When writing my cookbook Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food, I made a lot of pierogies. And when I say a lot, I estimate that I pinched together nearly 2,000 dumplings in pursuit of the perfect pierogi. If you’re new to making pierogies at home, trust that I’ve done all the hard work for you. These classic potato-and-cheese pierogies are utterly foolproof — and pretty darn delicious, too.
Don’t be deterred by the number of steps in the recipe — there’s nothing difficult going on here. Think of it as four separate but simple actions: making the filling, making the dough, assembly the pierogies, and then cooking them. If you like, you can split up the work by making and assembling the pierogies during your weekend meal prep session, then cooking them from frozen whenever you please.
The History of the Beloved Potato Dumpling
These particular dumplings hail from Eastern Europe, although they have a few different names depending on which country they’re being consumed. In Poland, you might see them spelled as pierogi, pirogi, perogi, perogy, pieroshki, or piroshky. Historically, Russians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Lithuanians, and Romanians have also referred to them as pelmeni, vareniki, varenyky, piroști, or kalduny.
There are some people who adamantly believe that the plural “pierogies” is incorrect and that “pierogi” is the only accurate term for both singular and multiple dumplings. But in western Pennsylvania, you’ll see supermarket aisle signs labeled “pierogies,” so it’s a completely acceptable regional variation.
No matter what you call them, they’re incredible comfort food.
Homemade Pierogies Are a Simple Mix of Pantry Staples (and 1 Secret Ingredient)
While you can fill your pierogies with almost anything your heart desires — in Pierogi Love, I’ve created recipes for everything from reuben to French onion soup to s’mores pierogies — there are a few traditional fillings. Here, we’re going with the classic potato and cheddar cheese filling, thickened with a bit of cream.
For the dough, you’ll need all-purpose flour, a little kosher salt, eggs, butter, and my secret weapon: plain Greek yogurt. It works like sour cream to bind the dough and keep it tender, but doesn’t weigh it down too much (it’s slightly less gut-busting than many of the traditional butter- and sour cream-heavy recipes).
There’s no yeast involved and no rising time — just a brief resting period. With this dough, I promise you this: Your pierogies will always came out supple and pliant, smooth and tender, easy to work with, and so satisfying to eat.
There’s No Wrong Way to Serve Homemade Pierogies
Pierogies are unbelievably versatile. They’re bite-sized, so you can serve them up as a game-watching snack or party appetizer alongside your favorite creamy dips and queso. They’re a kid-friendly weeknight dinner that boils up in minutes with enough left over for the next day’s lunch. If you’re making sweet pierogies, they’re most definitely dessert — especially if you’re deep-frying them, where they’ll match up against any of your favorite state fair foods.
Even better? Pierogies are the perfect make-ahead food. They can be made in batches and frozen before cooking, then dropped right into boiling water straight from the freezer. Personally, I like to serve these basic potato and cheese pierogies as a main dish with a side of caramelized onions. But if you’re feeling like pierogies as a side dish to replace the usual pilaf or pasta, serve them up with some sausage or meatballs and braised greens.
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