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Homemade Pierogi

I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't share one of my favorite dishes with the world: pierogi!

I've been eating pierogi since I was a little kid. During the holidays it was always a side dish at my grandparent's house. My grandfather was 1st generation Polish. We didn't have too many traditional meals or activities, but an annual festival in Simpson, Pennsylvania, breaking opłatek on Christmas Eve, and the love of potato pancakes and pierogi were passed onto his children and grandkids.

Boiled and Fried Pierogi with Kielbasa

I tend to make pierogi about once every month or two. It still takes me a while to make them by hand, but I am getting much quicker. Making pierogi is absolutely a family activity. One person can make the filling, another makes and rolls out the dough, someone to cut out the circles, and another to fill and seal. in my house, I make the filling a day ahead, do the dough making, rolling, and cutting myself and then have my husband Cody fill them and seal them as I go.

There are so many fillings one could make for pierogi! I grew up eating Mrs. T's, so my favorite comfort food style pierogi is the potato & cheddar, (the first filling photo above). It doesn't take much, three mashed potatoes, a splash of milk, half a stick of butter, 8oz of grated cheese, and of course seasoning.

A few years ago I created an amazing sweet potato & caramelized onion recipe. It's so delicious and maybe even better than the typical potato & cheddar variety. Just as a PSA, the middle photo above shows onion in its three regular states: Raw, Translucent, and Caramelized. Please, please, please, if you make this recipe take the time to caramelize the onion properly!!! Low heat, oil, a splash of alcohol, and time, time, time. That's how you get a beautifully caramelized onion. To make the sweet potato mash, just boil chunks of peeled sweet potato for 20 minutes, put it in a bowl with half a stick of butter and mash until it looks like mashed potatoes. So, so, so, so, so easy! All mixed together it will look like the third photo up above.

Pierogi Dough

The dough is very simple, 3c flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt, 1c hot water. Be sure to add the flour gradually, otherwise, you will end up needing more than 3 cups. Likewise, add only half a cup of water at a time. When the dough is ready it will unstick from the sides of the bowl, or if kneading by hand it will stick to your finger if you press down hard, but not if you press lightly. You should be able to stick your finger in the dough and leave an indentation.

Pierogi Dough

I prefer to work with my dough in sections. So I divide it into 8 pieces, cover 7 of them with a tea towel, and work with the other on a floured surface.

Hand rolled pierogi dough

If you are rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, don't worry how pretty it looks. It is a dumpling, what matters is the taste! As you can see from the photo above, mine is quite wrinkly around the edges. To combat this, I just didn't cut out near those parts. Easy peasy!

pierogi dough thickness

This is the thickness you should be aiming for. You will not be able to see through the dough. Err on the side of thicker rather than thinner. The worst thing is having blowouts while boiling the pierogi you just spend umpteenth hours preparing.

cutting out pierogi circles

I'm all for simplicity, so I use a small cup to cut my dough out. Anything round will do. And if you have a press made for dumplings, then, by all means, use it!

pressed pierogi dough

Speaking of simplicity, I really hate using rolling pins and I happen to own a manual pasta press. If you go this route, then only go one or two settings past the thickest option. My thickest setting was 7, I went with a 5.

pierogi filling

Place a spoonful of dough in the center of the circle. You'll know after the first one if you've overstuffed it, trust me! But this is the ratio of dough to filling we use.

assembling potato and cheddar pierogi

To seal it, hold it like it's a taco, and press the edges together! When it's properly sealed it will look like the pierogi below.

Most will seal very easily, but if they don't you can always dab your finger in some water and "paint" the edges. A little water goes a long way.

pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge
pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge

Okay! So. The pierogi have all been made and are ready to cook. But what is our pierogi meal without...KIELBASA?!?! It's missing something, that's what. So get yourself some kielbasa. Find a butcher, none of that Hillshire Farms $2 knockoffs. Or if you don't eat meat, then stir fry up some cabbage and onions. We are eating good tonight!!

If you're in the Atlanta area, check out The Spotted-Trotter. They know what they are doing when it comes to meat, let me tell you! I'm so freaking glad I bought two packs of kielbasa!!!

There are two options for cooking pierogi:

boil OR boil & fry

boiled pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge

Bring a pot of water up to a boil, add about 5 pierogi at a time. Give them a stir as soon as you put them in the water to prevent sticking. Boil for about three-five minutes (3 if frying, 5 if just boiling).

fried pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge

I like to test one in my first batch to make sure the dough cooked through and then adjust as needed for the other batches.

If you are frying them after boiling, make sure your pan has oil and is heated before placing the pierogi in it. If it is a cold pan the pierogi will stick and then burn and it is just all around not a fun time.

fried pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge

Flip them once or twice, they will take 5-10 minutes depending on how hot your burner gets.

I cook mine on about medium-high heat...but I also have a wonky burner that goes from 3-10 unexpectedly.

Since the pierogi are already cooked, the time you fry them for is your preference. I like my pierogi have some chew to it, so as you can see, most are lightly fried and some have a nice golden fry.

potato and chedder pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge

In the photo above you can see some cheese oozing out and onto the pan. Don't worry if this happens, the result is just an amazing cheesy potato dumpling..pictured on the right.


Homemade Pierogi



3c Flour

1 Egg

1c Hot Water

1tsp Salt

Cheddar & Potato Filling:

2 Large Potatoes, Peeled

1/2 Stick Butter OR 2c of Mashed Potatoes

8oz Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Chicken Bouillion, etc...)

Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion Filling:

2 Large Sweet Potatoes, Peeled

1/2 Stick Butter

1 Large Onion, Sliced

2Tb Oil

1/4c alcohol (wine, beer, spirit) or vinegar (apple cider, rice wine)

Seasoning (Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Chicken Bouillion, etc...)


Start by making your filling first so that it has time to cool while you make the dough.

Caramelizing the onion for the sweet potato filling will take the most time, so start this first. Slice up an onion and put it in a hot skillet with oil. Cook on low-medium heat for AT LEAST 20 minutes. Caramelizing onions takes a LONG time. After the onion has become translucent add the alcohol or vinegar to aid in the caramelization process. When it is done, it will look golden or brown. Set aside to cool when finished.

For either filling, you will need to cut the potato half the long way, and then into quarters or thirds. The chunks should be no smaller than an inch wide. Boil the potato in separate pots of water or stock for about 20 minutes. When it is done a fork should easily stick in the potato. Drain the potatoes and put them in separate bowls. Add 1/2 stick of butter to both types of potatoes and use either a manual utensil to mash (fork, potato masher, ricer...) or something like a kitchen aid to whip it up. Season the mixture and let cool.

For the Cheddar & Potato filling, simply grate the cheddar cheese, or if using store-bought shredded then mix it in with the mashed potatoes after it has cooled a bit.

For the Sweet Potato & Caramelized Onion filling, mix the onions in with the mashed potatoes.

To make the dough, combine 2 cups of flour, the salt, egg, and hot water. To make the job easier use a kitchen aid with a dough hook. Add the other cup of flour gradually. The dough is perfect when it unsticks from the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly tacky, so if you stick your finger in it dough will adhere to your finger, but a light touch won't cause the dough to stick to you.

Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.

Flour a work surface liberally. Roll out the dough either with a rolling pin or a pasta maker. Err on the side of thick dough. If you can see through the dough it is too thin! On a pasta maker use one of the 3 thickest settings.

Using a cup, cut out circles in the dough. Collect and re-roll the excess dough to make more circles. Do this until all the dough is used up.

Place a dollop of filling in the center of the dough circle. After you seal the first one you will be able to tell if it is overstuffed. To seal it, hold it like it is a taco and lightly press the filling down so that there is only filling towards the center of the dumpling. Press the edges together, making sure there are no gaps. If it does not stick because of dryness, dab some water along the edge and press again.

Once all the pierogi have been formed place about 5-10 at a time in a pot of boiling water. They take about 3-5 minutes to cook. Test one from your first batch and adjust cooking time as needed. If you are just eating boiled pierogi, plate up! If not, set the cooked pierogi on a tray and heat up a frying pan with 2 Tb of oil on medium heat. Fry the pierogi in small batches, so you don't overcrowd the pan. Cook on all sides until golden. If making kielbasa, pan fry at the same time as the pierogi.

Eat with butter and sour cream, enjoy!

pierogi pirogi Perogie pirohy pyrohy varenyky vareniki peroge with kielbasa

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