There’s just something about dumplings. Ravioli and tortellinilamb dumplingspotstickers and gyozaeggrollsempanadas, even apple dumplings—why is it that stuffing anything inside a pocket of dough makes it seem so much better than the sum of its parts? It may be my European roots showing, but I think my favorite dumpling of all time may be the humble pierogi.

We had pierogi every so often when I was growing up, courtesy of the frozen food aisle. They were filled with potatoes and cheese and we cooked them in bacon fat, and they were crisp and chewy and creamy and salty-savory. I still like to keep an emergency stash of pierogi in my freezer to this day, but the difference is that now I make them myself. I wrote about this experience way back in 2008, when my son was just a few weeks old and I had a freezer full of handmade pierogi to pull out for quick meals, but at the time I wasn’t able to do the recipe full written justice. Time to remedy that, I think!

I always make my pierogi with fresh dough that I run through my pasta machine. Once upon a time I rolled it into sheets and cut it with a biscuit cutter, but now I roll out snakes of dough, cut them into roughly 1″ chunks, and run them through my pasta machine, stopping at setting 3. Then I use my smallest disher to dose out the filling. As dumplings go, these have pretty basic shaping, and using fresh dough means no fiddling with water or egg washes to seal them up; maybe all that is why pierogi-making doesn’t seem quite as onerous to me as, say, potstickers or tortellini. It also helps that my recipe makes quite a few servings, enough to restock the freezer supply.


3 C all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/4 C olive oil

Filling of choice (see below)

Crack the egg into a measuring cup and beat it lightly; fill to the one-cup mark with water, then add oil. Place flour in the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment; pour in liquid and knead with the hook until dough is smooth. Let it rest for about an hour.

Divide dough into 1″ balls and roll out into approximately 4″ rounds. Place about a tablespoon of your chosen filling in the center, fold in half and pinch edges firmly to seal. Enough dough for 3-4 dozen pierogi, depending on their size; they can easily be frozen at this point.

To cook fresh, drop a few at a time in boiling salted water; when they float, allow to cook for about 90 seconds more, then drain. Transfer to a hot skillet with some sizzling butter or bacon fat, and cook briefly until golden brown on each side. Serve with sauerkraut, bacon, sauted onions, and maybe sour cream.

Potato and Cheese Filling

2 medium potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks
1 T sour cream or plain yogurt
1 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Add potatoes to pot of boiling salted water. Cook until soft. Mash, preferably with ricer, then stir in sour cream or yogurt and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Adapted from Jumbo Empanadas.

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11 thoughts on “Pierogish

  1. December 15, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I’ve actually never had a pierogi before… 🙁 However, I know what you mean about stuffed foods tasting awesome. My mom makes outrageous potstickers! However, your recipe for the pierogi seems easy peasy and I’ll have to try that soon! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. December 15, 2010 at 2:53 am

    Love dumplings. I have heard of the famous pierogi but have never tried them. These look so good. I best make myself some.

  3. Tes
    December 15, 2010 at 4:12 am

    It looks really delicious and sounds like a fun process to make. potato and cheese filling sounds comforting and yummy 🙂

  4. December 15, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I have got to try these. They sound wonderful, especially fried in bacon grease. I can just smell how good they are!!!

  5. December 15, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Wonderful recipe for Pirogi. I had them growing up often and my mom would always made them…Thanks for sharing! btw great photo!

  6. Joy
    December 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Ohhh that looks so good.

  7. December 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    i haven’t had pierogi at any time in my life and this is actually the first time i’ve heard about it but your dish looks so rich, i’m so tempted to try it out. that looks so delish!

  8. December 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I love the way you adapted the pierogi recipe from Jumbo Empenada’s blog. So yummy with the potato and cheese filling. I have not made pierogi in ages, now you inspire me to make it again, soon. Copied, and printed out the recipe. Great comfort food…these are the best, and you did an amazing job with it.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. December 26, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    mmmm..I love pierogi, they are really tasty, and yours look fantastic!

  10. December 27, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Its one of our traditional dishes too, for Christmas eve we usually make it with mushroom filling,during summer with cherries, blackberries or some other berries 🙂 I love them

  11. January 4, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Mmmm pierogies are delicious and yours look fantastic!

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