Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How To Make Varenyky (Pyrohy)

Hi Everybody,

Hope you're having a good day so far! 

I'm just whipping up a fresh batch of pyrohys for Ukrainian Christmas and thought I'd share my recipe with you. It is taken from a book that is a compilation of recipes that were collected in the Western Ukraine before the Second World War.
A group of women got together when they immigrated to Canada to create this book, and published it in 1957. It is my treasure trove of authentic Ukrainian recipes, each one having a brief intro into the culture and traditions of the Ukrainian people. My sister surprised me with this book as a Christmas present one year; a wonderful gift! 

From "Traditional Ukrainian Cookery", by Savella Stechishin
Copyright 1957, 1959, 1963, 1967 by Savella Stechishin
Printed and published in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Varenyky (Pyrohy)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 - 1 cup water

Mix the flour with the salt in a deep bowl. Add the egg and enough water to make a medium soft dough. Knead on a floured board until smooth. Too much kneading will toughen the dough. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Cover and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Roll the dough quite thin on a floured surface.  Cut the dough with a large biscuit cutter or with the open end of a glass. For speedier work, the dough may be cut into 2 1/2"-3" squares. My biscuit cutter is 3".

Place a spoonful of filling on it, fold over to form a half-circle or triangle and press the edges together with the fingers. The edges should be free of filling. 

Be sure that the edges are sealed well to prevent the filling from running out. 

Place the varenyky on a floured board or tea towel without crowding them. Cover with a tea towel to prevent drying. 

Drop a few varenyky at a time into a large quantity of rapidly boiling salted water. Do not attempt to cook too many at a time. Stir very gently with a wooden spoon to separate them and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue boiling rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the varenyky and the thickness of the dough. Varenyky are ready when they are well puffed. Remove them with a perforated spoon to a colander and drain thoroughly. 

Place in a deep dish, sprinkle generously with melted butter, and toss very gently to coat the varenyky evenly with butter and prevent them from sticking. Cover and keep them warm until all are cooked. Serve in a large dish. The traditional accompaniment to varenyky is "smetana" (sour cream), or chopped crisp bacon, or both. Some enjoy them with a chopped onion lightly browned in butter.


If you find your fingers sticking to the dough as you are sealing them, just touch them to some flour before sealing.

If I am going to be freezing the pyrohys, I do so with them lined up on a baking sheet and covered with a tea towel. I freeze them for about an hour and a half, then transfer them to freezer bags in groups of 24. They will break free easily from the baking sheet if you use a metal spatula under them.

Egg yolks soften the dough, the whites toughen it.

Sometimes I use my breadmaker to do the kneading. Just have to set my stove timer for 10 minutes or so.

Filling Recipes Coming as Fast as I can Type them!

UPDATE: Sauerkraut filling recipe HERE

Have a great day, and Happy Cooking!



  1. Hi Val, I was going to comment on your table fix, but I had to check out the pierogi (what we call them) recipe. I used to make these with my grandmother, but I can't find her recipe anywhere. I'll have to try this one--didn't get these at all this past Christmas, and I miss them! Dee :)

    1. Thank you for your comment Dee! I think you will enjoy this recipe.

  2. Thank you for posting this recipe... It's easier to read and more convenient than toting my TUC cookbook around when showing friends how to make them. Do you cook them before freezing, or freeze raw?



    1. Hi Jess, thanks for your comment! I always freeze them raw, but save a few to cook right away as well. Gotta test them out!



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