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How To Make Homemade Pierogies


Homemade pierogies are Poland’s most iconic comfort food. The popular Central European dumplings are a kitchen staple in Poland, Ukraine and Russia.

They can also be found on restaurant menus in neighbourhoods that play home to large Polish immigrant communities. Roncesvalles Polish Fest in Toronto serves thousands every September, while Saskatoon is home to Canada’s only pierogi drive thru!

After boiling homemade pierogies fry in oil and serve with sour cream and chives.

After boiling homemade pierogies fry in oil and serve with sour cream and chives.

What is a Pierogi?

Homemade pierogies are filled dumplings that are made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savoury or sweet filling and cooked in boiling water. They are considered Poland’s national dish, often served at festivals and special family gatherings.

The Origin of Pierogies

The origin of the pierogi is disputed as dumplings have been popularized around the world for thousands of years. Some legends say that the original pierogi recipe came from China through Italy via Marco Polo’s expeditions. Other backstories contend that the pierogi was brought to Poland by Saint Hyacinth from Kiev, Ukraine. Yet another tasty tale holds that pierogi arrived thanks to the Tatars from the former Russian Empire. The exact origins may never be known, but we’re certain that an easy recipe for homemade pierogies is worth passing on.

Maria Rozynska, Toronto's Homemade Pierogie Ambassador

Maria Rozynska prepares homemade pierogies in her kitchen.

Toronto’s Homemade Pierogi Ambassador

Maria Rozynska is the owner of Just Be Cooking in Toronto, a hands on culinary school that offers classes in a variety of cuisines such as Korean, French, Turkish and Polish. Maria explains her family’s move from Warsaw to Canada, “During the dark communist years, my family escaped Poland. We could tell no one of our plan. We just walked out the door one morning and split up. I went with my father and my brother went with my mother as travelling families were viewed with suspicion. Our destination was a refugee camp in Southern Italy. We arrived to Toronto one year later in 1985.”

Maria fell in love with cooking at the age of 5. It was during her time in Italy when housed in a hotel with other Polish families that she noticed they kept their culture alive through the food they ate together. She credits her grandmother and mother for teaching her to make homemade pierogies. They taught her tips and tricks, which she now passes on to the students in her Polish cooking classes.

Just Be Cooking isn’t just a cooking class, Maria ensures students leave having enjoyed an immersive cultural experience. She achieves this by sharing the history of each dish as its prepared. Each workshop ends with a communal meal. Hungry students get to eat their own creations while enjoying live music from a local Polish folk band.

Ingredients you'll need to prepare homemade pierogies.

Ingredients you’ll need to prepare homemade pierogies.

Traditional Polish Pierogi Recipe

Maria Rozynska’s pierogi recipe yields approximately 80 dumplings. Her recipe for homemade pierogies consists of two tasks: preparing the pierogi dough and mixing together the pierogi filling. Traditional Polish pierogi can be served with a variety of fillings. The most common pierogi filling is potato and cheese, which we’ll outline here. You’ll find a list of other popular fillings at the end of this story.


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Freshly rolled pierogie dough is stuffed with a teaspoon of filling.

Freshly rolled pierogie dough is stuffed with a teaspoon of filling.

Onced filled, homemade pierogies are closed by pinching with your fingers or tines of a fork.

Once filled, homemade pierogies are closed by pinching with your fingers or pressed with the tines of a fork.

Boil homemade pierogies for just 2-3 minutes in salted water.

Boil homemade pierogies for just 2-3 minutes in salted water.

Potato and Cheese Homemade Pierogies

Homemade pierogies are Poland's most iconic comfort food. Our recipe shows you how to make pierogies at home in just a few easy steps.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Polish
Keyword: Homemade Pierogies

Ingredients

Pierogi Dough Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 cups flour

Potato and Cheese Pierogi Filling

  • 4 Russet potatoes
  • 8 oz farmer's cheese or dry cottage cheese
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Pierogi Dough Recipe

  • In a large bowl whisk egg and sour cream together. Mix in milk and water. Add in flour until fully incorporated.
  • Knead dough until firm, about 10-15 minutes, until it no longer sticks to your hands. Add flour if still sticky or a few drops of water if too dry.
  • Cover the dough with a clean towel and let rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • Divide dough in half. Covering the standby dough with a cloth so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface as thinly as possible, about 1/8 inch.
  • Cut out 3-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or drinking glass.

Potato and Cheese Pierogi Filling

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until tender (approximately 10 minutes).
  • Drain out the water then mash your potatoes until smooth and let cool.
  • In a sauté pan fry onions in butter (approximately 5 minutes) and let cool.
  • When mashed potatoes are cool, add onions and cheese. Mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each round of dough.
  • Fold over carefully and press edges together. Be sure to press firmly as the filling can spill out during cooking if not sealed well.
  • Drop 10 pierogi at a time into a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pierogi float.
  • Gently lift homemade pierogies out of the water with a slotted spoon.
  • Toss in butter or oil to prevent pierogi from sticking together.

What to Serve with Homemade Pierogies?

Pierogi can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways. Minimalists snack on homemade pierogies straight out of the pot. Traditionalists serve Polish pierogies fried in butter and topped with caramelized onions and sour cream. I’ve also enjoyed pierogies served as dumplings in soup or swimming in a rich mushroom and dill cream.

If you’re hosting a pierogie feast for friends you’ll want to serve other Polish dishes at the table. Popular Polish side dishes include beet salad, cucumber salad, cabbage rolls, smoked fish and kielbasa.

Homemade pierogies served during a classic Polish feast.

Homemade pierogies served during a classic Polish feast.

Other Fillings for Homemade Pierogies

Mastered the art of preparing homemade pierogies with the classic potato and cheese filling? Why not surprise your guests with pierogies that offer a variety of flavours and textures.

Homemade Pierogies: Sauerkraut and Mushroom

  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 hardboiled egg, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  1. Rinse sauerkraut in cold water and drain well.
  2. Sauté for 10 minutes in saucepan until dry then set aside.
  3. In frying pan, sauté onion and mushrooms in the remaining butter.
  4. Add sauerkraut and pepper and fry until sauerkraut is golden brown.
  5. Add chopped egg, breadcrumbs, and sour cream and mix well.

Homemade Pierogies: Potato, Oscypek Cheese and Cranberry Jam

  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • 8 oz oscypek cheese (or your favourite smoked cheese)
  • 4 oz cranberry jam
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1.  Peel and boil potatoes until tender.
  2. Mash until smooth and let cool.
  3. Sautee chopped onion in butter.
  4. When mashed potatoes are cool add onions, cheese, and jam.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Homemade Pierogies: Cottage Cheese and Raisin

  • 8 oz dry cottage cheese or ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rasins
  1. Soak raisins in warm water for one hour and then drain and dry well.
  2. Whisk egg in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add cheese, sugar, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add raisins and fully incorporate.

Homemade Pierogies: Spiced Prune

  • 20 prunes (with pits for flavour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon sitck
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  1. Place whole prunes in medium saucepan and cover with water (1 inch above prunes).
  2. Bring to a boil then add sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. Cover and turn off heat. Let steep 15 minutes.
  4. When cool enough to handle, drain, discard cinnamon stick and remove pits from prunes.

Can You Freeze Homemade Pierogies?

Once you’ve finished sealing the pierogies you may want to cook half of them now and save the others to eat later. Homemade pierogies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to lightly toss your pierogies in flour before storing them in the freezer. The thin coasting of flour on each pierogi ensures they don’t stick together. You do not need to thaw frozen homemade pierogies before cooking them. Just boil them straight from the freezer!

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