Beef and Cheese Piroshki

deep fried piroshki featured image

Beef and Cheese Piroshki: A Delicious Taste of Ukraine

Easter was a huge celebration in my Ukrainian Catholic family, with people and food packed into my grandmother’s house. One year, some of our recently immigrated cousins brought these delicious, meat filled rolls.  These warm, slightly crispy, dinner rolls are filled with savory mincemeat. I was young and my cousins didn’t speak a lot of English at the time, so I never knew what they were called. Everyone loved them though, and we’d always run out.

Those rolls lived rent free in my head for nearly a decade before I found out that they were called piroshki. With that knowledge, I was able to come up with a recipe that I have been using to make beef and cheese piroshki ever since.

Piroshki can be made with endless number of fillings. Beef, pork, cabbage, and potatoes (or any combination of those) are all common fillings. For this recipe, I’m using beef and cheddar cheese to fill my piroshki. I also really enjoy a filling of ground pork and onion. With so many filling options, you’ll find yourself making these piroshki over and over.

baked-piroshki-broken-open

How do I Make Beef and Cheese Piroshki?

The most important thing when making piroshki is the dough. I had always thought of piroshki as a kind of dinner roll, so that’s where I started when developing this recipe. At the time I had already been making these King Arthur dinner rolls , so I started with this as my base dough recipe. I particularly appreciate the quick rise time for this dough. King Arthur recommends only a 20 minute rise, though I frequently let it go for 40 minutes so that I have time to finish making my filling. Here are a couple of other tips that I’ve found over the years:

  • Freeze your yeast and don’t spend time heating liquids. If you read King Arthur’s roll recipe, they recommend heating the water and milk and pre-mixing them with the instant yeast. That’s great advice if there’s a risk that your yeast is dead, but if you keep your yeast in the freezer, you can skip it. Frozen yeast will keep for much longer than it will at room temperature.
  • Use a stand mixer. Really, this dough comes together much faster and more easily with a stand mixer. This makes a big batch of dough, and is tough to knead by hand. That’s not to say you can’t make this dough by hand. It will be just as delicious, and your arms will get quite a workout from the kneading.

After you’ve made the dough, all you have to worry about is the filling. As mentioned above, there are many different fillings that you can use to stuff your piroshki. If customizing your filling, remember to limit the amount of liquid in it. Too much liquid and the dough won’t cook properly, making a soggy piroshki. I don’t add any extra liquid to my filling, so there’s nothing to worry about. If you were for using cabbage in the filling, fry it first. Vegetables can hold a lot liquid, and pre frying them will cook some of that off.

freshly-baked-piroshki-on-a-pan

How Do I Fold My Piroshki?

Successfully folding piroshki is easier than some of the other stuffed doughs that I make. Since this dough is meant to make full size dinner rolls, they are easy to pull out into a large enough space for the filling. I recommend this in the instructions too, but make sure that you leave the edges of your dough thicker than the center so that you have plenty of dough to close the piroshki. Again, the size of the dough balls works to your advantage and offers plenty of extra dough to seal.

When folding and sealing your piroshki, make sure you have a small bowl of water nearby. I make this recommendation in my pierogi recipe also, and it works the same way. Water and flour together make a paste, and dough is mostly flour, so the water works just like glue. Again, these Beef and Cheese Piroshki make it easier by being so large. The thicker edge dough of the piroshki offers more material to apply water, and the more dough you have to stick together, the better it holds.

One final tip when folding your piroshki: don’t add too much filling. I recommend 1 tbsp of filling per piroshki, though you could add up to 1.5 tbsp for larger ones. If you add too much filling, it will be harder to close, and you risk the top of the roll thinning too much, which could result in filling coming out during deep frying.

deep fried piroshki cut open on a plate

How to Serve Beef and Cheese Piroshki?

There are as many ways to eat Beef and Cheese Piroshki as there are fillings to put into them. Eat one on its own as a snack, or serve them alongside any of these meals:

Or pair with my Farmer’s Cheese Pierogies and some Smoked Sauerkraut for a full meal.

baked piroshki on a plate
deep fried piroshki stacked on a plate

Beef and Cheese Piroshki

Beef and Cheese Piroshki are a delicious and savory Ukrainian treat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine European, Ukrainian
Servings 24
Calories 170 kcal

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with dough hook

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 3 tbsp Butter Room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 2.5 tbsp Instant yeast
  • 5-6 cups All purpose flour plus more for work surface
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

Instructions
 

For the Filling

  • Heat a skillet on high heat and add the ground beef.
  • Add salt and pepper to the ground beef and stir to combine. Cook until browned and there are no more pink spots. The beef should be fully cooked in this step.
  • Remove the cooked beef to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Drain the fat from the skillet into a bowl (you will use it to fry the onion).
  • Add the diced onion to the skillet and fry on high for 2-4 minutes, or until softened and beginning to brown. Then add the minced garlic to the onion and continue frying together until the garlic has turned golden. Add more beef fat as needed for frying. Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and onion-garlic mixture, stirring until the onion and garlic are well distributed.
  • Finally, add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir well to evenly combine.

For the Dough

  • Combine all of the dough ingredients except for the flour and the olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then add 3 cups of the flour to the stand mixer and begin mixing on low speed using your dough hook attachment.
  • The dough will come together in a shaggy ball. At this point, add 1 more cup of flour and mix until fully incorporated. Turn off the stand mixer and touch the dough. It should be close to forming a ball, but still quite moist. Add ½ cup of flour and continue mixing until the dough forms a consistent ball, adding another ½ cup as needed. I only needed 5 cups of flour to achieve this, but you may need up to 6.
  • Once all of the flour has been added, continue mixing for 4-5 minutes to knead the dough. Knead until the dough ball is elastic and slightly tacky.
    piroshki dough in a mixer bowl
  • Remove the dough from the stand mixer and pour in the olive oil. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the bowl. Add the dough ball back to the bowl and flip it a couple times to coat it with oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap and rise in a warm place for 20-40 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has risen, pour it out of the bowl onto a floured work surface. The bottom of the dough should now be face up on the counter. Dust it with flour and pat the flour in until it is no longer sticky with oil.
  • Using your hands, gently pull the dough into a rectangle. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, just get as close as you can. Use a knife to cut the dough into 24 pieces by making 6 vertical and 4 horizontal cuts.
  • Gently roll each square of dough into a ball and set aside. You can cut off portions of larger dough squares and roll them into smaller ones so that your dough balls are mostly even in size.
  • To fill the piroshki: Take a dough ball in the palm of your hand and flatten the center out, such that the edges are thicker than the center. Fill with about 1 tbsp of filling. Wet the fingers of your free hand in a bowl of cool water and rub around the edges of the dough. Push the filling down with the thumb of the hand holding the ball and use your free hand to seal the edges around the filling. Use extra water as needed to fully close the seam.
  • Place the closed piroshki on a greased baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat this process until you are out of dough, laying out 12 piroshki per baking sheet. Cover each baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes, or until they are larger and puffy.

To Deep Fry

  • Heat your oil to 350F.
  • Once the piroshki are finished rising, take each one gently in your hand and check the bottom seam. Sometimes the seam will separate during the rise, and when deep frying it is important to catch this. If the seam is separated, dab some water on the edges of the separation and use your fingers to close it.
  • Put the piroshki in the deep fryer, be careful not to overfill it. Fry on one side until they turn a dark, golden brown. This will take 1-2 minutes.
  • Flip the piroshki in the oil, holding them down with tongs if they try to flip back over, and fry for another 1-2 minutes until completely golden.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Serve and enjoy.

To Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F while the stuffed piroshki are rising.
  • Once the piroshki are finished rising, brush them gently with water, using as much water as you need for full coverage. This will ensure a crispy crust.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning the trays once after 20 minutes to ensure even browning.
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piroshkiCalories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 18.6gProtein: 8.6gFat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 3.5gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 168mgPotassium: 124mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 1.7gCalcium: 73mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Beef and Cheese Piroshki, cheddar cheese, ground beef, piroshki
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