Homemade pierogies (or vareniki as our Baba calls them) are really all about the fillings. Here are ten pierogi filling recipes that are flavor-packed and delicious! Savory or sweet, traditional or unusual. You get to choose!
Pierogi-making day is a winter tradition in my household. Usually once or twice a year we sit down to make a TON of pierogies, more than we could ever eat.
We freeze them on baking sheets prior to cooking, for future frozen pierogi dinners.
My kids have been forming pierogies since they were about 3 years old. While their early attempts weren’t always perfect, after a few years of practice they are pierogi-making machines!
New to making pierogies?
Probably the most difficult part is filling pierogies. If it’s your first time I recommend sticking to dry fillings, like mashed potatoes. Filling pierogies with fried mushrooms or fresh fruit is tricky.
If you need a recipe for the dough, check out Brad’s family’s traditional vareniki recipe.
Since I’m gluten-free, I developed a gluten-free pierogi recipe based on the traditional recipe.
Traditional pierogi filling Options
Here are a few fillings that come straight from Baba’s cookbook. These are the ones that my husband grew up eating and are still his favorite.
- Mashed Potatoes and Cheese: Make 3 cups of traditional mashed potatoes. Once the potatoes have cooled slightly, add in 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1/4 cup of chopped green onions, 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese, and 1 egg.
- Cottage Cheese: Mix 3 cups of dry curd cottage cheese with 2 eggs and 1 tsp salt (unless the cheese is already salted, then skip the salt).
- Mashed root vegetables: Steam and puree any root vegetables that you enjoy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Anything works with this pioneer recipe: turnips, rutabaga, or beets. I recommend sprucing things up by adding a bit of crumbled goat cheese. Mmm… beet and goat cheese pierogi!
A few new favourites
Here are a few pierogi fillings that my husband and I have created over the years. The first two we came across while traveling in Poland. The last two were inspired by our local hipster pierogi bar.
- Mushrooms: Saute 4 cups chopped mushrooms with 1/2 cup of diced onion. When the vegetables are soft, add 2 tsp dried dill and salt to taste. It can be hard to fill a pierogi with mushrooms, so feel free to thicken the mixture with a 1/2 cup of plain mashed potatoes.
- Sauerkraut: Drained sauerkraut is a delicious filling. Or mix 1 cup of drained sauerkraut with 1/4 cup of potatoes for a slightly thicker filling.
- Refried beans: Fry 1/4 cup of diced onion and 1 tsp of garlic until soft. Mix with 1 can of refried beans and 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
- Kimchi: Finely dice 1 cup of fresh kimchi. Mix it with 1/2 cup of mashed potato for a spicy pierogi.
Fruit-filled vareniki are also one of Brad’s childhood favs. Serve sweet pierogies with whipping cream for a unique dessert!
- Fresh fruit: Mix 1 cup of thinly sliced fruit or whole berries and mix with 1 Tbsp of sugar, to taste. Soft fruit, like peaches, plums, and berries works better than apples, oranges, or bananas. (This is a smaller batch, for about 8 pierogies).
- Chocolate: Fill each pierogi with 1 square of good-quality dark chocolate, then top with a sprinkling of chopped roasted hazelnuts and 1 tsp of cream cheese.
- Pumpkin Pie: Mix a 14 oz can of pumpkin puree with 1 cup of soft cream cheese. Add in 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.