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- Spring Green Asparagus Soup - May 7, 2023
- Borscht (Barszcz Czerwony) – Authentic Polish Recipe - December 19, 2022
- Authentic Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese (Pierogi Ruskie) - December 8, 2022
These Authentic Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese (Pierogi Ruskie) are the real deal. Traditional Polish dish at its best! Try this recipe and never buy pierogi again. They are amazing.
This post was originally published on December 24, 2014 (On Christmas Eve!) and since then has been updated to provide additional information.
You can also learn how to make Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi from Scratch here or if you prefer a more creative version of pierogi try these Roasted Butternut Squash and Feta Pierogi.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy HERE.
Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese (Pierogi Ruskie) – the Most Popular Kind
Have you ever tried real, authentic Polish pierogi?
Now I’m not talking about the frozen dish that you can purchase in almost every supermarket. In fact, these store-bought cousins are even improperly named. They’re called “Pierogies.”
For all Poles, this is the funniest thing ever. The reason being is that the word “Pierogi” is already pluralized (1 “pierog” is the singular). The addition of an “s” to make the English name plural is just way too funny. But obviously, I get it, and I’m absolutely not offended.
Actually, it makes me proud that we have created a dish so popular that is eaten throughout the world. So, if you haven’t tried a truly authentic version yet, then definitely give these a go. ‘Street-cred’ affirmation: I am 100% Polish, born and raised in Wroclaw, Poland, and I make pierogi every year. These are the real deal :)
Authentic Polish Pierogi Served on Christmas Eve
As I mentioned I make this type of Authentic Polish Pierogi every year….for Christmas. However, these aren’t the only variety out there; I also make pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms – which are far more typical for Christmas in Polish homes.
Yet, Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese (Pierogi Ruskie) are also very popular and often cooked in Polish homes. So, long story short, I brought this culinary tradition with me to the US and every year I devote either a day or 2 to making my favorite Polish dishes for Christmas.
In an effort to perpetuate these traditions, I’ve been indoctrinating my new family (my husband and my in-laws) by annually hosting a Christmas Eve dinner. And while this effort to cultivate their palates to the full spectrum of my Polish Christmas menu at first was met with baby steps, I can honestly say that they’re all in full stride now.
Staples of this Christmas menu include:
- 2 kinds of pierogi (with potatoes and cheese and with sauerkraut and mushrooms),
- Red borsch (a clear beet soup) with uszka (ear pierogi),
- Bigos ( Polish Hunter’s stew) or Kapusta (Sauerkraut with Mushrooms),
- fish “Greek style” (funny that it’s dubbed ‘Greek’ because it’s a very Polish dish), and
- Salatka (a root vegetable/potato/egg salad to die for, also known as Russian Salad) or Polish Potato and Egg Salad with Pickles.
While I could do more, I’ve decided to limit it and still enjoy the process of cooking and sharing with my family.
Now that we have Gabe and Aiden, who are growing up way too fast (sorry for the cliche gang, but it’s true), who are half Polish, I really want them to experience some of Mommy’s, and therefore their own, traditions. So I try to supplement their diet with Polish dishes whenever I can. My older one really loves Polish Dill Pickle Soup!
Polish Christmas Traditions
As long as I’m talking about traditions I’d like to give you a little glimpse of how a Polish Christmas looked for me when I was growing up. Obviously, I’m saying “for me” because I know that almost every home had its own little differences.
In fact, I know that as some of my Polish friends read this post they’ll be saying that this or that looked different in their houses. For instance, there was a clear divide between the soup served. I’m aware that people either had borsch (my house) or mushroom soup. With that said, there were some hybrid houses that had both soups served.
And recently I found out that there was yet another type of soup gracing Christmas tables…sauerkraut and mushroom. These variations seemed to run with geographic regions (like Red & Blue states). So, as this one example attests, different parts of Poland had different traditions; but I can tell you that there were some universals for all Poles.
Christmas Eve dinner always kicked off the holidays. Dinner was served after the first star showed up in the sky and consisted of 12 dishes. However, atypical of most Polish meals, meat was prohibited from the Christmas Eve table. Rather, the ingredients which dominated tables were: fish, pierogi, mushrooms, sauerkraut, and cabbage.
The common dishes served on Christmas Eve would be:
- borsch with mushroom mini pierogi (kind of like a ravioli), mushroom soup,
- different varieties of pierogi (the most popular being with mushrooms and sauerkraut and pierogi ruskie),
- bigos without meat (hunter’s stew – sauerkraut with mushrooms, plums, tomatoes) or just sauerkraut with mushrooms,
- fish – Hearings served in different sauces, and the most popular being Karp. My family wasn’t a huge fan of Karp because it was so boney and therefore my mom always went with Trout. Our go-to was a whole trout stuffed with lemon and butter (OMG!).
I don’t know if you’re familiar with our Polish Karp tradition, but it seems to me that a number of people around the world have a vague familiarity with it, as I was asked about it a few times.
Anyhow if were to visit any community in Poland right before Christmas, you would find places everywhere selling “Live Karp.” As a kid, my own appreciation of this was that everyone was taking Karps home and letting them swim in the tub (cool right? a pet!). I knew nothing more than that. To this day I still question where these glorious pets would vanish to.
How to make Polish Pierogi Ruskie
But I digress, Pierogi are a different story. I always know where they start, and where they end. They start with potatoes, cheese, onions, spices, and with flour for the dough. I roll it, cut it into little round cutouts, insert a little ball of potatoes/cheese mixture, seal it, and there you go.
But let’s take it one step at a time (for exact measurements, instructions and nutritional information scroll down to a printable recipe):
Prepare the pierogi ruskie filling:
Step 1; Boil your starchy potatoes (medium yellow potatoes or russet potatoes) with salted water; drain, and mash either using a potato ricer or potato masher;
Step 2: In a frying pan, heat up some butter, oil, or ghee and fry up onions until almost brown (they will add a ton of flavor to the filling;
Step 3: Add framer cheese into the potatoes and mix well;
Step 4: Add fried onions, other cheeses, and spices to the potatoes/cheese mixture and mix well. Set the filling aside (The addition of blue cheese and cheddar is something new to me. It’s a simple trick from a very famous Polish chef. I tried it and it really elevates this dish to another level).
Prepare the pierogi dough:
Step 1: Pour the flour on a counter or other surface that will allow you to make the dough, add a pinch of salt, make a little hole in the middle and start adding milk and butter, add a little water at a time and work the dough until you can form a ball about 10-15 minutes; (Some people use egg for the dough. I tried all kinds of dough variations and in my opinion, mine is the most delicate. Egg tends to make the dough tougher. You can add an egg to the dough and reduce the amount of liquid).
Step 2: Once done, cover it with the big bowl and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes
Step 3: Roll the dough until thin (like pasta) and using either a cookie cutter or a large wine glass cut the circles; place 1 teaspoon of the fling in the middle of the circle, wet one half of the circle, and then seal it together;
Step 4: Boil a large pot of water and season with salt; once the water is boiling put about 8 pierogi at a time; once they come to the surface let them cook for 1 minute and using a spider or slotted spoon take them out on a plate;
Step 5: OPTIONAL: If you want to fry them as I did here, use 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee and fry pierogi on each side until golden brown. It’s best to dry them first before frying so they don’t splash.
For the pierogi toppings:
While this tradition mentioned above is alive, I no longer abide by the “no meat” on Christmas Eve mandate. So, often I sprinkle my pierogi with a little bit of chopped bacon, and likewise, I use sausage in my hunter’s stew. But I know that a lot of people are still very strict about this requirement.
Anyhow, the addition of meat is purely optional. For the featured version here of Authentic Polish pierogi, I did go with some chopped bacon.
Using separate pans add oil and onions and fry the onions until golden brown and bacon until crispy (you don’t need fat for bacon as it is already fatty);
Add onions and bacon on top of the pierogi and serve with sour cream.
Storing and freezing pierogi
If you are not serving pierogi immediately, take them out on a counter and let them cool down and dry a little bit. Make sure that they are not touching each other.
Once cooled, place them on a baking sheet, again at distance from each other, place them in a freezer and let them freeze. Once done, you can pack them in a plastic bag.
Now, I won’t lie here. When you’re new to the Pierogi-making business it can take a while to master them. Admittedly, they seem so easy, but when you get to the point where they have to be sealed, a lot of times you’ll find that they aren’t very cooperative. But practice makes perfect. It used to take me hours from start to finish.
Now I can be done in 2 hours with about 80 Pierogi – ready to serve. So, if you have the patience to learn how to make them, then go ahead and give them a try. Just don’t get discouraged the first time out. Even if it takes time, I can guarantee that they will taste delicious and you’ll be so proud of yourself that you will want to tell the whole world about them and the work you’ve done.
How to Alter this Recipe for Authentic Polish Pierogi:
- As mentioned above you can add an egg to your dough.
- I usually have no problem finding farmer cheese in local supermarkets in N.Y. but I know that it may be difficult to find. You can either buy Framer cheese on Amazon or use whole milk large curd cottage cheese (about 8 oz. but be careful because this cheese is more watery so your filling may become a little too soft);
- I added a little cheddar and blue cheese but they can be omitted;
- They can be served boiled or fried with just fried onions.
If you’re looking for more Polish recipes here are a couple of suggestions:
- Dill Pickle Soup – Traditional Polish Recipe
- Pierogi with Sauerkraut and Mushrooms from scratch:
- Kapusta – Sauerkraut with Mushrooms
- Cabbage and Kielbasa
- Bigos – Polish Hunter Stew
- Roasted Butternut Squash Feta Pierogi
- Polish Cucumber Salad – Mizeria
- Polish Fluffy Apple Pancakes
- Breton Beans (Fasolka po Bretonsku)
- Creamy Mushroom Sauce
I guess I’ve waited a lifetime to say, ‘hey world, here are Pierogi!!!!’ Without further adieu, I give you my super delicious Authentic Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese. Cheers!
Authentic Polish Pierogi with Potatoes and Cheese Recipe
For the filling:
- 5 Potatoes yellow, medium or 3 large russet potatoes
- 8 oz Farmer cheese
- 1 tablespoon Blue cheese (optional)
- 2 tablespoon Cheddar cheese (optional)
- 1 Onion sweet, yellow, large, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 tablespoon Oil or ghee for onion
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the dough:
- 3 cups Whole purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Milk 2%, warm
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Warm water (depending on how much your flour soaks)
- 1 tablespoon Butter melted, unsalted
- A little bit of kosher salt
For the toppings
- 1 Onion large, yellow, chopped
- 3 slabs Bacon chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup Sour cream
- 2 tablespoon Oil or ghee for frying
For the filling:
- Place potatoes in a pot, cover with water and cook until fork tender;
- In the meantime heat up the oil or ghee in a frying pan, add onions, and cook until golden brown;
- Once potatoes are cooked, using a potato ricer or potato masher, mashed potatoes so they don't have lumps;
- Add farmer cheese and mix together;
- Add onions, other cheeses, spices, salt, and pepper and mix well.
For the dough:
- Pour the flour on a counter or other surface that will allow you to make the dough;
- Add a pinch of salt;
- Make a little hole in the middle and start adding milk and butter;
- Add a little water at a time and work the dough until you can form a ball about 10-15 minutes;
- Once done, cover it with the big bowl and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes;
- Roll the dough until thin (like pasta) and using either a cookie cutter or a large wine glass cut the circles;
- Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the circle;
- Wet one half of the circle and then seal it together;
- Boil a large pot of water and season with salt;
- Once the water is boiling put about 8 pierogi at a time;
- Once they come to the surface let them cook for 1 minute and using a spider or slotted spoon take them out on a plate;
- If you want to fry them as I did here, use 1 tablespoon of oil or ghee and fry pierogi on each side until golden brown;
For the toppings:
- Using separate pans add oil and onions and fry the onions until golden brown and bacon until crispy (you don't need fat for bacon as it is already fatty);
- Add onions and bacon on top of the pierogi and serve with sour cream.
2. Addition of blue cheese and cheddar is something new to me. It's a simple trick from a very famous Polish chef. I tried it and it really elevates this dish to another level.
3. If you are not serving pierogi immediately, take them out on a counter and let them cool down and dry a little bit. Make sure that they are not touching each other. Once cooled, place them on a baking sheet, again at distance from each other, place in a freezer, and let them freeze. Once done, you can pack them in a plastic bag.
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Can I ask why you prefer to boil the pierogi before freezing vs freezing them uncooked? Would they cook differently if not cooked before they’re frozen?
I prefer to boil them first because sometimes the dough cracks in a freezer when frozen raw and when you boil them later on and they can fall apart. It happened to me a few times and I stopped freezing raw pierogi.
My babchia built her church on cheese pierogi. The Heart of Jesus Polish National Catholic church would meet in a rented hall until they (my grandmother and her five sisters started in on pierogi .They would make dozens, all which sold out in moments. They were so good. As i recall’there was one fellow that made the the cheese, and his production sold out quickly. Christos Voskresit. Smertvy Smert Pa Orov.
I haven’t made this as yet but plan to soon. My mother was 100% Polish and made pierogi often. I always watched her making them. She always cut the dough into squares instead of circles. Thank you for your beautiful story about the food during Christmas Eve. My grandmother always made a big Easter starting with the priest going to her house to bless the food.
My husband’s great grandpa was polish but the family dynamics have fallen apart and the grandparents are no longer around. My husband raves about the pierogi his grandma made…. he said she used rocatta cheese and added sausage. He also said she only fried the pierogi and hers were big…. more like a calzone or omelet. Does any of this seem right? I want to start bringing in the polish tradition to our home as we now have a daughter to pass it to. Ps, do you know the meaning of the name Hahaj or Chachaj, by chance? Thanks!
Hi Jessica, I can tell you that some cooks make their own versions of pierogi so it might be totally fine to use ricotta and sausage and make them big. The name Chachaj could be close to the word “czekaj” which means “wait”. 🙂
Hi, Chachaj could mean slang for father, I am Croatian and our History goes to Poland, even today they still have Croatian things that our people left and we have similar things, some words are similar but with twang, like caca both c would have marks on top would say chacha, it is not used a lot now, but when i was little my mum would say go and ask you chacha
If you want to fry pirogies, do you boil the first then fry? These look AMAZING
Yes, you boil them first and then you fry them.
I would like to add to your recipe. My mother always made pierogi for Christmas Eve and I did as well. I continued the traditional Christmas Eve celebration as handed down by my parents. To this day my children observe Christmas Eve as closely to the way I brought them up as they could for I do have daughters-in-laws who are not of Polish decent but always were at my hone for this event. However, the one other item my mother added to her filling was a little sugar along with the cheese and onions. I even taught my sons how to make pierogi and one of them has mastered it very well. He even taught his own daughter how to do so and she, too, has mastered it well. I just thought you would like to hear of this difference.
Thanks Mary. That’s super sweet of you to share your family traditions.
Sweet to read these texts my mothers
Family were from old Checkolavoceya, sorry to misspell the country.
Lots of dishes I did not care for (suckatash) prune biscuits, that’s all I can remember (I’m 76) but wonderful holiday memories. They lived in New Orleans at that time.
This was the most simple recipe to follow. I was super intimidated at the thought of making them however after 4 or so I got the hang of it. They turned out wonderfully and were a huge hit for my family. Thank you for sharing!
You list this as an 8 serving recipe, but could you tell me about how many individual pierogi this makes?
I can’t really tell because it depends on how big circles you make and how much stuffing you put inside.
Hi Edyta …I just finished my batch of pierogi’s.I’m South African and my Sweetheart is Polish .I’ve made many Polish recipes before ,but for some reason I always gave Pierogies a miss …well today I’ve put an end to that …He just scoffed down eight in one go …I used a eight round eight centimetre pastry cutter and it roughly gave me about fifty portions. The rest I will freeze .Thank you for sharing the recipe.
Hello… thank you so much for your info on perogies and the traditions of a Polish Xmas. My daughter and I travelled to Poland a few years ago and discovered the city of Wroclaw … what a beautiful place. We enjoyed the best borscht I have ever eaten and a plate of delicious perogies!! I am not Polish but I will be trying your recipe soon!!
Thank you so much
great recipe. I learned with my grandmother and mother as a kid and have made them for my family for 40 years. Kids and grands love them. I make Potato, cheese, kapusta, prune and apricot. all grandparents came from poland to chicago in a polish area. our Christmas Eve meal has mushroom soup and white borscht (from easter meal) and 7 types of fish and some strong homemade horseradish and sweatbread. heaven.
I’m not Polish, and have only made pierogi a couple times but this recipe is the best! They were amazing just plain with sour cream. The dough comes out so tender! I used potato water in the dough. Omitted onion and garlic powders, but used a clove of fresh ground garlic. I had more filling than batter which made a terrific soup the next day.
Hi Edyta, thanks for this recipe. The pierogi came out perfect! Growing up, I always made them with my grandma but we lost her a couple years ago. I had the recipe written down but there were some gaps in the instructions, and I lacked the confidence to make them on my own. I came across your recipe and all the great feedback/ratings so decided to give it a go, and they are a huge hit with my family. I got the seal of approval from my parents AND my Dziadek. The dough was easy to work with, and came out so light and tender. I froze them fresh (once cooled) and they are now ready for Christmas Eve. Hoorah! Dziekuje!
I am Ukrainian and my grandparents taught me how to make perohi (how we spell) many years ago. This recipe is pretty much the same as what I have learned from them. They have since passed, but thankfully I found your recipe as I had misplaced my notes I took from the last time we made them together. I have made this recipe the last few years for our family Christmas Eve and will be doing so again in a few days. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!
If you wanted to prep these for a dinner in the next day or two. You would boil them, then let them cool, then freeze them? How would you bring them back to temp to eat? Boil them again? Or right in the pan to fry?
Thank you! planning on making for Christmas Eve!
Hm, I thought that authentic Polish pierogi dough only contained flour, water, and salt. Is your recipe a sort of different Polish variation?
That’s right. Her variation is different. Not very authentic at all. At least she didn’t add eggs like other people do when they make pasta/pierogi dough.
I grew up making pierogi with my mom. We always used egg but no sour cream in the dough. I have to tell you, this is THE BEST DOUGH RECIPE, EVER. I will only use this dough recipe from now on. It rolled out so thin. None of them burst when I boiled them. Thank you so much for the recipe. They looked and tasted phenomenal.
I was wondering how long the dough would hold up on its own for a couple days and if you think I can freeze it if necessary? I made the dough yesterday thinking I would have today off from work but ended up having to go in to work anyways. Since there’s no egg I think it’ll be fine for a couple more days until I do have the day off and can make the filling and assemble.
I think it will be fine for a few days
Looks Ike’s an easy recipe I will be trying tonight. My gram was polish and made the greatest soups and other foods like the poppy seed bread etc. I I’m ale the beet soup with sour cream and love it. I also make the white soup I call it egg soup since we put eggs in it. I make all the dinners since my gram has passed and so has my dad. He taught me a lot of grams recipes.. even tried to make cherinana I know that’s spelled wrong it’s duck soup..omg I love that soup goodness thing I didn’t know now what was in it cuz it would never have touched these lips..but we went wrong somewhere while trying to make it. ANyway I will let try you know how my perogie comes out..Thank you for the recipe
Most Polish recipes don’t include milk or eggs for pierogies. Can we substitute water and if so, how much?
Dorothy Malanowski Brady
I love pierogi! I am going to make sauerkraut ierogi. If I substitute the cheese with cottage cheese, do I rinse it before adding it to the sauerkraut mixture? Thanks in advance.
Diana Bergeron Lasky
I would be sent to spend the summer with “Bobbi” I couldn’t pronounce the Polish word when little so she was always Bobbi to me. Every Friday she would make pierogi for dinner. This was during WWII when there was rationing. I loved to watch and help when she let me. Her stuffed cabbage , roasted, fresh killed chicken, duck, or geese were some the best I ever had. She had a few animals and a vegetable garden from which she would jar for the winter. Can still see her living room kitchen with the big coal/wood burning stove. Don’t know how she did it but nothing ever got burnt or came out undone, Thank you for reminding me of those days.
Awesome recipe!! I love make pierogi and have used this recipe many times. I’m making them for dinner for tonight as well as freezing a bunch.
I wanted you to know that there are a bunch of spelling errors. It happens! But I know I would want to be made a ware. The two that jumped out was Herring (spelled as hearing in the blog) and then Framers cheese instead of Farmers. The cheese is correct in the recipe just not in the blog piece.
I hope this helps and you don’t take it negatively.
Thank you Edyta for sharing your recipe. I am part Polish and grew up eating pierogi. I wanted to start making them from scratch so my family and I can have them for Christmas. They came out delicious. They are a lot of work, especially when you do it by yourself, but very rewarding. My mother, who is a tough critic, loved them. She even said they were better than our neighbors who make them for the holidays (they are Polish). Dziekuje! Merry Christmas!
I’ve always cooked them fresh and frozen what’s left raw but I am having to travel with them this year so I am wondering about cooking them and then freezing them as you suggest. Before frying them how long do you have to leave them to defrost? Or do you boil them again to defrost them before you fry them? Help would be appreciated please.