These potato-filled vareniki or perogi are tender and flavourful dumplings, lovely boiled or fried with onions, sour cream and dill. Filling and surprisingly tasty!
For the perfect two-course meal, try vareniki with heartwarming Vegetarian Borscht!
I love dumplings in any form. Tortellini, gyoza, nockerl, and more, I’ll eat them all!
But vareniki is the one type of dumpling that will always hold a special place in my heart! It instantly brings back all sorts of warm memories of childhood – special gatherings to make vareniki in vast quantities, school lunches, and many family dinners.
These dumplings were always around and I loved it every time they were served. I’m so excited to share these little packets of joy with you!
Potato and onion vareniki
Vareniki are a common dish in Ukraine and Russia, and in Poland where they are better known as pierogi. Immigrants brought recipes with them to places like Canada, where they have become a staple.
Growing up in Canada, pierogies were an ever present dinner option, with at least one bag left in our freezer for anytime we wanted an easy dinner. Store-bought was the norm, but it just can’t compare with homemade!
The dumplings can be stuffed with a range of ingredients, with variations depending on region and family recipe. Potatoes and carmelised onions are a classic, as is sauerkraut or mushrooms. Cheese can also be added or seasonal fruit to make sweet varieties.
How to make them
Making vareniki happens in two stages, one for the dough and the other for the filling. Although they take some time to make, it’s not because it is hard as both the filling and dough recipes are very simple.
It’s even easier if the dough is made in a food processor. The dough can be made while potatoes are boiling to save time.
Making vareniki out of the dough and filling is the hardest part, but anyone can master it with a bit of practice. Add the filling to circles of dough and fold over. Pinch the ends together and the dumplings are done. When you have the basic technique down, play around the folding to add a bit of style!
What to serve with vareniki
Vareniki have a mild taste so serving with the right toppings makes a world of difference!
Sour cream is as close to an essential topping as you can get. The acidity of the cream melds perfectly with the creamy filling.
Sautéed onions are also often served on the side, adding a light sweetness, or sautéed mushrooms for extra savouriness. Add black pepper and a few sprigs of dill for colour and a fresh finish.
Recipe tips and notes
- Make sure the potatoes are well-salted to prevent the vareniki from tasting bland.
- Fried mushrooms can be added for additional flavour.
- Vareniki are often served with sour cream, dill and caramelised onions or shallots. Sauerkraut also is delicious on the side or as a different filling.
- The dumplings freeze very well when stored in an airtight container and well-floured to prevent sticking. They can be cooked from frozen, taking a bit longer than when fresh.
For the dough
- 450g/3 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, large
- 250ml/1 cup cold water
For the filling
- 5 potatoes
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and boil the potatoes until tender when pierced by a fork.
- While the potatoes are boiling, make the dough. Pulse flour and salt in a food processor. With the motor running, add the egg and then cold water. Let the processor run for a minute until the dough forms around the blade. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with a tea towel and let is sit for 30 minutes while you start on the filling.
- Cook the bacon in oil over very low heat for 20 minutes until the onions are caramelised. Mash the potatoes, add butter, onions and mix well, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the dough into quarters and form into balls. Take one dough ball and roll it out on a well-floured surface in a thin sheet approximately 1/16" thick. Keep the rest of the dough covered to avoid drying out.
- Cut the dough into circules wiht a 2" to 3"cookie or scone cutter. Put a teaspoon of potato filling into each dough circle, slightly off-centre, fold the dough over to form a half-moon shape and pinch the edges shut with your fingertips. For a more attractive look, go over the edge one more time and pinch the edges together using your two fingers and a thumb and twist them to form a ruffled edge.
- Repeat with the remaining dough circles until you run out of both dough and filling. The recipe should make approximately 65 vareniki.
- Cook the vareniki in a pot of salted boiling water. Stir to prevent them sticking to the bottom. Once they float to the top, drain and pan fry in butter over medium heat until golden on both sides.
- Serve with sour cream, dill and crispy fried onions or shallots.
If storing vareniki in the freezer, cook from frozen.