Baba’s Traditional Ukrainian Perogies Recipe


These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfoodThis traditional Ukrainian perogies recipe has been passed down through generations in my family. It uses simple, frugal ingredients, and makes enough to feed a small village, just like back in the old country:)

You see, I’m Ukrainian-Canadian. And although I’m 4th generation Ukrainian Canadian and have never actually lived in the Ukraine (although I have traveled there), it’s still a big part of my identity and my family never lets me forget it.

 

Ukrainian Family Traditions

I grew up doing traditional Ukrainian folk dancing, beginning at age 3 and performing and competing until I was 19 years old. My mom danced too, longer than I did, and she even moved to the Ukraine to study dance for a year when she was 21: in the 1970s when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. That was definitely something most people from here did not do, especially in that day and age, so she still wears it like a badge of honour, and rightfully so.

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

My mom (left) and my aunt (middle) in their Ukrainian dancing costumes. And there’s me on the right! Just a few years ago;)

My aunt danced too, and my cousins still dance competitively today. I’m Ukrainian on both sides of my family, see, but the music and dancing comes from my mother’s mother’s lineage. My mother’s mother even used to dance around the house, dusting and vacuuming to traditional Ukrainian music!

And it was my grandma’s mother -my great grandmother who I called Baba Sophie- who passed down the real cultural gem in my family: Her traditional Ukrainian perogies recipe that we still get together to make every year.

If you’ve never heard of perogies before, they are essentially dumplings filled with mashed potatoes that are then boiled or fried and topped with loads of fried onions and sour cream. At least, that’s the traditional way to eat them. There are, however, many varieties of perogies, including meat-filled ones, fruit-filled ones and sauerkraut-filled ones. But traditionally they are made with potatoes, and they’re a crowd pleaser, I tell you what!

 

A Traditional Family Recipe Passed Down Through Generations

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

I recently found this locket that I inherited from my grandma. Inside are photos of my Baba Sophie and my Gido (great-grandfather) whom I never met. I just so happened to be wearing this locket during our perogy-making session. I’m sure Baba Sophie was there in spirit and would be proud of how we’ve preserved her recipe and carried on the family tradition.

Baba Sophie was also in the orchestra that played the music for the dancers. She played the mandolin and a couple other Ukrainian stringed instruments called the domra and the balalaika. In other words, she had nimble hands and fingers, which made her an excellent perogy-maker.

She was a good writer too. I like to think I’ve inherited some of her talents. While I know full well I’ll never be able to pick up a stringed instrument and play like she did, I believe my love of writing and my knack for making some killer perogies runs in the same bloodline.

I was only four years old when she died, so I never got to make them with her. But my aunt used to go over to Baba’s place every Friday and make a batch with her.

She learned the recipe from her first hand and practiced it many times before I was old enough (and took an interest enough) to learn.

Nowadays we usually only get together to make them once a year. We usually do it in January, sometime around Ukrainian Christmas (January 7th) and Malanka (Ukrainian New Year, January 13th).

 

How to Make Perogies

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

My aunt (with the rolling pin at the end of the table) learned the family recipe first-hand from my baba. She is now the perogy matriarch in our family; A role I hope to inherit one day!

Perogies are stupidly easy to make from scratch, and they freeze really well too. You can easily make a large batch and fill your freezer rather than buying them pre-made and pre-frozen from the store.

Start by making your potato filling. My family recipe combines potatoes with sharp cheddar cheese and sautéed onions, although you could use just potatoes or substitute a different cheese… My other side of the family makes their perogies with potatoes and cottage cheese, so this recipe is flexible!

Start by peeling and quartering your potatoes. Place them in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until soft and easy to mash. Strain potatoes through a colander but reserve potato water for making the dough (this is optional, but the extra starch in the potato water makes for a really good perogy dough!)

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

 

Transfer potatoes back to the pot and mash them. Add in grated cheddar and sautéed onions and mash everything together until all of the ingredients are well-combined.

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

Place filling in a container and refrigerate. Chill for at least an hour or two or even overnight.

To make the dough, sift flour together with a little salt. Then mix reserved potato water (or fresh water), eggs and a little bit vegetable oil (use olive oil if you’re looking for a healthier option) and slowly pour it into your flour mixture, mixing it as you go, either by hand or with a stand mixer.

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

Mix it all together and knead it until everything sticks together but the dough is easy to work with (not too sticky on the outside). Then wrap dough in plastic wrap or in a Ziplock bag and let it rest for about half an hour.

Roll dough out over a lightly floured surface to about ⅛-inch. You want it thin but not so thin that it breaks, so use your own judgment. Then cut out rounds of dough with a biscuit-cutter or an upside-down glass. 

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

Fill each round with about a tablespoon of potato filling. I like to roll my filling in a ball first but you can skip this step and just scoop it in if you like. Then fold the perogy dough over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal it. Repeat a couple hundred times:)

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

 

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfoodTo cook them, bring a pot of water to a boil and place the perogies in boiling water for a few minutes until they float to the top (this signals that they are ready). You can cook them from fresh or frozen. It helps to add a little oil in your pot of boiling water to prevent the perogies from sticking together.

Remove perogies from water with a slotted spoon or strain them through a colander. Transfer them to a serving bowl and then drizzle with a little olive oil or a pat of butter and toss. Top with fried onions and serve with a generous helping of sour cream.

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

 

How to Freeze Homemade Perogies

I love that our family usually gets together to make a big batch of perogies in January because by January the freezer is starting to empty out as we continue to use up all of the fruits and veggies we preserved in the summertime. Plus, January is usually the month when I finally get around to processing all of the tomatoes I froze back in the summer and fall, which clears up a bunch more space. And trust me, if you made perogies like my family makes perogies, you’d need to clear some freezer space too. Because we don’t just make a few dozen perogies at a time, we make a few hundred.

This year we made about 300. My aunt and cousins came to visit us on Vancouver Island for Ukrainian Christmas (they still live on the mainland), and they set to work helping me fill my freezer with hundreds of freshly-made perogies while they were here. It truly was the best gift of all! 

To freeze them, we lined baking trays with parchment paper. Then we laid a single layer of perogies on the parchment paper and then another layer of parchment on top and repeated the process until we had about 3 or four layers of perogies per baking tray/casserole dish. Then I flash froze them until they were frozen solid and transferred them into freezer bags where they will stay until I’m ready to cook them!

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

 

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfoodWe danced, we sang, we stuffed perogies and my family filled my freezer with little Ukrainian potato dumplings while I took pictures of them. Thanks ladies! You’re the best:) 

Then we had a big family lunch together that consisted of a few dozen of our freshly-made perogies, some traditional Ukrainian Kielbasa (garlic sausage), some of my homemade sauerkraut and a side of homemade pickled beets, of course.

These traditional Ukrainian perogies are made from scratch with simple ingredients and cost just pennies a piece. This perogies recipe makes enough to feed a large family and put some away in the freezer for later. A great frugal food to fill your belly and make your dollars stretch! #perogies #perogiesrecipe #ukrainianperogies #frugalfood #freezercooking #ukrainianfood

 

Simple, Delicious Food Made From Humble Ingredients

If you’ve never had a Ukrainian meal, my friend, then you’ve never really lived.

Some other staples of Ukrainian cuisine include cabbage rolls and Borscht, a simple, frugal beet soup recipe that is as healthy as it is cheap to make! 

Because at the end of the day, traditional Ukrainian food is really just peasant food, and in my opinion and experience, peasant food is the best food in every culture…

It’s food that costs pennies to make and can feed a village. It’s food that utilizes simple, humble ingredients -things like homegrown cabbage, potatoes and beets- and turns them into something glorious and delicious. It’s comfort food that sticks to your ribs and keeps you going through a long winter. But most of all it’s food that brings people together, both in the making and eating of it. And after all, isn’t that what all good food should aspire to do?

 


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23 Comments

  1. Andy

    Really enjoyed this. I looked up the word perogies and this was one of the first entries. I learned a lot. A better read than wikipedia for sure. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. lena

    “passed down through generations in my family”

    No it wasn’t.

    There was no such thing as cheddar cheese in Ukraine or Poland. It was made with a farmer’s cheese that was similar to cottage cheese, if using any cheese at all. That was a luxury. Cheddar is an Americanization of our food. As they do with everything…

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      This is true. However my great grandma used to make hers here in Canada with cheddar cheese, so it has, in fact, been passed down through at least three generations in my family (great grandma to grandma, grandma to mom and aunt, mom and aunt to me and now my daughter makes them with me:)

      Reply
      • Kristine

        Amazing. Ok yes a lot of work. I did it over 2 days. But Holy cow are these good. I ended up with filling leftover. Hello potato pancakes!!

        Reply
  3. Kali

    This is the BEST dough recipe! So simple and was the easiest I have ever worked with. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  4. BJ

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane! I really miss pierogies and the other yummy goodies – wheat gives me wicked vertigo so I haven’t had these in years. (I saw your comment about finding some GF recipes online – I’ll have to do that.)

    I’m half Slovak and Granny used to make these when she came to visit. Hers were the best. Mom’s were really good but not quite as good as Granny’s (shhh – don’t tell Mom!). The potato/cottage cheese or sauerkraut ones were standard in our house.

    Pierogies, sauerkraut, and kielbassa are “soul food” to me! I strongly dislike beets but can eat Ukrainian borscht all day long.

    Thanks again for the memories!!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      I’m part Slovak too. My grandpa was Slovak. I am all about the Ukrainian “soul food” as that’s mine too! And while I don’t dislike beets, by far my favourite way to enjoy them is either pickled or in borscht:)

      Reply
  5. Connie MacKinnon

    Your dough recipe tasted just like my Mom’s who passed 20 years ago. Thank you! When I made perogies as a child with my Mom, we always boiled all the perogies after making them – even those that were to go into the freezer. I’m remembering my Mom saying that they dry out if you didn’t cook them and drizzle them with butter before freezing. But times change. Can the perogies be frozen without being boiled – then boiled from frozen as with commercially sold perogies? Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Connie,

      I never cook them before I freeze them. Just flash freeze them by laying them (uncooked) on a tray lined with parchment paper until they’re frozen, then transfer them to a freezer bag! Cook from frozen whenever you’re ready. They tend to last well up to 3 months in the freezer, but in all honesty I’ve kept them up to 6 months and cooked them and they’ve been just fine:)

      Reply
  6. Tanya

    Thank you so much for this recipe:) The traditional simple dough recipe was exactly what I was looking for, and my pierogis turned out so amazing. Best batch I’ve ever made!! Just like Baba’s. My husband said they are hands down the most delicious pierogis he’s ever eaten.
    After mixing the potatoes and onions, I divided the filling into four bowls and did four varieties…cheddar, sauerkraut mushroom, cottage cheese green onion, and jalapeño cream cheese cheddar:) Great way to spend a day during this Covid lockdown! Thanks again!!

    Reply
    • Tirzah

      Hi Anna,
      Thank you so much for this recipe! My German/Russian Mennonite grandmother used to make these and we had her recipe recorded, but it was lost. I have been searching for a long time for a perogie recipe that looked right and this is the first recipe I’ve come across that really sounds like the way she used to make them. I’m so excited and can’t wait to try it out!

      Reply
    • Tracey

      How much of the different fillings did you use in each variation? I’d like to try all four!

      Reply
  7. Greg

    This recipe is damn near spot on to my Babas. I made these last night and talk about a home run. I would love to see any of youre other Ukranian recipes like borscht and cabbage rolls.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it! This is the exact recipe my Baba (my GREAT grandma) used to use. I’m not sure what her mother used before coming to Canada as they probably wouldn’t have had access to cheddar cheese back then! I’m thinking the filling was probably a mixture of potatoes and cottage cheese. I’m so glad you enjoyed and will definitely be adding more Ukrainian family recipes in the future!

      Reply
  8. Greg

    I loved this read, it brought me back to a simpler time filled with lots of warm memories. Thank you for sharing, My Baba passed 15 years ago and with her passing so did alot of things. I never had the privilege of learning how to cook traditional Ukrainian food so im winging it now. If they taste half as good as the pics posted i cant wait to grab a spoonful of sour cream!

    Reply
  9. Leah Bosch

    I have always wanted to make Perogies but have always been intimidate do it. My family loves them and cabbage rolls, so I have been searching the web for simple recipes for both, and your website with your family tradition is what caught my eye. I love that you do it all together as a family, so I am going to try your recipe and get my children to help me, and who knows, maybe we will start a tradition of our own? I hope so, anyway, I just wanted to say Thank You for sharing your wonderful tradition and recipe with us.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Leah,

      I’m so glad you found this recipe because it truly is really simple. Plus many hands make light work (and make any sort of kitchen prep more fun!) so if you can get your family on board, all the better:)

      Reply
  10. Krista Chambers

    Just curious how many perogies this makes? I’m having a perogy making day with my friends and want to plan so we all have enough to take home a few doz.

    Thanks so much! I’m going to definitely use this recipe for our day!
    Krista

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hey Krista!

      I actually had to call up my aunt and ask her. This is her recipe! So depending on how large you make the rounds and how full you fill them, etc. you should get about 150-200 perogies out of this batch. Sometimes I find I have extra dough leftover, sometimes extra potatoes. It’s sort of a rough science! But you’ll definitely get quite a few dozen:)

      Reply
  11. Lindy

    This is such a beautiful tradition that you have!
    We make pierogies every November, so your recipe and blog post caught my eye.

    Thank you for so carefully writing out your recipe and taking pictures.

    All the best to you and yours!

    Reply
  12. lorraine

    I have many fond memories of making these with my polish friend and family. They would make around 600 at a time. After the first time working with them doing one at a time I had a plan for the next cooking session. I bought her mom a metal ravioli maker. I told her we were making Italian style ones. She was sold when 12 at once could be done. A few years afterward I notice they do make pierogi shaped mold too, but we all got to like the square ones. Her daughter likes to pass the dough through a pasta maker gadget on her stand mixture a few times before hand rolling which helps as well to get that dough to spread out more and faster. My best friend passed away a couple years ago and I finally worked up courage last winter to do up some by myself. I missed having her in the kitchen with me but it was wonderful to enjoy some homemade pierogi again. Great recipe even for an Italian.

    Reply
  13. Stacy Blackwell

    Love your blog and newsletters since I am a homesteader at heart yet live in the suburbs. I always make everything from scratch due to food allergies. Do you know if these can be made with a gluten free flour blend? Nothing beats old fashioned flour and bread recipes but it makes my family sick. So sad. Anyway, I browse your site and think of ways to make your recipes work for us with our substitutions and just wondered if you had any experience with subing ingredients in your recipes. Again, love your posts. Looking forward to more. And thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Stacy! That’s so nice of you to say. I honestly haven’t tried them with a gluten-free substitute, so I can’t speak from personal experience. However I just did a quick Google search and found a bunch of different recipes with gluten free dough options. You could certainly do a search and decide on a dough option that works best for you and use the same filling recipe from these perogies. I do need to branch out and try out some gluten-free options! We don’t seem to have any sensitivities to gluten in our family so we usually stick with the standard. However you can look forward to many naturally gluten-free recipes coming up as I embark on the Keto diet next month. I’ll be talking more about that in next week’s newsletter so be sure to keep an eye out! All the best. Anna

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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I have a confession to make...

I don’t like radishes. But I love to grow them, which has created quite a dilemma in the past. That is, until I discovered ROASTED RADISHES!

Talk about a game changer! Roasting radishes completely takes the bite out of radishes (ya know, that spiciness that fresh radishes are known for). Plus, the addition of honey butter elevates even the most boring side dish of radishes to a dish you’re gonna wanna lick clean! Not that I’ve done that or anything 😳

My favourite radishes to grow are an heirloom variety called French Breakfast radishes (pictured here). They’re long and cylindrical rather than round and they’re an absolute beauty in the garden and on a plate!

But any radishes will work for this recipe. And if you’ve got some fresh thyme growing in your herb garden, toss in a few sprigs to compliment the flavours in this dish.

I’ve gone from disliking radishes to literally salivating over this dish, so much so that I had to share the recipe!

Whether or not you love radishes fresh, these roasted radishes are a total game changer and a sure crowd pleaser. But don’t take my word for it. Do yourself a favour and try ‘em for yourself:)

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/roasted-radishes-with-honey-butter/
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#radishes #roastedradishes #radishrecipes #farmtotable #gardentotable #humanswhogrowfood #growfoodnotlawns #homesteadkitchen #nomnom #droolclub
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🕷 There was a time in my life when finding a nest of spiders on my garden gate, VERY close to the handle, would have easily been considered one of my worst nightmares.

Seriously... Growing up I HATED spiders and was so terrified of them. One time there was a single spider on my grandma’s car window and I said “look Nanny, it’s Arachnophobia!” Anybody remember that movie? Let’s just say that it haunted me for many years of my life!

But when I started gardening and reconnecting with nature, suddenly spiders went from being something I was afraid of to something I welcomed on our property.

In the spring, I love seeing the garden spiders (I have no clue what they’re actually called) running around close to my fingers as I plant out seeds, many of them carrying large egg sacs on their back.

In the fall I love watching orb spiders spin their webs that capture the last of the summer rays and the first of the fall raindrops on their silky threads.

Even in the bathroom (why do spiders gravitate to the bathroom??) I always try not to kill the spiders that I find, but relocate them to the garden instead. A healthy garden is teeming with spiders and worms and butterflies and bees. A healthy garden is full of healthy life, and just like good bacteria helps ward off bad bacteria in our bodies, so too do the “good bugs” help to control the bad bugs in the garden, and spiders are one of the most beneficial bugs when it comes to that!

It’s amazing how much living close to the land changes you and gives you a greater respect for all life. As much as I’m still not ready to put my hands out and hold a spider (I literally passed out when I was a kid and tried to hold someone’s pet tarantula), I am learning to coexist with all things, and appreciate the unique purpose that every living thing serves here on Earth.

As much as it may seem like we have nothing in common, if you take a moment to just observe nature or sit in stillness by your garden gate, you’re sure to realize we all have more in common than most people might think.
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