Ukraine: Varenyky

ukranian varenyky

My family LOVES pierogies.  I can’t remember the first time we tried them, but I’m guessing it was in the Chicago area when visiting my grandmother.  We found a Polish market that sold fresh pierogis and always loaded our cooler up with them before heading back to Minnesota.  When my grandmother passed away and we no longer visited that area, I figured out how to make homemade pierogies that tasted pretty much the same (if not a tad bit better).

Last night, we tried the Ukranian version, known as Varenyky.  According to AllThingsUkranian they are, “One of the twelve traditional dishes for the Sviat Vechir (Christmas Eve Holy Supper).”   Since I’ve now made both, I’d say the main difference was in the dough.  Varenyky recipes use some sort of milk or cream in the dough, while pierogies contain potato in the dough and no dairy.  The end result, however, is nearly identical.

Like pierogies, Varenyky are kind of time-consuming to make.  If you’re going to make them, make a double batch to save for later.  The frozen ones can go directly in the skillet without thawing.  I was going to freeze the rest of mine for another meal, but my family liked them so well they wanted me to cook them up instead.  I’d say that was a clear indication of their success.  The kids gave them two thumbs up.

Don’t have a 3″ circle cutter?  A wine glass works well.

Ukraine: Varenyky
  • DOUGH:
  • 5 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1¼ C. evaporated milk
  • ¼ - ½ C. water
  • 6 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • ½ C. butter
  • 1¼ C. Cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the butter and evaporated milk. Stir until combined. Begin to knead dough, adding water only as needed. When dough sticks together, place in a greased bowl and set aside while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling, place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes, until tender. Drain. Melt ½ cup butter in a medium skillet. Saute onions in butter until tender. Add the potatoes back in, along with the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roll dough to ⅛" thick (if you have a pasta roller, it works well). Cut 3" circles. Add 1 teaspoon of the filling to the center of the circle and seal shut.
  4. Over high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add varenyky and boil 4 minutes. Drain. Saute varenyky in a skillet with butter until golden brown. Serve with sour cream.


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This recipe was adapted from