Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Prepper's Pantry: Pierogi

Pierogi are Eastern European in origin and are a type of small to medium dumpling made of a simple unleavened dough and (generally) a potato-based filling. Like with so many other ethnic foods, the variety of pierogi are nearly endless. In my family, pierogi were usually served as a side dish with sour cream.

As I did with my post on making gnocchi, I’ll try and keep the ingredient list to things most preppers are likely to have in their pantry. This recipe makes 12-16 pierogi and can easily be doubled (or more) as needed.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or canning salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten


  • ½ pound all-purpose potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup cottage cheese or sour cream (about 4 ounces)

A plate of pierogi ready for cooking


  1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. Melt the butter and mix in 1/2 cup of water. Pour this into the flour gradually, stirring it in as you add it. (The dough at this point will be crumbly, like a biscuit dough.) 
  3. Stir in the egg until combined, then move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  4. Cover the dough with a dampened towel and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  1. Peel (if you prefer), then cut the potato into approximately 1-inch cubes. 
  2. Add them to a large pot of water, which should cover the potatoes by about 2 inches. 
  3. Sprinkle in a little salt and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes).
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter then add the chopped onions. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper if desired and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and softened. 
  7. Set aside about half the onions for garnish and add the rest to a medium bowl.
  8. Drain the potatoes, then add them to the onions.
  9. Add the cheese, mash, and stir to combine.
  10. Season with salt and pepper if desired, and let cool.

The assembly of pierogi can be made into an assembly line if you have enough willing hands. This is particularly useful for keeping youngsters occupied and engaged.
  1. Cut the dough in half. (Keep one half moist under the damp towel while you work with the other piece)
  2. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll out one portion of dough until it’s approximately 1/8-inch thick. 
  3. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter or inverted pint glass, punch 12 to 16 disks of dough. 
  4. Cover the disks with a damp towel to keep the dough pliable.
  5. Working with one disk at a time, put a tablespoon of filling in the middle and fold the dough in half, bringing the edges together to form a  half moon shape. 

    L-R: Dough disk, filled, and folded and pinched pierogi

  6. Pinch the two sides together at the fold. Work your way around both sides, pinching the dough over the filling and pushing in the filling as needed, make sure the filling doesn’t break the seal. If needed, moisten the dough along the edge to help the two sides adhere to each other.
  7. Repeat with the remaining disks, then repeat the entire process with the other half of the dough. As mentioned above, keep the dough covered with a damp towel, as it's  harder to work with if it starts to dry out.
  8. Completed pierogi can be frozen or cooked right away. The traditional methods of cooking are either frying in butter or boiling. As a healthier option, we generally bake ours in the oven.

Pierogi served with traditional pork chop and kapusta
(sautéed sauerkraut with onions, garlic, and bacon or pork)

Dehydrated or powdered potatoes can be substituted for fresh, egg beaters or similar for the eggs, dried onions (rehydrated in water) for fresh, oil instead of butter, etc. 

Other recipes mentioned using Farmer's Cheese in place of the cottage cheese or sour cream. It can be hard to find in the store, but can be made at home with whole milk and an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice.

As with the gnocchi, the potato water can be saved for use in other dishes.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for more excursions to the Prepper's Pantry.


  1. One of my favorite dishes is Kielbasa sautéed with cabbage and Pierogi. Very tasty.

  2. Tip from the Polish side. Try grating the onion into the potatoes using a cheese grater. Gives a stronger onion flavor and gets rid of chunks as some folks don’t mind the onion flavor but dislike the larger pieces. Also, add Romano, sharp white cheddar, and Parmesan cheese with a wee bit of sour cream to make traditional cheese/potato pierogi. If you like garlic you can also throw a double handful of cloves in with the potatoes when you boil them and it mashes nicely in with the potatoes in the mashing/mixing stage.

    If you don’t want to make the dough you can also get the frozen empanada shells from a grocery store and thaw them for use. They are a handy substitute that taste pretty close to the home made shells.

    Alternate filling 1: sauté minced shallots and mushrooms in butter and olive oil with some salt, pepper, and any other spices you wish. Add some beef broth partway through to help flavor the mix.

    Alternate filling 2: Chop up some sauerkraut into smaller pieces.
    Shred and chop some carrots (you will want about a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio of kraut to carrot).
    Finely chop some onion (optional).
    Mince some garlic (optional, amount based on how much you like garlic).
    Fry carrot and onion in pan with a light amount of olive oil and / or butter.
    Add garlic to pan with onion and carrot near the end, when the garlic gets fragrant add the sauerkraut to the pan.
    Simmer and stir to incorporate the ingredients and reduce the liquids from the kraut.
    Let cool and fill pierogi shells.


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