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United States

Runza (Bierocks)

A runza, also known as a bierock, consists of a seasoned mixture of ground beef, onion, and cabbage or sauerkraut rolled up in a white bread dough and baked as individual rolls or bread pockets. Alternately, some cooks line a pan with bread dough and top it with the filling before adding another layer of dough and pre-slicing the Runza into individual portions before baking. The recipe is said to have originated with Germans in Russia when they adapted a pierogi recipe by replacing unleavened dough with yeast-leavened dough. German immigrants from Russia brought the new recipe to the United States during the 1800s. Particularly popular in Nebraska, the term Runza is a US registered trademark of Nebraska-based Runza restaurants, and the dish is named after the first Runza restaurant.

Recipe Servings: 12

Prep Time
1 hour
+ 1 minute resting
Cook Time
1 hour
Total Time
2 hours 1 minute
Gluten Free
Dairy Free




    For Dough:
  1. Combine the water, milk, and butter in a small pan and warm over medium heat just until butter melts. Remove from heat and cool to about 120°F.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the sugar, salt, and yeast with 2 cups flour.
  3. Whisk the cooled liquid into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the egg and continue beating for about 3 minutes.
  5. Work enough flour into the dough so that is can be kneaded easily. Lightly flour a clean, flat surface. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and knead it, sprinkling with extra flour if needed, until it is firm and elastic. This should take about 10 minutes.
  6. Grease a large bowl with butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning to coat the dough with butter. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rise until doubled, about 60 minutes.
  7. For Filling:
  8. In a large, heavy skillet, saute the beef and onion until the beef is browned.
  9. Add salt, pepper, and cabbage, and continue to cook until cabbage is soft.
  10. Drain any liquid from the filling and set aside to cool.
  11. For Assembly:
  12. When the dough has risen, punch down and divide in half.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two baking sheets and set them aside.
  14. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough out into 10 x 15-inch rectangle. Cut into six squares.
  15. Top each dough square with a generous ⅓ cup of filling.
  16. Pull the four corners up and pinch together over the filling, enclosing it completely.
  17. Transfer each runza to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down.
  18. Bake about 30 minutes until browned.
  19. Let them cool before serving. Runzas may be served warm or cold.

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