Homemade Pierogies

I have always loved pierogies and of all the pierogies I have ever had, the very best are always homemade. Don't be intimidated - pierogies are NOT hard to make and they don't take too long, nor do they involve unusual ingredients. In fact you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

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What is a pierogi?

In the simplest of terms, a pierogi is an eastern European dumpling. In more detail, a pierogi is a dumpling made by wrapping an unleavened dough (no yeast, eggs or chemical leaveners) around a filling that is usually potato-based, but  homemade pierogies can include almost anything. They can be savory or sweet; they can be boiled or boiled and then fried; they freeze well and they makes people happy. What more could you ask for?

I’ve always loved pierogies. I can remember going to the house of my friend’s Ukrainian grandmother in Alberta, Canada as a child. She was making homemade pierogies by hand that day and all the kids had a pierogi-eating contest. I came in second. I had NINETEEN… and I came in second

Recently, I had the pleasure of making pierogies by hand with another Ukrainian grandmother. This time it was the 96-year old mother of a friend of mine. She told me what to do and I did it. Though I’d like to say it was an intense and challenging project, I have to admit it was so delightfully easy and the pierogies turned out perfectly. We smothered them in butter and onions and I only ate nine, but I still feel like that is a respectable amount (for a glutton)!

A log of dough on a cutting board with a bench scraper and a measuring glass.

Pierogi Dough

There are only four ingredients in pierogi dough: flour, salt, water and vegetable oil. You could use a hand or stand mixer to combine the ingredients, but honestly it takes so little time using just your hands and your hands are much easier to clean. As you bring the dough together with your hands, you’ll know if you’ve added the right amount of liquid to flour if the bowl you’re using ends up relatively clean. If it’s too sticky, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add more water. It’s as easy as that.

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Pierogi dough divided into portions on a cutting board with a bench scraper.

Divide into 24 portions

The important thing to remember whenever you are working with a dough of any kind is that doughs need to rest. After you’ve kneaded the dough for the first time, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before dividing the dough into 24 portions. Divide the dough into 4 pieces first. Then, roll each quarter into a log and divide that log into 6 pieces. Then… let those little pieces of dough rest for 10 minutes or so before you try to roll them out into circles.

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Pierogies in the making - some finished, some just dough with filling - and a red rolling pin.

BIG Dough Rolling Tip

If you are aiming for a certain shape when you’re rolling doughs, you have a better chance of arriving at that shape if you start with that basic shape. That means, if you’re trying to roll out pierogi dough into a circle, start with a little piece of dough that is roughly a circle. You’ll see in the video below that I cut the log of dough and then flatten each piece of dough with the cut edge down so that the piece of dough is circular. Start with a circle, end with a circle. Of course, these are your pierogies so whatever shape you get is perfect.

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Two pierogies finished on a cutting board with four more doughs being made.

Potato and Cheese Stuffed Pierogies

Make the potato filling by peeling and boiling a russet potato. When it is super soft and still warm, mash it with the Cheddar cheese and season it to taste. You’ll be surprised how far just one potato will go – it’s ample to fill all 24 pierogies.

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A tray of finished pierogies on a countertop.

Pinch hard… and then pinch again!

I won’t be able to console you if you don’t seal the pierogies well enough and they burst open in the water when you boil them. So, pinch the seams of each pierogi together as though that pierogi were your older brother who had just eaten the last pierogi. Then, go over the seam and pinch it again.

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A dark blue plate of pierogies with scallions and a bowl of sour cream.

How to Finish Pierogies

Now, I don’t mean how to finish eating pierogies (I can thoroughly instruct you on how to do that later if you need my help). I mean how do you finish preparing the pierogies now that you’ve made them. The pierogies need to be boiled in salted water. Make sure you use a big pot with lots of water so those dumplings can move around. Add them to the pot when the water is at a rolling boil and stir them once – just to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. They will only take about two to three minutes and then they will start to float. Let them float for about 30 seconds and then remove them with a slotted spoon

Usually, the boiled pierogies are then tossed with either just melted butter, or onions cooked in butter, or onions cooked with bacon, or with sauerkraut, with kielbasa, or honestly any way you like them. The photo below shows you the pierogies with just onions and butter, while the video shows you caramelized onions and bacon. I won’t say no to either! You can even use pierogies in a casserole bake like this Kielbasa, Pierogies and Sauerkraut Bake

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A white plate with pierogies and sour cream and a fork.

How to Freeze Pierogies

As I mentioned before, homemade pierogies freeze really well. Once they are shaped and before you boil them, pop them into the freezer on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen, transfer the frozen pierogies to an airtight bag and return them to the freezer with as much air removed from the bag as possible. When you’re having a craving, simply drop the frozen pierogies into the boiling water. They will take longer to cook, but they will eventually float. You’ll wait 30 seconds and then remove.

How to Eat Pierogies

I could go on and on, but I think you probably have this area covered. 

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

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How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelizing onions is not hard but it does take some time. They are great to have on hand to add...View Technique

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Watch The Recipe Video

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Homemade Pierogies

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 5 m
  • Total Time: 35 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sweet onions sliced

Instructions

  1. Make the pierogi dough. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine the vegetable oil and water in a glass measuring cup. Add three quarters of the water and oil to the dry ingredients and start to combine the ingredients with your hand until a dough comes together. Add more liquid if needed in order to get the dough to come together, or a little more flour if your dough is too sticky and wet. You’ve added just the right amount of liquid if the bowl is almost clean when you’ve finished stirring the dough together. Knead the dough lightly for about 5 minutes and then set it aside to rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. While you wait for the dough to rest, peel and cut the potato into three large chunks. Boil the potato in salted water. When it is tender and almost falling apart, strain the potato and return it to the hot saucepan. Crush the potato with a fork or potato masher and add the grated Cheddar cheese, working it in and letting it melt as you mash the potato. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set this mixture aside to cool slightly.
  3. Divide the rested dough into four portions. Then, roll each portion lightly into a log with a diameter of about 1½-inches. Divide each roll of dough into six pieces. Flatten and roll each piece of dough into a circle (or as close to as possible). Flatten with your hand first and then use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a disk about ¼-inch thick with a diameter of about 4-inches.
  4. Place about a tablespoon of cheesy potato mixture in the center of each disk and fold the dough over the filling. Pinch the edge together firmly with your fingers. Then, go around the edge pinching again to make sure the seal is secure. Set the filled pierogies aside. (If you don’t plan to cook them right away, store them in the refrigerator, well-covered with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. You can also freeze the pierogies at this stage – freeze them on a baking sheet and then transfer the frozen pierogies to an airtight bag once frozen.)
  5. Before you cook the pierogies, Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and the sliced onions and cook the onions slowly for about 20 minutes. The onion should be tender and lightly browned.
  6. To cook the pierogies, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the pierogies into the boiling water. (Do this in two batches – about 12 at a time in a large stockpot.) When they come to the surface and float (about 2 to 3 minutes), give them just 30 seconds longer and then remove them with a slotted spoon. Transfer the pierogies to the skillet with the butter and onions. You can increase the heat and fry the pierogies if you like, or just toss them with the onions. Hold them warm in a 170ºF oven or serve immediately with sour cream and chopped scallions or however you like ‘em!
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Comments (35)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    I absolutely love pierogies, and this recipe looks really easy to do. I have one question. Once you boil them, can you put them in the air fryer for the second step? If so, how high should the temp be and for how long?

    1. Yes, you can definitely put them into the air fryer for the second step. Make sure they are tossed in oil or melted butter so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the basket. Try 380ºF for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until they have the color you like.

    1. Hmm.. I’ve never tried. I don’t know if the almond flour would hold together, especially when dropped into boiling water. If you give it a try, let me know.

    1. Many people do write “pierogi” as the plural version, but both “pierogi” and “pierogies” are acceptable according to the Merriam-Webster or Oxford English Dictionaries.

  2. 5 stars
    Step by step the recipe and video are spot on. My only variance is I add 2 oz creme cheese with the cheddar. Love perogis, love you Ms. Blue Jean Chef! Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Meredith,
    You probably figured you would be getting everyones different variations.

    My grandmother was from Budapest and over the years she and my mom & dad tweaked her original version. I would think they were probably very bland originally and I don’t remember ever eating an original version. Their tweaked version is the one we have used ever since and they have a TON more flavor. They used shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese (we like the orange color of the potatoes)! But they caramelized chopped onions in butter then drained them and added them to the potato mixture. Yes, they were also served with more caramelized onions in butter with sour cream. The flavor is phenomenal.

  4. Can you use any of the prepared doughs, such as pizza, puffed pastry, pie, or crescent? I don’t like messing with flour, and it would be much quicker if the dough
    was already made.

  5. 5 stars
    Although I haven’t made this recipe yet, I know me…. I’ve been looking for a good Pierogi recipe. I just found it! Thanks Meredith! And the Caramelized Onions too? Yeah! “we” just changed my diet! Thanks ever so much!!

  6. I live in Pennsylvania and the sweet version ,is made with something called “Farmers Cheese” a sweet version of ricotta. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Thanks!

  7. Hello Maredith, our family has been making these for years as a Christmas tradition. We’ll make hundreds at a time. However, our dough recipe uses, eggs and sour cream along with the flour. Besides the potato/ sharp cheddar cheese, we also make a sourkrout/bacon, and lastly a mushroom. My father in law loved prune, however since his passing we stopped making that one.

  8. I love pierogies, I had a friend that deep fried hers. Is this something you have done, I don’t know if she boiled them first.

    1. Hi Peggy. I haven’t deep fried pierogies, but I have pan-fried them after boiling first. If you decide to try deep frying them, boil them first, dry them well and then deep fry.

  9. My mom (who would have been 96 this year) used to roll out the dough flat, cut it in rectangles, added the potato and cheese filling and then folded the rectangles over the fillings. I think she used to use a fork to close them, but I don’t remember that part. Your way is interesting. I do miss those days of working with her to make them!

    1. Hi Ruth. After you boil them, you can spray the pierogies with oil and air fry them instead of pan frying them if you like.

  10. Today was my first attempt at making these! The recipe was easy to follow and the video was helpful! I think they were very tasty and will definitely make them again! Would like to try with a blueberry filling! The possibilities are endless! Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    Recipe is wonderful! Really-why comment on what the plural of Pierogi is! Comment on recipe! Stop picking on nonsense!

  12. 5 stars
    I just made these! They were delicious although time-consuming it was not difficult. I love the idea of breaking up the dough into pieces because when my grandmother would make these she would roll out a giant piece of Dough and I always have trouble working with a lot of Dough so your technique was spot on. thank you!

  13. My husband’s Volga Deutch mama taught me to fill them with a mixture of dry curd cottage cheese, chopped green onions, and egg. After we boil them, we drain, then fry in a little bacon grease, and serve with bacon and sour cream. So good! And I think of her, every time I make it….

    1. Great idea Kathy. I have not tried sweet potato filling yet. I usually fry the bacon and serve it on top of the pierogies, but I am sure it would be delicious in the filling too!

  14. 4 stars
    delicious pierogies! somehow, followed the recipe exactly and only had enough filling for half the wrappers tho… oops? im wondering if it would’ve made a difference to have some of the ingredients listed by weight, like the potato

    1. Hi Mary. I would freeze them before boiling. Freeze them on a baking sheet and then once they are frozen, transfer them to a zipper sealable bag.

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