Potato Vareniki (Ukrainian Pierogi Recipe) are one of the best and most comforting Eastern European dishes. Stuffed with mashed potatoes and wrapped in homemade dough, they’re easy to love by both adults and kids!Jump to Recipe
Potato perogies from Ukraine
Unsure of how to use up the leftover mashed potatoes in your fridge? This Potato Vareniki recipe is the perfect solution!
This Ukrainian pierogi recipe features fluffy and creamy mashed potatoes stuffed inside a homemade dough. The pierogies are quickly boiled and served with plenty of sour cream, caramelized onions, and dill on top. It’s the ultimate comfort food!
This recipe was shared with me by my friend Marina McAvoy, her mom’s recipe is so delicious.
Vareniki vs. pierogi vs. pelmeni
All three of these dumpling recipes are popular throughout Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern European countries. Each one features a filling wrapped in dough, but have a few key differences:
- Both vareniki and pierogi are dumplings stuffed with potatoes. The words mean the same thing, with vareniki being popular in Russia and Ukraine and pierogi used further west, like in Poland. The dumplings are boiled or fried and traditionally served with sour cream, bacon, onions, or herbs on top.
- Pelmeni is quite similar but filled with raw meat instead of potatoes. The meat cooks inside of the dough while the pelmeni boils or fries.
What are vareniki made of?
- Vareniki dough – This simple dough recipe is easy to make using your average bread dough ingredients: flour, milk, butter, and eggs.
- Mashed potato filling – The filling is just as easy to make as traditional mashed potatoes! All you need are Russet potatoes, whole milk, butter, salt, and a bay leaf for flavor. The filling is easy to customize with all kinds of flavor enhancers, which I’ve included below.
How to make vareniki dough
- Heat the milk and butter: Add the milk and butter to a pot over low heat and heat until the butter melts. Set it aside to cool.
- Mix the ingredients: Whisk the flour, salt, and egg together in a bowl. Slowly add in the cooled milk and butter mixture and stir together.
- Knead the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and let it rest.
- Roll out and cut the dough: Divide the dough and roll each piece out on a floured surface. Cut into round shapes, then repeat until you run out of dough.
How to make Ukrainian vareniki
- Make the potato filling: Cook the peeled and chopped potatoes and bay leaves in a pot of boiling water until they’re soft. Drain, discard the bay leaves, and add the butter and milk into a pot. Mash the potatoes until they’re smooth.
- Assemble the vareniki: Place ½ tablespoon of potato filling onto the middle of each round piece of dough. Fold the dough over and pinch to seal so you end up with a half moon shape.
- Cook the vareniki: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the vareniki. Take them out of the water once they float to the top and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Toss them in a bowl with melted butter, then serve with sour cream and any other toppings you love!
Expert recipe tips
- This recipe makes 55-60 pierogies, based on how thinly you roll the dough.
- If the dough is not thin enough, the vareniki will be pasty. The dough can be passed through a pasta roller to have an even thinner roll.
- Is your dough too sticky? Add a little bit of flour while you knead until it comes together.
- Use a wine glass, water glass, or round cookie cutter to cut out the dough.
Vareniki filling ideas
The beauty of a vareniki recipe is that it can be filled with both savory and sweet fillings:
Savory filling ideas
Take your potato filling up a notch and stir in:
- Cooked bacon
- Caramelized onions
- Sauteed onions
- Farmer cheese
- Shredded cheese
- Ground meat
Sweet filling ideas
Vareniki can even be served for dessert! Swap the mashed potatoes for soft cheese (like cottage cheese or farmer cheese) and berries with a little bit of sugar. If the cheese is too heavy on its own, you can lighten it up with a little sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
Once the perogies are cooked, they can be served right away with sour cream, dill, bacon, caramelized onions, or green onions on top. They can even be fried in a skillet with some oil to give the outside a nice crisp edge!
Frequently asked questions
This can happen if the seal isn’t tight enough. Once you pinch the dough closed, try crimping the edges with a pinch and twist motion.
You’ll know the perogies are ready when they float to the top in the pot of boiling water.
Yes! You can stir sour cream or cream cheese into the refrigerated potatoes (omit the butter) to help soften them. Just make sure they aren’t too soft or creamy.
How to store vareniki
- Store: Cooked vareniki can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: Lay the assembled, uncooked vareniki on a parchment paper-lined or floured baking sheet and freeze. Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag. They’re easy to cook from frozen in boiling water.
- Reheating: Leftover cooked perogies can be reheated in the microwave or in a skillet with a little butter.
More Ukrainian recipes to try:
If you give this Potato Vareniki recipe a try, let me know in the comments below. I love seeing your pictures too, so please tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog and use #lenaskitchenblog so I can share them to my page!
Potato Vareniki (Ukrainian Pierogi Recipe)
- 4 large russet potatoes peeled and quartered
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- kosher salt for water to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup whole milk
- unsalted butter
- sour cream
- fresh dill or green onions
- caramelized onions optional
- crispy bacon optional
- Bring a large pot to a boil, salt with water to taste. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Add to water along with bay leaves and cook uncovered on medium heat until fork tender. About 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from heat, drain water and remove bay leaves.
- Add butter and mash until smooth. Add milk and using a spoon whip the potatoes until combined.
- Add milk and butter pieces into a pot and heat until butter melts on low heat. Mix to combine. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl add flour, salt and 1 egg, whisked. Slowly add in the slightly cooled milk and butter mixture. Stir to combine.
- Once dough is formed, add some flour on your countertop and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
- Set the dough aside and cover to rest for 10 minutes.
- Once you are ready to make your first batch of vareniki, divide your dough into 3 pieces. Cover the pieces you aren’t using.
- Roll out the dough thinly on a floured surface to just under 1/8” thickness. Using either glass or a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out round shapes. Keep the shapes as close as possible, keeping the scraps (add them to the unused dough to reuse).
- Add 1/2 Tbsp of potatoes over each round piece of dough, fold over in half and pinch together to seal and make a half moon shape. To ensure a tight seal, crimp the edges a second time with a pinch and twist motion.
- Place the prepared vareniki on a floured baking sheet to prevent sticking.
- If making ahead, you can freeze them and once frozen on the floured baking sheet, add to a freezer bag and store until ready to use.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add kosher salt to taste. Carefully add fresh or frozen vareniki once water has boiled.
- Cook for about 10-12 minutes, then once the vareniki are floating and water is back to a boil, the dough should be very tender. Carefully remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add butter and gently toss to combine. Add to a bowl, top with sour cream and fresh dill or green onions and enjoy. Or kick it up a notch and cook up some caramelized onions and bacon to add as a topping along with sour cream and fresh herbs.
- This recipe makes 55-60 pierogi, based on how thinly you roll.
- The preparation of vareniki requires a little time and a few tricks:
- The vareniki dough should not be too thick. Indeed, if the dough is not sufficiently rolled thinly, the vareniki will be pasty. The dough can be passed through a pasta roller to have an even thinner roll.