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How To Cook Pierogies – The Best Ways

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Warm, golden perogies covered in rich butter are one of life’s guilty pleasures! They might not be the healthiest dinner in the world, but sometimes we all deserve a plate full of something we enjoy.

Whether you’re a fan of a savory pierogi drizzled in butter or a sweet jam-filled pierogi topped with sweet cream, there is a pierogi out there for everyone!

But what is the best way to cook pierogies? The traditional and best method for cooking pierogies is to quickly boil them in salted water then drizzle them with browned butter. However, if you are in a rush or want a simpler technique, then pre-cooked pierogies can be fried, grilled, oven-baked, or microwaved.

Want to learn more about the best way to cook pierogies? We have got all the answers and more for you!

We will take a look at the traditional methods used to cook pierogies and give you some tips on the best way to cook these tasty dumplings.

What Are Pierogies?

If you’ve never tried pierogies before, you really are in for a treat! They are one of the ultimate comfort foods, combining all of our favorite flavors in one meal.

Whoever dreamed up these mouthfuls of delicious flavor was an absolute genius!

A pierogi is a filled dumpling and is a staple foodstuff in Eastern Europe. It is not entirely clear where pierogies first originated, but it is thought that they most likely came from Poland.

In fact, the pierogi is so loved in Poland that it is their national food!

Pierogies consist of a thin layer of unleavened dough, normally a paste of flour and water. This dough is cut into rounds and the filling is placed in the middle of the circle.

The dough is folded over the filling to create a half-circle, and the edges are pressed together to seal the filling inside.

And with so many different choices of fillings, you could eat a plate of pierogies every night for months and not get bored.

We’re talking meat, cheese, spinach, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, mushroom—and that’s just the savory versions!

Savory pierogies are normally topped with sour cream and fried onions before serving. Other toppings include fried bacon pieces or mushrooms.

The traditional method for cooking pierogies involves basting them in melted butter, adding to the delicious indulgent flavor of this dish.

Dessert pierogies can be filled with fresh fruits, such as cherry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, apple, or plum.

Alternatively, they are sometimes filled with jam or fruit compote. Sweet pierogies are normally served warm with a topping of apple sauce, jam, or sour cream mixed with sugar.

How Are Pierogies Traditionally Cooked?

The traditional method of cooking pierogies is also undoubtedly the best way to cook them.

These delicious dumplings deserve to be cooked with tender care, and this method will ensure that you come as close as possible to the traditional Polish national dish.

The “proper” way to cook fresh or chilled pierogies is to boil them in a large pan of salted water. Only 5-6 pierogies are cooked at one time, so they have space to move around the pot.

Each batch is cooked for just 3-4 minutes, then removed with a slotted spoon.

At this point, the pierogies are cooked, but that isn’t the end of the story! Traditionally these indulgent dumplings were served with browned butter, but there is no consensus on the best way to do this.

The first suggestion is that you melt some butter in a pan over low heat, and then sauté your cooked perogies in the butter. This will give your dumplings a beautiful golden color and the rich butteriness we all adore.

Make sure that you pour any butter remaining in the pan over the pierogies before serving.

The other method is to brown the butter separately and pour it over the cooked pierogies. This seems to be the most popular method used by pierogi fans.

The dumplings will need to be thoroughly tossed in the liquid butter to ensure they are completely covered.

If you favor the second method, then you can also add your toppings to the butter as you brown it.

This will enrich the flavor of the browned butter and give you the best possible taste. Imagine delicious chunks of bacon, browned in butter and poured over your plump little pierogies – amazing!

How To Boil Pierogies

Let’s take a deeper look into how to boil pierogies. This is a simple method but it is vital to get the process right. Otherwise, you could end up with burst or overcooked dumplings!

Firstly, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil. This should be a rolling simmer—you don’t want a fast boil, but it should be hot enough to continue bubbling when the pierogies are added to the water.

Take your fresh or chilled pierogies and gently lower no more than 6 into the water with a slotted spoon.

It is easier to put them in 1-by-1 than attempting to put them all in together. They should sink to the bottom or swirl around gently in the middle of the pot.

After 3-5 minutes, the pierogies should start to rise and float on top of the water. At this point, they are cooked and can be removed from the water. Use your slotted spoon again and handle with care, otherwise they may burst!

Place the cooked pierogies onto a kitchen towel to drain excess water. At this point, they are cooked and ready to eat, but for best results either sauté them in butter or drizzle with browned butter and fried onions.

How To Fry Pierogies

Pierogies are normally sautéed in butter after boiling, but did you know that you can also skip the boiling step and cook them in the frypan?

This can be a great option if you are in a hurry, or simply want to cut down on the number of dirty dishes you’ll have to wash up.

Bear in mind that this isn’t a healthy method though—these pierogies will be crisp, buttery, and deliciously indulgent!

The success of this method depends on the type of pierogi you are trying to cook. If you are making fresh pierogies from scratch, you will get better results by boiling them first.

This helps to keep the dough soft and fluffy, rather than tough and crisp.

However, if you have bought chilled pierogies from the store then it is highly likely that they have already been precooked. Check the packaging carefully—if they are already cooked, then all you need to do is fry them!

To cook chilled pierogies in the frypan, firstly melt a generous amount of butter into the pan.

Dice some onion and add this to the butter over medium heat. Once the onion starts to caramelize, add your first batch of pierogies to the pan as well.

Using a spatula, flip each pierogi in the butter every minute or so. This will ensure they brown evenly and get a good coating of melted butter.

When each pierogi is golden brown on each side, remove them from the pan and serve. Don’t forget to pour the onions and melted butter over your cooked perogies, and a dollop of sour cream too!

If you have frozen pierogies, they will need to be defrosted before cooking in the frying pan. If cooked from frozen there is a chance that the outside will be brown and golden before the contents have completely thawed.

How To Cook Pierogies In An Air Fryer

The air fryer is one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen equipment you could buy, with a myriad of different uses. And guess what – they are great for cooking pierogies too!

Cooking pierogies in the air fryer gives the dough a beautifully crisp outer layer, with a soft and sumptuous velvety inner layer.

They will be slightly crisper than the traditional boiling method, but many people think that they taste even better for it.

Again, this method will work best with precooked store-bought pierogies.

You could try it with fresh homemade pierogies, but the dough is likely to be quite dry and crispy. However, this may be the way you like your pierogies, in which case go for it!

To cook pierogies in the air fryer, place a single layer of dumplings in the air fryer basket. Brush each dumpling with cooking oil—olive oil gives great results here.

This will help to stop them from sticking together, and also give the dough a light, crispy finish.

Set the air fryer to 400°F, and cook the pierogies for five or six minutes on each side. When cooked they will have a crisp, golden texture and the filling should be piping hot.

How To Cook Pierogies In The Microwave

Many people don’t realize that pierogies can be cooked in the microwave with great results! The moist filling will help to steam through the dough, cooking it quickly in just a few minutes.

You won’t get quite the same effect as the traditional boiling technique, but the microwave is a quick and easy alternative.

This method only works with pre-cooked chilled pierogies. If you have frozen dumplings, you can thaw them first in the microwave using the defrost setting. Fresh pierogies should be boiled rather than cooked in the microwave.

Place your pierogies onto a microwavable plate and add a small knob of butter on top of each dumpling. Cover the plate with plastic wrap—this will prevent the dough from drying out.

Microwave the pierogies on full power for 3 minutes, then have a quick peek. They should be steaming hot and covered in melted butter. If not, pop the microwave on for another 30 seconds until they are cooked.

How To Cook Pierogies From Frozen

Frozen pierogies can be bought from the store, or you may have some leftover at home which you popped into the freezer.

Most pierogies will already be pre-cooked, so just need heating through before eating. If they are not pre-cooked, then stick to the boiling method only.

Pre-cooked pierogies are easy to cook from frozen, using any of the following methods:


The traditional method of boiling pierogies works well for cooking frozen dumplings, both pre-cooked and raw. 

The great advantage of this technique is that you can pop them straight from the freezer into the boiling water without defrosting them first.

If your frozen pierogies are pre-cooked, they will need to be boiled for 3 minutes. Raw pierogies will take longer than this, so keep a close eye on them. When they float on the top of the water they are cooked.

Air Fryer

The air fryer is a quick and easy way to cook pre-cooked frozen pierogies. These little dumplings do not need to be defrosted before cooking using this method.

Use the same technique as cooking chilled pierogies in the air fryer, but extend the cooking time to seven minutes on each side.


Brush your pre-cooked frozen pierogies with oil or melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and cook at 400°F for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through the baking time.


Preheat the grill and place the pre-cooked frozen pierogies onto a grill pan. Brush them with oil or melted butter and grill until golden on both sides.

Deep Fry

Deep fry pre-cooked frozen pierogies in hot oil for around 4 minutes, until they are golden brown and float to the top of the pan.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the best ways to cook pierogies, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

What is the best way to store cooked pierogies?

Whether you’ve bought far too many pierogies from the store, or you’ve knocked up a large batch of homemade dumplings, you will need to store them correctly to keep them at their best.

Firstly, if the pierogies are not already cooked, it is a good idea to cook them in boiling water. This will help to keep them tasty and fresh, no matter how they are stored.

Your cooked pierogies can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. They must be kept in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Keep them away from strong-smelling foods to avoid tainting.

For longer storage, precooked pierogies keep really well in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is a good idea to lay them out on a baking tray until frozen, then pop them into a ziplock bag or airtight container.

This means you can take out exactly the amount you need when it comes to defrosting them.

Can cooked pierogies be reheated?

Whether you can reheat your cooked pierogies and what method you use depends on two things—how they were cooked in the first place, and what fillings they contain.

As with all foods, it is not advisable to reheat pierogies too many times. This is particularly important if your dumplings are stuffed with a meaty filling.

So, if you’ve filled your pierogies with left-over cooked meat and already cooked them once, it is not a good idea to heat them again! However, a freshly cooked pierogi with a fresh filling can safely be reheated at a later date.

If your cooked pierogies have been cooked by the boiling method only, then the perfect way to reheat them is by frying, grilling, or in the oven. Remember to brush them with oil or melted butter first for the authentic taste!

If you are in a rush, they can be reheated in the microwave, but the dough may turn soggy and unappetizing.

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