How to Cook Pierogi [Fresh and Frozen]

If you landed here from a Google search of a phrase: “How to cook pierogi” – chances are you’re not cooking them from scratch this time. But if you do, I’ve got some tested recipes for you here:

Good news is – you can still satisfy your pierogi craving by buying ready-made dumplings in a store.

Pierogi are sold in two forms: 

  • Frozen pierogi: usually sold in bags or carton boxes. Some are pre-cooked before freezing, others are uncooked (“fresh-frozen”). Refer to the label to find out the details. 
  • Fresh pierogi: usually packed in trays. They’re refrigerated, and should be consumed within a few days (sometimes longer, always check the label). These pierogi are already pre-cooked, all they need is just a little heat to warm them up. 

How to Cook Pierogi?

Let’s go through the steps of cooking pierogi – both fresh & frozen – so that you’re ready to go anytime the craving strikes.

Step 1 – Boiling 

How to cook frozen pierogi? By boiling. lllustration drawn by Kasia Kronenberger

Boiling is KEY for frozen pierogi.

For fresh, chilled pierogi is totally optional – you can boil them & serve, or skip this step altogether and cook them another way.

How to Boil Frozen Pierogi:
First, check for instructions on the pack. Always prioritize those steps, as every manufacturer makes pierogi a bit differently. 

If no instructions are given, bring a pot of salted water into a boil. Drop pierogi in, wait for them to float. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for another 4 minutes. If the dumplings are filled with meat, extend that time for another minute. Remove pierogi with a slotted spoon. Serve with a topping of your choice.

How to Microwave Frozen Pierogi:
In a microwave-safe bowl, cover pierogi completely with boiling water.

Microwave the bowl on high for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the microwave, then drain the dumplings and serve. Note: While this method will cook your pierogi, the results can be underwhelming. I recommend boiling them instead, as outlined above.

How To Boil Fresh Pierogi:
Bring a pot of salted water into a boil. Drop pierogi in, wait for them to float. After around 3 minutes, remove pierogi with a slotted spoon. Serve with a topping of your choice.

How To Microwave Fresh Pierogi:
I won’t tell you, just don’t do it. While this method will warm up your pierogi, the results can be underwhelming. I recommend frying them instead (see below).

Step 2 – Choose one of these cooking methods

Frozen pierogi need to be boiled first. There’s no need to boil fresh, chilled pierogi – you can fry, bake or grill them straight away.

How To Sauté / Pan-fry Pierogi:

Lightly grease the frying pan with neutral oil or ideally – butter. If you plan to top pierogi with some chopped onion, bacon or kiełbasa pieces, now it’s a good moment to add them to the pan and fry them for a few minutes. Add pierogi in. Dumplings can touch, but don’t make it too crowded. Move them around with a spatula, making sure they brown evenly. Fry on a medium heat until pierogi turn golden.

How to cook pierogi? By frying. lllustration drawn by Kasia Kronenberger

Sautéing adds an amazing crispness to pierogi. It’s my No. 1 favourite way to cook them, try it! You won’t regret it.

How To Steam Pierogi: Get the steaming water hot and steamy first, before adding pierogi into the steamer basket. Add the dumplings to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 10 minutes. 

How To Oven Bake Pierogi: Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C). Grease a baking tray or line it with baking paper/aluminium foil. Place the pierogi evenly spaced, brush with some melted butter or oil. Cover with paper/foil and bake for 20 minutes, turning once mid-bake. You can skip the covering, but then pierogi tend to dry out. 

How To Grill Pierogi: Brush melted butter on both sides of pierogi, season with salt and pepper. Place pierogi on a disposable tray or directly on the grill. Grill them for 8-12 minutes, turning frequently until golden.

How to cook pierogi? By grilling on a BBQ. lllustration drawn by Kasia Kronenberger

In Poland, we don’t typically grill pierogi – but if you have a grill already running, it’s a great opportunity to heat ’em up! They’ll get nice and crispy.

How To Deep Fry Pierogi: Fill up a large pot with a neutral oil, heat it up. Once hot (356°F/180°C), carefully drop in a few pierogi at the time – avoid frying too many at once, as they tend to stick to each other. Turn them around for an even colour. When pierogi turn gold and they start to float, remove them carefully onto a paper towel to get rid of the excess fat.

How To Air Fry Pierogi: Place frozen pierogi in the air fryer (5-6 dumplings at the time) and turn on to 365°F (180°C). Air fry for about 8-10 minutes until they turn golden and crispy. Frozen pierogi will need longer, 16 to 18 minutes.

How To Cook Pierogi in a Crock-Pot / Slow Cooker: Line the Crock-Pot’s bottom with a layer of pierogi (fresh or frozen). Brush pierogi with some butter to prevent them from sticking together. Optionally, you can add a layer of finely chopped caramelised onion, or fried bacon / kiełbasa pieces. Continue layering the dumplings until you’re out. Put the lid on and cook on “low” for 3-4 hours until the dumplings are cooked throughout.

Pierogi Toppings

Classic savoury dumplings (Potato & Cheese Pierogi, Meat Pierogi, Sauerkraut Pierogi, etc.) are best served with a touch of melted butter, a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with finely chopped caramelised onions and fried chopped Polish kiełbasa / bacon pieces.

Dessert dumplings (such as Farmer’s Cheese Pierogi, fruit-filled pierogi) are best served with melted butter, sweetened cream, honey, whipped cream and fresh fruit. Sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon.

Can I thaw frozen pierogi in the fridge a day before boiling them?

Yes. If they were pre-cooked before freezing, you can treat them just like a regular, chilled pierogi. Fry them up!

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Kasia Kronenberger Polish food blogger

Cześć, I’m Kasia.

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