Grandma's Perogies Recipe (Perogy / Pyrohy / Pierogi/ Varenyky)
Originally Posted August 29, 2009. Updated 12/21/2020
Recently, I was craving perogies something fierce.
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 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 recipe, as well as an endless rant of tips. LOL.
My husband had never tried homemade perogies, and I'd never actually made them by myself before (just helped or watched!).. so using my grandma's perogies recipe 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 had remembered them being an all-day kind of task, this was more like 2.5 hours, start to finish.
This recipe may look involved, but it's actually really easy. SO good - best comfort food ever!
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!
A Note on the Perogy Photos
This post was originally written in 2009, before I realized I needed to go gluten-free.
The progress photos are very old and not very good, but they’re using this actual recipe. It was probably the last time I made this recipe, and I wanted to be accurate with the progress photos.
The “beauty” shots with the bacon?
Those are actually my gluten-free perogies. They taste and feel exactly the same as this recipe, but look SLIGHTLY different. (The dough isn’t as light in colour, and has small flecks in it)
... I just don’t have any “beauty” shots of the original recipe! Whoops.
Gluten-Free Perogies? WHAAAT?
Yes! 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.
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. Beat eggs, add salt, oil, beat until mixed together well. Add water, beat again.
2. Add 5 cups flour, adding more flour if sticky.
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. Boil potatoes until fork tender and ready to mash.
2. Mash the potatoes until smooth.
I like to use my KitchenAid to mash my potatoes in general, and it works doubly well for this. You can, however, always mash and mix by hand.
3. Either way, mash potatoes until smooth, and mix in your choice of cheese and flavorings (See “Variations”, below) until well incorporated
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 filling in the center of each round. (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.
Make sure your perogies are sealed well, or they will explode when you cook them!
Also, I like to flatten them out a little.
6. Have a large pot of water heated to a low boil. (Too rough of a boil will rip your perogies apart!).
7. Drop a few perogies in at a time – our pot can take about a dozen.
8. Cook until all rise to the surface, then for 2-3 minutes longer.
9. Remove cooked perogies from water, lightly toss with melted butter. This will prevent them from sticking together.
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 is *chef kiss*.
Adding some sliced Kielbasa sausage or bacon is pretty standard back home.
Serve them with some sour cream, maybe a side of sauerkraut.
Perogy Filling Variations
The beauty of perogies is that you can customize your fillings in SO many ways. Have fun with it!
Traditional Cheese: 2 lbs sharp Cheddar cheese
Onion, Bacon, and Cheese: 1.5 lbs cheddar cheese of your choice, 1 lb crisp bacon (crumbled), chopped onion to taste
Sauerkraut: Add 1 lb (or more) saurkraut to your potatoes. Cheese is optional – up to you!
Cottage Cheese, Onion, and Dill: 1 lb cottage cheese (or more, whatever!), onion and dill weed to taste.
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!
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.
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:
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
Mushroom Soup and Eggs on Toast
French Canadian Pea Soup
Beep Drink Recipe
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- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup oil
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 5-6 cups flour
- 3 lbs red potatoes peeled and halved/quartered
- 1.5-2 lbs cheese shredded
- Other Fillings See post for ideas and amounts.
- Beat eggs, add salt, oil, beat 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!