Perogy, Pyrohy, Pierogi, Varenyky ... however you know them, my gramma made the BEST perogies. You can too, with her Perogies Recipe. A bit of work, for the best comfort food ever!
Originally Posted August 29, 2009. Updated 2/17/2020
Back when I first wrote this post - in 2009! - I was craving perogies something fierce. It’s pure comfort food, something I’d been needing of late.
At the time, I settled for crappy store bought frozen perogies, but vowed to make a batch of homemade perogies soon.
Growing up, my grandmother used to make amazing cheese perogies, and I've never forgotten that - most else pales in comparison!
Of course, she was the first person I called when I decided to try my hand at making them. She graciously provided her homemade pierogi recipe, as well as an endless rant of tips. LOL.
My husband had never tried homemade perogies, and I'd never actually made them all by myself before (just helped or watched!).. so using my grandma's perogies recipe for the first time was an interesting experiment.
Luckily, he was a huge help in the kitchen, and they actually whipped up a lot quicker than I thought they would! I actually had a good time.
I had remembered them being an all-day kind of task, this was more like 2.5 hours, start to finish.
This is a great recipe . It may look involved, but it's actually really easy.
These are nothing like store bought perogies, btw. These are the kind of Perogies you get from Ukrainian church sales - SO much better than what you find in stores or restaurants!
What Are Perogies?
Perogies - AKA Pyrohy, Pierogi, and Varenyky - are delicious dumplings from Eastern Europe.
A simple dough - the ingredients and recipe vary from person to person - is formed around a cheesy potato filling, sealed off, and boiled.
Pierogi are a SUPER popular dish back home in Winnipeg, where you can get them almost anywhere - as a snack, main dish, or appetizer.
Though they’re not necessarily a special occasion kind of food, they’re definitely a staple at Christmas... at least in Winnipeg, where there is a huge Ukrainian population.
While even just the most basic form of pyrohy is amazing, a great thing about them is how much you can customize them, both in filling and preparation.
More on that in a bit, though!
You need just a few simple ingredients to make perogies:
- Vegetable Oil
- Red Potatoes (Large or medium potatoes, for ease in peeling!)
- Cheese (Usually Cheddar - more on that in a bit!)
Note: You can make a variety of different pierogi fillings, even dividing a batch out and doing several. See the next section for variations!
Perogy Fillings: Variations
The beauty of this recipe is that you can customize your fillings for perogies in SO many ways. Have fun with it!
Potato Perogies: Skip the cheese, season the potatoes with salt and black pepper. (A little garlic powder is great, too!)
Traditional Potato Cheese Pierogi: 2 lbs sharp Cheddar cheese
Onion, Bacon, and Cheese: Use 1.5 lbs cheddar cheese of your choice, 1 lb crisp bacon (crumbled), chopped or grated onion to taste
Sauerkraut: Add 1 lb (or more) well drained sauerkraut to your potatoes. Cheese is optional – up to you!
Cottage Cheese Perogies : Add 1 lb dry curd cottage cheese to the potatoes.
Cottage Cheese, Onion, and Dill: 1 lb dry cottage cheese (or more, whatever!). Season with onion and dill weed to taste.
How to Make Perogies
If you’re an instructions-only person, feel free to skip ahead to the recipe. If you’d like more of a pictorial guide, here we go!
1. In a large bowl beat eggs, salt, and oil until mixed together well. Add water, beat again.
2. Add 5 cups flour to the wet ingredients, adding more flour if sticky. You definitely want to go by feel here - if it’s too dry, add a bit of water. If it’s too sticky, add a bit of flour.
3. Knead until well incorporated, smooth, and stretchy.
This can take about 15 minutes to do by hand, or you can just use a dough hook in a stand mixer for about 7 minutes.
4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest one hour. While waiting, work on filling!
1. Peel potatoes, chop into evenly sized chunks.
2. Boil potatoes until fork tender and ready to mash. Drain well, place potatoes in a bowl.
3. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
I like to use my KitchenAid to mash my potatoes in general, and it works doubly well for this. A food processor or potato ricer are other great options.
You can, however, always mash and mix by hand - it’s just personal preference.
4. Either way, mash potatoes until smooth, and mix in your choice of cheese and flavorings (See “Variations”, below) until you have a creamy potato filling.
5. Allow to cool to room temperature. This will firm it up and make it easier to roll into balls.
1. Roll out dough on floured counter top. Aim to get it pretty thin – 1/16th – ⅛″ of an inch or so.
When you’re first starting out, a bit thicker is ok – you’ll just have a bit more dough to bite through to get to your yummy filling!
2. Cut dough with large glass or round cookie cutter – I like to use a glass that’s about 3″ in diameter.
3. Place 1 tablespoon of potato mixture / filling in the center of each circle. (Hint: You can pre-roll balls while waiting for the dough to rest!)
4. Lightly brush the edges of each dough round with water, which will act as a glue.
5. Pick 1 round up in your non-dominant hand, and use your good hand to fold the dough around the filling, sealing the edge from one side to the other, forming a half circle dumpling.
Also, I like to flatten them out a little.
Make sure your perogies are sealed well, or they will open and leak out when you cook them!
As I seal each. I place them in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet.
Note: I like to assembly line this - roll, cut a bunch of circles, place a bunch of filling balls, then seal them up.
I find it more efficient than scooping filling and folding one at a time.
How to Cook Pierogi
1. Have a large pot of salted water heated to a low boil. (Too rough of a boil will rip your perogies apart!). I’ll usually bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then turn it down to low heat.
2. Place perogies in the hot water a few at a time – our pot can take about a dozen. They’ll sink to the bottom of the pot, then rise to the surface as they cook.
3. Cook until pierogi float to the surface, then for 2-3 minutes longer.
4. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove cooked perogies from the boiling water, lightly toss with melted butter. This will prevent them from sticking together.
5. Serve immediately, or transfer buttered pierogi to an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Grandma’s Note on Forming Perogies
Grandma is very adamant that this is time consuming (wasn’t really!), and that – rather than cutting the dough into rounds, taking the scraps, and re-rolling/cutting more – I should DEFINITELY use her technique.
I didn’t. Sorry, gramma!
What she says you should do is this:
- Roll your dough out, and cut into 3″ strips.
- Cut those again into 3″ squares.
- Place filling in the middle of each square.
- Fold/seal them to make triangles.
Yes, it would be quicker than the rounds – I just don’t have the big hatred for cutting rounds that she seems to!
How to Cook Perogies
You can enjoy these as-is: Fresh out of the pot, tossed with a bit of melted butter... or you can keep going.
These are also great pan fried in a bit of butter or bacon fat.
Sauteeing chopped onions in the bacon fat before adding the perogies to the pan is *chef kiss*.
Deep Fried Perogies
Deep fried, crispy pierogi are huge back home, especially as a snack at sporting events. (I used to get them at my home arena, as a kid!).
To deep fry, heat your deep frying oil to 375 F.
Carefully add your perogies - after boiling / draining / being tossed in butter - to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and blistery.
Air Fried Perogies
A while back, we did a big experiment to come up with the best way to cook airfryer perogies.
Click that link to read alllll about it!
What to Serve with Perogies
Wondering what to eat with perogies? Well, it’s best to keep things pretty simple.
Adding some sliced Kielbasa sausage or crispy bacon is pretty standard back home.
Serve it all with a generous dollop of sour cream, maybe a side of sauerkraut and/or some caramelized onions.
I usually toss some sliced green onions on it - after plating - for a bit of colour and a punch of bright flavour, but that’s totally optional.
Using Gadgets to Make Perogies
Waaaaay back when I was a kid, we had this perogy press thing.
It was a plastic circle with little ... not half circles, maybe more like half hexagons? Cut out of it.
The idea was that you’d roll you dough, place it over this thing, and put your filling in each of the indents.
Then you’d roll another piece of dough, place it over the whole thing, and use a rolling pin to seal it.
Rolling would also press the mass of perogies down over the edges, which would separate them into individual perogies, which would them pop out.
That sort of thing is still available, if that’s more your speed:
Alternately, there’s always individual dumpling press devices.
These are about the same amount of work as forming by hand - the rolling, cutting, and adding filling is all done the same - but result in a prettier edge.
If that’s something you’re interested in, here are a few examples of those options:
Freezing Homemade Perogies
Theoretically, you can freeze these.. but unless you make several batches (or don’t really like perogies!), they’ll likely never make it to the freezer!
How to Freeze Homemade Pierogis
- Arrange perogies (raw OR par boiled and blotted dry) on a parchment lined baking sheet. They should be left individual, not touching each other.
- Freeze until frozen hard.
- Transfer frozen perogies to freezer bags.
- Suck as much air out as possible, and carefully seal.
We usually seal the bag off almost to the end, inserted a straw, sucked the air out, and carefully finished sealing it, as we took the straw out.
- Return to the freezer. Use within a few months.
How to Reheat Frozen Pierogi
- Heat a pot of water to boiling, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Add frozen perogies to the pot, cook until they’re heated through, AND floating.
- Allow perogies to float for a minute or two before removing from the water.
- Serve as-is, or pan fry with bacon, onions, or whatever else you’d like.
Why is My Perogy Dough Shrinking?
Updating this post in February 2022, I made a batch of this recipe to re-shoot the photos.
While this is a wonderful recipe that I’ve received hundreds of compliments on and have been making for more than a decade... It failed miserably.
The first batch dough would NOT cooperate, with each round shrinking down to about 1" in diameter as soon as it was cut.
At first, I suspected that I had overworked the dough.
That can happen, and it’s the reason that you’re supposed to rest it for an hour before rolling it out. So, I let it rest more... and more... For several hours.
Still the dough fussed when I tried to roll it out, and snapped back as soon as a round was cut out from it.
In frustration, I made a second batch... same thing. I did everything the same way I always had, the dough looked and felt exactly like it should... but it was just not behaving.
I called my great aunt - my grandma’s sister - to see if she had any advice, and she had me her nephew (a total stranger!) to see what he thought.
There was discussion about the recipe, the conditions, the dough, the resting, and everything.
As it turns out, sometimes it just has a mind of its own, and won’t work. First time for everything, I guess!
I rested both batches some more, then finally gave up an made a giant, yeastless “perogy pizza” for my husband.
He loved it. Good enough!
As an aside, my second cousin (I think I have that right?) told me to aim for “7 papers thick” when rolling. I loved that way of measuring, had to share!
One of my BIG missions when it came to gluten-free recipe development was perogies, and I succeeded *wildly*.
The dough is such that you can roll/stretch it thin enough to see through, and it’s the reason for my Tony Stark sized ego, LOL.
More Recipes that Remind me of Gramma
Since originally writing this post, my gramma has sadly passed... but her memory lives on.
Here are a few recipes that remind me of her, whether as something she taught me to make, a replica of a retail treat we used to enjoy together, or one of my own recipes that she would request whenever I’d visit, as an adult.
Chicken Cabbage Rolls
Homemade Marshmallow Cones
Homemade Clodhoppers Candy
Puffed Wheat Squares
Honey Dill Dipping Sauce
Paska - Ukrainian Easter Bread
Baking Powder Biscuits
Grandma's Potato Salad
Easy Butterfly Cupcakes
Breakfast of Champions
French Canadian Pea Soup
Beep Drink Recipe
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- 2 Large eggs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Vegetable oil
- 2 cups Lukewarm water
- 5-6 cups All-purpose flour
- 3 lbs Red potatoes peeled and halved/quartered
- 1.5-2 lbs Cheddar cheese shredded
- Other Fillings See post for ideas and amounts.
- Beat eggs, add salt, oil until mixed together well. Add water, beat again.
- Add 5 cups flour, adding more flour if sticky. Lightly knead until well incorporated and smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest one hour. While waiting, work on filling!
- Boil potatoes until fork tender and ready to mash.
- I like to use my KitchenAid to mash my potatoes, and it works doubly well for this. You can, however, always mash and mix by hand. Either way, mash potatoes until smooth, and mix in your choice of cheese and flavorings until well incorporated
- Roll out dough on floured counter top. Aim to get it pretty thin – 1/16th – ⅛″ of an inch or so. When you’re first starting out, a bit thicker is ok – you’ll just have a bit more dough to bite through to get to your yummy filling!
- Cut dough with large glass or round cookie cutter – I like to use a glass that’s about 3″ in diameter.
- Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each round:
- Lightly brush the edges with water, which will act as a glue.
- Pick 1 round up in your non-dominant hand, and use your good hand to fold the dough around the filling, sealing the edge from one side to the other.
- Make sure your perogies are sealed well,or they will explode when you cook them! Also, I like to flatten them out a little.
- Have a large pot of water heated to a low boil. (Too rolling of a boil will rip your perogies apart!). Drop a few perogies in at a time – our pot can take about a dozen. Cook until all rise to the surface, then for 2-3 minutes longer:
- Removed cooked perogies from water, lightly toss with melted butter. This will prevent them from sticking together.
- Enjoy as-is, or fry them in butter, onions.. maybe with some Kielbasa sausage… serve with some sour cream.. YUM!