These farmer’s cheese vareniki (aka pierogi) are soft dumplings filled with sweet farmer’s cheese. Make a huge batch and you’ll have tons to freeze for your next craving!

Vareniki in a bowl

Get ready to venture straight into my childhood when you bite into pierogi with farmer’s cheese (or tvorog as we called it). Passed down through several generations, this homemade pierogi recipe is authentic, time-tested and so tasty!

Hot tip: Are you running low on time but still want vareniki/pierogi? Check out this recipe for a quick, 30 minute version of this dish.

What Are Pierogi/Vareniki?

Pierogi and vareniki are actually the same thing, but in our family, we mostly used the word vareniki. This word (or “varenyky”) is a Slavic term which means “boiled things.” In short, vareniki are dumplings filled with a range of sweet to savory fillings. Some vareniki are filled with only cheese or mashed potatoes, while others are filled with fruits, vegetables, and occasionally meat. Our vareniki recipe uses a sweet filling, making it perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Vareniki Video

How To Make Vareniki

Vareniki do have a lengthier prep time than most dishes (about an hour and a half), but it’s so worth it! Set some time aside to make a large batch of vareniki, and you’ll be enjoying a freezer stash for months to come.

Make the Filling & the Dough

  • Combine the liquid ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, lukewarm water, and milk.
  • Add in the dry ingredients: Add the all purpose flour, sugar, and salt. Knead the dough by hand or with a stand mixer until it is no longer sticky.
  • Make the filling: In a separate bowl, combine the farmer’s cheese, sugar, and egg.

Hot tip: Did you know you can make your own farmer’s cheese? Check out this crazy easy way to make homemade farmer’s cheese.

Shaping Vareniki

  • Roll the dough: Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface with a rolling pin.
  • Stamp out the dough circles: Using a small cup, stamp out circles in the dough.
  • Add the filling: Fill the center of each dough circle with a small teaspoon of filling.
  • Fold over the edges: Fold the edges of the circles over to make a half-moon shape. Push the edges together with your fingers, making sure they seal tightly so the filling doesn’t ooze out.
  • Cook and serve: Bring a pot of water to a boil, then drop in 10-20 vareniki, stir, and cook until they float to the top. Once they float, drain the water from pot (or use a slotted spoon to scoop out the vareniki), add in a bit of butter and serve.

Hot tip: If you like the taste of fried or crispier vareniki, boil them first, drain, then place them on a frying pan with a bit of butter. Fry them over medium heat just until they reach a golden brown color on both sides. Yum!

Vareniki Tips & Tricks

This easy pierogi recipe has been tested by multiple generations of our family. Over time, we’ve come up with lots of tips and tricks to make these dumplings taste and look their best. Check out these pointers to help you make the perfect batch of vareniki on your first go.

  • Adjust the flour amount: For the best dough consistency, you may need to adjust the amount of flour you use. After adding the initial four cups, slowly add in more flour in ¼-½ cup amounts (if needed), kneading after each addition until the dough is soft and no longer sticky.
  • Roll the dough to about three millimeters: We prefer to roll out the dough to about three millimeters in thickness, which is about the same as two stacked pennies. Avoid rolling the dough too thin, or the vareniki might rip when cooking. Make it too thick, and the outer layer of the dumplings may be too chewy.
  • Change up the cutter size: If you like smaller vareniki, use a smaller cup to cut out the circles. For larger vareniki, use a larger cup. Keep in mind — the smaller the cup, the more vareniki, and the larger the cup, the less vareniki you’ll have. Depending on the size of the circles, you may find yourself with uneven amounts of dough and filling at the end.
  • Use a cookie cutter: If you have a circular cookie cutter on hand, use it! It’s a perfect substitute for the cup to make the vareniki rounds.
  • Flour the cup rim: Before pressing out the circles in the rolled out dough, flour the rim of the cup to make it easier to cut the circles and prevent the dough from sticking to the cup.
  • Combine the “scraps”: Once you use up the rounds from the rolled-out sheet of dough, combine the “scraps” into a new ball and roll it out again. Repeat until no dough remains.
  • Change up the filling: There are a ton of different pierogi filling options. Toss in small pieces of fresh fruit like berries or cherries to switch things up. For something more savory, mushroom and onion, sauerkraut and potato, or potato and cheese fillings are great options as well.
  • Keep cooking until the vareniki float: Vareniki are cooked through when they begin to float at the top of the boiling water. To be extra sure, allow them to cook an extra 1-2 minutes.

Ways To Serve

Vareniki with farmer’s cheese taste amazing when freshly topped with melted unsalted butter while the dumplings are still hot. Serve them with cold sour cream, sweet fruit jam (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry) or a sprinkle of extra sugar.

Storing Cooked vs Raw Vareniki

If you cooked too many vareniki to enjoy in one go, keep reading to find the solution. Or — if you made the expert move and prepped a large batch to freeze, we’ve got the tips you’ll be needing for storing those, too!

  • Cooked: Store cooked vareniki in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Reheat them in a pan over medium heat with a splash of water, or place them in the microwave for a quick zap.
  • Raw: Freeze raw vareniki for up to three months. First, freeze them on a floured surface like a baking sheet or cutting board. After they are completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.

More Dumpling Recipes

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.