Get ready to indulge in the deliciousness of traditional Polish potato and cheese pierogi. This recipe offers three cheese options, including the classic farmer’s cheese, cream cheese as a flavorful alternative, and cheddar as a slightly different but still quite popular option.
When we Poles think about cheese in our pierogi, we’re almost always talking about farmer’s cheese (or quark). It’s like a best friend to the pierogi lover here, easily found and just perfect for the dish, especially for potato and cheese pierogi.
But hey, I get that farmer’s cheese might be playing hard to get outside Eastern Europe, so I’ve got your back with a tasty alternative. Cream cheese is the next best thing I found, and it fits the pierogi bill with its delicious taste and texture.
(Oh, and by the way, cream cheese rocks in sweet cheese pierogi too!)
Now, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try cheddar. It dances to a different beat with a flavor that’s quite different from farmer’s cheese or cream cheese. But you know what? It’s quite popular online, so I’m going to tell you how to pull that off as well.
Alright, enough chit-chat. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the recipe!
Recipe At a Glance
Ready to explore why this potato and cheese pierogi (or pierogi ruskie) recipe is calling your name? Here’s why you’ll love it:
- It’s a classic. Potato and cheese in a pierogi? It’s like bread and butter; you can’t go wrong. Always in the top three when someone chats about pierogi fillings. This duo has been dancing on plates for decades, and it’s still a hit.
- Simple ingredients. All you need for the filling is mashed potatoes and either farmer’s cheese, cream cheese, or cheddar. The shopping list’s shorter than a winter day, and odds are you’ve got everything you need right in your kitchen.
- Perfect for freezing. Feel like playing it smart? Double or even triple the batch and tuck some away for later. Talk about a time-saver!
Now, if you’re a potato and cheese pierogi newbie, make sure to give the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips a good read. But if you’re already a pierogi pro, feel free to jump straight to the recipe card.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutes
- Pierogi dough. You can use my best pierogi dough recipe or any other recipe you like. Just make sure it uses around 2 cups of flour so you’ve got enough dough to wrap the filling.
- Potatoes. Yellow-fleshed potatoes like Yukon Gold are probably best because they turn out dense and creamy, but any other potatoes you use for mashing will work just fine.
- Farmer’s cheese or cream cheese. Either works perfectly fine. If you’re buying cream cheese, make sure you go with regular cream cheese, not cream cheese spread. Cheddar cheese yields a different flavor but is also an option. If you want to go with cheddar, read the section below that covers this variation.
- Onion. Yellow onion is the golden standard, but subbing in a red onion, a couple of shallots, or even bulbs of green onion will be fine, too.
- Butter. Use regular, unsalted butter, please.
- Salt. You’ll need some table salt for cooking the potatoes and pierogi.
- Pepper. Regular black pepper is all you need.
- Prepare the pierogi dough. Start with your go-to dough recipe or steal mine. Mix, knead, and then let that dough relax in some plastic wrap at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s got a big day ahead!
- Cook the potatoes. Peel and chop those spuds into quarters, then give them a good boil in heavily salted water for about 20 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.
- Sauté the onion. While the potatoes are cooking, peel and finely chop the onion. Heat some oil (or butter) in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Mash the potatoes. Drain the cooked taters, then mash them using a potato masher or a fork until smooth. Add butter and maybe a dollop of sour cream, but hey, don’t go wild! We want flavor, not a potato soup. Stick to the script.
- Make the filling. Combine the mashed potatoes, sauteed onion, pepper, and your cheese of choice in a large bowl, and give it a good stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Lacks flavor? It could likely use more salt. No tanginess? A squirt of lemon juice or an extra teaspoon of sour cream should help.
- Divide the dough. Unwrap the rested dough, split it into two or three equal parts, then roll out the first portion on a well-floured surface until thin and even. Make sure it’s thick enough to stretch a little without tearing. Keep the remaining dough wrapped to prevent drying.
- Cut circles. Use a round cutter or a glass to cut circles from the rolled dough. Gather any leftover dough scraps and form them into a ball for additional pierogi.
- Shape the pierogi. Place a spoonful of filling onto a dough circle, fold the dough over to create a half-moon shape, and press the edges together, starting from the center. Squeeze out any air, and if needed, moisten edges with a damp finger to seal.
- Transfer. Place the formed pierogi on a lightly floured surface and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent sticking or drying. If pierogi are in close contact, dust touching areas with flour.
- Boil the pierogi. Get a big pot of salted water boiling (I use one teaspoon of salt per quart). Drop in a few pierogi, give a gentle stir, then let them float back up and simmer for 3 to 4 more minutes.
- Scoop and serve. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and serve.
Cheddar Cheese Variation
So you’re thinking about going rogue with some cheddar in your potato and cheese pierogi? Bold move.
Cheddar brings its own salty swagger, kind of like mashed potatoes with a bit more attitude. But be warned, it lacks that traditional tanginess potato and cheese pierogi are known for (at least in Poland).
Think of it as another variation, not a stand-in for farmer’s cheese or cream cheese.
(I love potatoes and farmer’s cheese or cream cheese, but hey, I’ve heard whispers of people out there rocking the potato and cheddar combo.)
Ready to give it a whirl? Let’s break it down:
- Easy on the cheddar. Cheddar’s got a big personality, so let’s keep it in check. Around 2 to 3 oz of grated cheddar for 4 medium-sized potatoes will do. Pile on more, and you’ll get a sharp and salty mash – interesting, but maybe not what you’re after.
- Hot potato mix. Stir that cheddar into your mashed potatoes while they’re still hot. This allows the cheese to melt and spread more evenly throughout the filling, creating a smooth and well-integrated texture.
- Missing some zing? Cheddar can be a little one-note, so if you’re missing the tang, grab some sour cream or lemon juice. Start with a spoonful or a squirt, taste, and adjust. You want a hint of zing, not a full-on zing attack. Of course, if you’ve found your groove with just potatoes and cheddar, feel free to skip the acid. It’s your kitchen, your rules.
Cheddar might be an unconventional choice for traditional Polish potato and cheese pierogi, but it’s a pretty popular stand-in worldwide, so it’s definitely worth a shot.
How to Serve
To serve Potato and Cheese Pierogi, you have a few delicious options:
- Enjoy them as is: These pierogi are already fantastic on their own, so you can serve them as the main meal, the star of the show. Simply plate them up and let everyone dig in.
- Pan fry for extra deliciousness: If you want to take the pierogi to the next level, pan frying is the way to go. Grab a nonstick skillet, melt a knob of butter or a bit of oil, and cook the pierogi for a few minutes on each side until they turn crispy and golden brown. The added texture is simply delightful.
- Top with melted butter: For an extra indulgent touch, you can top the pan-fried pierogi with melted butter. Just pour it all over the pierogi before serving. The rich and creamy butter will enhance the flavors even more.
- Serve with sour cream: Now, here’s a classic – a dollop of sour cream. It’s tangy love that pairs so well with the cheesy filling. You can get fancy and mix in chives, salt, and pepper if you like. (I did just that for my photos, and it looked stunning!)
- Pair with a salad: Looking for some fresh vibes? Pair your pierogi with a Polish salad. Maybe a cucumber salad, sauerkraut salad, or a simple tomato salad? It’ll make your meal sing with Polish flair.
Wondering what else you could throw into the mix? Check out our article on pierogi toppings to find even more inspiration.
So you’ve made a big, beautiful batch of potato and cheese pierogi, and now you’re staring at leftovers? Fantastic!
Leftovers mean you get to enjoy them all over again, and here’s how you can make sure your leftover potato and cheese pierogi stay fresh and ready for round two:
- Let them Breathe: Start by laying your pierogi out on large plates. Give them 10 to 20 minutes to dry a bit, then flip them for another 10 to 15 minutes. You want them dry so they don’t cling to each other in the storage container.
- Snug but not squished: Time to pack them up! Transfer your pierogi into an airtight container. Be gentle, place them in a single layer, and avoid crowding. If they need to be stacked, put some plastic wrap between layers to prevent them from sticking.
- Chill or freeze: Seal that container tightly and pop it into the fridge for 3 to 4 days. If you need more time, the freezer’s your friend. Here’s my article on how to freeze pierogi.
How to Reheat
To reheat Potato and Cheese Pierogi, the best method is to pan-fry them. This not only warms them up but also adds a delightful crispy texture to the pierogi.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:
- Grab a nonstick skillet and place it over medium heat on your stovetop.
- Add a knob of butter or some oil to the skillet, making sure it covers the base of the pan. You can use either butter or oil, depending on your preference. Warm the fat nice and hot.
- Once the skillet is ready, carefully lay the pierogi into the pan. Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet, as this can affect the cooking process.
- Let the pierogi cook for around four to six minutes on the first side. You want them to become golden brown and crispy.
- Using a spatula, carefully turn the pierogi over to cook the other side. Continue cooking for another four to six minutes until both sides are equally golden brown, warm, and crispy.
- Once the pierogi are ready, remove them from the skillet and serve them.
Potato and Cheese Pierogi
- 1 pierogi dough
- 4 medium-sized potatoes about 1 pound or 450 grams
- 7 oz farmer’s cheese or cream cheese about 200g
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon sour cream optional
- salt for cooking
- Prepare the Dough: Mix your favorite pierogi dough and let it rest wrapped at room temperature for 20–30 minutes.
- Cook Potatoes: Peel, quarter, and boil in salted water until fork-tender.
- Sauté Onion: Chop and sauté in oil or butter until soft. Remove and set aside.
- Mash Potatoes: Drain, mash, and mix in butter and optional sour cream (mind the texture!).
- Make Filling: Mix mashed potatoes, sautéed onion, pepper, and cheese. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Work with Dough: Divide, roll out thinly, and cut circles. Keep remaining dough wrapped.
- Shape Pierogi: Fill, fold into half-moons, and seal, removing any air.
- Transfer and Rest: Place on a floured surface and cover with a damp towel.
- Boil: In salted water, drop in pierogi, simmer until they float, then 3–4 minutes more.
- Serve: Scoop out and enjoy!