Potato, Onion, & Cheddar Pierogi

One of my greatest pleasures is listening to others recount their lifelong misadventures and memories. I love when someone answers the question, “how are you?” honestly. I love folklore, fairy tales, and nostalgia. Even if the teller’s tale is not truth per say, it still holds a similar significance, perhaps only as an imaginative autobiography. The first time I made pierogi, I asked my Ukrainian friend, Natalie, to teach me. Even though I have had pierogi many times before, cooking with Natalie is the way I now think about them – standing around a kitchen table and catching her nibbling at the filling as we worked.


Natalie told me that pierogi was a very common food in a Ukrainian household, not a rarity to be consumed merely around Lent. She also explained that their popularity was due less to their deliciousness, but rather their affordability.

When we were cutting out the dough, I asked what size the rounds should be. She told me they needed to be small because she was told growing up that a housewife’s worth could be judged by how petite she could make these little dumplings.

Potato, Onion, & Cheddar Pierogi (yields approximately 14 2×3 in. pierogi)

3 medium potatoes
1 T. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic
1/3 c. cheddar
1/3 c. buttermilk
salt & pepper

To begin, boil a pot of water. While the water is heating, peel three potatoes and chop them into pieces about 1×1 inch. Once the water is at a rolling boil, place potatoes in the pot. Boil until soft (about 8-15 minutes depending on the ripeness. Mine were a bit soft to begin with) and drain water. Place potatoes in a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, saute one minced onion in 1 T. butter. and one crushed & minced clove of garlic until browned & fragrant

Transfer the onions to the medium bowl with the potatoes & add the 1/3 c. of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle salt & pepper on the mixture & mash to combine.


Dough Recipe:
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. buttermilk

Because Natalie shared with me the economical significance of pierogi, I thought I would stick with a very basic dough. There are other doughs that use melted butter & sour cream, but since I use those ingredients to pan fry and garnish, I thought I might as well leave them out.

To begin, combine flour & salt in a bowl. In a well in the center, add the egg, buttermilk, & water. Gradually mix into the dough. The dough should not be too sticky and feels very soft.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/16 inch thickness.

With a round cookie cutter, glass, or small bowl, cut out circles in the dough until the dough is used up.


 Shaping the dough

In order to shape the dough, it is best to get a little dish of water to help the dough stick once folded. To begin, roll the potato mixture into a small ball and place on the dough. Then, wet one half of the circle with a dab of water. Fold the dough in half and gently pull up over over potato ball. With a finger and a thumb, start at the corner and squeeze the dough together, forming small indents all the way around until the circle is a closed semicircle




Repeat until all the pierogi are folded.

In order to finish these treats, we must boil them. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Plop the pierogi in and allow them to cook until they begin floating to the surface. At this point, remove them with a slitted spoon.

In order to make them delicious though, pan-frying is the way to go (but only pan-fry the ones you want to eat right away!)

To pan-fry
In a saute pan, saute sliced onions (approx half a medium onion, or a whole small onion) with 1 T. butter. Once cooked down for a minute, add a few pierogi & pan fry together.




Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream, caramelized onions, or applesauce.

So maybe you are thinking “hey wait! This portion isn’t very small!” Well, well, well. I freeze the majority of them. In order to reheat, boil them again & pan-fry. 🙂 This recipe makes a perfect meal for today and a perfect lazy meal for next week!


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