I once worked a bike messenger in San Francisco (switching over to a scooter after 2 days). The money wasn't great, so for lunch I'd get a beef pirozhki from one of those sketchy delis in the back of big city corner stores. They only cost 2 bucks, delivered a ridiculously high number of calories, and even though I knew it wasn't the healthiest thing to eat, I grew to love the taste. So, for this recipe, I set out to recapture that experience.

Recipe Summary

1 hr
10 mins
1 hr 25 mins
2 hrs 35 mins
15 pirozhki


Original recipe yields 15 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Dough:
For the Beef Filling:


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine 1 scant cup of warm milk and yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit until foamy and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, salt, egg, butter, and almost all of the flour, holding back a small amount in case dough gets too dry.

  • Knead in the mixer until dough is soft and supple. Scrape dough onto your work surface. Grease the bowl with a few drops of oil and place dough back in. Cover bowl and let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

  • In the meantime, heat olive oil and butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, ground beef, and garlic. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook beef, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

  • Stir dill into the beef mixture. Add chicken broth and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Stir in Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Let filling cool completely.

  • Transfer dough to a work surface. Press out air bubbles. Pinch off a piece of dough and form into a ball; press into a disc. Dust with a minimal amount of flour and roll into a circle about 1/8-inch thick and 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Dip your finger in water and dampen the edges of the circle.

  • Place dough circle in 1 hand and add a few tablespoons of the beef filling. Pinch edges together to seal. Place pirozhki on the table seam-side up and pinch off any excess dough; too much dough will make it hard to fry. Moisten the center of the seam with water. Fold the 2 ends inward and flip pirozhki over, seam-side down; press down lightly.

  • Form the remaining pirozhki and let them rest until dough rises slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Fry pirozhki in batches, seam-side down, until golden brown, about 90 seconds. Flip and fry until browned on the other side, about 90 seconds more. Drain on paper towels and cool for a few minutes.

Chef's Notes:

I'm not sure the amount of filling will match the amount of dough, but if you have extra of either, both can be frozen until next time.

Feel free to substitute water for the chicken broth.

You can mix the dough by hand too.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

293 calories; protein 14.3g 29% DV; carbohydrates 22g 7% DV; fat 16.1g 25% DV; cholesterol 58.8mg 20% DV; sodium 486.1mg 19% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (9)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
They look fantastic... Wondering if I could use the organic store bought biscuits instead of making the dough? I just don't have time for all that... Wondering if they could possibly be baked instead too... Anyone? Read More
12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
They look fantastic... Wondering if I could use the organic store bought biscuits instead of making the dough? I just don't have time for all that... Wondering if they could possibly be baked instead too... Anyone? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Not hard to make, just takes a few extra steps but the end result is definitely worth the effort. Next time I make it I would cut back the ground beef by a half pound. Otherwise the flavor is really good. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I added parmesan but not cheddar, I will make it again, simple, comforting, and tasty. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Thank you so much for this recipe. I lived in San Francisco in my 20s and later in my 40s. But in my 20s, I would often go to the local corner store, which SF has so many cute little corner stores, owned by some ethnic group or other. Chicago has nothing like that. And when I would go to the local corner store, I would buy one of their beef stuffed pirozhki. It was like heaven eating them. Also I was a bike messenger in Chicago for a summer and tried it in SF, but lasted only a few weeks. The hills were too much for me in SF. Anyway I made the recipe. It was super easy, and came out perfect, exactly as I remember them in SF. I had been thinking of making a puff pastry for the same purpose (vegetarian), but this is probably better than a puff pastry and 100X easier. Also I try making Indian style stuffed pastries, but making the stuffing can be so complicated with all the spices required. So thanks a million. Ann Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Didn't use dill because I didn't have any. Used Penzeys Spices Mural Of Flavor. Came out fantastic. Thanks Chef John! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Made it just like the recipe. Took me back to my high school days living in San Francisco. IT WAS AWESOME! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I have a old family recipe that has a good twist. Cultural cooking is regional always provides a relationship of familial tastes and national heritage. Simply put all is good tasty and provides an atmosphere of oneness. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Full of humor. You ll find out as you watch. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Made with Turkey and fresh dill. One lb of meat seemed to be enough for the amount of dough to make 15 pirozhki. Definitely listen to Chef John's instructions to get rid of the extra dough as it will not cook in 90 minutes. Nice to have on hand for lunches. Read More