How to Make the BEST Homemade Perogies
Homemade pierogies or homemade perogies are the quintessential meal of our family. Always requested to whomever was in charge of the kitchen and always gratefully and joyfully consumed by the rest of us. If you can relate, then read on and learn all about the art of homemade perogies from my family to yours.
Growing up, my Grandmother did not call them perogies or pierogies. She called them 'Padahay' [pronounced - pedaheh]. They are also known as Varenky. The making of homemade pierogies for 10 + mouths is a measure of patience and endurance. The greatest way to make homemade perogies is with a team of hands which are required for pinching the dumplings filled with mashed potatoes and cheese together gently and with precision.
This homemade pierogies recipe is the real deal, passed along from a Ukranian grandmother. You will want to follow the homemade pierogies closely to ensure you make this family-friendly meal idea just the way they should be. Pierogies have different names depending on where the recipe originated. The nice thing about this homemade pierogies recipe is that there are different filling to choose from to include a cottage cheese filling recipe, a potato cheddar filling recipe, and a sauerkraut filling recipe. You'll want to try them all to see which is your favorite. Each of the homemade pierogies filling recipes makes enough to fill one batch of homemade pierogies dough, which should be about 40. This is a nice recipe idea to do with a friend, or family member; you might make up two or three batches and freeze them to enjoy later. You can watch the YouTube video found below the recipe to help understand the whole process. While it might look a bit difficult at first, once you get the hang of it, you'll want to make these on a regular basis. It's nice to have your freezer packed with homemade pierogies to enjoy throughout the year. You will also want to be sure and read through the tips at the end of the homemade pierogies recipe as they provide useful ideas to ensure recipe success.
Once the homemade pierogies are made, you can boil them and serve them with some fried onions for a family-friendly meal idea. The fried onions are easy to make and use real butter for full flavor. One of the most popular homemade pierogies filling is the potato cheddar filling. For this homemade pierogi filling recipe, you will need two cups of potatoes, with Russet potatoes being the recommended potato variety. Potatoes are one of the vegetables you will find at the EWG (Environmental Working Group) sites list of the Dirty Dozen. You might think that because potatoes grow under the ground, they are not affected by pesticide residues, but the exact is true. Potatoes are number 11 on the EWG Dirty Dozen list. Conventionally grown potatoes had more pesticide residues by weight than any other food crop. The reason that root vegetables have so many pesticide residues is that they easily absorb any pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that are in the soil. Pesticides are used for conventionally grown potatoes, and the flesh of the potatoes absorbs them. That is why potatoes are one of the vegetables that you always want to buy organic. Organic potatoes do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers to grow.
The sauerkraut homemade pierogies filling uses prepared sauerkraut that is rinsed in warm water and squeezed dry. Sauerkraut is a recipe that is made from cabbage. Cabbage, unlike potatoes, is a vegetable that is not on the EWG Dirty Dozen list. With that knowledge, you can choose to buy either organic or non-organic cabbage and feel good knowing that there is little to no pesticide residues. Cabbage is on the EWG Clean 15 list. When tested only two of the more than 700 cabbage samples that were tested contained more than one pesticide residue. With 86 percent of the cabbage samples tested contained no detectable pesticide residues. **
The Fillings - In our family, we like to prepare all the fillings first and have them ready in bowls for when the pierogi dough is ready.
*You can choose to make all the fillings or just your favorites from below. Each filling recipe below makes enough for one pierogi dough batch of 40 pierogies.
Cottage Cheese Filling
(makes enough for 40)
2 cups cottage dry cottage cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
salt to taste
Potato Cheddar Filling
(makes enough for 40)
2 cups mashed potatoes, save the potato water for the pierogi dough
(*This is about 6 medium potatoes, we like Russet best for it’s ‘mash-ability’)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
(makes enough for 40)
2 cups sauerkraut
1 medium onion, diced
4 Tablespoons butter
*optional, a few thin slices of ham
The Pierogi Dough
* Do NOT double the recipe. If you need more, make a 2nd batch.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 cup water (Use the water that you saved from boiling the potatoes) - This makes the pierogi dough really tender, but if you do not have potato water, just use from the tap.
Once boiled, Homemade Pierogies are delicious when served with fried onion, so you will need:
1/3 cup butter
1 onion, diced
When preparing pierogies, make the fillings first since they need time to cool before filling. In our family, we make all 3 kinds of fillings to satisfy a household of different taste-buds. You can choose your favorite filling and make extra if you like instead. Some of our family members like to make all the fillings and then mix them together for a delicious blend. Have fun and see what your family likes the best.
Cottage Cheese Filling
Combine cottage cheese and egg and season to taste with salt. Use a masher to break up the big curds and make a nice fine filling. If too dry you can mix in an extra egg or a spoonful of sour cream.
Potato Cheddar Filling
Boil the potatoes and save the water for the pierogi dough. Fry the chopped onwwion in butter until tender and golden. Combine the cheddar cheese into the mashed potatoes while they are warm so the cheese will melt. Stir in the fried onions and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool before using. This filling can be pre-roll into one inch balls for filling.
Rinse the sauerkraut in warm water and squeeze dry. Fry the onion in the butter until onion is golden. Remove and stir into the sauerkraut. If using ham, chop into small pieces and stir into the sauerkraut. Place mixture into an oven proof container and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until the sauerkraut is tender and the flavors are blended. Let cool and chop very fine.
The Pierogi dough
Mix flour and salt in a deep bowl. Add eggs and 1/2 cup of potato water and mix into a soft pierogi dough. If needed, add water a tablespoon at a time. If the pierogi dough is sticky, add more flour. Knead the pierogi dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Let stand for 10 minutes. Roll pierogi dough quite thin (about 1/8 inch). Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares. Fill the squares one at a time.
To fill the pierogi dough:
Place a square of pierogi dough in your hand with the stickier side facing up. Add a teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold the dough into a triangle.
Pinch the edges together tightly. Be patient as it takes a few times to master the technique. Place each pierogi onto a floured surface and repeat until filled.
To cook the pierogies:
Before you boil your pierogies, prepare a large baking pan with tinfoil and set aside.
Fry chopped onions in butter until golden. Spread a spoonful of fried onions onto the prepared baking sheet and place near your cooking station. When the perogies are boiled, you will transfer them to this tray of onions and mix for added flavor.
Boil a large pot of water.
Preheat oven to 200°F where you will keep the tray of finished pierogies warm on the prepared onion tray.
Gently drop 8 pierogies, one at time, into the water cooking until they float to the top and the dough puffs up slightly.
Remove each one carefully with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheet.
Use a rubber spatula to gently coat the pierogies with the fried onions and butter.
Repeat until all pierogies are cooked, adding more fried onions and butter as you place them into a single layer onto the sheet.
Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and place into the oven. You may need an extra baking sheet. Make extra onions fried in butter if you are making a large batch.
You can serve pierogies with many things. Some of our favorites are sour cream, fried onions, bacon bits and raspberry jam
Some tips for perogi pinching:
1. Have a bowl of flour nearby for sticky fingers and work surface.
2. Make sure all your filling is cooled before filling.
3. Use a small teaspoon to scoop your balls of potatoes and then roll them in your hands to make balls.
4. Don't be tempted to overfill them, or you will be regret it when you start pinching them together.
5. Pinch them well! If you leave things too loose they will break apart in the pot of water and make a mess.
6. You can pinch them into triangles or rectangles, they both taste delicious!
7. Place filled homemade perogies onto a flour surface while you pinch the rest.
If this is your first time making homemade pierogies the watch the little YouTube video below to get an idea of how the process goes. It looks complicated at first, but once you know the steps it is very simple to make this delicious dish.
Learn MORE at WATCH THE VIDEO
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