Traditional Homemade Runzas (or Bierocks)
This is a recipe that probably made its way over from Europe many years ago, and it has now been passed through my family for at least three generations. It’s a bread pocket stuffed with meat, cheese, and sauerkraut – a power lunch at its finest.
Servings Prep Time
15runzas 90minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 60minutes
Servings Prep Time
15runzas 90minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20minutes 60minutes
Homemade Bread
How to Make the Bread:
  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer (I’m going to give the instructions in relation to hand mixing) stir the yeast, warm water, and sugar together. Let sit for 3-5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. Stir in the lard, salt, and 2 cups of flour, mixing until a thick paste is formed. Don’t worry about chunks of lard – they will get incorporated as you knead later.
  3. Continue to add in remaining flour 1 cup at a time until all 6 cups are added. Dough will still be sticky at this point.
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or until your dough can form a smooth ball.
  5. Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for about an hour or until doubled.
How to Make the Filling:
  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the onion, salt, and pepper. Once cooked, drain of excess fat (I pour the meat onto a paper towel lined plate) and set aside.
  2. Drain your can of sauerkraut and shred your cheese (I personally think freshly shredded cheese works better than pre-shredded bagged, but either will work!). Mix your two types of cheeses together in a bowl to get a blend.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. These will need to cook in two batches or you can use two pans.
Preparing the Runzas:
  1. Grab a piece of dough about the size of your palm and stretch it out using your hands until it resembles a ~6-7 inch circle.
  2. Place 1 heaping Tbsp cheese in the middle of the dough. Follow that with a similar amount of sauerkraut, and follow that with a similar amount of the ground beef mixture.
  3. Pull the edges of the dough up and around the filling, pinching closed at the center. Make sure there are no holes.
  4. Place on baking sheet, seam side down and continue making 14 more! Roughly 6-8 will fit on one pan so you’ll have to do these in batches.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are very golden brown. Remove from oven and rub the tops with butter. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

If you would like to, you can use 1 – 1.5 cups of freshly shredded cabbage instead of sauerkraut. Cook it with the ground beef and onion mixture. 

Some pointers for bread making: *The dough should be very sticky when you begin to knead it. If it sticks to your hands, that is just fine! It will come together after kneading for a few minutes, and then it won’t be sticky. *Get you dough as thin as possible without holes before adding the filling. *If you happen to run out of filling with some dough left over, make the remaining dough into dinner rolls – bake at the same temperature for 20-25 minutes or until golden. 

These are wonderful freezer food. Once cooled, package them in freezer bags; pop them in the microwave for 1.5 – 2 minutes when you are ready to eat them. 

(Bread recipe adapted from AllRecipes.)

(History tidbits adapted from