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Vareniki recipe

Vareniki recipe

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These are pierogis filled with cottage cheese, boiled and usually eaten with a sour cream sauce and crispy bacon. This is an old family recipe, from relatives who were Russian Poles.

24 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 2 eggs
  • 225ml (8 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
  • 375g (13 oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 450g (16 oz) cottage cheese, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch salt

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:30min

  1. In a medium bowl, combine 2 eggs, milk, flour and salt and mix together to make a soft dough. Roll out thinly enough to make about twelve 10cm (4 in) squares.
  2. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to the boil.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, 2 eggs and salt. Mix together and fill dough squares with cottage cheese mixture. Pinch sides together to seal and drop in boiling water. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the squares rise to the water's surface.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(21)

Reviews in English (19)

by Anyse Joslin

This is quite an old, "traditional" Russian food. "Pirogi" simply means "pie." If you make a regular pie, this is the word you should use. Pirogi are usually baked. "Pirozhki" is a diminutive word for "pirogi" and means "little pie" or can even be equated with the word for a "turnover." These can be baked or fried. "Vareniki," usually refers to a type of a dumpling or the preparation of "pirozhki" by boiling. Russian vareniki are boiled and then, sometimes after that, are also quickly fried in butter so tat they don't stick together as much.-01 Jul 2008

by LUX

I love this receipe!!! The whole thing is that they didn't rate this receipe, because they didn't know how easy it was!!!-25 Jan 2002

by Sarah Gartland

This made very delicious pierogis but I found the dough difficult to work with, as I have carpel tunnel and it was nearly impossible to combine on my own. I would imagine a kitchen aide mixer with a dough attachment would make this a breeze, I wish I woulda been warned!-05 Oct 2006

Stuffed Ukrainian pasta (varenyky)

This is my death row wish, my last supper, my ultimate source of comfort. I had trouble deciding how many people the recipes below would serve – I can eat 40 dumplings at one sitting, and that is no joke. It may be nostalgia or that they are so incredibly tasty, or perhaps I am just a glutton. If you have any varenyky left over, they are amazing the next day, fried in butter until crispy.



Skill level


Water dough

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) water
  • 300–350 g (10–11½ oz) ‘00’ or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • fine sea salt

Curd cheese filling (varenyky z syrom)

  • 150 g (5 oz) Polish twaróg (cow's curd cheese)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) soured cream or creamy Greek yogurt, to serve

Cabbage filing (varenyky z kapustoyu)

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 300 g (10 oz) Kvashena kapusta (sauerkraut)
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) soured cream or creamy Greek yogurt, to serve

Potato filling with crispy pork (varenyky z kartopleyu)

  • 150 g (5 oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100 g (3½ oz) shallots, sliced
  • 100 g (2 oz) pancetta, sliced into lardons
  • sea salt flakes

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 30 minutes

First make the dough. Mix the egg and water together in a bowl, then gradually add the flour and mix it in well if you feel that there isn’t enough flour, add slightly more than the recipe states.

Knead the dough on a well-floured work surface until it stops sticking to your hands. What you are looking for is a firm (or as we call it in Ukraine, tight), elastic dough.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help the gluten relax.

Next make your chosen filling. For the curd cheese filling, mix the cheese and egg together in a bowl and season heavily with salt – it should be slightly oversalted. For the cabbage filling, heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the cabbage for 5 minutes. Place it in a bowl and let it cool completely. For the potato filling, place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water, season well with salt and bring them to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and mash them really well.

Meanwhile, heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots over a medium-low heat for about 15–20 minutes until starting to colour nicely. Mix the shallots with the potatoes and set aside.

Place the lardons in a dry frying pan and fry them over a medium heat until crispy. Tip them into a bowl and set aside.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your work surface generously and roll out the dough into a 30 cm (12 inch) diameter circle or until the dough is a bit less than 2 mm (about .16 inch) thick. Cut the dough into 3 cm (1. inch) squares – you should end up with about 20–25. Don’t throw away the off cuts. These can be cooked along with the stuffed pasta.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Have a well-floured tray ready. Pop 1 teaspoon of the filling into the centre of each square, fold in half diagonally to create a triangular-shaped dumpling and press the edges together to seal. Place the varenyky on the floured tray, making sure that they don’t touch each other.

For the curd cheese- and cabbage-filled varenyky, have a large bowl with the melted butter ready.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and carefully pop the varenyky in. Boil them for a couple of minutes or until they float to the surface.

Drain the varenyky well. For the curd cheese and cabbage varenyky, tip them into the melted butter and swirl them around, then serve with the soured cream or Greek yogurt. For the potato with crispy pork varenyky, sprinkle over the lardons and pour over any fat and serve.

Recipe and image from Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and beyond by Olia Hercules (Hachette Australia, $39.99, hbk). View our Readable Feasts review and more recipes from the book here.

  • 2 cups flour, all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • butter melted
  • sour cream
  • Cottage cheese filling
  • 1 pound cottage cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • salt

Step 1

First mix flour with the salt. Combine the egg, milk and cottage cheese in blender.
Stir combination into the flour and salt and knead to make a soft dough.
Cover and let the dough stand for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the cottage cheese with the egg, and season to taste with salt.
The filling should be thick enough to hold its shape in a spoon.
Roll the dough quite thin on a floured board. Cut rounds with a large biscuit cutter.
Put a round of dough on the palm of your hand.
Place a spoonful of the cheese filling on the dough, fold it over to form a half circle, and press the edges together with your fingers.
The edges should be free of filling. Be sure that the edges are sealed well to prevent the filling from running out.
Place the vareniki on a floured board or a kitchen towel (don't crowd them), and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent drying.
Drop a few vareniki at a time into a large quantity of rapidly boiling salted water.
Stir very gently with a wooden spoon to separate the vareniki and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Continue boiling for 3 or 4 minutes. Vareniki are ready when they are well puffed. Remove them with a slotted spoon.
Place in a deep dish, sprinkle generously with melted butter, and toss very gently to coat them evenly with butter.
Serve in a large dish without piling or crowding them.
The traditional accompaniment is sour cream. Sour cream, may be used in the filling if the cottage cheese is very dry.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one dough half 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round or a glass, cut dough. Remove scraps.

Place a circle in the palm of your hand and, using a slotted spoon, place 3 or 4 blueberries on each round (leaving the sauce in the pan).

Fold the dough over to form a half-circle and press the edges together until well sealed and there is no air trapped in the dumpling, and the edges are free of filling.

Alternatively, the dough can be cut into 2 1/2-inch squares, filled and folded into triangles.

Place filled dumpling on a lightly floured surface and cover with a tea towel to prevent drying. Reroll scraps and continue with remaining dough.

Vareniki recipe - Recipes

One of the most popular dishes in Eastern European cuisine is Filled Dumplings, known as Varenyky, also frequently referred to as Perohy by many, or Pierogi in Polish. They are made with homemade pasta dough and filled with a variety of fillings, but potato with cheese is the most popular filling of all.

It is definitely a “labor of love” for those who make them from scratch, as it requires several hours of preparation time, but it is so worth it. The commercially mass-produced “Pierogies” just do not measure up to the homemade version! I was so proud of my daughter when she made these for the first time without asking for assistance….:-)

These dumplings were prepared by many cooks for generations, but if you ask your mom or grandma for a recipe, you get a very vague list of ingredients (a little bit of this and a little bit of that), with even less detailed preparation instructions.

The first time I made Varenyky at the age of 18, way before the life-saving Google time, so I kind of played by ear with measuring the ingredients and perfecting the dough, but to my surprise, they turned out quite well.

Thanks to Google and YouTube we now have our “personal assistants” with any experiments and projects we wish to work with.

Today I will share my own list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions as well as pictures, so you can give it a try and enjoy your own homemade varenyky/pierogi. The filling needs to be prepared ahead of time, to allow it to cool off before use.

Potato-filled Varenyky are best served warm with caramelized onions sautéed in lots of butter, accompanied by a dollop of sour cream.

If you like your dumplings crispy, you can gently fry them on both sides to a golden color and crispness, using a hot pan greased with butter. YUMMY.

This is how I serve my varenyky, whether they are fresh or need to be reheated before serving. They never stick together since they are stacked side by side with the round edge downward and the pinched sides upward. I smother their tops with lots of butter and sauteed onions, running down the sides to the bottom of the pan.

To reheat them in a large quantity, I add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water into the pan (this created steam during the heating time and prevents them from drying out or getting scorched from the bottom) cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and keep them in the oven at 250 degrees F until they are nice and hot. If you are pressed for time, you can start heating them for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F, then turn down to 250 for a few more minutes until warm enough to serve.

For individual portions, it is easier and faster to use the microwave, but remember to cover them and not overcook them.

They also freeze very well, but need to be cold and well coated with oil mixed with melted butter, to prevent them from sticking together, then layered one dozen per a zip-lock plastic bag, closed securely while letting out as much air as possible. They may stay frozen like this for up to 3 months.

To use the frozen, fully cooked dumplings, you need to defrost them in their bag in the fridge for at least 24 hours, then place the filled bag into hot water for several minutes to warm them up, or remove them onto a microwave-safe plate and heat them through, or heat them up on a frying pan with melted butter.


Someone just told me that they add softened butter to their dough, so I tried it, and it is such a wonderful change. It makes the dough so soft and pliable, therefore I UPDATED my original recipe with this adjustment (March 2018).

Also, some of you used more flour than I did while kneading the dough, or during rolling it out, so I was told the dough was getting a little too stiff, therefore I adjusted the total liquid used in the recipe by increasing it by 1/4 cup (total 1 1/4 cup).

This recipe makes about 60 pieces of varenyky (using a 3″ biscuit cutter).

### Please scroll down to the bottom of this post for a printable recipe ###

Start your dough on a countertop, or in a large bowl.

Use a spoon to incorporate the wet ingredients with the dry ones, until the batter is thick enough for kneading.

Once the dough is soft and silky, form a ball, cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

Roll out your dough to about 1/8 inch thickness, to get it ready for cutting out circles.

Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles from the rolled out dough, until all is used up.

Place the circles on a floured tea towel, and cover with another towel to prevent them from drying out.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of a dough circle, or roll your potato filling into ready to use balls, the size of a walnut.

Fold filled circle in half, and pinch sides together well enough so they do not open up. Poorly sealed Varenyky will open up during cooking, and the filling will boil out.

  • 4 cups flour (all purpose – unbleached Gold Medal or Pillsbury)You will need additional flour for dusting your work area while rolling out the dough.
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature (may add more warm water if needed) newly adjusted
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4 Tbs. butter, softened (new update 3/2018)

  1. Measure 4 cups of flour and place it on your counter top in a mound, or in a large mixing bowl,making a well in the middle.
  2. Add the egg, salt, sour cream and butter into the well.
  3. Using a spoon, start incorporating the flour from the inside of the well, into the wet ingredients, while gradually additing milk and forming soft dough.
  4. If your dough is too firm you may continue to add a little more warm water and working it into it to form a soft,,sticky dough.
  5. Incorporate the remaining flour, until a soft and silky dough is formed.
  6. Remove onto a lightly foured work area and knead it few times and form a nice smooth dough ball, but do not over work it, so it does not get tough. It should feel like fresh pizza dough, but slightly softer.
  7. Place your dough ball on a floured section of a countertop, cover with a tea towel, and let it rest at least 15 minutes.
  8. Generously flour your work area, and roll out 1/2 of the dough, to a very thin sheet, about 1/8 inch thickness. Leave the second half of the dough covered to keep it from drying out.
  9. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles from the rolled out dough, until all is used up.
  10. Place the circles on a floured tea towel, and cover with another towel to prevent them from drying out.
  11. Form a new dough ball from the remaining dough left from the cut outs, and repeat the above rolling/cutting out process, one more time.
  12. From then on, do not roll out any remaining dough, but rather form a log, and cut to small pieces to form circles by hand. Or, roll it out and use it for homemade pasta, or discard it
  13. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough, which was resting during this time, until all used up.
  14. Now you are ready to fill your dumplings with your favorite filling, which needed to be prepared ahead of time, so it had a chance to cool off.
  15. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of a dough circle, or roll your potato filling into ready to use ball, the size of a walnut.
  16. Fold filled circle in half, and pinch sides together well enough so they do not open up. If you do not seal them well, the filling will boil out during cooking time.
  17. Repeat the filling/pinching process until all circles are used up.
  18. Keep the finished Varenyky covered with a tea towel, until ready to cook.
  19. Fill a large pot with salted water, 2 Tbs. oil, and bring to boil.
  20. Gently lower 8-12 Varenyky into the boiling water be careful to avoid splashing hot water on yourself.
  21. Stir gently, with a wooden spoon, to prevent Varenyky from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  22. The Varenyky will float to the top of the water. Do not cover the pot.
  23. Bring back to boiling point, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  24. Remove with a slotted spoon into a strainer placed over a bowl.
  25. Fill a large bowl with cold water, and empty the Varenyky into it, to cool them down for few minutes, then pour out into the strainer again to let the water drain off. Then slide them off onto a large plate to cool off.
  26. By this time your water is boiling again, so repeat the cooking process until all Varenyky are cooked.


The English word "pierogi" comes from Polish pierogi [pʲɛˈrɔgʲi] , which is the plural form of pieróg [ˈpʲɛruk] , a generic term for filled dumplings. It derives from Old East Slavic пиръ (pirŭ) and further from Proto-Slavic *pirъ, "feast". [9] While dumplings as such are found throughout Eurasia, the specific name pierogi, with its Proto-Slavic root and its cognates in the West and East Slavic languages, including Russian пирог (pirog, "pie") and пирожки (pirozhki, "piesies" (as in "small baked pastries")), shows the name's common Slavic origins, antedating the modern nation states and their standardized languages. In most of these languages the word means "pie".

Among Ukrainians and the Ukrainian diaspora, they are known as varenyky. [10] The word is the plural form of вареник (varenyk), which derives from Ukrainian вар (var) "boiling liquid", indicating boiling as the primary cooking method for this kind of dumpling. The same term is used in the Mennonite community, sometimes spelled varenikie or wareniki. [11] [12]

Bryndzové pirohy is the Slovak term for dumplings filled with sheep milk cheese. [13]

Colțunași is the Romanian term for filled dumplings. [14] It is derived from Greek καλτσούνι , kaltsúni, itself a borrowing from Italian calzoni.

While the origin of the pierogi is often under debate, the exact origin of the dish is unknown and unverifiable. It likely originated somewhere in Central Europe or Eastern Europe, and has been consumed in these regions long before any of the present political nations existed. Today, it is a large part of many Central European and Eastern European cultures.

One legend relates that in 1238, Hyacinth of Poland visited Kościelec, and on his visit, a storm destroyed all crops Hyacinth told everyone to pray and by the next day, crops rose back up. As a sign of gratitude, people made pierogi from those crops for Saint Hyacinth. [15] Another legend states that Saint Hyacinth fed the people with pierogi during a famine caused by an invasion by the Tatars in 1241. [15] One source theorizes that in the 13th century, pierogi were brought by Hyacinth from the Far East (Asia) via what was then the Kievan Rus'. [16] Some believe pierogi came from China via Marco Polo's expeditions through the Silk Road. [17] None of these legends is supported by evidence, such as the etymological origin of the root pirŭ-.

Fillings Edit

Pierogi may be stuffed (singularly or in combinations) with mashed potatoes, fried onions, quark or farmer cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach, cheese, or other ingredients depending on the cook's preferences. Dessert versions of the dumpling can be stuffed with sweetened quark or with a fresh fruit filling such as cherry, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apple or plum stoned prunes are sometimes used, as well as jam. For more flavor, sour cream can be added to the dough mixture, and this tends to lighten the dough.

Preparation Edit

The dough, which is made by mixing flour and warm water, sometimes with an egg, is rolled flat and then cut into squares with a knife or circles using a cup or drinking glass. The dough can be made with some mashed potato, creating a smoother texture. [ citation needed ] Another variation popular among Czechs and Slovaks, uses dough made of flour and curd with eggs, salt, and water. [ citation needed ]

The filling is placed in the middle and the dough folded over to form a half circle or rectangle or triangle if the dough is cut squarely. The seams are pressed together to seal the pierogi so that the filling will remain inside when it is cooked. The pierogi are simmered until they float, drained, and then sometimes fried or baked in butter before serving or fried as leftovers. They can be served with melted butter or sour cream, or garnished with small pieces of fried bacon, onions, and mushrooms. [18] Dessert varieties may be topped with apple sauce, jam, or varenye.

Cutting the dough into circles

Placing the filling into a dough pocket

In Hungarian cuisine, the derelye is similar to pierogi, consisting of pasta pockets filled with jam, cottage cheese, or sometimes meat. [19] Derelye is consumed primarily as a festive food for special occasions such as weddings it is also eaten for regular meals, but this tradition has become rare. [ citation needed ]

Traditionally considered peasant food, pierogi eventually gained popularity and spread throughout all social classes including nobles. Some cookbooks from the 17th century describe how during that era, the pierogi were considered a staple of the Polish diet, and each holiday had its own special kind of pierogi created. They have different shapes, fillings and cooking methods. Important events like weddings had their own special type of pierogi kurniki – baked pie filled with chicken. Also, pierogi were made especially for mournings or wakes, and some for caroling season in January. Baked pierogi were a typical and the most popular Christmas dish for a long time, especially on the east area. They were stuffed with potatoes, cheese, cabbage, mushrooms, buckwheat or millet. The most famous is the Biłgoraj pierogi stuffed with buckwheat, potatoes and cheese and then baked in the oven. [20] [21]

Pierogi are an important part of Polish culture and cuisine today. They are served in a variety of forms and tastes (ranging from sweet to salty to spicy) and are considered to be the national dish. [22] They are served at many festivals, playing an important role as a cultural dish. At the 2007 Pierogi Festival in Kraków, 30,000 pierogi were consumed daily. [23]

Polish pierogi are often filled with fresh quark, boiled and minced potatoes, and fried onions. This type is called in Polish pierogi ruskie, which literally means "Ruthenian pierogi" (sometimes being mistranslated as “Russian pierogi”). Ruskie pierogi are probably the most popular kind of pierogi in North America and Poland. [ citation needed ] The other popular pierogi in Poland are filled with ground meat, mushrooms and cabbage, or for dessert an assortment of fruits (berries, with strawberries or blueberries the most common). [ citation needed ]

Sweet pierogi are usually served with sour cream mixed with sugar, and savoury pierogi with bacon fat and bacon bits. Poles traditionally serve two types of pierogi for Christmas Eve supper. One kind is filled with sauerkraut and dried mushrooms, another – small uszka filled only with dried wild mushrooms – is served in clear barszcz. [24] Leniwe pierogi ("lazy pierogi") are a different type of food, similar to lazy vareniki (see below), kopytka, or halušky.

Varenyky in Ukraine are a popular national dish, served both as a common everyday meal and as a part of some traditional celebrations, such as Christmas Eve Supper, Ukrainian: Свята вечеря (Sviata Vecheria or Svyata Vecherya, literally Holy Supper). [ citation needed ] In some regions in or bordering modern-day Western Ukraine, particularly in Carpathian Ruthenia and Galicia, the terms varenyky and pyrohy are used to denote the same dish.

The name of a popular type of Polish pierogi, pierogi ruskie ("Ruthenian pierogi"), is related to Rus', the historical region and naming of Eastern Slavs and the ancient kingdom from which Ukrainians descend.

Varenyky are considered by Ukrainians as one of their national dishes and plays a fundamental role in Ukrainian culture. Contrary to many other countries that share these dumplings, Ukrainians tended to use fermented milk products (Ukrainian: kysle moloko or Ryazhanka) to bind the dough together however, today eggs tend to be used instead. Typical Ukrainian fillings for varenyky include cottage cheese, potato, boiled beans, mushy peas, cabbage, plum (and other fruits), potato and cheese, cabbage, meat, fish, and buckwheat.

In Ukraine varenyky are traditionally eaten with sour cream (Ukrainian: сметана (smetana)) and butter, as well as with fried onions and fried pieces of bacon and pork fat (Ukrainian: shkvarky). Whilst traditionally savoury, varenyky can also be served as a dessert by simply substituting the filling of the dumpling to a sweeter one. Dessert varenyky fillings include sour cherry, blueberries, sweet cottage cheese, billberies and other fruits. The central regions of Ukraine are known for their more unusual varenyky, Poltava being known for its flour varenyky filling, in which the dumplings are filled with a mixture of flour, lard and fried pieces of bacon.

Varenyky are so beloved in Ukraine that a yearly festival commemorating them is held at the Ukrainian ski resort town of Bukovel in the Carpathian Mountains. In 2013 a snow monument to varenyky was made in Bukovel, and was submitted to the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest snow varenyk in the world.

In Ukraine varenyky are not just a national dish, but also played a symbolic and ritualistic role. Ukrainian ancestors equated varenyky with a young moon since they have a similar shape, and used the dumplings as part of pagan and sacrificial rituals. For example, cheese varenyky would be sacrificed near water springs, and years ago farmers also believed that varenyky helped bring a rich harvest, so they took homemade dumplings with them to the fields. [25]

The common term Pirogge (pl. Piroggen) describes all kinds of Eastern European filled dumplings and buns, [26] including pierogi, pirozhki and pirogs. Certain types of piroggen, both boiled and baked, were common fare for Germans living in Eastern Europe and the Baltic are still prepared by their descendants living there and in Germany. In particular, baked pīrādziņi are known as Kurländer Speckkuchen ("Courland bacon/speck pies") in the cuisine of Baltic Germans. [27]

Schlutzkrapfen closely resemble pierogi they are common in Tirol and northern Italy's German-speaking region of South Tyrol, and are occasionally found in Bavaria. [28] Fillings may include meat or potatoes, but the most widespread filling is a combination of spinach and quark (Topfen) or ricotta. [29] Another similar Austrian dish, known as Kärntner Nudel (Carinthian noodles), is made with a wide range of fillings, from meat, mushrooms, potato or quark to apples, pears or mint. [30] These regional specialties differ significantly from the most common Swabian filled dumplings known as Maultaschen. [31]

In Romania and Moldova, a similar recipe is called colțunași, [14] with regional varieties such as piroști in Transylvania and Bukovina regions and chiroște in Moldavia region. [32] Colțunași is often a dessert filled with jam (usually plum), fresh sour cherries [33] or cottage cheese, or savoury, filled with dill seasoned cheese (telemea or urdă), mashed potatoes or chopped meat. The dough is made with wheat flour and the colțunași are boiled in salted water, [34] pan-fried in oil or baked in the oven.

The word is a cognate with Slavic kalduny, a type of dumplings. In both Bukovina and Transylvania, the name piroști is used in Romanian families of German or Slavic origin and the filling can also be a whole, fresh, seedless plum. The term colțunaș is used by native Romanian families and are usually filled with cottage cheese or quark and served topped with sour cream smântână, traditionally called colțunași cu smântână.

Vareniki are widespread throughout Russia due to soviet cuisine, which contained various cuisines of the peoples of the Soviet Union. This dish belongs to the Ukrainian cuisine. [35] Mostly they are filled in Russia with cherries, quark, fruits, wild berries, blueberries, potatoes, cabbage or beef. [36] [37]

Due to centuries of close-knit community and mass migration from the Netherlands, northern Prussia, The Russian Empire and the Americas, the Russian Mennonites developed a unique ethnicity and cuisine. In Russian Mennonite cuisine the pierogi is more commonly called vereniki and almost always is stuffed with cottage cheese and served with a thick white cream gravy called schmaunt fat. [38] Russian Mennonites will also stuff the vereniki with fruit such as Saskatoon berries or blueberries. It is often accompanied with farmer sausage (formavorscht) or ham. Mennonite-style vereniki is no longer common in Poland, Russia or Ukraine, but is very common in the Canadian prairies, Chihuahua, Mexico, Paraguay, Bolivia and other places where Russian Mennonites settled.

A traditional dish in Slovak cuisine is bryndzové pirohy, dumplings filled with salty bryndza cheese mixed with mashed potatoes. bryndzové pirohy are served with some more bryndza (mixed with milk or sour cream, so it has a liquid consistency and serves as a dip) and topped with bacon or fried onion. In Slovakia, pirohy are semicircular in shape.

Along with bryndzové halušky, bryndzové pirohy is one of Slovakia's national dishes.

Ajdovi krapi (literally buckwheat carps) are a dish popular in the northeastern and Alpine regions of Slovenia. Made with buckwheat rather than wheat flour and filled with a mixture of cottage cheese (skuta), millet, and fried onions, they are traditionally topped with pork fat crisps, fried bacon or fried onion, but today often with butter breadcrumbs. [39] Along with žganci and štruklji, they form a trio of buckwheat-based dishes typical of Slovenian cuisine.

Pierogi were brought to the United States and Canada by Central and Eastern European immigrants. They are particularly common in areas with large Polish or Ukrainian populations, such as Cleveland, Chicago, and New York City along with its New Jersey suburbs. [40] Pierogi were at first a family food among immigrants as well as being served in ethnic restaurants. The pierogi in America initially came from Cleveland, Ohio when the first documented sale of pierogi was made at the Marton House Tavern in Cleveland in 1928. [41] In the post–World War II era, freshly cooked pierogi became a staple of fundraisers by ethnic churches. By the 1960s, pierogi were a common supermarket item in the frozen food aisles in many parts of the United States and Canada, and are still found in grocery stores today.

Numerous towns with Central and Eastern European heritage celebrate the pierogi. The city of Whiting, Indiana, celebrates the food at its Pierogi Fest every July. [24] Pierogis are also commonly associated with Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland, there are yearly events such as the Slavic Village Pierogi Dash and the Parma Run-Walk for Pierogies. [42] Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania also celebrates pierogi. There is a "pierogi race" at every home Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. In the race, six runners wearing pierogi costumes race toward a finish line. In 1993, the village of Glendon in Alberta, erected a roadside tribute to this culinary creation: a 25-foot (7.6 m) fibreglass perogy (preferred local spelling), complete with fork. [43]

The United States has a substantial pierogi market because of its large Central and Eastern European immigrant populations. Unlike other countries with newer populations of European settlers, the modern pierogi is found in a wide selection of flavors throughout grocery stores in the United States. Many of these grocery-brand pierogi contain non-traditional ingredients to appeal to American tastes, including spinach, jalapeño and chicken. [ citation needed ]

Pierogi enjoyed a brief popularity as a sports food when Paula Newby-Fraser adopted them as her food of choice for the biking portion of the 1989 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. [44] For more than a decade thereafter, Mrs. T's (the largest American pierogi manufacturer) sponsored triathlons, [45] some professional triathletes and "fun runs" around the country. For many triathletes, pierogi represented an alternative to pasta as a way to boost their carbohydrate intakes. [46]

According to pierogi manufacturer Mrs. T's, based in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, pierogi consumption in the United States is largely concentrated in a geographical region dubbed the "Pierogi Pocket", an area including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Chicago, Detroit, parts of the northern Midwest and southern New England which accounts for 68 percent of annual US pierogi consumption. [47]

Canada has a large Polish population, as well as Ukrainian populations, and pierogi (known locally as perogies) are common throughout the country. [ citation needed ] The Canadian market for pierogi is second only to that of the U.S. market, the latter having been the destination of choice for the majority of Central and Eastern European immigrants before and during World War II. [43]

Packed frozen pierogi can be found wherever Central and Eastern European immigrant communities exist and are generally ubiquitous across Canada, even in big chain stores. Typically frozen flavours include analogs of ruskie pierogi filled with potato and either Cheddar cheese, onion, bacon, cottage cheese or mixed cheeses. Home-made versions are typically filled with either mashed potatoes (seasoned with salt and pepper and often mixed with dry curd cottage cheese or cheddar cheese), sauerkraut, or fruit. These are then boiled, and either served immediately, put in ovens and kept warm, or fried in oil or butter. Popular fruit varieties include strawberry, blueberry, and saskatoon berry.

Potato and cheese or sauerkraut versions are usually served with some or all the following: butter or oil, sour cream (typical), fried onions, fried bacon or kielbasa (sausage), and a creamy mushroom sauce (less common). Some ethnic kitchens will deep-fry perogies dessert and main course dishes can be served this way. A good method is to par-boil the dumplings, then after drying, they are pan fried or deep-fried.

The frozen varieties are sometimes served casserole-style with a mixture of chopped ham, onions, peppers and cheddar cheese or with an Italian-style mixture of ground beef, onions and tomato sauce. [48]

National chain restaurants in Canada feature the dish or variations. Boston Pizza has a sandwich and a pizza flavoured to taste like perogies, while Smitty's serves theirs as an appetizer deep-fried with a side of salsa.

Lazy varenyky (Ukrainian: книдлі, ліниві вареники , Russian: ленивые вареники ) in Ukrainian and Russian cuisine or leniwe pyrohy in Rusyn are gnocchi-shaped dumplings made by mixing domashniy sir (curd cheese) with egg and flour into quick dough. The cheese-based dough is formed into a long sausage about 2 cm thick, which is cut diagonally into gnocchi, called halushky in Ukrainian and Rusyn, galushki in Russian. The dumplings are then quickly boiled in salted water and served with sour cream or melted butter. The name "lazy varenyky" faithfully reflects the very quick preparation time of the dish: It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes from assembling the simple ingredients to serving the cooked dumplings. [49] Lazy varenyky differ from standard varenyky in the same way that Italian gnocchi differ from ravioli or tortellini: these are fluffy solid dumplings, not stuffed pockets of dough. The same dish in Polish cuisine is called lazy pierogi (Polish: leniwe pierogi).

Vareniki with Farmer's Cheese (Вареники)

Every Russian household has grown up eating Vareniki dumplings. They are an Eastern European staple, known in many countries by many different names. There are so many different ways to stuff them, from Potatoes and Cheddar Perogies, fruit filled, to these Tvorog or Farmer's Cheese Vareniki (Вареники с Творогом). They are similar to Russian Pelmeni Meat Dumplings.

There are many Farmer's Cheese Vareniki that are made slightly sweetened and served with fruit, but not this recipe. We grew up eating these savory dumplings, slathered with homemade sour cream. You can even add fresh chopped dill into the Farmer's Cheese mixture. I love fresh dill, most Russians eat it by the truckload!

Who invented Vareniki?

This is always a fun question when politics collide with food. Slavic Dumplings are known by many different names in many countries. In Poland, they are known as Pierogi, in Slovakia as Pirohy, in Hungary as Derelye, in Ukraine and Russia as Vareniki.

It's considered that Vareniki originated in modern day Ukraine, but are also considered by Russians are part of their shared food cultures. One thousand years ago, Kievan Rus was a federation of Eastern Slavic tribes, with power mostly consolidated in Kiev. Slavs from the Kiev region colonized what is now Moscow. The same blood and shared food history of these nations go back for many centuries.

Vareniki with Cottage Cheese

Sometimes it's hard to find Farmer's Cheese or Tvorog in a supermarket. All Russian deli stores have it. You can also use German Quark. I have an easy Farmer's Cheese recipe you can make at home. Other times it's easier to use Cottage Cheese. If you are using Cottage Cheese, do not use the creamed Cottage Cheese, but find a dry curd instead. I find the creamed filling is too runny.

When making the filling, if the Farmer's Cheese you bought or made is less dry than you'd like, start mixing one egg, as you dont want to have your mixture too runny. It shouldn't be juicy.

This Vareniki recipe is great to do as a group activity. Sounds strange, but invite friends over, everyone making Vareniki, and share your hard work. It goes much faster in a group!

Vareniki are Slavs ideal comfort food, made sweet or savory. Make ahead and flash freeze them on a tray before freezing in Ziploc bags for an easy meal later on. Homemade always taste best. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!

Potato vareniki

[Welcome to the Sous-Chef Series, a new, sporadic feature on SK in which I invite cooks I admire over to my small kitchen to teach me — and thus, us — to make one of their specialties. Spoiler: I’m the sous!]

I first heard of the Russian restaurant Kachka when I was last in Portland, Oregon on book tour (hi, Powell’s!), when no fewer than a dozen people separately told me I had to go while I was there. A few said it wasn’t just their favorite restaurant in Portland, but their favorite restaurant, period. This made me all the more sad that I didn’t have time to make it happen. My regrets snowballed when I finally dug into the restaurant’s eponymous cookbook last summer. I was no further than the first page — where the confusion as to what is “Russian” food when “food from the former Soviet Union including Russia but also the countries surrounding it like Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine…” would be more accurate is humorously laid out — when I became deeply, emphatically obsessed with all that I’d missed.

The book is a delight on every page a bit of history, a substantial amount of wry observations, some hilarious guides (how to navigate a Russian grocery store, the rules of the “drunk fest” known as a pyanka, how to “tetris” your zakuski spread, and I will never stop laughing about the day in the life of sauerkraut, kickbacks and all, in the former Soviet Union) and recipes that will make you want to take the vodka bottle from your freezer (or start keeping it there, have I not taught you anything), have a rowdy group of friends over, and cook, eat, and drink until you make plans for next time. I immediately bought another copy for my mother-in-law and a third for a friend. I could go on and on, but then we’d never get to the wild thing that happened last month.

A couple months ago, I received an email from the restaurant’s publicist that Kachka chef Bonnie Frumkin Morales would be in New York to cook a seder at the James Beard House (nbd!) and did I want to get coffee with her? No, I said. I have a better idea. Does she want to come over and cook with me in my small, terrible kitchen, specifically potato vareniki (Polish pierogi’s Ukrainian cousin)? I want to learn how to make them from a pro. Astoundingly, she said yes.

So, let’s talk dumplings. Even if you’re not self-described dumpling fanatic, even if your love language isn’t swaddled bundles of boiled or fried carbs, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like pelmeni and vareniki — only people that have been unlucky not to have tried them yet. They use the same dough, but pelmeni are generally filled with meat (I have a recipe for Siberian Pelmeni in Smitten Kitchen Every Day) vareniki with vegetables, fruit, or cheese. Vareniki are often a little larger, but I prefer the one-bite-perfection of pelmeni, and make them the same size. Most Russians I know (and the one I’m married to) keep bags of each in their freezer for quick meals, and while they’re often quite good, nothing compares to making them at home. Manufactured dumplings require a dough stiff enough for machines and to hold up to shipping. Homemade doughs are much more tender and delicate. I see you running away, but wait! The dough is mixed and kneaded by hand and requires only a rolling-pin to stretch out — no pasta machines, no machines at all. It’s wildly forgiving. I did a downright sloppy job of sealing mine this week and not one of them tore or leaked.

Back to the visit: After I forced my homemade chocolate croissant attempts (a recipe coming soon, I hope) and storebought coffee on Bonnie and her husband/business partner/road prep cook, Israel Morales, she showed me how to use the pelmenitsa I’d just purchased inexpensively online. Bonnie is a pelmenitsa enthusiast. She considers the mold “a perfection of Soviet design, all angles and efficiency striving towards a utopian future of dumplings for all.” It’s economical (no wasted dough), the 3-cm width is “the perfect bite”, the circular opening in the center of each is “the ideal void” to pack in more filling, and the speed — instead of folding one at a time by hand, you make 37 at a time — is pretty key when your restaurant makes as many as theirs does each day.

Still, a pelmeni mold is not a prerequisite for making Russian dumplings. You could use a potsticker mold, or you can form them by hand, either by folding them into half moons and crimping the edges, or in tortellini-like shapes. I’ll walk you through each. I hope you’ll make them. Even if you think you’re not a dumpling person or that this isn’t carbs-wrapped-in-carbs weather, these will shake every idea you have of dumplings to its core. They’re slippery and light where you’d expect heaviness uplifting instead of nap-inducing. And the next time you reach for the same old freezer meal and find these instead, you’ll know you’ve won the lottery.

A pathetic sidebar: Because I’m bad at, well, calendars, I hadn’t realized until much later than I should have that Vareniki Day was also Seder Day, the first night of Passover, when I had 17 people coming over for dinner. Maybe you’re thinking, “Cool! You can feed everybody vareniki made by a fancy chef!” I briefly thought this too, then I remembered basically the only rule of Passover — ha! Anyway, it was a wild and fun day but I’m going to schedule my visiting chefs and multi-course dinner party days separately next time, just the same.


Potato Vareniki

  • Servings: Makes about 110 dumplings by hand or 111 to 148 in a pelmenitsa a serving is 20 bite-sized dumplings
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Source: Chef Bonnie Morales of Kachka and Kachinka Restaurants
Simple potato filling
Luxurious potato filling
Dumpling dough
To serve

For the luxurious potato filling: Place potatoes in medium saucepan and add as much milk as you need to cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Strain off milk, saving 2 tablespoons, discarding the rest. Place cooked potatoes and reserved milk back in pot, add salt and butter, and use a potato masher to gently bring the ingredients together. Transfer potato mixture to a sieve and use a spoon or bowl scraper to push it through. Once potatoes are passed, let mixture cool to room temperature. Use a spatula to gently fold in egg until just combined. Add semolina and mix until uniform, trying not to overwork the mixture. Add dill, if using. Place in refrigerator until fully cooled before using.

Make the dumpling dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl with a fork. Add half the water and the egg and use the fork to mix them into the dough. Drizzle in all but last 1 tablespoon of remaining water, mixing as you pour until dough forms shaggy clumps. Use your hands to bring the dough together inside the bowl, using the last tablespoon of water if needed. Knead it several times in the bowl before transferring it to your counter. Knead dough for 10 to 12 minutes (set a timer don’t skimp!) until it forms a smooth, elastic dough. Return to empty bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, which relaxes the dough and makes it easy to roll thin.

You can also make the dough in a stand mixer, using the dough hook to knead for 5 to 7 minutes.

Form vareniki, both methods: Grab a spray bottle of water (or a dish of water and a pastry brush, although just your finger is sufficient for hand-formed dumplings), a rolling pin, and liberally dust a rimmed baking sheet with flour. Remove one-quarter of dough (for hand-formed dumplings) or one-sixth of dough (for pelmenitsa dumplings) from bowl, keeping the rest wrapped until needed. On a very well-floured counter (Bonnie explains that the dough will only absorb as much flour as it needs and no more, so you cannot use too much) and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it’s thin enough that you can see light through it if you hold it up you should be able to roll it to the thinness of pasta dough.

Form vareniki by hand: Cut out rounds of dough with a 2-inch round cutter or a drinking glass. Using two spoons, a small scoop, or a pastry bag, fill each round of dough with a blob of filling — about 1 teaspoon. Dab, brush, or mist the edges of the dough with water, then fold the round into a half-circle, pressing the edges to seal. Take the edges and pull them towards each other, pinching the corners to seal in a tortellini shape. As you shape a few dumplings, you’ll get a sense of how much filling you can stuff into each dumpling and still stretch the dough around it to seal. Transfer the shaped dumplings to your prepared baking sheet. Gather the scraps together back into the ball. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, rerolling the scraps after they’ve rested enough that you can roll them out again. (If they resist rolling, wait 5 minutes, try again, repeating this until the scraps roll as thinly as the first round did.) I like to slide my tray of vareniki into the freezer while working on the next batch they’re easier to move around once semi-frozen. At this point, you can cook them right away — semi-frozen or fresh — or freeze them for future use. (Freeze the rest of the way on the baking sheet so they don’t stick, then transfer to sealed bag).

Form vareniki with a pelmenitsa: Drape the rolled-out dough over your pelmenitsa, so that it reaches over the ends of the mold. Press or pat the dough lightly so that an imprint of the mold below is made on the dough this is so you know where to center the filling. With two spoons, or a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip, scoop or pipe a little blob of filling into each of the 37 divots. You’ll need just a heaping teaspoon or so in order to still be able to seal things (don’t get carried away with the amount of filling!). When you have piped filling into all the slots, roll out a second piece of dough until it’s slightly larger than your mold. Lightly spray some water over the top of your filled vareniki, or lightly brush the exposed dough with water if you don’t have a spray bottle, and then gently place the second round of dough over the top. Firmly roll over the top with your trolling pin, several times as needed, to seal the vareniki and cut the dough between them. Remove the outer trimmings that are not part of the dumplings themselves. (Depending on how thin I’ve gotten the dough, I can reuse these to make a 4th pelemenista of dumplings, hence the range in yield. Let the dough rest until it rolls easily again.) Turn the pelmenitsa upside-down over the prepared baking sheet and nudge the filled dumplings out. Don’t worry if they don’t separate right away. Slide the tray into the freezer while you repeat with the remaining dough and filling. (Once they are firm, you can easily break them apart.) You can cook them right away — semi-frozen or fresh — or freeze them for future use. (Freeze the rest of the way on the baking sheet so they don’t stick, then transfer to sealed bag).

Cook your vareniki: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the dumplings, about 20 per person (or 12 to 15 if they’re larger). Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a healthy-but-not-too-vigorous boil. Add the dumplings and give it a few good stirs, making sure none stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the dumplings rise to the surface, and then 1 minute more (this will take 4 to 5 minutes). If you’re not sure if they’re done, you can always remove one and cut it in half — it should be hot in the center.

Finish and serve: While the dumplings cook, prepare a mixing bowl to dress your dumplings. Everyone likes their vareniki a little differently but I’ve been forever converted to Bonnie’s method. For each serving, you want to place a good pat (about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoons) of butter and 1 to 2 teaspoons of plain vinegar in the bottom of your bowl. Add salt and pepper, if you wish. When the vareniki are done, use a large slotted spoon (this is my favorite) to transfer the dumplings, shaking off the extra water, right into the bowl. Toss! The butter will melt and come together with the vinegar from the heat of the dumplings. Keep stirring, whirling everything together until the vareniki look glossy and lightly sauced and you are astounded by your newfound cheffy skills. Transfer to individual bowls and let everyone add the finishes they wish.

Do ahead: The simple potato filling is good in fridge for 4 to 5 days, the luxurious one for 2 days.

Filling the vareniki:

1. Retrieve the dough and add a table spoon of flour and knead it in.

2. Flour a large plate and also a work top to work on.

3. Cut a tangerine sized chunk from the dough roll it out into a large sausage shape and cut into small pieces the size of a large snail.

4. Flatten each small piece with your fingers around 5cm across and 7mm thick.

5. Roll out each piece into a circle using a rolling pin to about 10cm diameter, 3-4mm thick.

6. Add a teaspoon of filling into each disk:

Seb filling in each vareniki

7. Cross over each piece and pinch shut the edges well several times.

8. Place each vareniki into a plate of flour.

  1. Combine, flour, salt, oil, and buttermilk in a large-sized bowl stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Then, lightly knead adding more flour if needed to form a delicate dough.

The dough should be soft to the touch and slightly tacky. Since flour may vary add an additional 1 tbsp of flour until dough comes together nicely. (I used bakers rose Canadian flour). More flour will be used during the sealing process so don&rsquot add too much flour at this stage.

2. Cover the dough and allow it to rest. While you prep the apples.

3. Peel, core, and dice two apples place into a shallow bowl.

TIP: DO NOT SHRED the apples. Cubing the apples and adding sugar right before sealing the vareniki prevents juices to run from the apples. Do avoid to not let sealed vareniki sit too long as juices may start to release when sugar is added.

4. Bring a large-sized pot of water, about halfway full to a boil.

5. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into two equal parts. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a 16&Prime by 1 1/2&Prime wide log. Then slice the log into 1&Prime pieces. Cover dough as you work.

6. Roll each 1&Prime piece of dough into a ball then flatten into a disk (about 2-3&Prime wide.) Place 1/2 a tsp of apple pieces then sprinkle with a pinch of sugar (about 1/4 tsp full.) Seal pinching tops together.

7. Once the water has come to a rolling boil reduce heat to medium-high and place 5-8 sealed vareniki into the boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes. Continue sealing and cooking vareniki in small batches.

8. Place ready vareniki in a small bowl with some butter and sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar for every 5-8 vareniki. Serve with sour cream if desired.