Pierogi with farmer’s cheese is as classic Ukrainian as it gets. Called “vareniki,” these little dumplings are filled with sweet cheese and absolutely to-die-for!
Pierogi can have so many different types of fillings. They can range from sweet to savory, but this particular version is my husband’s favorite. He loves it so much that I had to create a lazy pierogi recipe for the days that I din’t have time to make them the traditional way.
Get ready to venture straight into my childhood when you bite into pierogi with farmer’s cheese. Passed down through several generations, this recipe is authentic, time-tested and so tasty!
What are Vareniki?
In English, “vareniki” translates to “boiled things”. In short, vareniki are dumplings filled with an assortment of mostly vegetarian fillings. Below I will go more in depth about the difference between some of the dumplings you’ll see on this blog and beyond.
Difference between Vareniki, Pierogi and Pelmeni?
If you have been following my blog, or any Eastern European food blog for that matter, you have probably started to notice that we LOVE our dumplings. There are so many different types, variations and fillings that it might be hard to keep up. Therefore, I wanted to give you a little background on the three most common dumplings to help clear up the confusion.
Vareniki & Pierogi
Vareniki and Pierogi are actually the same type of dumpling! Now, you are probably wondering why there are two different words to describe the same dish? Well, vareniki is the more commonly used term in Russia, while pierogi is the term used in Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia. These dumplings are typically served as an appetizer or dessert and made with mostly vegetarian ingredients (although my version contains meat). See what I mean? This dumpling situation can feel like a whirlwind!
To make matters even more confusing, Russian piroshky often get mixed up with pierogi. But, piroshky are actually quite different because they are fried instead of boiled. The type of dough you use for each dumpling is also quite different as well.
Pelmeni are tiny morsels that are stuffed with a filling of meat and simple spices like salt, pepper and garlic. The raw dough is stuffed with a raw meat filling (typically beef, fish or pork) and the two cook together in boiling water until the dumpling floats to the top of the pot. This dish is typically served with a dollop of sour cream and dill, or in a light chicken broth. Unlike vereniki or pierogi, this dish is typically served as a meal versus a dessert or appetizer.
First, freeze your pierogi on a floured surface like a baking sheet. Only after they are completely frozen can you store them in a freezer bag. They will stay fresh for up to two or three months (just keep an eye out for freezer burn). Never freeze cooked pierogi. The reheating doesn’t work well and they become mushy.
Like I said before, there are a ton of different pierogi filling options. I stick to this one mostly to stay on my husband’s good side :-). Feel free to toss in some fresh fruit to this recipe to switch things up though. Blueberries and cherries are always welcome additions.
If you want something more savory, mushroom and onion, sauerkraut and potato or potato and cheese are great options as well. For extra decadence, toss these pierogi in high-quality European butter as soon as they come out of the boiling water.
I have to say that this dough is incredible to work with! It is stretchy and malleable, making it super easy to shape. Just make sure you don’t roll it out too thin to prevent tearing. When the pierogi are cooked, you will surely fall in love with the texture and how well the filling is secured inside the dough.
Other Pierogi Recipes To Try:
- 2 lb farmers cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cup flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- Whisk eggs together with sour cream, lukewarm water and milk until you get an even texture.
- To the liquid ingredients, add in flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough by hand or a stand-up mixer until it's no longer sticky.
- Roll out the dough on a well floured surface. Using a cup, stamp out circles. Flour the cup to make it easier to cut circles.
- One by one fill your circles with filling, placing the filling in the center.
- Fold over the edges and tighten them up with your fingers, making sure it's firm enough for your filling not to fall out.
- Bring a pot of water up to boil. Add 10-20 pierogi, cook until they float up to the top. Drain and top with melted unsalted butter. Optionally, serve with sour cream, jam or sugar.Tip: If freezing the pierogi, use a floured cooking sheet or cutting board. Once the pierogi are fully frozen, move them to a ziplock bag.
I am looking forward to trying your recipe. I have my mother's which is a little different. I make these for Christmas and like to make ahead and freeze. Do you recommend freezing before or after putting in boiling water.
Hi Chris, I typically freeze them before boiling, this prevents them from sticking together. I would recommend reading "Freezing Pierogi" section in the post. We share the details on freezing them. Enjoy
When I was growing up we always went out for Pierogi dinner and they were much larger and deep fried. How would you make the larger ones and is there a tool you can buy to make the larger ones? Thanks I want to try this soon as I don't care for the potato ones. I was brought up on the farmers cheese.
Hi Michelle, I am wondering if you are referring to these. https://momsdish.com/recipe/6… I hope this is what you were looking for.
They took time to make it work. I put a lot more flour and rolled cut the circles and individually took each circle before filling and filled in my hand because they stuck the first time on the board. Anyways they did turn out amazingly delicious after some tries. Thank you!
Hi Angelina, I am so glad it worked out in the end. Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. Enjoy!
I learned to make them from my mother in law. I do not do sugar and we serve them with a rich cream gravy and pork chops. This is recipe that you need to make several times and maybe have some guidance to get them right. Once you do, they are worth the labor to make.
Hi Natasha, That sounds so delicious!! Thank you for sharing this!
My first time ever and what a disaster. Dough too thick, way too much cheese leftover. How thick do you roll out??? Missing my mom. My fault I never made them with her or my babcia. I think a first timer needs to do it with someone experienced. I only got 18 pierogis. Well see how they taste on Christmas Eve. Good thing my sister got store bought as a backup. Drying my tears!! Lol
Not recipe's fault.
Hey there! I am so sorry to hear that! I am sure you did a wonderful job, I am wondering if the dough was a little off. I hope you give this recipe another go in the future. It's so great to have these traditional recipes under your belt.
Perfect vareniki dough! So easy to work with.
I am delighted to hear you love this recipe, Lana! Thank you for your feedback. Happy holidays!
Can you also share a pieroshki recipe?
Hi Del- which kind are you looking for exactly? We have several on the blog! This link will take you to the piroshki recipes we have. Enjoy! https://momsdish.com/?s=piros…
Hi! I am wondering if I need to boil the perogies... Can I freeze and then pan fry with butter. Or must these be boiled
Hey Terra- yes, it is recommended you boil them since the dough is raw. Pan frying would take a lot longer and I haven't tried it before with these. If you want that pan fried taste, you can always do that after boiling them! Enjoy!
The dough was beyond sticky after kneading for a long time which made the process beyond frustrating. Next time I am craving these Ill just go to the speciality market. Bummed I spent all this time and am not happy with the final product.
Hey Michelle- I'm so sorry to hear that, I know how frustrating that must feel. In the future, if the dough is still sticky I would recommend you keep adding extra flour a little bit at a time until it's the perfect consistency. Sometimes the flour type can make a difference, as well as how it's measured.. so I recommend adding more if needed to make the dough soft and work-able. If you give them another try I hope you love them!
Absolutely agree with you! I'm a cook by a profession. Measurements depend on the flour grade and quality. I personally prefer canadian flour. Simple solution, keep on adding extra flour little by little untill you get that desirable consistancy.
Thank you, Natalie! I like Canadian flour as well.
I love pierogi with farmers cheese, but I don't think my mom added sugar. This may be a silly question, but can I just use this recipe sans cheese and get good results?
Hi Terry - Thanks for the question. Technically, you can add whatever filling you'd like to pierogi. If you skip the cheese filling, you can fill them with fruit, poppy seed filling, or whatever else you'd like. Hope this helps!
Hi. This may seem like a dumb question. When you say to use a cup to cut the dough into circles, can you give me the size of the cup please (width). I have tried to make Pierogi's but they are always to small and not enough filling. Thank You.
We use a Tuna can to cut the dough. It's the perfect size.
That's so clever! Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth.
Hello, Diane. I'd say roughly 3 inches in diameter. If this still seems too small, you can always use a wider cup and just add more filling! You will have less pierogi overall, but they'll be bigger. Enjoy!
Natasha! Yesterday I left a review on potatoe pirogues. Last night I made farmers cheese and made these вареники today. Recipe came out perfect, easy to work with, superior results. The only change I made was omit the sugar in the dough. It was perfect. My Dad's face lit up when I put these on the table. He loved it!!!!
Your comment made me smile. I'm happy you all enjoyed them. Thank you for sharing, Lena!
Hi Natalya, I used to always make veraniki with my grandmother and mother, but I haven’t made them in years. My cousin is coming to visit and wants to make them with me. I lost my precious recipe, and am going to use yours.
I have a tendency to over knead dough by hand, then it gets tough, and the last time I made pasta dough in my Kitchen aide I had to keep adding flour and it was tough:( Which do you recommend, and any tips? Thank you, Cindy
Hey Cindy, this dough is very soft and easy to work with. I think adding too much flour could me it tough. Instead of adding more flour to the dough, I would flour the surface generously.
I hope you love the outcome! Enjoy time with family!
I used Canadian flour but had to add 5th cup of flour it was so sticky, is the description correct or right?
Hey Inna, if you knead the dough and allow it to rest, it should be more elastic. Flour the working surface as well, it should work well. If you see that it’s still sticky, you can add more flour. Enjoy
I just read your article and have to say that my family never
puts sugar in the farmers cheese/dry cottage cheese. This would make it sweet more like a desert. This is not used as part of a main meal only desert.
I'm from a large Ukrainian family with several aunts in charge of the kitchen at Ukrainian halls and we have never done this.
We will add a tsp salt and some sour cream and possibly a egg yolk for the cheese filling.
As for your dough it is basic for beginners but for advanced cooks the dough is so soft similar to gnocchi.
As for eggs in the dough it doesn't make the dough softer, quite the opposite, so you have to watch the quantity of eggs to flour. Instead of milk use oil.
Your whole recipe is for desert perogies. We never put sugar in our dough.
I grew up in a Ukrainian family and my mother and grandmother also never added sugar. I ordered it this way once in a restaurant and couldn't stand it. So I think, traditionally it is best without the sugar. I'm not sure if you can like both the sweet and non- sweet versions as they are so different. Mom used to use half farmers' cheese/half cottage cheese and then added a dollop of sourcream on top at the table. Yes, it was served as our main entree not an appetizer.
Everyone's version is a bit different, we love this version as a dessert or brunch option.
Yes, sounds like our family has a different recipe. This is our favorite recipe for breakfast or brunch. Hope you give it a try, it's so good!
Hi Natalya! I am eager to try this recipe! I traveled once to Poland and a lady shared her dough recipe with me. I never took down the ingredients, but I do remember the addition of sour cream, to the flour, water and salt. I don't recall the eggs in the ingredients. I have searched a variety of recipes and many of them have just a basic flour, water and salt. What might the addition of sour cream/kefir, and eggs add to the dough? How will the dough be different? I would love to hear your insight. Thank you!
Hi Liliana, eggs are used for color, bring ingredients together and make the dough tender. We have tried several recipes and this one has always been a favorite.
I moved to Utah from Chicago many years ago, and have struggled every Christmas to find the pierogis of my childhood. Mom used to buy them from numerous Polish shops around the city, but never made them herself. This year I decided it was time
to bring back the tradition and I hunted for a recipe online. These pierogis not only reminded my family of our childhood Wigilia, but also tasted even better! Thank you for allowing us to continue the pierogi tradition! I'll be keeping this in my recipe box for years to come!
Dorian, I am so happy to hear this. This is why I love what I do. Thank you for sharing your story, it gives me extra motivation. 🙂
Would like to make a non-sweet version of farmer's cheese pierogies. What do you suggest?
Hey Eva, you can remove sugar and add a bit more salt. I don't know what other seasonings would be good with salty vareniki.
Please what is farmers cheese and. European butter
farmers cheese is dry cottage cheese. For non desert perogies you put approx 1tsp per 1 lbs cheese, add some sour cream to smooth and possibly 1 egg yolk.
the amount of sour cram depends on how dry the cottage cheese is.
Thanks for all the tips!
Here is the link to farmers cheese: https://momsdish.com/recipe/2…. Lots of stores sell European butter, you can google for a few brands.
Can I make the dough a day ahead?
Hey Jane, you can, just keep it in a sealed container.
HI Natalya! I love your site!! You have wonderful recipes. I was bothered however reading your history on the name difference between Varenyky and Perogies where you said in Ukraine they are referred to as Perogies which is not at all correct. They are called Varenyky, ( варити - Varite, meaning boil) and a variety that is baked is called Pyrohy. The term perogy became a common identifiable name in north America because of the large number of Polish companies who branded pre-made varieties and made them mainstream.
I am a Ukrainian English and my recipes have been handed down directly from grandparents of the Ukraine 🇺🇦 and vereniki is all I know it’s potato cheese filled fried with onions
I’m not saying anything is wrong with anyone else’s history just want to share mine xxx
Hi John, thank you for sharing your feedback. There are a lot of versions of Ukrainian Vareniki. Yours sound more modern because cheese wasn’t available in Ukraine back in the days. Unless it was farmers cheese. I do like the potato and cheese combo! 🙂
Once again your all to young to know. As farmers in the Ukraine we had farmers cheese/dry cottage cheese. This is the same in Western Canada.
Some people find the sharpness of just cheese to much and like to mix with potato and onions which I do for my husband but he's not Ukrainian.
Remember to make the really great dough and use cheese is more expensive so it's cheaper for commercial enterprises to skimp.
Mariane, not sure if age plays a role. I grew up on the farm in Ukraine and we made our own farmers cheese. The style of American cottage cheese and farmers cheese would be different. It wouldn't work well for this recipe. I would suggest making or purchasing farmers cheese. Homemade farmers cheese doesn't really have sharpness unless you are using cheddar cheese.
Hey Nina, thank you for sharing your feedback about the recipe. I think it will be useful for others.
Hi! Is it possible to boil them without freezing them first or will they fall apart?
Yes, you can book them right away. Just keep them on a well-floured surface to prevent them from sticking.
Hi Nat my family comes from a long line of Ukraines we used brancourts farm cream cheese but since they closed certain cheeses we are unable to find a cheese to replace our veraniki with , what do you recommend and where to purchase please
Farmer's cheese can be made at home and the process is pretty easy. Here is the recipe: https://momsdish.com/recipe/2…
My family LOVES any type of pierogi. BUT hubby is now Celiac and can NEVER eat them again. I’m hoping that you or someone reading this has come up with a gluten free dough you’d be willing to share.
I am not familiar with gluten-free cooking. But I think the dough is very forgiving and would probably work with gluten-free flour, Costco has a really good one.
Hi, love all your recipes, but I do have a question... my son has raw dairy and egg allergies and I soo want to make these, I do have a substitute for egg but what can I use instead of the sour cream to make it soft and delicious???
Oksana, I am sorry. Our youngest also had dairy allergies it was so hard to cook for him. Now it's all gone. I know some people don't add sour cream or milk to the dough, they just make it water base. But here is another recipe that I think would be a good fit for you, they are so so fluffy and we love making them this way too. https://momsdish.com/recipe/s…
When does the warm water come in for the dough? It is listed in the ingredients but it does not show up in the steps. Without it, the dough came out very hard. Very hard to roll out and hard when cooked.
Water is added together with milk and eggs to the mixture. The dough would be easy to work with but not hard.
Ok. Thank you for fixing it. We might try it again.
i just read some of the comments and i say- what can't you put in a perogi. we had sour cherry trees and when in season that was the filling. oh - i also say what can't you put on the outside when boiled or sauteed. have a good nite- alex
i am so glad i found your site. as a kid- a long time ago my mother would send me to a local dairy store for dry cottage cheese. it was an errand i could not screw up or else lol. i can't wait to try your recipe. honestly my mother made terrific crepes also and so i hope your crepe recipe is awesome also. ps. we immigrated here in the mid fifties. have a great nite. alex
Oh Alex, I loved reading your comment. Welcome to the blog. Your story reminded me of my childhood as well. Thanks for sharing!
What kind of sauce do you recommend for the vareniki?
Oh my Momi fried bacon lightly, then served bacon, grease, and a dollop of sour cream on top of potato cheese Vareniki or meat, parsley .. mmm to die for. So glad I found this site. I lost my Family recipes, Momi is not up for rewriting.
Hey dear, thank you for sharing that. My grandma always did "salo" which is Ukrainian bacon, lots of it. Welcome to my blog, hope you will enjoy some other recipes as well.
The traditional way of eating vareniki is with sour cream. We like to also add blueberry jam/sauce.
Would it work if I used frozen berries for the filling?
Hey Lily, I wouldn't recommend frozen berries because results of the flavor wouldnt be the same but it definitely works.