Soapsmith's Traditional Polish Homemade Pierogi

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Hello friends,

We make these traditional delights without a formal recipe. I have estimated the amounts to give you a good starting point. As with most ethnic foods, the recipe is very forgiving. Feel free to substitute to meet your own tastes. Makes 4 to 5 dozen.  I make more, usually 8 to 10 dozen at a time.  They freeze fine.  

Soapsmith's Pirogi - Pierogi


about 6 cups flour – plus extra for rolling
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 egg yolks
about 2 cups lukewarm water or milk (I use warm water)

Note:  I start with one cup water then add the rest a little at a time until you get the right consistency. you may need to up the water or flour depending on the consistency of the dough - the dough should be on the wet/sticky side when mixed as it will even out as the dough rests.  You can work in a little flour after the rest when rolling.  If you make it too stiff now, it will be tough. You want very tender results.

Combine all ingredients. You can work the dough with your hands or start in a mixer with dough hook. Do not overwork the dough.

Once it comes off your hands, knead it a until the dough becomes blended. You can add a little flour as needed; the dough will be somewhat sticky, it is okay that the dough is not smooth as it will improve with a good rest.

Form into a ball and place under a bowl to rest while you prepare the fillings. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Pre-rest, not smooth

 Smooth after the rest: 


Melt at least 2 sticks of butter and add one large onion, diced finely. Caramelize the onions. This will be used in the fillings and to sauté the finished pierogi.

Traditional Potato Cheese

I use about 5 to 7 pounds of potatoes
Similar to making mashed potatoes, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes
Cover with cold water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and cook until fork tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, add half the caramelized onions and butter plus another stick of butter, freshly cracked black pepper and cheese to your taste – I use about 12 to 16 oz. of cheese. I prefer a flavorful yellow American cheese (Cooper or Clearfield brand that I purchase at the Amish grocer but Kraft Deli Deluxe works well, too. Just be sure to get the one that is NOT individually wrapped, the texture and flavor is different) You can use any cheese of your choice. Note: unlike regular mashed potatoes, you do not add milk or any other liquid.

Mash the potato and cheese mixture until smooth. The heat of the potatoes will melt the cheese.

Options: You can eliminate the cheese and just make potato, sub various cheeses, use cream cheese or ricotta, add some crispy fried bacon bits etc.

Fried cabbage filling:

Finely shred a small head of green cabbage and a medium onion. Sauté the cabbage onion and stick of butter, one teaspoon of salt and generous sprinkling of cracked black pepper. Cook until the cabbage mixture is nicely browned and cooked down to at least half its volume and the excess moisture is cooked off.

Other fillings:
Chopped prunes, stewed in a little water until soft and tender.

Sautéed mushrooms with a butter and onion.

Drained sauerkraut, cooked to soften with a little butter, black pepper and caraway seeds.

All fillings must cool to room temperature before assembling the pieroghi.

Now that the dough has rested and the fillings are cool you can begin to make the pierogi.

Start with half the dough. You will notice the texture is now smoother. Gently work the dough, adding as little flour as possibly until the dough is smooth and elastic. Roll out the dough.

I use my Mom's very old vintage rolling pin. It was carried over by immigrants and given to her by Mrs. Kauffman. Mom was her cleaning lady. Mrs. Kauffman was elderly and didn't bake but she loved my Mom's Sand Tart Cookies.  Mom made them for her in Mrs. Kauffman's kitchen. My Mom mentioned she loved that rolling pin and Mrs. Kauffman gifted it to her.  It has been through 5 generations of cooks and bakers...lots of goodies came off this pin I cherish it.

Beautiful Elastic Dough 

You can cut circles or cut the dough in squares. 

After you cut it, the individual dough circles should be stretched thin before
filling.  The dough should be thin, elastic and delicate so that you can see the shadow of your fingers behind the dough when you stretch it - like a fine china plate.  Thick dough makes for tough pierogi!

Place filling of your choice in the center, fold over and pinch closed. This dough should be moist and elastic enough that it will seal easily.

Place the raw pierogi on a tray that has been covered with a floured towel or parchment paper until you have them all ready to be cooked. If you have help, you can work assembly line style and you can cook them as you go.

Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a full boil. Add the pirogi one at a time to the boiling water. Depending on the size of the pot, you can add up to a dozen. Do not overcrowd them. Stir once to be sure they are not sticking. Be careful, they are delicate. Within a few minutes, they will float to the top. Boil for one more minute and remove them to a buttered tray to cool.

You can freeze them on a tray in a single layer. Once frozen, remove them and store in heavy zip lock bags for future use. Just place the frozen pierogi into a skillet with a little water, butter and onion. Steam them until they thaw, then allow the water to cook off and sauté in the remaining butter.

To serve, my favorite is the traditional old world method - steam and lightly sauté them in melted butter with caramelized onions. Some, like my sons, prefer them fried until crispy brown. You can add a side of sour cream, stewed tomatoes, mushrooms etc. 


Thanks for visiting,

Reader's Comments

By Guest on 09/02/2013 @ 11:31pmThanks for the recipe! I'll be trying these...

By Guest on 02/19/2013 @ 02:54amMy stomach is growling. They look so good!

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