A ball of dough on a floured cutting board

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I’m not gonna lie to you. Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni DoughThese vareniki are a lot of trouble, but they are soo soo good. We grew up on these. Who didn’t? The dough is very easy to make. Make a ton of them because they freeze very well.

You can modify the filling a hundred different ways. Butter them up and serve them with a generous heap of sour cream. Don’t forget to coat them with “zazharka;” fried up bacon and onions. Uhh, I am drooling now!

If you want to make your man happy, make him some Vareniki (вареники). P.S. If you are new to making these, check out this new recipe with more exact measurements. 

Ingredients for Dough:

1 large egg
2 Tbsp sour cream
3/4 cup water + 1 1/4 cup 2% milk (or 1 cup water + 1 cup whole milk)
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1 cup more for dusting

For the Filling:

(I will post these individually)
Potato & onion
Blueberry
Cherry
Ground pork and turkey

Toppings:

For Potatoe filled vareniki:
Zazharka: Saute bacon and onion in butter and drizzle over your finished vareniki/pierogies.

For Meat filled pelmeni:
Melted butter. Also good dipped in vinegar or ketchup.

For fruit filling:
Dust finished product with some sugar to keep from sticking and dip in sour cream.

How to Make Basic Pierogi dough:

Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni DoughBasic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni Dough

1. Whisk together egg and sour cream until well combined.

2. Whisk in 1 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup water.

3. Using a spatula, mix in four, 1 cup at a time.

Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni Dough

4. Place the dough onto a floured surface. Using a food scraper, knead the dough by turning and folding it with the food scraper. Dust the dough with flour as you need it until it is soft and doesn’t stick to your hands (you’ll need around 1 cup more flour). Knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Don’t add too much flour or the dough will become hard to work with.

5. Place the dough under a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Someone mentioned they made this recipe without letting it sit for an hour and it turned out great.

Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni Dough

6. Cut the dough into 4 to 6 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest covered with plastic wrap.

7. Form your chunk of dough into a log and cut off small pieces, one at a time. Pieces should be a little larger than a gum ball. Dust your rolling pin and cutting board with flour and roll out a piece of dough until it is 1/8″ thick and 3″ diameter. .

8. Fill these circles with the desired filling (potatoes, cherries, blueberries or meat). Fold the dough over the filling to form a crescent and seal the edges tightly with your fingers. If making pelmeni (meat filling), pinch the two edges together to form a “diaper” shape. Place the finished pierogis on a cutting board dusted with flour until ready to boil.

Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni Dough

9. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. As you finish the first batch of pierogies, place them in boiling water. After they float to the top, cook about 2 to 3 minutes more, then remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Drizzle the pierogies with melted butter.

10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 with the rest of the dough.

Notes:

To freeze the pierogies, place them on a cutting board and stick them in the freezer uncovered. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a large freezer-safe ziplock bag and dust generously with flour. They stay perfect for months.

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Basic Russian Vareniki or Pelmeni Dough (Russian Pierogi)

4.94 from 31 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
A ball of dough on a floured cutting board
A soft, and tender pelmeni dough that is easy to roll and can be used for sweet and savory recipes.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 10 +

Ingredients for Dough:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 3/4 cup water + 1 1/4 cup 2% milk, or use 1 cup water + 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1 cup more for dusting

For the Filling: (I will post these individually)

  • Potato & onion
  • Blueberry
  • Cherry
  • Ground pork and turkey

Toppings:

    For Potatoe filled vareniki:

    • Zazharka: Saute bacon and onion in butter and drizzle over your finished vareniki/pierogies.

    For Meat filled pelmeni:

    • Melted butter. Also good dipped in vinegar or ketchup.

    For fruit filling:

    • Dust finished product with some sugar to keep from sticking and dip in sour cream.

    Instructions

    • Whisk together egg and sour cream until well combined.
    • Whisk in 1 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup water.
    • Using a spatula, mix in four, 1 cup at a time.
    • Place the dough onto a floured surface. Using a food scarper, knead the dough by turning and folding it with the food scraper. Dust the dough with flour as you need it until it is soft and doesn't stick to your hands (you'll need around 1 cup more flour). Knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Don't add too much flour or the dough will become hard to work with.
    • Place the dough under a bowl and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
    • Cut the dough into 4 to 6 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest covered with plastic wrap.
    • Form your chunk of dough into a log and cut off small pieces, one at a time. Pieces should be a little larger than a gumball. Dust your rolling pin and cutting board with flour and roll out a piece of dough until it is 1/8" thick and 3" diameter.
    • Fill these circles with the desired filling (potatoes, cherries, blueberries or meat). Fold the dough over the filling to form a crescent and seal the edges tightly with your fingers. If making pelmeni (meat filling), pinch the two edges together to form a "diaper" shape. Place the finished pierogis on a cutting board dusted with flour until ready to boil.
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. As you finish the first batch of pierogies, place them in boiling water. After they float to the top, cook about 2 to 3 minutes more, then remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Drizzle the pierogies with melted butter.
    • Repeat steps 7 through 9 with the rest of the dough.

    Notes

    To freeze the pierogies, place them on a cutting board and stick them in the freezer uncovered. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a large freezer-safe ziploc bag and dust generously with flour. They stay perfect for months.
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
    Keyword: pelmeni dough
    Skill Level: Medium
    Cost to Make: $

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    Natasha Kravchuk

    Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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    Recipe Rating




    Comments

    • Anastasiia
      February 28, 2024

      Hi Natasha, I made your recipe multiple times and really like it but now i need to make it gluten free. Have you ever tried using gluten free flour?
      Thank you!

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        February 28, 2024

        Hi Anastasiia, I haven’t tried making this gluten free to advise on the outcome. I know there are a lot of 1:1 flour substitutions but I can’t speak to how it works to advise, I wish I could be more helpful. I also looked through our comments and couldn’t find any comments stating they tried that. If you happen experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

        Reply

    • Gloria
      January 31, 2022

      My mother was Russian an made her pierogis (after cooking in water)in a cottage cheese kinda sauce. Does anyone know it an how. Husbands mother was German an Fred hers then sprinkled with sugar

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        January 31, 2022

        Hi Gloria, I haven’t tried this, but I hope our readers have experience and can share.

        Reply

      • Randi Handran
        August 22, 2022

        My husbands grandma does a cottage cheese filling. It is farmers cheese (which is basically very dry cottage cheese, hard to find so I make my own by straining regular cottage cheese and then drying it on paper towel) she mixes that with an egg. Makes it with fried ham, then uses the drippings from fried ham to make a white gravy to put over the vareniki.

        Reply

        • NatashasKitchen.com
          August 22, 2022

          That sounds delicious!

          Reply

        • Olivia
          November 14, 2023

          That’s how I’ve eaten them all my life. You can’t find them very many places with Cottage Cheese so I make them myself. I’ll try this recipe.

          Reply

    • Irina
      November 18, 2021

      Hi can you tell me how to make double batch? I want to make alot and freeze it we love these especially hubby. Thank you so much its so easy and so good

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        November 20, 2021

        Hi Irina, you can double the recipe or make one batch at a time. I hope you love this recipe!

        Reply

    • Heather
      July 5, 2021

      These look divine, Natasha! I’ve never made sweet pierogie but my great grandmother (also Ukrainian) used to. We love savory ones- potato & onion, potato and sauerkraut, and my grandmother loves potato and farmers cheese.
      Butter or frying them with lots of onions, garlic powder are our favorites.
      I’ve taught my boys (since they were about 5 they helped me) how to make them. They appreciate them knowing how long it takes. If I knew how to submit a photo, I’d love to send you one of my son making them with me!!!

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        July 5, 2021

        That sounds wonderful! I’m glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe. It is a great bonding experience to cook with your boys, good to know that you’re having fun with them. Feel free to share some photos of your cooking creation on our Facebook page and group!

        Reply

    • Kathy
      December 28, 2020

      Hi Natasha, your recipe has 1c water and 1c milk; however, on your video you say 1c water and 1/4c milk – can you clarify? Thank you

      Reply

      • Natasha
        December 29, 2020

        Hi Kathy, I don’t have a video for this dough so you might be referring to a different dough. For this dough, 1 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup water is what I use. For our pierogi recipe, it’s a slightly different dough.

        Reply

    • Dee
      December 20, 2020

      Can bread flour be used instead of all purpose flour?

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        December 20, 2020

        Hi Dee, I haven’t tried it with bread flour so I’m not sure if the measurements should be different or if the dough would still be the same.

        Reply

    • Yuliia Harbuz
      December 20, 2020

      1. My dough is drier than I thought it would be
      2. This is not ‘Russian pierogi’ its Ukrainian varenyky, one of the national dishes of Ukraine
      3. Pelmeni is a Russian dumpling originating in the Asian parts of Siberia and not related to varenyky.

      Reply

    • Nadia
      July 10, 2020

      Can I use skim milk to make the dough?

      Reply

      • Natasha
        July 10, 2020

        Hi Nadia, that should work fine but it might work better with skim milk using 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 cups skim milk.

        Reply

    • Alf
      May 2, 2020

      Hi Natasha. I’m an old dude who only learned to cook later in life but I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I’ve started recreating recipes that I remembered from long ago and have had mostly good luck (but not always!) Anyway, as a kid my beautiful Ukrainian grandmother (although she swore she was Greek but was born and raised in the Ukraine) would make us varenyky, pyrizhky, borscht and other traditional dishes. She would make the varenyky and pyrizhky with either ground beef and onion or potatoes and there was ALWAYS a pan of caramelized onions on the stove that you could always smell through the house (although back then I just thought that maybe she wasn’t a very good cook and had burned them! Who knew?? But my grandfather seemed to like them) Fried varenyky smothered in sour cream was an absolute staple most of my life but sadly I haven’t had them since I lost her almost 20 years ago, which is around the time I started learning to cook.
      It finally dawned on me that I should try to recreate them and started searching on the internet (I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t even know how to spell “varenyky”) I found quite a few variations but distinctly remember my grandmother yelling at us (with love, of course) when we were little and wouldn’t eat and she would say, “it’s all good ingredients, butter, eggs flour and salt!” (in broken english, of course. GOD I MISS HER!) but none of the recipes included butter and eggs for the dough. I’ve seen dough recipes with butter and no eggs, eggs and no butter, sour cream and even evaporated milk. I’d like to recreate them as close to what I think she made. Any recommendations on dough with eggs and butter? Thanks you!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        May 2, 2020

        Hi Alf, our Pierogi recipe might be more like what you remember of your grandmother’s cooking.

        Reply

      • Brenda
        May 27, 2020

        Hi Alf. Here is a link to a recipe that might be similar to your grandmother’s. I haven’t tried it but found it while looking for a cherry pierogi recipe. It uses butter, egg, flour, salt and milk (instead of water).
        https://letthebakingbegin.com/cherry-dumplings-cherry-vareniki/

        Reply

      • TryingToHelp
        September 8, 2020

        Alf, here is the recipe you’re looking for, I’m sure of it:

        – 1 and 1/2 cup water
        -3 tbsp cooking oil ( canola or grapeseed, NOT olive oil)
        -1 egg
        -4 and 1/2 cups of flour
        -1 tsp salt

        Combine water/oil/egg, blend well. Then add 3 and 1/2 cups of flour and the salt. Start kneading, and add the last cup of flour as you knead. Knead until smooth and soft then put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rest for 20 minutes then roll it out on a floured board, thinner than for pie crust. Then you can cut it into strips to make into 2 to 2 and 1/2 inch squares. Put a tsp of filling in the middle, fold one corner across to make a triangle, and pinch the edges (have water nearby to dip your fingers in to help with sealing if need be). Drop them a few at a time into a pot of boiling water, stir with a wooden spoon occasionally to prevent sticking, then when they float to the top they’re done!

        I hope this helps, my in-laws are Ukrainian and my ancestors are Hungarian – my in-laws gasped when I made my dough with sour cream haha, they were none too thrilled! This is the recipe they use, from a Ukrainian cookbook made in Canada (Ukrainian Daughters’ Cookbook).

        Reply

    • Vanessa
      January 5, 2020

      Could i substitute heavy whipping cream for the whole milk? I just came back from the store about to make it and realize i don’t have whole milk, just skim milk.

      Reply

      • Natashas Kitchen
        January 6, 2020

        Hi Vanessa, I have not tested that to advise. If you experiment, please let me know how you like that.

        Reply

    • Yelena
      November 12, 2019

      Natasha do you happen to have your old dough recipe? We are dairy free and that one was perfect.

      Reply

      • Natasha
        November 12, 2019

        Hi Yelena, I don’t recall having a dairy-free dough recipe. Could it be that you saw it on another site?

        Reply

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