Chef John's Potato and Cheese Pierogi


If I had to pick a favorite recipe of all time, I think it might be this potato and cheese pierogi recipe handed down to me by my Polish grandmother.

Prep Time:
1 hr
Cook Time:
1 hr
Additional Time:
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
42 pierogi

I'm sure I've said that lots of recipes posted on Food Wishes were "my favorite," but this time I really, really mean it. These simple, pan-fried Polish potato and cheese dumplings were my absolute favorite thing to eat as a kid, and I'm finally posting the official family recipe. I don't know how authentic these are compared to what you might get in Poland, but my grandmother, Sophie, was 100% Polish, so I'm thinking these are pretty close.

Having said that, I am tweaking the recipe a little bit by adding some sautéed onions, which are very a very traditional ingredient but for whatever reason weren't included in her version. I'm not sure if that's because they didn't agree with someone in the family or if there was some kind of onion shortage in New York City when they immigrated, but I really think they're a wonderful addition, both in the filling as well as for a garnish on top.

Speaking of the filling, if you're not into potato and cheese, you can stuff these with all kinds of different mixtures, but don't ask me for any recommendations, since I've never made any other version. I'm sure there are some very delicious ones out there, but some things you just want to be exactly like you had it growing up. Except for the onions. Anyway, whether you adapt these to your tastes or not, I really hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!


For the Dough:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees F/50 degrees C)

  • 2 tablespoons warm water (120 to 130 degrees F/50 degrees C)

For the Buttered Onions:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 16 ounces farmer's cheese

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

For Serving:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, or more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives, or to taste (Optional)


  1. Prepare dough: Mix 3 ½ cups flour and salt together in a large bowl, then make a well in the center. Pour vegetable oil and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water into the well. Stir to form a shaggy dough that just pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Use a little flour to clean the dough off the spoon.

  2. Transfer dough to a work surface; press and knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth, soft dough. You can add a little more flour if it's too sticky but don't add too much. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Leave on the counter for 1 hour or pop it into the refrigerator for 3 hours to overnight.

  3. Prepare buttered onions: Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let mixture cool a bit, then transfer to a bowl and reserve until needed.

  4. Prepare filling: Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and mash until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. Place farmer's cheese in a bowl and break it up with a spoon. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne, then add 2 to 3 heaping spoons of the buttered onions. Be sure to drain off most of the butter so you're adding mostly onions. Mix just until ingredients are evenly combined.

  6. Add cooled mashed potatoes and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside while you roll the dough.

  7. Roll ¼ of the dough at a time on a floured surface until very thin, at least 1/8-inch thick or thinner if possible. Cut 3 ½-inch circles out of the dough, saving all scraps for re-rolling.

  8. Add about 2 tablespoons filling to the center of each circle. Moisten your fingertips with water and wet the edges, then fold the dough over the filling and seal the two edges together in the center. Flatten the filling very lightly under the dough as you press and seal the edge of each pierogi with your fingers, working from the center to the ends. Try not to trap air in the pierogi as you seal. The edge can be left as is, or you can pinch the dough every inch or so to make pleats for a more decorative appearance.

  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pierogi in batches and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes (they may or may not float to the top.)

  10. While the pierogi are boiling, melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

  11. Transfer pierogi from the boiling water directly into the melted butter. Cook until light golden brown, about 2 minutes per side or longer if more browning is desired.

  12. Continue boiling and browning pierogi in batches as needed.

  13. Transfer to a plate and spoon buttered onions over top. Garnish with sour cream and chives.

    pierogi dumplings garnished with sour cream and chives on a white plate
    Chef John's Potato and Cheese Pierogi. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

The dough can be used right away, but it's best to let it rest at least 1 hour at room temperature.

You can use 3 cups of plain, leftover mashed potatoes at room temperature if you have them.

If you can't find farmer's cheese, a firm, tangy cream cheese with a handful of extra-sharp white Cheddar will get you pretty close.

You can make the filling ahead of time, but make sure you let it come to room temperature before using or it will be really crumbly and hard to use.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

739 Calories
42g Fat
68g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 7
Calories 739
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 42g 54%
Saturated Fat 24g 119%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 1267mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 23g
Potassium 545mg 12%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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