The Original Runza

The Runza, also known as Bierock, Fleischkuche, or Kraut Pirok, is a yeast dough bread pocket with a filling of either beef or pork, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings. They are baked in various shapes and sizes. In the Cornhusker state, where I come from, the Runza is baked in a rectangular shape.

According to Wikipedia, the Runza sandwich originated in Russia during the 1800s and spread to Germany before appearing in the United States. The recipe was passed down from generation to generation and was spread throughout the United States by the Volga Germans. The term “runza” is a registered trademark by Nebraska-based Runza Restaurants.

In my book, it’s just plain yummy-licious–another reason to be proud of being a Cornhusker.

Yields 24 Runzas



  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 (.25 oz) Active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening, margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten


  1. In a large mixing bowl, place 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
  2. Heat milk, water, and shortening until 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour over flour mixture. Add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low until well blended. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high.
  3. Stir in the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in  warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). Halfway through the rising of the dough, make the filling.
  5. Punch down and roll into 12 six-inch squares. Give each square an extra roll with the rolling pin before filling.



  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 small onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 cups provolone or mozzarella cheese, shredded (optional)


  1. Brown ground beef and onions.
  2. Add shredded cabbage and cook over medium heat until cabbage is softened.
  3. Add salt and pepper (or to taste)


  1. Put a large mound of filling on the center of each dough square.
  2. Sprinkle cheese on top of the filling.
  3. Pull opposite corners of the dough together and pinch to hold. Pull the opposite two corners together and use your fingers to pinch all edges together to seal in filling.
  4. Turn Runza over (seam-side down) and put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (helps to keep any leakage from staining your cookie sheet), about 1-inch apart.
  5. When cookie sheet is full, put a towel over it and let it rise for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake Runzas in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a deep brown.
  7. Remove from oven and rub butter on top of each Runza.
About Jen

Jen is owner, author, and creative mind behind Bakerette. Jen eats a vegan diet and recently converted Bakerette to a plant-based website that offers a smattering of healthful recipes! Jen is author of the cookbook Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas, which can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


  1. 1/2 cup sugar – is the dough super sweet?

  2. I’m kind of curious, following this recipe to a T the dough comes out very very soft and sticky. Is that normal? I’m not used to having doughs that I roll out being quite this sticky.

  3. I Love the Runza, we used to get them from 72nd St in Omaha, it was always a treat. We lived in Papillion when I was younger. I am so glad to get the recipe, I have tried for years to put it together, but the dough was never right.

  4. My mouth is watering. No matter how I do it at home, it isn’t like what I remember as a teen in Lincoln, NE!

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