry their pampushki, others poach them in stock. Eastern Europeans love to hide food in other foods as is evident here. The basic premise of these dumplings is a potato ball stuffed with something, usually cheese. The rest is up to the imagination of the cook.

If frying, bread them, otherwise they'll fall apart in the hot oil. I like to use feta cheese with dill in mine although farmers cheese and chives are more traditional. Enjoy these as a main course, side dish, appetizer, or snack.


  • 3/4 pound raw potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes), peeled and grated
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (about 1 large potato, peeled, cooked and freshly mashed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta (or farmer's cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons chives (fresh, snipped, or dill)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (dry, fine)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Squeeze excess water from grated potatoes.

  3. Place grated potatoes in a medium bowl with the mashed potatoes, salt and pepper, and mix well. Set aside.

  4. In another medium bowl, combine cheese and chives or dill. If using farmers cheese, add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

  5. Scoop up an egg-sized portion of potatoes and flatten to a circle in the palm of your hand. Place 2 teaspoons cheese in the middle.

  6. Fold edges over, pinching to seal.

  7. Roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixtures.

  8. Dredge balls in flour, then beaten eggs and finally in breadcrumbs.

  9. Let the coated balls dry while you heat oil to 340 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed saucepan.

  10. Fry for 10 minutes to make sure raw potato is cooked. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Poaching Instead of Frying

If poaching dumplings in stock or water instead of deep frying, add 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 1 egg to the potato mixture. Gently poach the balls for 20 minutes in simmering water or broth.