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I enjoy recipes that originated decades earlier.  It’s a kind of way of feeling connected to the past by enjoying the same foods our ancestors enjoyed.  Runzas have been traced back to Russia around the 1800’s (though known by a different name) then spread to Germany, eventually appearing in the United States.  And if you’ve ever lived in Nebraska, you’ve most likely eaten at the restaurant based off the unique food.

They’re dough wrapped around a meat filling so they’re practically an entire hearty meal.  They aren’t terribly difficult to make either which is always nice.



3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil
3 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 pound ground beef
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 cup finely chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine water, milk, yeast and sugar and let sit until foamy.

Add cooking oil, 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and egg, beating well.  Add 2 more cups flour.  Knead and let rise 1 hour.


Brown ground beef in skillet until redness disappears.  Add cabbage and onion and season to taste.  Cook until tender, stirring often.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.


To form runzas, pinch off pieces of dough, about the size of a large egg using additional flour if dough is too sticky.  Roll thin (about 1/8 inch thick–too thin and there’s a risk of the filling breaking through) and place a spoonful of meat mixture onto pieces.  Gently pull dough around the filling and pinch edges to seal.

Place on a greased cookie sheet, seam side down.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
(I like mine with ketchup.  I don’t know if I should be admitting that…)

5 Responses

  1. Matt's grandma gave me a recipe for these, and she adds a teaspoon of dill weed to the cooked meat/cabbage, and it is REALLY good. I was skeptical, but I am a believer now. We also have made them with cheese inside too, that is delicious.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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