Pierogi Ruskie: Potato-Cheese Pierogi

Potato cheese pierogi recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 50 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Resting Time: 20 mins
Total: 2 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yields: 60 pierogi
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
298 Calories
9g Fat
44g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 298
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 1039mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 8mg 38%
Calcium 155mg 12%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 574mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Potato pierogi, or pierogi ruskie (pyeh-RROH-ghee RROOSS-kyeh), are among the most popular types of Polish dumplings. A traditional Polish dish that is found in several variations, such as sweet and savory, these dumplings are a staple of Eastern European cuisine and are a type of comfort food that all households hold dear. Despite what the name sounds like, pierogi ruskie doesn't translate to "Russian pierogi" but refers to the Ruthenians or Rusyns, the people from around the northern Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine, eastern Slovakia, and southern Poland.

The dumplings can take on many fillings, but potatoes are the most traditional. They can be boiled or pan-fried—or cooked in an air-frier if you have one—and make an excellent appetizer, light lunch, or dinner. Boiled or fried is simply a matter of personal preference. Boiled pierogi are softer, more like ravioli, while pan-fried have a crispy exterior, similar to pan-fried dumplings.

Traditionally served with sour cream, onions, and bits of crispy bacon, pierogi are surprisingly easy to assemble and can be frozen for later use.

For best results, don't mash the potatoes. Instead, use a fork, food mill, or ricer. For the cheese, if finding dry curd cheese is difficult, go with farmer cheese or drained ricotta. This pierogi ruskie recipe comes from chef Marek Widomski, founder and director of the Culinary Institute in Kraków, Poland.

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Ingredients

For the Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons minced onion

  • 8 ounces farmer cheese (or dry curd, or ricotta at room temperature)

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dough:

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

For Serving:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Caramelized onions, optional

  • Skwarki or fried bacon, optional

  • Sour cream, optional

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this pierogi dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for filling
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Parboil the potatoes in a large saucepan by covering them with cold water and adding 1 tablespoon of salt.

    Parboiling potatoes
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain and let cool slightly.

    Boil potatoes
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. While the potatoes are parboiling, place the butter in a small pan, add the onion, and sauté over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Mix butter
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  5. Peel the cooked potatoes, place them in a large bowl, and mash them with a fork or potato ricer.

    Peel cooked potatoes mashed with a fork
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Add the sautéed onion and farmer cheese to the potatoes and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

    Add farmer's cheese, sautéed onion, salt, and pepper
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for dough
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Place 2 cups of flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center.

    Flour in bowl with a well in the center
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Break the egg into it, then add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of lukewarm water, a little at a time.

    Break egg into the well in the center of the flour
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding the remaining flour or water as needed to form a smooth dough ball.

    Dough ball
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Divide the dough in half and cover it with a bowl or towel. Let it rest 20 minutes.

    Divide dough in half
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Assemble and Cook the Pierogi

  1. Assemble the pierogi on a floured work surface by rolling out the dough to 1/8 inch in thickness. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass, make small circles.

    Cut out circles from the rolled dough
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling onto the middle of each circle.

    Put filling in dough
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Fold the dough in half to form a half-circle shape and then firmly pinch the edges together.

    Filled dough folded in half and crimped
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Sprinkle a baking sheet with flour and place the filled pierogi on it in a single layer. Keep the formed pierogi under a clean kitchen towel to stop them from drying.

     Twenty filled pierogi on a baking sheet
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Gather scraps, reroll, and fill until you've used all of the first half of the dough. Repeat the process with the remaining half of dough.

    Making pierogis
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Cook the pierogi by bringing a large, low saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil. Depending on the size of your pot, drop in about 6 to 10 pierogi at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Return the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few more minutes. It should take around 5 to 6 minutes for the pierogi to be cooked.

    Pierogis cooking
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. With a slotted spoon taste one, and if done, remove the remaining pierogi to a platter greased with some of the butter for serving. This will prevent the pierogi from sticking to each other.

    Remove pierogi from pot
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Serve warm with caramelized onions, skwarki, or crispy bits of bacon and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy.

    Serve pierogi warm with a dollop of sour cream
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Pan-Fry or Air-Fry Pierogi

To pan-fry fresh pierogi, you don't necessarily need to boil them first. This is a matter of personal choice:

  • If you want softer pierogi, boil, drain, and dry them.
  • Heat up a large skillet and add plenty of butter or a thin layer of oil.
  • Once hot, add the pierogi without overcrowding the pan and fry until crispy.
  • For fresh non-boiled pierogi, simply place them in the hot pan with butter or oil and fry until crispy, turning constantly.

To air-fry the pierogi, be mindful that not all fryers work alike, and this is an estimate of the time for using an average small appliance:

  • Preheat your air-fryer to 400 F for a few minutes.
  • Grease the basket with olive oil.
  • Place the pierogi and air-fry for 5 to 6 minutes. Check and shake the basket to turn them.
  • Air-fry for another 6 minutes.