Pierogi Recipe (VIDEO)
Pierogi filled with cheesy potatoes, tossed with crisp bacon and melted butter and served with sour cream is the ultimate comfort food.
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Growing up, this potato pierogi recipe or “Vareniki” was my favorite. My Mother rolled huge batches of pierogi dough, stuffing, and expertly molding them. Each buttery batch disappeared so fast!
What is a Pierogi?
Pierogi are dumplings with a tender dough and savory or sweet fillings, similar to ravioli. They are boiled in water and tossed in butter to serve. Pierogi are a staple in Eastern European countries and are well-loved throughout the world.
Most Americans know them as polish pierogi or “Mrs. T Pierogies” (a sad store-bought substitute), but we know them as Ukrainian Vareniki.
Potatoes are just one of many fillings – in the summer months, Mom would make the juiciest blueberry pierogi.
More Pierogi Filling Ideas:
- Potatoes and Cheese served with bacon (recipe below)
- Savory Meat filled dumplings (a.k.a. “pelmeni“)
- Sweet Blueberry Pierogi served with a sprinkling of sugar
- Cherry Pierogi – a summertime favorite
- Sweet Plum Pierogi (or use your favorite stone fruit)
Ingredients for Homemade Pierogi:
- We used russet potatoes to make the filling but you can use leftover potatoes (see notes below)
- Bacon is a real treat with a generous amount of butter. You can use butter only if you prefer.
- Our go to cheeses are cream cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese, but you can sub mozzarella with your favorite cheese.
Can I Use Leftover Mashed Potatoes?
- You can use refrigerated leftover mashed potatoes for pierogi.
- Mashed potatoes should not be overly creamy or soft which can cause the pierogi to fall apart while cooking.
- Do not use instant potatoes or flaked potatoes.
- If using leftover mashed potatoes, omit the butter from the pierogi filling and mash cream cheese and mozzarella into cold mashed potatoes.
How To Freeze Pierogi:
Generously dust a baking sheet with flour and arrange pierogi so they are not touching then cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a large zip-loc bag. Pre-freezing in a single layer keeps them from sticking together in the freezer.
Watch How to Make Pierogi:
Please note, we updated the recipe in 2022, adding oil to the dough to make it softer and more tender. This mini-scoop from OXO (Amazon affiliate link) made it really easy to add the potato filling.
I hope you love these and don’t forget to recruit others to help you make them! My kids love playing with pierogi dough more than play-doh!
Ingredients for Potato Filing:
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, (5 medium), peeled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
For the Pierogi Dough:
For the Toppings (For 1/3 batch):
- 4 oz bacon, chopped
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Sour Cream, to serve
How to Make Potato Cheese Filling:
- Place potatoes in a pot, add enough water to cover potatoes then bring to a boil over medium/high and continue cooking 25 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and cool 5 minutes then mash potatoes.
- Mash in 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp melted butter and 2 oz cream cheese. Mash in 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Partially cover and set aside while rolling out the dough.
To Make Pierogi Dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if mixing by hand), whisk together 1 cup warm water, 1/4 cup milk, 2 Tbsp sour cream, 1 egg, 3 Tbsp oil, and 1 1/2 tsp salt until blended.
- Using the dough hook attachment, add 2 cups flour and mix on speed 2 until incorporated. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, letting it incorporate before adding more. Add the last bit of flour 1 Tbsp at a time just until dough no longer sticks to sides of the bowl. Knead on speed 2 or by hand for 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
How to Mold Pierogi:
- Divide dough into 2 pieces. Cover the second piece and thinly roll the first piece out onto a floured surface to just under 1/8” thickness.
- Use a 3” diameter round cookie cutter to cut circles from the dough, keeping them as close as possible (collect scraps and place under the bowl to re-use). Add 1/2 Tbsp of potatoes over each round.
- To form pierogi, pull the 2 edges together and pinch tightly to seal. To ensure a tight seal, crimp the edges a second time with a pinch and twist motion. Cook or freeze pierogi for a future dinner (see freezing instructions in post).
How to Make Bacon Topping:
- Make the topping before boiling pierogi so it’s ready to drizzle over pierogi to prevent sticking. In a medium skillet, saute 4 oz chopped bacon. Once crisp, melt in 2 Tbsp butter and remove from heat.
How to Cook Pierogi:
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add 1 Tbsp salt. Add fresh or frozen pierogi. Once they are floating and water is back to a boil and pierogi are floating, remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon drizzling buttery bacon between layers.
Recipe updated 8/20/22 - we added oil to the dough to create a softer and more tender dough.
*See our post on How to Measure Ingredients
Nutrition Per Serving
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
This Potato and Cheese Vareniki Recipe was first posted 9 years ago. You might recognize this photo. We cut the recipe in half, making a much more reasonable portion and improved on the dough making it softer than ever!
Also, if you have a unique filling that you make, please share in a comment below!