Vatrushka buns are a Russian/Ukrainian dessert with the filling on the outside. I’ll show you how to make these delicious treats for yourself, along with some tips and tricks I learned along the way.
If you love fluffy sweet buns, you will love our brioche buns recipe.
What are Vatrushka Buns?
Vatrushka buns are similar to a danish. They’re made with a sweet yeast dough. The buns have a well in the middle where the filling is placed. They are usually filled with Farmer’s Cheese, or Quark. Most of them are about 5 inches from one side to the other – which is the perfect size for a comforting snack.
Are Vatrushka Buns The Same as Pirozhki?
One of the most popular Eastern European sweets are Pirozhki. And lots of people call Vatrushka buns Pirozhki. Vatrushkas are one of the many types of Pirozhkis. In fact, in different regions of Eastern Europe you’ll find all sorts of different fillings inside of them.
A lot of people in Eastern Europe have memories wrapped around a pastry like this. Sometimes it’s the smell of the dough as it bakes in the oven, or the taste of the sweet cheese as it melts in their mouths.
Bake this just one time and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll be hooked!
Vatrushka Filling Options
This Vatrushka recipe is made with farmer’s cheese, you can find the recipe for Farmer’s Cheese, here. Here are some common filling options:
- Cream cheese with different berries
- Farmer’s cheese with or without raisins
Can you freeze Vatrushka?
Yes, you can freeze these buns. To freeze them, make sure they’re fully baked first. Let them cool completely. Then, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and put them in a zippered freezer bag.
They’ll stay in a freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, just take them out and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
Other Pirozhki Recipes to Try
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 16 oz farmers cheese (cottage cheese can be a replacement)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup golden raisins optional
- Combine yeast together with two cups of warm milk and one tablespoon of sugar. Let ingredients rest on a counter for about 10 minutes.
- Add eggs, mayonnaise, salt and sugar into the mixture, whisking together to combine.
- Mix in flour using Kitchen aid mixer or a spatula, in small portions. Once the flour is all mixed in, add oil to the mixture. It's important to add oil last, as the texture of the dough turns out better. Knead the dough until it's elastic, at least for 10 minutes. Let the dough rise for about an hour.
- Cut the dough into 30 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a flattened ball. Place them next to each other, leaving enough space for it to rise.
- Cover with a towel and let the buns rise for about 30 minutes. Press each bun in the center with a glass cup to form a hollow.
- Whisk cream cheese, cottage cheese, egg and sugar together, for filling. Optionally, you can add raisins to the filling. Raisins need to be soaked in hot boiled water before combining with the cheese.
- Fill each hollow with a filling.
- Bake in preheated oven at 350F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Should I store these in the fridge after?
Hi Emily- you can store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge! They will probably taste best eaten fresh though. 😊
I have been baking since I was little so I have some basic knowledge but I always tend to be so frustrated following your recipes. And I’ve tried many of your recipes. The lack of instructions and the random pictures just makes baking experience frustrating. I figured it out but unfortunately would not recommend your recipes.
Hey Enna- I'm sorry to hear this recipe was challenging to follow. Is there a particular part that you'd like me to clarify? Please let me know, I'm happy to help troubleshoot. Thanks for your feedback!
Hi, I want to try these. I’ve never seen anything like them before. My husband doesn’t do well with processed sugar though. Is there an alternative you would suggest? My go to is honey, but worried that’d be weird in cream cheese
Hi Dinah, I haven't tried using any alternatives in this recipe so I can't confidently suggest one.
Do you use cream cheese and farmers cheese in the filling? Or just one or the other? Thanks for your help. I haven't had these since I lived in Russia as a missionary. I'm excited to try them again.
Hi Randy - We use both! That yields the best texture. Definitely let me know how they turn out and if they're close to what you had while you were in Russia. Happy New Year!
How would you incorporate berries or cherries into the filling (as you listed as alternatives)? Would you do straight jam or mix jam with the cheese? Would like to try some different fillings with the traditional one. Thanks!
Hey Anita, it depends on your preference. I think it would be cool to add a spoonful on top of the cheese but I would skip on raisins.
Wish this recipe said what kind of texture your looking for in the dough. Hard to tell how much flour is enough if there are no directions for that since the recipe says “depending on flour brand” and that’s it. It was frustrating to figure that out. Ended up throwing the dough out and using another recipe that had more clear directions.
We try to describe the texture as much as possible, by adding more videos to the recipes, I hope it will help long term. Also, we do have photos for reference. Sorry about your experience. Glad you found a recipe that you like.
If you use (I use) little packages of yeast, how much should I use?
Hey Anshel, use 1.5 Tbsp of yeast for this recipe. All packages are slightly different and I don't want to mislead you, it would be best to measure.
I used two of the yeast packets. Your directions were very easy to follow, and they were delicious. I made it for my book club tomorrow. We read The gentleman from Moscow. A book centered in Russia. Thank you for the well written recipe. I’m an experienced baker(trained in Germany).
Hi Cathy, SO glad this recipe was a success! Enjoy it! Thank you so much for your feedback.
Never had it before. Partner's dad liked it. Impressed the Russians. 😄
So funny! Russians can be impressive.
Hey . I just did your recipe today . My kids just loved it . Dough had really great texture. Thank you for sharing!
Hey Marina, this is such a great comment. It always makes me so happy when kids love the food! 🙂 thanks for sharing
There was a reference to this scrumptious dessert in a book I am reading. Just had to try your recipe. Wow, love them! I made 1/2 of them with plumped dried cranberries mixed into the cheese filling; I added lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice to the other 1/2 of the cheese filling. Both are wonderful!
A few other things I did when preparing this dessert. I used a KitchenAid stand mixer, but left the dough quite soft. I turned it out onto a generously floured surface and kneaded by hand, still trying to keep the dough soft. Let it rise and again turned it onto a floured surface. Dough is quite sticky. Each ball of dough weighs about 2 oz. (about 56 grams). Let the dough balls rise, then used a 1\2 pint canning jar to make the indentation. Might need to lightly grease the jar bottom. I used some quark cheese (I had to use it up), some cottage cheese (to make up for not having enough quark) and Neufchâtel cheese (because it is what I had in the fridge). I recommend beating the cottage cheese to make it smooth. I divided the cheese filling in half and added plumped dried cranberries to one half and zest from one lemon and 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice. Use about 3 T. filling for each bun. I have frozen some buns, but have not yet defrosted any. I think some lemon curd lightly swirled in the cheese would be outstanding!
Peg, so many amazing tips. I love that you took the time to share your feedback. It will help so many. I hope you love them so much!
Peg, I love the idea is lemon zest. I bet it adds such a nice flavor. Thank you for that tip. So excited to try it!
Hi. You used to have a recipe for Moscow Buns on your site? Can you please share where that it? I wanted to make them, but cannot find the recipe. Thank you so much!
Hey Tamara, currently we don't have a recipe for them on the site. I plan to publish one soon.
Loved this recipe. Great dough! Can be used for any kind of pastries. Actually I made vatrushki for the first time, came out lovely.
Alesia, thank you for sharing. I am so happy to hear this. Thank you for sharing your feedback.
Hey Natalya; have you ever tried choc chips in place of raisins in this recipe? I love cream cheese filling with choc chips. I wonder if the chips would stay fairly whole like they do in the filling for farm cakes ( cream cheese choc chip filled chocolate cupcakes),or if the chips would melt? I can’t wait to try your yeast dough with the mayo and this sweet roll. Btw I love your ethic recipes! You are the best.
Hey Dear, If you use chocolate chips, they should hold their shape. Are you trying to add them to the cheese filling or just chocolate chips alone?
Oops, ethnic recipes!
Hi, i made your recipe today! And it turns superb 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩, thankss
Hey Anna, thank you so much for sharing your feedback! I am so happy you loved the recipe.
Hi , I made your recipe today! And it turns superb. Thanks for sharing recipe
darn! i forgot to soak the raisins! will they still be good?
They wouldn't be as soft but that's fine. 🙂 Tell me what you think.
The filling is delicious but the proportions are way off—too much filling for the dough. And the dough recipe needs clarification: it’s too wet without an additional cup of flour. The yeast needs to be regular Fleischmanns yeast and not modern bread yeast. The flour needs to be all-purpose and not bread flour. I’m looking for a new more accurate recipe.
Totally agree. I ended up adding more flour because it was too wet and it ended up being too much in the end because I kept adding and not being sure of how much to add and when to stop adding flour. Had to throw the dough out and found a new recipe with clearer instructions.
It’s all about having a feel for the dough. It’s easy to add more flour but impossible to make it more moist. This is why there is leeway in the recipe.
Thank you for the recipe. I love Russian Vatrushka !
Ina, awesome, I am so glad you found this recipe. You will love it!
Thank you for nice and easy recipe loved it 🙂
Yumm!!! l love this. You made me crave them.
I got so carried away that forgot to say thank you from all my soul to lovely Natalya for this awsome recipe!
Omg 🙂 people like you inspire me to keep this going 😉
I made this one too today. I have been dying to have these vatrushka buns and the trickiest part is the dough. I have tried so many different dough recipes but most of them turned out too hard or too dry after baking. This is perfect, just like in my childhood days. Perfect, perfect vatrushka. Everyone loves them.
I love your comment!!! So glad you loved this recipe. Thank you!
this is awesome! i have been looking for such a recipe for ages! thank you
Oh my!!! Happy to be at your service 😉 hope you love them.
Hi, just wondering what is the reason to add mayonnaise?
It makes dough more moist. The dough turns out really good this way.
Would farmers cheese work instead?
Yes, it will work great!
I would like to sliced peaches to this, as a topping. Can it be done
Yes, I think it will work but they may have a lot of juices as the bake. So make deeper well.
This is what I make with this recipe., only that I put 1/2 cup of sugar more.. Thank u soo much for ur work! Love all Iv made by u.
Oh wow! We love poppy seeds, this looks incredible. I am adding it to our menu!
would it taSte weird without the raisins in them...i hate raising lol...but i dowant to try this.
No, they would taste just as great. As you can see in my main photo, some of them have no raisins. 🙂 Enjoy!
Could you use dried cranberries instead of raisins?
Hey Margaret, for sure. The taste would be slightly different but you can use them.
If I was to make the dough in a bread machine, how would I go about combing the ingredients?
I haven't done it in a bread machine but check on the dough until the dough is elastic.
Love these! I made vatrushki a couple years ago for a church event so there were no leftovers...but, should they be refrigerated in the event there are leftovers?
You can keep them in a room temperature for a few days. Just make sure they are in a ziplock of airtight container. Or if you wish to freeze, you can place them in a ziplock bag. And reheat by baking them for a few minutes.
Do you think I can substitute cottage cheese for the farmers cheese?
Yes, you can use cottage cheese. If possible drain some of it's liquid out.