Making Pierogi with Matka

When I was growing up, my family always had a large Polish dinner on Christmas Eve in recognition of my grandfather’s heritage.  My sisters and I looked forward to this meal all year – every dish was so flavorful and special.  But, of all the dishes served, we always favored the pierogi because they were perfect little pillows of dough stuffed with tasty fillings such as potato, plum or cabbage.  Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to learn how to make them.  Fortunately, my husband’s grandmother, affectionately known as Matka (which means “mother” in Polish), treated me to my first pierogi lesson during our recent visit with her.

The process turned out to be much easier than I anticipated, but it was quite time intensive.  I can only imagine how many hours our ancestors must have spent in the kitchen preparing special family meals!

Potato-Cheese Pierogi


3 large Idaho potatoes

1 large yellow or white onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 packet powdered chicken bouillon, optional

1/3 lb Polish farmer’s cheese

salt, pepper

Put the whole potatoes into a large pot and fill with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are soft.  Press the softened potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill (also known as a moulinette).

My sister-in-law Ella

Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil in a saute pan.  Add onion and cook until softened and just starting to brown.  If using the bullion, add now.  Season onions with salt and pepper.

Grind the Polish cheese into the same bowl with the potatoes.  Add onions and mix well by hand.

Let filling sit in the fridge for a few hours, overnight if possible.


2 1/2 – 3 cups King Arthur Flour


1 egg

1/2 cup corn oil

~1-2 cups warm water

Whisk flour and a dash of salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg and oil.  Pour egg/oil into the well and, using hands, gradually work the flour into the liquid.  Add water as necessary to keep the dough moist.  Continue kneading in the large bowl until dough holds its shaped when pinched.  Allow the dough to rest.

Roll 1-2 tablespoons of filling into a round ovals.  Set aside.

Pinch off large pieces of the dough and roll out, cigar style.  Cut 1.5 inch pieces off the roll and flatten into a round shape using a rolling pin.

Fill each round circle of dough, fold over and pinch closed.  Make sure to seal very well so the pierogi don’t burst!

Drop pierogi into a large pot of boiling water. Partially cover the pot and cook the pierogi for 6 minutes.  Remove pierogi from water with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel.  Makes 30-40 pierogi.

If desired, saute the boiled pierogi in melted butter til lightly browned.  Serve with sour cream and enjoy with the ones you love!

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6 Comments for this entry

  1. is there anything to use instead of this farmers cheese I know I would never be able to find that where I live

    • Homemade Mother says:

      Hi Gloria! You can use ANY cheese you want – cheddar would be delicious. The fun of making pierogi is that you can use any filling you’d like. We had leftover dough, so my sister-in-law and I filled some with apples and cinnamon 🙂

  2. Trina says:

    OMG! I LOVE YOU 🙂 My grandmother would make the BEST pierogi’s and my father and I never got her recipe before she passed away. I’ve made (my version) of her stuffed cabbages but never had the courage to make the Pierogi’s. I am going to send this to my dad, and when he visits in June we will make these together. BTW…my grandmother made hers with cottage cheese and chives, what is the Polish farmers cheese like?

    • Homemade Mother says:

      So happy to hear you and your dad will try out Matka’s recipe together!!

      The Polish farmer’s cheese is like a mild version of Greek feta. You can really use any kind of cheese you’d like – cheddar, ricotta, etc. Let me know how yours turn out!

  3. Meg Kalaway says:

    Hi Maureen — Thanks for posting this recipe. I’m going to make these. My husband’s Aunt Virginia used to make them and none of us were ever taught the details. You look beautiful. You definitely have the lovely genes on both sides of your family. Very lucky!

  4. Great Grandma Smithe says:

    Hi Maureen….I recall that the first pierogi I ever had was at the table of your great-great grandma Annelle on Christmas Eve 1957 ! It was the first big Smithe Family event that Papa brought me to and I was sure anxious to be accepted. When so many strange foods appeared I knew I must like them….and luckily I did. Consequently I passed but I never learned to make the Pierogi. It is great to know that finally homemade pierogi are back in the family….I believe that there are six generations between your great-grandma Annelle and your children ! Thank you Maureen and Chris !

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