These homemade pierogies are made with a potato and cheese filling and dough that’s a dream to work with. Simply saute in butter and serve with caramelized onions for a hearty and satisfying comfort food meal. Bonus that it’s naturally vegetarian, as well, if you avoid meat or are cooking for someone who does. 

A frying pan full of pierogi with caramelized onion.

Pierogies will always and forever remind me of Friday night meals during Lent. Our church had a fish fry and my parents always volunteered to help, so I spent dozens upon dozens of Friday nights during elementary school running around the school hallways with friends while our parents cooked and served food for the fish fry.

The extent of my fish love during that time was frozen-in-a-box fish sticks, so at the fish fry I always ordered pierogi; it was my go-to and still holds a firm place in the comfort food category for me.

Quite some time ago, I tackled homemade pierogi for the first time and I felt like they turned out just okay. Definitely not well enough for me to think it was worth doing again. However, about five years ago, I had a hankering to revisit the homemade pierogi and found a winner of a recipe.

What are pierogies? Where are they from?

Quite simply, pierogies are dumplings traditionally filled with potatoes and cheese (sometimes sauerkraut!) then boiled and pan-fried in butter.

There is a long-standing debate over whether pierogies are Polish or German in origin and, ultimately, we don’t know! What we DO know is that these delicious little dumplings date back to the 13th century in central and Eastern Europe. They remain a large part of the food culture in that region.

How to Make Potato and Cheese Pierogies

I know, making pierogi at home sounds intimidating and time-consuming and totally unnecessary, but believe me when I tell you that these homemade pierogi are 100000000% better than anything you will find in the frozen food aisle. No need to be intimidated! Let’s talk through the two major components: the dough and the filling.

Homemade Pierogi Dough

This dough is so wonderful to work with; it mixes together into a wonderfully soft and pliable dough that’s easy to roll out, cut, and shape. In order to give it those wonderful soft and malleable properties, an egg, egg yolk and vegetable oil are added to the traditional flour, salt, and water of most dough recipes. While this comes together very quickly and easily in a food processor, you can make it by hand, as well (see the recipe notes for details).

Side by side photos of preparing pierogi dough.

Potato and Cheese Pierogi Filling

The possibilities for pierogi fillings are only limited by your imagination! Potato and cheese is a very traditional choice, as is sauerkraut, but there are tonssssss of recipes for others such as mushroom, meat, salmon, and the list goes on and on. If you Google pierogi fillings, you will find dozens upon dozens of really unique ideas.

But! We’re here to talk about this potato and cheese filling, which is my all-time favorite because it’s what I grew up eating as a kid. Nostalgia at its best. Here’s what goes into the filling:

  • Potatoes (that are boiled and processed through a ricer or food mill to keep them light and fluffy);
  • Cheese (farmers cheese and cheddar cheese for a variety of flavor);
  • Caramelized onions (for a punch of sweet flavor);
  • Butter (just a tad, to pull it all together).

Side by side photos of the potato and cheese pierogi filling.

At this point you may be asking yourself:

What is farmer’s cheese?

It is made from cottage cheese that has had the whey drained off and is pressed into a solid form. It has a distinct flavor and is used in traditional pierogi, but you can substitute an equal amount of ricotta cheese if necessary.

Assembling the Pierogi

This is the most time-consuming part of the process, but it’s not at all difficult and if you want to really stock your freezer, you can scale up the recipe, invite over some family or friends, and make a party of it (I know people who do this for Christmas!).

You will roll out the dough quite thin, then cut out circles, place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each, then fold over and seal the pierogi. At this point, you can freeze the pierogi or cook them within the next four hours.

You did it!

Side by side photos of cutting out pierogi dough and assembling individual pierogi

Cooking the pierogi

Pierogi are traditionally cooked using a two-step process:

  1. Boil
  2. Pan-fry

First, the pierogi are dropped into boiling water until al dente, then once drained, they are pan-fried in butter (and oftentimes, onions, as well!). 

What to serve with pierogi

My mom and grandma always prepared their pierogies using a two-step process – first they would boil the pierogies to cook them through, then toss them into a frying pan with butter and onions to finish them off. SO GOOD. This is my absolute favorite way to eat them, but here are some other ideas:

  • Sour cream
  • Applesauce
  • Fried and crumbled bacon
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Sauerkraut

A baking pan with assembled pierogi lined up.

Pierogies recipe notes

A few quick tips and tricks to ensure you have the best pierogi coming out of your kitchen!

  • Farmer’s Cheese: You can substitute an equal amount of ricotta cheese for the farmer’s cheese in the filling.
  • Make the Dough by Hand: Whisk the flour and salt, then use a rubber spatula to incorporate the egg, yolk, oil, and water until a shaggy dough forms, then knead briefly to bring it together into a soft dough.
  • Many people cut up the dough scraps and boil and pan-fry with the rest of the pierogi so as not to waste – yum!

Make-ahead and freezing instructions

  • Make-Ahead Dough: Once the dough is made, either wrap in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month, or use within 2 hours.
  • How to Freeze Pierogi: The assembled pierogi can be frozen – place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours. Transfer the pierogi to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. No need to thaw before cooking – they can be boiled straight from the freezer.

An overhead photo of a plate of pierogies served with sour cream.

More Lent-Worthy Dishes to Try:

A frying pan with sauteed pierogi and caramelized onion.

Homemade Pierogies

If you’ve ever given a thought to making pierogi at home, please please please give it a try! You’ll be amazed at the texture and flavor and will want to stock your freezer with these!

If you make this recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️

Homemade Potato and Cheese Pierogies

These homemade pierogies are made with a potato and cheese filling and dough that's a dream to work with. Saute in butter and serve with caramelized onions!
4.25 (36 ratings)

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 2 cups (250 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
  • ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) salt

For the Potato and Cheese Filling:

  • 1 medium russet potato, about 9 ounces, peeled and sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup (59 g) reserved chopped caramelized onions
  • ounces (42.52 g) cheddar cheese, shredded (about ⅓ cup)
  • ounces (42.52 g) farmers cheese, cut into small pieces (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

For Cooking and Serving:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, for sautéing
  • Sour cream, for serving

Instructions 

  • Make the Pierogi Dough: Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 4 pulses. With the machine running, slowly add the whole egg, egg yolk, and oil through the feed tube until the mixture resembles wet sand, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, slowly add 4 tablespoons of the water until the dough forms a ball. If the dough doesn’t ball up, add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, with the processor running until a dough ball forms (you may not use all the water).
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until it firms slightly and becomes smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to relax for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Make the Caramelized Onions: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook until very soft and well browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Measure out ¼ cup of the onions, chop them fine, and reserve them for the filling. Cover the caramelized onions to keep warm.
  • Make the Potato and Cheese Filling: Cover the potatoes by 1 inch of water in a large saucepan and add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender and a fork can be slipped easily into the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes into a colander.
  • Set a food mill or ricer over a medium bowl and process the potatoes into the bowl. Add the caramelized onions. Stir in the cheeses and butter until incorporated and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly before filling the pierogi or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 days.
  • Assemble the Pierogi: Dust a baking sheet liberally with flour; set aside. Divide the dough into 2 even pieces and cover with plastic wrap. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured work surface into a 15-inch circle, about 1/16-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Carefully gather up the dough scraps, wrap them in plastic wrap, and set aside.
  • Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each dough round and moisten the edge of the dough round with water, using either your finger or a pastry brush. Fold the dough in half over the filling, making a half-moon shape. Pinch the seam along the edge to secure. Crimp the seam using the tines of a fork. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Gently knead all of the dough scraps together into a ball and let relax for 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out, cut, and assemble additional pierogi, discarding any remaining dough scraps.
    [MAKE-AHEAD NOTE: The towel-covered baking sheet of pierogi can be wrapped with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. The pierogi can also be frozen for up to 1 month; once completely frozen, the pierogi can be transferred to a zipper-lock bag. Do not thaw before boiling.]
  • Cook the Pierogi: Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and half the pierogi. Cook, stirring often, until the edges feel al dente, 5 to 6 minutes (8 to 10 minutes if frozen). Using a wire spider or slotted spoon, transfer the pierogi to a colander and set aside. Return the water to a boil and cook the remaining pierogi.
  • While the second batch of pierogi is boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the first batch of boiled and drained pierogi and sauté until golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the browned pierogi to a platter and cover to keep warm. Drain and sauté the remaining pierogi using the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle the caramelized onions over the top and serve with sour cream.

Notes

  • Farmer's Cheese: You can substitute an equal amount of ricotta cheese for the farmer's cheese in the filling.
  • Make the Dough by Hand: Whisk the flour and salt, then use a rubber spatula to incorporate the egg, yolk, oil, and water until a shaggy dough forms, then knead briefly to bring it together into a soft dough.
  • Make-Ahead Dough: Once the dough is made, either wrap in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month, or use within 2 hours.
  • How to Freeze Pierogi: The assembled pierogi can be frozen - place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours. Transfer the pierogi to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. No need to thaw before cooking - they can be boiled straight from the freezer.
  • Recipe from Cook's Illustrated
 
Nutritional value based on one pierogi.
Calories: 67kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 451mg, Potassium: 25mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 113IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

Photography by Ari Laing.