The Best Vareniki Dough Recipe – How to Make Vareniki S Syrom (Вареники с Сыром)

the best vareniki recipe
“The best” anything, I’ve noticed, often comes down to what one has grown up loving. When it comes to taste, calling something “good” is a highly individual thing and labeling something “best” is — I admit — laughably subjective. So in saying that this dough recipe produces the best vareniki [1] I’ve ever had, I assume you know I claim no objectivity.

You see, I don’t have a Russian/Ukrainian/Polish/Etc. grandmother (except an imaginary one), and so I didn’t grow up eating filled dumplings made in the various Eastern European traditions. This also means I was never one of those who walk the earth with a memory of their grandma’s infallible dumplings as the measuring rod against which every dumpling is evaluated either. You could say that, dumpling-wise, I was tabula rasa.

Then, a few years ago, somebody wrote on that previously blank slate.
In a small Ukrainian city, lying sleepily at the bank of the Dnieper, I had the privilege of being served a plate of homemade Vareniki s Syrom (Вареники с Сыром), boiled Ukrainian dumplings with soft farmer’s cheese filling. As part of lunch, hundreds of warm dumplings, simply adorned with a huge glob of Russian-style sour cream, smetana (сметана), [2] was brought out to us from a kitchen manned by Baba, a kind and kinetic Ukrainian grandmother whose tiny 90-lb body packs at least 500 lbs’ worth of energy.

After that meal, the Eastern European-style dumplings I’d had before became mediocre and the ones I had yet to have became irrelevant.

What makes these vareniki special? The dough.

Of course, the fillings matter. In the days that followed, Baba also made her famous vareniki with potato and sour cabbage fillings topped with crispy bits of salo and fried onions, etc., all of which were very delicious. But really, it is the dough that sets her vareniki apart from everything I’d had before. It’s tender, yet with just the right amount of chewiness. And what I mean by “the right amount of chewiness” is that anything more tender than that would be too limp and soggy, and anything more chewy than that would be too tough.

I was impressed.

After that trip to Ukraine, I made Google search for me the best vareniki/pierogi dough recipes out there. I experimented with several. And while 3-4 were really good, none came close to Baba’s, in my opinion.

Long story short, I’d later found out that Valya, Baba’s only child, had mastered how to make Baba’s vareniki dough. My friends, her two daughters, have also been trained to make vareniki in the exact same way Baba has done for decades. These women make vareniki following the same protocol and it seems nobody has ever dared to mess with Baba’s recipe. (Why would they?) I still remember letting out a chuckle when Valya and her younger daughter were in the kitchen one time showing me how to boil vareniki. “Boil them for one minute. One full minute. One minute only!,” they said in unison.

That was so cute and funny at the same time.

the best vareniki recipe
And now you’re wondering what the secret to Baba’s tender-yet-chewy dough is. Kefir. That’s what.

But, you see, to Baba and her offspring, it’s really not a secret; it is the only way to make vareniki to them. And if you ever make an exclamation upon learning this secret (while your mind conjures up the previously failed attempts at making decent vareniki), “Ah, kefir! I never thought of that!” like I did to them, they would probably give you the isn’t-that-how-everyone-else-makes-vareniki? deadpan look like they did me.

vareniki recipe

Boil the vareniki for one full minute and one minute only!
This makes perfect sense. The 3-4 recipes that I’d experimented with before all call for lactic acid in the form of either yogurt or sour cream. The results from these recipes were superior to the rest. And had Valya not shown me the way, I would have lived comfortably with those recipes. They’re good enough.

But since Baba’s dough is the best, I got down on my knees and begged Valya for this recipe. I didn’t even have to try that hard for she graciously obliged.

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Vareniki Dough Recipe from Valya - How to Make Vareniki S Syrom (Вареники с Сыром)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Serves: Makes 20
  • Approximately 2-3 cups of the mixture of all-purpose flour and bread flour (1:1 ratio) - I use King Arthur flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup full-fat plain kefir
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup of farmer’s cheese (See notes)
  • 1 large egg (See notes)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, optional (I like it; you may not)
  1. Put about 2 cups of the flour mixture into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Add the baking soda, salt, and egg to the well; mix.
  3. As you mix the dry ingredients with the egg, gradually add the kefir; mix everything together.
  4. With one hand, knead the dough lightly right in the mixing bowl. The mixture must form a supple ball of dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl. if the dough is too sticky, add more flour, a bit at a time. (The flour will become more hydrated once the dough sits for 15 minutes after the mixing and less sticky then. So don’t put in too much flour just yet. Put in just enough for you to be able to knead the dough without it sticking to your fingers too badly. If in doubt, err on the side of adding too little flour; you can always add more later.)
  5. Knead the dough lightly for about 30 seconds. We don’t want to develop too much gluten which will result in vareniki that are too tough.
  6. Form the dough into a ball, cover, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes and up to one hour.
  7. Roll the dough into a long log and cut it into 20 pieces.
  8. Dust each piece of dough with more flour while roughly shaping it into a flat medallion.
  9. Roll each medallion into a 3-inch round, dusting the rolling pin as necessary.
  10. Fill each round of dough with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese filling.
  11. Seal each varenik very well making sure the cheese filling doesn’t ooze out.
  12. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil; throw in some salt and drop the filled vareniki into the pot one by one. Give it a stir to keep the vareniki from sticking together. Adjust the heat so the water constantly remains at full boil.
  13. Boil the vareniki for one minute, no more and no less.
  14. Put a few pats of butter in a plate. With a slotted spoon, fish out the vareniki (shaking off as much water as you can) and place them in the butter plate. Give the vareniki a gentle shake just to allow the melted butter to coat them very well.
  15. Serve the buttered vareniki warm with lots of sour cream.
1. For the farmer’s cheese, look for tvorog or Russian-style farmer’s cheese which is firmer than other types of farmer’s cheese on the market; otherwise use regular farmer’s cheese or well-drained ricotta, fluffed with a fork. 2. The egg is necessary only if you use tvarog. But if you can’t find tvorog, there’s no need to add the egg for your farmer’s or ricotta cheese is already soft enough to use as is as the filling.

[1] Vareniki (вареники) is the plural form of varenik (вареник). While the localization — in this case, Anglicization — of foreign words is something natural (linguistically speaking) and cannot be stopped, I still feel weird saying “varenikis”.” It’s like saying, “My childrens caught a few mices today and fed them to the geeses.” Other already-plural foreign words such as this include, though are by no means limited to, seraphim, cherubim, pizzelle, pierogi, and panini.

[2] Which tastes more like crème fraîche than American sour cream to me.

75 Responses to The Best Vareniki Dough Recipe – How to Make Vareniki S Syrom (Вареники с Сыром)

  1. KennyT April 12, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    I want these!!

    • Cathy December 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

      The best pierogi I’ve ever had was from a Polish Church in Wilbraham MA…until now! Tried your recipe and it’s a close runner up! Great directions and soooo delicious. I sautéed cabbage and onions in butter, salt and pepper and filled. My families favorite filling is blueberries – take 1 quart fresh or frozen blueberries add 1/2 cup sugar and 2-3 tbs flour, may have to add a few drops of water to get mixture to coat. Fill and boil 1 minute. I seal pierogi in boilable bags, freeze and defrost and place bag in boiling water to heat. The dough is so tender ashame to fry! Thanks for sharing your recipe and story.

      • Nina Kersho July 13, 2013 at 9:38 am #

        Yes, the recipe sounds fine, however, the worst thing you can do is to leave the dough for an hr or so- stuff it immediately after the daugh stopped sticking to the hands, otherwise you’ll loose the “perfect puffiness”. Also opt for a tub of bottage cheese- just lightl drain it yourself & don’t add an egg to the cheese, then you’ll get results as close as in the Ukraine.

  2. Cucinista April 12, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    These look so delicious and inspiring to make. I shall try them out, and remember to boil for one full minute and one minute only (ha!).

  3. Colette April 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Wow, I’ve never heard of these…but just from reading your story I’m dying to try the recipe! It’s such great pleasure to learn a recipe for something you’ve loved and have been trying to replicate for soo long!Thanks for sharing!

  4. Rick April 12, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    These look so good, have to find more time to try these. And only 1 minute….


  5. 5 Star Foodie April 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Aw, this post makes me nostalgic about my childhood! Making vareniki was my favorite thing to do with my mom when I was little! It was probably the first thing I’ve learned how to cook 🙂 These look terrific!

  6. Manggy April 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    Oh, you won’t find me complaining about sugar in the filling! 🙂 I’ve never had these before but I imagine it would be very easy to fall in love with them 🙂

  7. LetMeEatCake Eat With Me! April 14, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’ve only had Vareniki once in my life but i have fond memories of it!

  8. Anonymous April 15, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Do you think I might be able substitute butter milk in place of the kefir? I can’t tolerate kefir or yogurt,out of all the dairy products I can have a little cheese and butter milk. I have a lactose intolerance. Thank you for the delicious recipe.

  9. Leela April 15, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Anonymous – I think buttermilk should be okay as a substitute.

  10. Brie: Le Grand Fromage April 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    I also bow down to simple, authentic recipes passed down through generations. I agree that nothing compares to an old fashioned recipe from someone’s Baba. Thank you for sharing – I will definitely keep this recipe!

  11. OysterCulture April 16, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    Oh yum, and oh “of course” kefir that makes so much sense. I cannot wait to try making these vareniki. They sound incredible!

  12. Tara April 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    lol when I first saw it, I thought they were Durians.

  13. nakedbeet May 8, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    As a native Russian, I love them but these were not a family specialty. Thank you Valya for sharing, I’m really looking forward to filling these up.

  14. Justin July 22, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    If you are looking for tvarog outside of Ukraine, you should pronounce it with the Russian accent: tvarok. I have found that not all Russians understand the Ukrainian variant.

  15. Leela July 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Justin – Thanks for the tip. It’s easier to pronounce the voiceless final г the Russian way than the voiced glottal fricative the Ukrainian way anyway.

  16. Ariel August 9, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    I’m trying to find a good recipe for pelmeni, but several websites that I’ve looked for recipes on mention cooking the dumplings longer (5-7 minutes) to make sure the meat is all the way cooked. The thing I am concerned about is when you talked about cooking the vareniki for only 1 minute, will it destroy the dough?

  17. Leela August 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Ariel – Now that I think about it, the whole time I’ve been fed these vareniki by Valya and her family, I’ve never had vareniki with meat fillings. And if there’s some meat in it, e.g. the crispy salo (сало) and sauerkraut filling, everything is pre-cooked. So there’s never been a need to cook the filled vareniki longer than a minute.

    The protein in the dough (in the form of wheat gluten) becomes tough when boiled at a high temperature for too long. That’s what we want to avoid.

    Some versions of Siberian pelmini (пельмени) are filled with raw meat, but they’re smaller in size than these vareniki and, I assume, hence shorter boiling. I guess if you use this dough to make similar dumplings with raw meat fillings, you may want to make them smaller so the time in which they’re in the boiling water can be as close as one minute as possible.

    How small? You can experiment by forming a test dumpling with raw meat filling then boiling it hard for one minute. Check to see if the raw meat is entirely cooked. If not:
    *the overall size of the dumpling needs to be smaller
    *the size can remain the same with the dough:filling ratio adjusted (less amount of filling, same amount of dough)
    *the filling may need to be spread out more thinly (too bulky and the inside may not be entirely cooked).

    Once you come up with a test dumpling that survives the boiling water without turning tough and rubbery with the raw meat inside thoroughly cooked, you have a prototype. Then you can confidently use the rest of the dough and the filling to make dumplings exactly like your prototype.

  18. Andrei Nikulinsky August 11, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    Thank you so much. The video was also very helpful.


  19. Hagit Levy September 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    In our family we call it Pirogi,usually with mashed potatoes filling,eaten with a lot of fried onions.
    Pelminis are very small,usually filled with raw meat,when making Pirogi(they are bigger)with meat we usually use pre-cooked meat.
    I love this story and the photos so I must try this one,but don’t tell my Mom!!

  20. Leela September 1, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Hagit – Thanks. Your secret’s safe with me.

    Yep, they’re essentially the same thing with minor variations. Pelmini, as you said, are different than the others, because they’re filled with raw meat and, therefore, smaller to ensure the time it takes to cook the meat is not so long that the dough is ruined.

  21. Joy Ang November 25, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    This looks like a great recipe! Will it be okay if I make the dough and then let it sit overnight in the fridge for the next day?

  22. Leela November 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Joy – I’ve never done that, so I can’t speak from experience. However, this being more or less pasta dough and since pasta dough generally can be refrigerated overnight, I think it should be okay if you wrap the dough well with a piece of plastic wrap.

  23. Anonymous December 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Vareniki dough made with kefir and soda turns out larger. It is best to steam them, not boil. Because they will expend huge in boiling water. Vareniki made with traditional dough (flour + water + egg + salt) can be smaller and should be boiled.

  24. Anonymous December 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    hi, how much soda should i put in, for 2 cups of flour. a pinch :)?

  25. Leela December 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    Anon – 1/4 teaspoon would do.

  26. Anonymous December 23, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe! I had trouble finding full-fat kefir, so I used kefir with 1% milfat instead. It was still the best pierogi dough I’ve ever made! Sure, it’s a bit fluffier than I’m used to, but the dough is incredibly easy to work with and the flavor is fanstastic. Also, I used a pre-cooked meat filling and it worked out beautifully.

  27. Anonymous February 23, 2011 at 5:19 am #

    Great recipe ,but you can also try morello (sour) cherries and sugar filling. It’s to die for.

  28. Leela February 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    Anon – oh, yes, 🙂

  29. Anonymous March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Hi, I recently had some delicious pierogi in Brooklyn that were sweet. They had a slightly sweet, grainy cheese filling and they seemed to be boiled then lightly panfried in butter. The part that was the most interesting to me was that the outer part of the dough had a sweet taste as well. Almost as if they were somehow fried in sugar and butter giving the outside a slightly carmelized crust. They were sooo yummy. Ever heard of anything like this? I would love to try your dough to duplicate this. Do you think the farmers cheese is the way to go for the filling?

  30. Leela March 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Anon – The sweet, grainy cheese filling description exactly fits the way I would describe Russian-style farmer’s cheese (tvorog). Go with the driest, most dense kind and thin it out a bit with eggs, then sweeten with sugar to taste. You can’t go wrong with that. The consistency of your filling should be like that of ricotta cheese once the egg(s) and sugar have already mixed in.

    No, never seen or had vareniki in syrupy coating, but those sound delicious! I figure you could get the same effect by making these vareniki with sweetened filling, boil them, sear them in butter to crisp up the outsides, then sprinkle some sugar on them while they’re hot. I’m going to have to try that. Thanks a lot. 🙂

  31. Anonymous March 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Thanks so much for the speedy reply! i have already gone to the store to get the kefir and farmer”s cheese (couldn’t find Russian variety, but will continue to look for it). I was thinking of dipping boiled, 1 minute only, pierogi in powdered sugar before searing them in butter. Even if it’s not exactly the same, I don’t think it could be bad. 🙂

  32. Triannas Treasures April 1, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    This recipe is similar to one my grandmother used to make long ago. The dough and filling are practically the same except she also added a few chives and salt and pepper to the filling. Afterwards she would serve them with a sauce consisting of bacon, chopped small and fried with some more chives, then she would turn the pan down and add full fat cream and lots of pepper. It was delicious served over the Vereniki. She called the sauce something that sounded like Avriabro I think but have no idea how it should be written or even quite where she came from.

  33. Leela April 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    TT – Aw, man. That does delicious! How can you go wrong with cheese filling, cream, chives, and bacon!

    Avriabo doesn’t ring a bell, but the description reminds me of a Lithuanian sauce that is made out of cream, bacon, and chives LR onion. It’s usually served over meat-filled potato dumplings, though.

  34. 49a02e80-8f3c-11e0-af8a-000bcdcb8a73 June 5, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    Here is a link to a recipe for making your own tvorog. :o)

  35. 49a02e80-8f3c-11e0-af8a-000bcdcb8a73 June 5, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this page. My family is German but came from Russia, where they farmed at the invitation of Katherine the Great in the Volga River Valley. They brought with them a recipe for something they called varinga. We have tried repeatedly to reproduce our grandmother’s recipe, but have failed, not miserably, but they are mostly tough. I am excited to try your recipe, but am awaiting the arrival of my kefir grains so that I can make whole milk kefir. I will also be making my own tvorog with the above mentioned recipe. We also filled them with simple mashed (but not creamed) potatoes with salt and lots of cracked black pepper, apples cooked with a little sugar and cinnamon, and sour cherries. We would fold them differently for the different fillings if we were making a large batch. Four corners for the fruit filled, three for the cheese and simple half moon for the potato. We like them best boiled then fried in butter covered in homemade sour dough buttered croutons.

  36. 49a02e80-8f3c-11e0-af8a-000bcdcb8a73 June 5, 2011 at 6:41 am #

    oh, also, after boiling and cooling, they freeze beautifully. To eat frozen varinki, just pop into a frying pan of melted butter over low to medium low heat, top with buttered croutons and mmmmmmmm.

  37. Anonymous November 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    My husband is of Polish descent, I absolutely love the idea of this recipe as every single time we tried they were tough. Hopefully, this is the key!! I will try this recipe with other stuffing also, can I panfry after boiling for one minute?? Would panfrying make it tough?? I am eagerly hoping to hear your response. Thank you.

  38. Admin November 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Anon – Yes! I’ve done it many times. The key is to prepare the pan while the dumplings are boiling, then fish the dumplings out of the pot with a perforated spoon, shake off the water, and add them to the pan right away.

  39. Anonymous December 13, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    My grandmother and mother used to make these for us, too. I’ve never mastered them, tho.

    In addition to sauteing with onions, our family tradition is to bake them in cream. I don’t usually see that treatment when I’ve researched them, but are they great in cream!

  40. Admin December 13, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    Anon – Thanks for sharing. I’m all for anything baked in cream.

  41. harry February 29, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Loved your recipe and your article. Thank you. Only wished you had written the words in Cyrillic in Ukrainian instead of Russian. 🙂

  42. Admin February 29, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    harry – Sorry. 🙂 Hey, Valya is Ukrainian, but she speaks Russian in the video too. I’m just following suit.

  43. Carol Boljevic May 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

    I remember as a child, sitting and watching my mother make vareniki. Thank you for the wonderful post and recipe. These will be on my table this weekend.

  44. Anonymous June 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    if i wanted to make them for a dinner and was pressed for time the day of the dinner could i make them one of the days leading up to the dinner and freeze or refrigerate them? how many days in advance can i make them? and do i have to compensate with the boiling time if they were frozen?

  45. Admin June 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Anon – I’m sorry. I’ve never done that. So no first-hand experience.

    Anyone want to help us out?

  46. anna yurchenko June 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    You can easily freeze vareniki, I would add an extra min if you are cooking frozen or just pick one apart and experiment as you go. Frozen vareniki are sold everywhere in Ukraine:)
    Just picked some sour cherries and making the summer staple of Ukrainian cuisine.

  47. chris herzeca August 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    i plan to make potato vareniki for my mom’s birthday (90th), but i don’t remember her mom using any dairy in the dough. little bit of baking soda makes sense. what am i missing if i skip the dairy in the dough recipe?

  48. Admin August 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    chris – The lactic acid in cultured dairy, such as kefir, makes the dough more tender. Not every recipe calls for it.

  49. chris herzeca August 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    thanks for reply. just wondering if the lactic acid in dough might make more sense with vereniki with sweet filling (balance) than with savory like potato and onion

  50. Admin August 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    chris – In my opinion, not really. This family uses the same dough for both savory and sweet fillings. The dough is tender not as in “soft and wimpy” but as in “not tough.” This is the very reason I like this recipe, actually. Other dough recipes for vareniki/pierogi which I’ve tried tend to produce tough and rubbery shells. Not this one. And you don’t taste the kefir in the finished products.

  51. chris herzeca August 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    thanks! i’ll give it a try.

  52. chris September 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm #


    so just prepared my first batch of vareniki, about to boil. felt that i had a harder time than the vareniki muse in forming them, then went to video again and saw that she put the flattened dough in her hand to spoon in filling and then form, while i put the filling into the disk while still on the table and picked it up to form.

    big difference! cook and learn.

    in any event, love the dough and the idea of using kefir. thanks for this posting as now i feel i can make vareniki for 20 at my mom’s 90th birthday.


  53. Sam September 26, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    First, I must tell you that I thought this was something my grandmother concocted and took the “recipe” to her grave. So many of her specialties were just that, food from the old country with no measurements. As a child I would watch her make my absolute favorite treat, cherry varanikas, yes with the plural. Simple boiled dough with cherries. I have my mother’s recipe box in which she tried to recreate Nana’s goodies, but no varenikas. I’m not sure about the kefir, but I am relieved to know there is a way to make these goodies. You have taken me back over 50 years to the smell of love from my Nana’s kitchen and for that I thank you.

  54. lilly December 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    I made these last year using whole milk greek yogurt and sour cream. They came out fantastic and the kids are begging for them again. Will make a batch soon! This time with leftover mashed potatoes/ cheese, sauteed in butter and chopped sauteed onions and pepper. YUM with a nice glass of savignon blanc.

    • Leela December 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

      Love comments like this that suggest more ways to achieve great results. Very helpful. Thank you.

  55. Pam January 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Thank you for the story and recipe…I grew up in a Ukrainian family and Saturdays when Granny was over the perogies were made with my Mum and served in a red corning bowl which I still have – and cherish. The result was always the best Saturday night dinners with my long gone family members. While these ingredients and techniques are different than what I observed…it brought back wonderful memories. Thank you!

  56. moms dish April 19, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    Your pictures look beautiful. I definitely think that cooking only for a minute is not enough, usually they would float to the top when they are ready.

  57. Debbie July 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    This looks amazing! This is my favorite Russian food. I always had it with a potato and onion filling. Do you have a recipe for this filling? I would love to make them that way if you do!

    Also a side note, Perogies in Russia are a different thing. It’s a bread with a filling and is often street food.

  58. Christine July 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Is the kefir warmed,cold,room temp?

    • Leela July 10, 2013 at 3:40 am #

      Christine – Cold or room temp.

  59. Alena October 4, 2013 at 1:28 am #

    Dont use regular low fat butter milk it does not turn out the same … They turned out really ugly after cook cuz they opened up

  60. Tatiana October 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Great recipe. I have question. Can i use this for a apple filling. if yes, what would be a filling recipe?
    Also can I freeze them?
    I also want make vareniki with a carrots? Any suggestions?

  61. Dew December 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    I been looking for this recipe for years,My grandma made these.She was from the Volga river valley.Is it possible to get the recipe for the Patato,cabbage and onion filling that I so loved 50-55 years ago when she made these.I will be making these soon!! thanks for the info you put up! and ThankYou

    • Alya February 20, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      All you need to do is sauté cabbage after shredding it in a food processor unless you don’t mind cutting it by hand. You can use sour kraut also or instead of fresh cabbage after squeezing liquid out and sautéing it in a skillet adding different spices.
      For the potatoes you just need to cook pulled potatoes and after smashing it add desired spices.
      Weather you chose cabbage or potatoes just cook / make it to the point and taste you would like to eat wheat her it is a feeling for vareniki or a dish by itself.

  62. Alya February 20, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Great recipe

    Since I personally have never made vareniki I was looking for it on the internet and was happy to find this one.
    Portions worked perfectly and I did use 1 cup buttermilk instead of kefir.
    I also used cabbage for filling, that is how my grandmother used to make them. I will try the farmers cheese too as that was another my childhood favorite.
    I have not had vareniki since my childhood and finding this recipe brought nostalgia.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  63. Lilly April 2, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    Hi, i’m back to report that I make these, still using whole greek yogurt in the dough. I have tried mashed potato/sourkraut filling with spices, cheeses of all kinds with great success, minced sausages/sauteed cabbage/onions. I took them to my Ukrainian/Polish parents and they loved them, Dad couldn’t inhale them fast enough, lol, as mom is too tired to cook [she’s 80+ with health issues]. They were thrilled that I am able to replicate and pass down our heritage. I make these for holidays, Easter is coming soon, so here I am again!
    PS- sometimes I just use plain sharp cheeses for the filling and always saute them in butter and minced onions after the boil. Still so tasty with a good white wine!

  64. Katya Greene April 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Thanks, I like your variation of using the Kefir in the dough, interesting addition I’ve never seen before. I will try it for my own vareniki at home. I make the dough for our church and I think I’ve made 10’s of 1,000’s of Vareniki by now and I can tell you a little short cut that will make your life much easier. Just roll out the entire ball of dough (or separate into 3 or 4 manageable pieces) out to desired thickness (about 1/8″ – if you are lucky enough to have a pasta maker, this is the time to use it) and cut out the circles with a 2″ cookie cutter or glass. Set the circles out on a floured tray and cover so they don’t dry out while you finish cutting. Re-roll as necessary, like making sugar cookies. Be careful not to get too much flour on the top sides of the circles as then they will be difficult to pinch closed. They will also be of uniform size and easier to work with. Fill as usual. If you ever fill them with mashed potato or a stiff type filling, prepare your mashed potatoes and let cool a little, then using a very small ice cream scoop (you can get these at any restaurant supply), fill a scoop with potato and unmold it on a plate. Continue scooping until you have used up all the potato filling. We call this “making the balls” at church. THEN begin taking the little circles, place a now cold little ball of potato in the middle and begin sealing them as usual. Much quicker and less labor intensive than cutting the dough out from that log one by one. Once filled, You can freeze them at this point too for later. Just place the finished vareniki on a parchment or tea towel lined tray(s) and set them, uncovered in the freezer overnight. Then the next day, you can just bag them up in zip lock bags for some other day. Then when you are ready to enjoy them again, get your salted water boiling and drop in the frozen vareniki, cook until tender. Meanwhile, fry up some nice onions in LOTS of butter, toss the finished vareniki in the pan and toss to coat. By the way, the “iki” in Vareniki denotes the diminutive of Varenik. Smatchnoho !

  65. Irena August 6, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    what is Kefir???

  66. Tanya August 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    I would like to point out that in the video Valya said, ‘Add vareniki into a boiling water and bring them to a boil. After they come to a complete boil, boil for a minute”… if vareniki are fresh. If vareniki are frozen then they need to allowed to boil longer or you’ll be eating raw dough. Hope this clarifies all of the confusion as how much vareniki need to be boiled. Also, those who are making meat filling- definitely cook at least 8 minutes. If you undercook, you’ll be eating raw meat and if you overcook, then all of the filling will come out of their shells. Leela and Valya, thank you so much for taking the time to write this post and for making the video, very nice work!!!!! Like you, I’ve tried a lot of recipes which led me to just simply go to the store and buy already made because they tasted horrible. I will let you know what comes out!:)

    • dew2 August 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      I respectively disagree,The size determines much of what you dispute.Then fresh or frozen also determines cook time.The best are fresh never frozen! and any pasta fresh takes no time at all in boiling water the meat in 212 degrees is done quickly.if they are bite sized and not huge.People skip steps and make lots oh so large.We here in the USA always want more for less.and skip steps and enlarge everything then expect the same cooking times.Over eaters we are the obesity here tells alot!

  67. Diamondbrite November 13, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    In my Germans from Russia family, these are called cheese buttons. I like the method of making the rounds in this recipe because it is easier to roll a small one than a huge sheet and cut them out. No waste and less drying of the dough.

    Boil them and eat them with fried, in butter, potatoes. Yummmm


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