It's a family recipe straight from my 1st generation Polish-American Grandmother! My Grandma's Homemade Pierogies recipe has been a staple in my family for multiple generations and is a Christmas Eve dinner tradition. With both cabbage and potato fillings, these pierogies from scratch are worth every bit of extra effort over anything you'll buy in the store.
It's finally here! After 10 years of this blog, I'm finally sharing my beloved Grandma's Homemade Pierogis recipe! My great-grandparents' names can be found at Ellis Island and my grandmother is 1st generation Polish American and this is the family pierogi recipe that she passed down to my father who passed it down to me, that my young girls are currently learning to make. They are a labor of love, but one that is so incredibly worth it because you can absolutely taste that love in every bite of these Polish dumplings!
What is a Piergoi?
Pierogi are a Polish half-moon dumpling that can made both savory or sweet - although a majority of the time they are savory. They are made with a simple flour-based dough and they are a quintessential dish of Poland but beloved all over Eastern Europe as well. Technically, the word pierogi itself is plural, however, the term perogies is also well-known and commonly used. While my Grandmother of course used the Polish word pieróg for a single pierogi and pierogi for the plural, my father (and subsequently my family) now use the term perogies; all are of course correct and no matter how you say it, they are absolutely delicious!
Ingredients Needed: The Dough
- All-Purpose Flour - This is the best flour to use. I cannot say for certain if gluten-free flour can be substituted as I have not tried it myself.
- Vegetable Oil - This is the fat of the dough. While canola oil can also be used, olive oil is not right for this recipe.
- Water - Just enough to bring the dough together.
- Fine ground salt - Just a little touch for the dough.
- Potatoes - Russet potatoes are the best for the creamiest potatoes.
- Cheddar Cheese - Sharp cheddar is our favorite and Tillamook is our go-to brand.
- Butter and Milk - To add to the creaminess!
- Garlic, Salt, and Pepper - Just the right amount of added flavor.
Cabbage and Onion Filling
- Cabbage and Onion - Sliced thinly, green cabbage and white onion are our go-to but you could also use yellow onion.
- Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar - To saute in and to deglaze and add just the right amount of acidity.
- Garlic, Salt, and Pepper - Fresh or powdered garlic and salt and pepper to season.
Create the Fillings
Cabbage and Onion
The first step to our homemade pierogies is to make the fillings. I always like to make them the day before because making the pierogies themselves is so time-consuming. Plus, you want to work with cooled filling, anyway.
To create the cabbage and onion filling, just give the onion and cabbage and nice saute until tender. You could also use some leftover Cabbage and Kielbasa - just a little chopped.
Next up, the potatoes! We like to make a big batch, even more than will be needed for the pierogies because we love leftover mashed potatoes for our Leftover Mashed Potato Waffles! These mashed potatoes are creamy and super cheesy, but you can of course also use your favorite mashed potato recipe for the filling.
Create the Dough
My grandmother's pierogi dough is an incredibly simple dough that's just flour, salt, oil, and water all mixed into a large dough ball. My grandmother used to say that you "add water until the dough feels right," but trust me, as long as you weigh your flour for this recipe, then it'll always feel right!
Ready to Assemble
It's best to work in batches and keep the other half of the dough in a bowl under a damp paper towel. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and then use 2 1/2 inch rounds. We love this round set, but you could use whatever you have that is about 2 1/2 inches wide. My grandmother and father used to have special pierogi cutting drinking glasses that they always used and would say that if the glass ever broke, that meant no more pierogies.
Once you have the round cut outs, give them a little roll-out long and wide to make a little oval that's about 3 1/2 X 4 inches. No need to be exactly precise, just make a little oval shape that's about 1/8 inch thick. Some will be bigger, some will be smaller, it all adds to the authentic homemade look!
Once rolled out, then you just add your filling to the bottom half and then fold the top half over to create a little half-moon.
Now the pinch! There are pierogi maker presses like these, but for a more authentic look, and just because there's something so fun calming about it (and my sweet Polish grandmother would tell me that it's just not the same) pinching them by closed by hand is our prefered way. But no shame if you just don't have the time - close them however you can!
A key tip when hand-pinching the pierogies closed is to ensure that it is fully closed and all pinched together because otherwise water will get into them and they will break apart while boiling.
These homemade Polish dumplings are undeniably a lot of work, but oh so worth it!
How to Cook Homemade Pierogies
Fresh homemade pierogies cook so much faster than they take to make. All these little Polish dumplings need is a couple minute swim in some boiling hot water. They don't take look to cook and they will tell you when they're done because they'll float to the top of the water.
Add those boiled pierogies to a plate or large baking tray with butter (so they don't stick) and these supple dumpling beauties are ready to eat!
We often eat them just boiled so that they're all soft and pillowy. But we also like to give them a nice little pan fry in (more) butter to give the edges a little crisp! Either way, soft and supple or fried and crispy, my Grandma's Homemade Pierogies are truly a labor of love but worth every bit of the labor!
Crispy on the outside and creamy potato or tender cabbage on the inside! Truly so much better than anything you'll find in the freezer aisle!
Pierogi making can be an all afternoon affair, especially if you're rolling them all on your own, so we suggest that you make your fillings the day before (or up to 2-3 days) so that it is ready to go!
You can also make the dough in advance and store it in the fridge or freezer. See recipe notes for how!
Because these little Polish dumplings cook so fast, be sure you're cooking station is ready to go with a baking tray and butter set up and ready for the cooked pierogies and then if you're going to immediately fry them, have that pan ready, too. Just like you want to make sure you have plenty of flour ready, make sure you have plenty of butter ready, too!
Don't put that flour away! Keep a small bowl of it on the side while you roll out your pierogies to make sure that your rolling surface, rolling pin, and tray for completed pierogies are all well floured.
This is the most important step of homemade pierogi making! Sometimes it might take one more pinch around the little half moon to ensure it's all pinched shut because if not, when they hit that boiling water they will fill with water and break apart.
Use your favorite mashed potato recipe, or add some crushed bacon, sauteed mushrooms, meat, or even make some dessert pierogies with blueberries or other fruits!
You can serve pierogies after boiling if desired or you can pan fry for an extra crispy outside - or serve them both ways!
Homemade pierogies freeze great! Boil and then let cool and then store in an freezer-safe container with parchment paper in between layers.
Grandma's Homemade Pierogies! Unfortunately, I didn't start making them on my own until after both my Grandmother and father passed away, but I have all of the childhood memories and my mom's confirmation that they just like how Grandma used to make!
Top with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped chives for a delicious and authentic homemade Polish meal that would make any Grandma (and especially mine!) proud!
Grandma's Homemade Pierogies
- 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour 544 g, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/4 cup water 10 oz
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil 4 oz
- 1 teaspoon salt fine ground 7 g
Cheddar Potato Filling
- 2 lbs russet potatoes
- 1 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup milk 2% - whole
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 cups cabbage thinly shredded
- 1 small onion white or yellow
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
For Cooking and Serving
- chives chopped
- sour cream
- butter 4-6 tablespoons
- Boil Potatoes: Add a pot of water to the stove and set to high. Peel and chop potatoes and add to the water. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a strong simmer and let boil for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender and drain.
- Mash: Return potatoes to the pot and add butter, milk, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder and mash potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Add cheese and mix well until all of the cheese is melted.
- Set Aside: Add potatoes to a bowl and let cool. Cover and store in the fridge until you're ready to use.
Cabbage and Onion Filling
- Sauté onion and garlic: Add oil to a large sauté pan and heat to medium. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
- Deglaze and add cabbage: Deglaze the pan by adding vinegar, stir, and then add cabbage, salt, and pepper.
- Sauté: Mix well and sauté cabbage. Cook for another 7-10 minutes until cabbage is tender and begins to brown.
- Set aside: Add to a bowl and let cool. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Create dough: Add flour and salt to a large bowl and mix. Add water and oil to the bowl and gently mix until a dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 20-30 seconds until a smooth dough ball forms.
- Roll Out Dough
- Split to use: Split dough in half and keep the second half in a bowl covered by a damp paper towel until ready to use.
- Prep: Prepare a large clean surface or large cutting board by lightly flouring it and keeping a small bowl of flour nearby. Take out bowls of filling and set aside with spoons or forks. Lightly flour a baking tray and set aside.
- Roll out dough: Add half of the dough the floured surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick.
- Cut rounds: Use a circle cutter (or glass) that's about 2 1/2 inch diameter to cut out dough circles, keeping them as close together as possible to be able to get as many circles as possible. Separate the circles from the rest of the dough, setting the excess dough aside.
- Roll out and rounds: One at a time, add a dough circle to the center of your floured work station. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the circle long, flip and dust with some flour on the cutting board and then roll slightly wide to create about a 3 1/2 in - 4 in oval that's about 1/8 inch thick.
- Fill and fold: Add about 1 tablespoon of filling to the bottom half of the oval and fold over the top of the dough to create a half moon.Choose whatever filling combos you'd like - do all potato, all cabbage, or alternate.
- Pinch closed: Hold the half moon in one hand and then use the other hand to pinch it by using your thumb and first two fingers to pinch and twist the edge of the half moon closed. Do this all of the way around the half moon until it is all pinched closed. Place pierogi on floured baking sheet.Important: Be sure that it is completely closed so that when they boil, water will not get into the pierogi.
- Repeat: Repeat with the rest of the cut out rounds, then roll out the set aside dough and cut out more rounds and repeat until you have used all of the dough. You will fill multiple baking trays.
- Prep cooking station: Ensure you have enough space for your pierogi trays and also a baking dish around a large pot of water. Add 6 thin slices of cold butter to your baking tray (about 2-3 tablespoons).
- Boil: Add a large pot of salted water to the stove and heat on high. Bring to a boil. Gently add 4-5 pierogies at a time to the water. Boil for about 3 minutes, or until they float to the top of the water. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer ladle to gently remove the pierogi from the water, shake off excess water, and then add to the baking tray with the butter. Repeat. The butter will help keep the cooked pierogis from sticking and add more flavor!
- Pan fry (optional): Once boiled, the pierogies are done and can be served and eaten. If desired, melt a tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan or cast iron skillet on medium. Add boiled pierogies and fry on one side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and then flip to fry until golden brown on the other side.
- Serve: Serve with chopped chives and sour cream!