Homemade Ukrainian Varenyky (aka Pierogi) – a Step by Step Recipe

16 Jan

Cabbage (Kapusta) Varenyky

Potato & Onion Pierogi

Potato & Onion Varenyky

What are varenyky? They are the Ukrainian version of filled dumplings.  People in North America are more familiar with a term “pierogi”.  Commercially made pierogi are available in the frozen section of all major supermarkets in Toronto.  I personally can’t eat the store-bought dumplings – they are too thick and heavy, and have no flavor.  You can’t even taste any filling in them.  The homemade varenyky are very delicate, with a thin dough and should have a good amount of flavourful filling.

Varenyky (or pierogi) are comfort food for many people across Eastern Europe and they are such a treat.  We made these for our Christmas Eve Meal.

Many people have their own version of the dough but the one below is our favourite.  Yields 20 to 22 pieces.

The Dough

  • 1 ½  cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup hot water

The Filling

  • Cabbage (Kapusta) Filling: finely chop a small head of cabbage, about 1/4.  Fry in oil oil with onion until very tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Potato & Onion Filling: Boil 2 large baking potatoes.  Sautee 1 finely chopped large onion in olive oil (or butter) until golden brown.  Mash the potatoes with sauteed onion adding salt to taste and lots of pepper.

The Toppings

  • Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Fried Onions
  • Crispy bacon and sauteed onion


Mix all 3 ingredients together, and knead just a bit.

The dough should not be very smooth, and it will be quite sticky.

Cover it with an inverted bowl and let it stand for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the working surface with some flour and roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.

Use a drinking glass or a round cookie cutter to get the perfect round circles.

Potato and Onion Filling

Potato & Onion Filling

Cabbage Filling

Cabbage Filling

Add about a teaspoon of filling to each circle.

Seal the edges tightly together with your fingers.  At this point you can freeze them.  Or if you are ready to eat them right away place them carefully in the boiling water.  Varenyky will be ready when they float to the surface, in about 5 minutes.

Serve with a topping of your choice.


55 Responses to “Homemade Ukrainian Varenyky (aka Pierogi) – a Step by Step Recipe”

  1. chef mimi January 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    oh they look so good!!!

  2. Animalcouriers January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    They do look seriously good 😀

  3. sarahnsh January 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    I so have to try a pierogi! Those look totally delish, I saw them being made on a show featuring a food truck who exclusively made them and it got me on a kick to try them if I see them. 🙂

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      There are not difficult to make and very tasty. I am yet to have a dumpling I didn’t like… Italian ravioli, Asian potstickers… mmm

  4. Esenga' s Voice January 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Я прочиталa и понялa, что вкусно. 🙂 A как насчет творога? Bместо капусты?

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

      Можно и с творогом, и с мясом – я так даже больше люблю. Но эти мы делали на канун Рождества – традиционно все блюда должны быть приготовлены без мясных, молочных и яичных продуктов. Даже и тесто вымесили без яйца 🙂

      • Esenga' s Voice January 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

        Да, я понимаю. Эти опции тoже вкусные, мне просто зaхотелocь что-тo сладкое 🙂

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

        Можно сделать сладкие вареники с вишней, а потом их подать с сахаром и со сметаной!

      • Esenga' s Voice January 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        Действительно! Хорошая идея! И жизнь пoкажeтся намного слаще :).

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

        Безусловно! А вишню можно использовать из компота.

  5. My French Heaven January 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Just gorgeous! Thanks for the recipe!!

  6. Melisa R January 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    These seem so simple! I’ve never made anything like it but I need to try this.

  7. Boomdeeadda January 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Oooo yah! I like the simplicity of a meal like this. There really aren’t very many ingredients but ‘o-so-good’. On regular Christmas Eve, my Aunty was at the stove boiling her home made ones. This is all I ate…nothing else…..and I had 2 helpings of 6…Shocking, yes but I couldn’t stop. ;D

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      It’s difficult to limit them, they are so good! Which kind did you have?

      • Boomdeeadda January 17, 2013 at 1:14 am #

        Aunty was making potato & onion with more onion on top and sour cream….yum!

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 17, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

        They are just perfect as you described it! I never grew to like the potato-cheddar cheese.

      • Boomdeeadda January 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

        Oh me either Kat, that is not Ukrainian…it’s some Canadian wanna-be. 😀

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        Exactly, LOL!

  8. catnipoflife January 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    These remind me of dropped dumplings! yum-m-m-m-m:-)

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      I had to look up dropped dumplings, I didn’t know what they were, lol. Another comfort food!

      • catnipoflife January 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

        Very southern USA…very comforting 🙂 Brings back wonderful memories of my grandmother!

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

        I love trying new foods, this may be next cooking experiment.

      • catnipoflife January 16, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

        Go for it…but get a fresh chicken and cook them in the chicken broth. Boiling water makes them too bland! Is your recipe possibly perogies? I may not have spelled that correctly. That is another thing that I thought of when I saw yours.

      • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

        Yes, that’s the recipe 🙂 There are different ways to spell it: pyrogy, pierogy, pyrohy.

  9. PotSoup January 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    I made something similar but with spinach, dried parsley and garlic as stuffing, cooked it, topped with homemade tomato sauce , put cheese on it and baked it! I did not know I was doing something Ukrainian. Hungry minds think alike.

  10. Lilly Sue January 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    These look fantastic!

  11. abrooke65 January 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Is it seriously that easy? That’s unbelievable. Thanks for unraveling the mystery for me. I have got to make these. I will let you know how it goes!

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Please do! It could be a little time consuming if you are making these for the first time but not hard at all.
      If I may suggest one tip: make the filling of your choice the day before, that will be a big time-saver.

  12. mpanchuk January 17, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Reblogged this on virtualborscht.

  13. cptnemo7029 January 19, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    wow! great food! 🙂

  14. kocsiska January 20, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    Loooooooooove these! especially with the bacon…mmmmmmm. And interesting, cabbage in ukrainian, kapusta is very similar to Hungarian káposzta 😀

  15. whiskeytangofoxtrot4 January 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    seriously….these look soooo yummy. I am making these… tomorrow! Thank you for the divine recipe!

  16. jericho777 February 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Yum Yummies 🙂
    Thank You…

  17. essentjewels February 16, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    That looks like a lot of work, but I am sure it is well worth it!

  18. Bob Lee February 17, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    I agree w/everyone else – they look yummy and so easy to make …

  19. Haley March 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    I almost never drop comments, but i did some searching and wound up here Homemade Ukrainian Varenyky (aka Pierogi) – a Step by Step Recipe | The Kat &
    the Falling Leaves. And I do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it look like some of these responses appear like left by brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Could you list of every one of all your community sites like your linkedin profile,
    Facebook page or twitter feed?

    • The Kat and The Falling Leaves April 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Haley! Sorry for the delayed response. I have been MIA due to my intense dance schedule and family obligations.

      To answer your questions:
      a) some of the Ukrainian dishes or customs are unknown to people, hence the questions I get. That’s totally all right with me 🙂 People are simply curious.
      b) I don’t have linkedin and twitter. Here is the link my fan page on Facebook dedicated to Salsa dancing:

  20. cindy knoke May 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm #


  21. The Multilayered European July 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Great ! I shall keep the recipe and shall try it. Varenyky are one of my favourite memories in Ukraine.


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