How to Make Cabbage Buns (aka Bierocks or Runzas)

bierock runza recipe

When March rolls around, I start religiously checking the local grocery stores for cabbage sales.

Cabbage usually isn’t an expensive veggie anyway, but they practically give it away around St. Patrick’s Day.

While we aren’t big fans of corned beef and cabbage at our house, I have found other ways to prepare this frugal food in ways that my family will enjoy. These cabbage buns are our absolute favorite! They are officially known as “bierocks” or “runzas,” but I prefer to call them cabbage buns, since hubby never can remember what I’m talking about when I say we are having bierocks for supper… :)

Homemade Cabbage Buns/Bierocks

For the Filling:

  • 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (or venison or antelope or ??)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 Tablespoons coconut oil, bacon grease, or tallow

For the Dough:

  • 4 1/3 cups flour (you can use whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose, or a mixture of the two. Just keep in mind that the more whole wheat flour you use, the drier the finished product will be)
  • 2 1/4 t. dry active yeast
  • 1 cup milk or whey
  • 1/4 cup sucanat (or granulated sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs

To make the filling: Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add in the additional oil (unless your meat is really fatty- then just use the grease from that), peppers and garlic, sauteing until tender. Next, dump in all of the cabbage and allow it to soften and turn golden brown.

Cabbage, pepper, and onion mixture

Season it to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside the filling to cool- you can even prepare it ahead of time and refrigerate it until the dough is ready.

To make the dough: In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sucanat, butter, and salt until the butter is just barely melted. Do not allow this to get too hot or you will kill the yeast when you mix everything together. 110-115 degrees is a good range.

Add the warm liquid mixture to the flour and yeast, along with the eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then beat on high speed for 3 minutes. (You don’t have to use an electric mixer if you don’t want to. I’ve been known to just use my arm. It’s a good workout…;)) Stir in the rest of the flour and knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Then punch down and roll out on a clean counter top. You’ll want to create a rectangle shape that is about 1/4 inch thick.

Cut the dough into 4″x4″ squares. (Not gonna lie, I do use my ruler here sometimes… It doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, but sometimes my guesstimating skills leave a little to be desired!)

Add a large spoonful of the filling to each square (sometimes I like to flatten the individual squares a bit more before adding the filling), then bring up the four corners of the wrapper and pinch them together. I like to mash all the seams together as well, creating a round shape instead of a square.

 UPDATE: I no longer roll out the dough and cut it into squares. Instead, I divide the risen dough into 12-15 small balls, and roll each piece into a small circle before placing a spoonful of filling inside. I’ve found this method to be easier than the measuring and cutting…

Place the filled dough balls seam-side down on a baking stone or tray. Allow them to rise for 30 minutes, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve these warm with a generous dollop of sour cream on the side.

bierock recipe runza recipe

A Few Notes:

  • If you have some leftover ground meat in your fridge, just use that. Saute all the veggies first in the oil, and then add the meat at the very end. I’ve been known to use leftover taco meat or whatever else I have hanging around in the fridge.
  • Not in the mood to chop? Then throw all veggies into your food processor and let it do the work for you. Process the peppers and onions together, then set them aside while you process the cabbage. Less mess and a big time saver!
  • Don’t have one of the peppers? You can omit them altogether if you like. Just add an extra cup of cabbage to make up the difference.
  • My favorite method of making these is to mix up the filling before lunchtime, and stick it in the fridge. Then I mix up the dough several hours before supper and assemble them an hour or so before we are ready to eat. The two stages of prep makes it less hectic for me.
  • You can bake these on a regular cookie sheet, but I highly, highly recommend using a stoneware if you have it. They always have a tendency to burn when I bake them on my regular trays, but my stoneware cooks them perfectly.
  • They make great leftovers the next day. In fact, they might even get better with age!

 

How to Make Cabbage Buns (aka Bierocks or Runzas)

Ingredients

  • For the Filling:
  • 4 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (or venison or antelope or ??)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 Tablespoons coconut oil, bacon grease, or tallow
  • For the Dough:
  • 4 1/3 cups flour (you can use whole wheat, unbleached all-purpose, or a mixture of the two-but the more whole wheat flour you use, the drier the finished product will be)
  • 2 1/4 t. dry active yeast
  • 1 cup milk or whey
  • 1/4 cup sucanat (or granulated sweetener of choice)
  • 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. To make the filling: Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet
  2. Add in the additional oil, peppers and garlic and sauté until tender
  3. Add cabbage and allow to soften and turn golden brown
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set the filling aside to cool- you can even prepare it ahead of time and refrigerate until dough is ready
  5. To make dough: In mixing bowl, combine the yeast and 2 cups flour
  6. In medium saucepan, heat milk, sucanat, butter, and salt to about 110-115 degrees until butter is just melted (too hot will kill yeast)
  7. Add warm liquid mixture to flour and yeast, add eggs
  8. Beat on low speed 30 seconds, beat on high 3 minutes
  9. Stir in rest of flour and knead 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic
  10. Allow dough to rise for an hour in a warm place
  11. Punch down and roll out on a clean counter top to create a rectangle shape that's about 1/4 inch thick
  12. Cut dough into 4"x4" squares
  13. Add large spoonful of filling to each square (I flatten the individual squares a bit more before adding filling)
  14. Bring up the four corners of wrapper and pinch together
  15. Place balls seam-side down on a baking stone or tray and allow to rise 30 minutes
  16. Bake at 375 F degrees 30 minutes or until golden brown
  17. Serve warm with a generous dollop of sour cream on the side
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2012/03/how-to-make-cabbage-buns-aka-bierocks-or-runzas.html

So grab some of that on-sale cabbage this year, give this recipe a try, and let me know what you think. I’m betting even the “cabbage hater” at your house will enjoy these!
 

 

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Comments

  1. Yum they look great!

  2. Do you think you could bake these in a dutch oven? no knead bread style??
    i think i’ll hav eto try these!

    • I think the dutch oven would work Miranda- just watch for burning! My no-knead bread recipe’s dough is usually pretty sticky, so that probably wouldn’t work. However, maybe you could add some more flour to it to make it easier to handle?

    • You can use frozen dough, such as Rhodes dinner rolls. Just thaw and roll out.

      • I made these today. I added a packet of Ranch dressing mix and Velveeta cheese to the recipe. Then, I used jumbo biscuits that I rolled out for the wrap. My family loved it!

  3. These sound great. We are have a card party at the house on St. Paddy’s Day and whoever hosts usually makes the main dish. I was going to crockpot corned beef and cabbage but this sounds better and less messy for cards. Where does the name Bierocks and Runzas come from?

    • Hi Carmi,
      Not sure where the name comes from- I know they are of German origin, so it’s probably a word from those roots.

      • Hi there Jill, I would like to chime in here and mention that these little guys as well as their names are of Slavic origin. My husband grew up in Russia and they are a traditional dish there. It is also as traditional in Turkey as hamburgers are in North America. Just thought you might like to know.
        Thank you for all your great recipes and posts!

  4. Oh wow, these look fabulous! Do you think I could let the wet dough soak overnight (probably prior to adding yeast?) Soaking seems to reduce my gluten sensitivity by a lot. :) I was thinking let flour & wet ingredients soak overnight, then proceed as normal with yeast addition, etc.

    Is that a completely silly idea bound for failure?

    • I think it’s definitely worth a try Erin! Let me know if/when you try it- I’d be really curious to see what you think. And I would definitely add the yeast afterward, I think…

      • I’ll do it! I have some sprouted/dehydrated wheat berries I need to grind (gotta find someone local who has a mill,) and when I get that taken care of, this sounds like a good test recipe to me. :D Thanks, lady!

  5. I will be making these! I have make something similar, but this sounds wonderful with the cabbage, and we are cabbage eaters. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. I have made these before and they were a hit with everyone. I didn’t use any peppers-just onions, cabbage, ground beef, salt and pepper. They freeze well. My eldest was home from college and took a handful of frozen ones back up with her. Mmm… Now I need to make these again!

    • Yes, the original recipe doesn’t call for peppers, but I recently started adding them and love the flavor that they add. ;)

  7. Hi Jill ~
    Greetings from Idaho…we’re getting some spring days here so hang in there; Wyoming will get some warmer days eventually : ) My mom taught me to make these years ago from a recipe passed down from my German grandmother on my dad’s side They are always a big hit with our family and never make it to the freezer! Thanks for sharing…they look wonderful.

  8. Yum, I’ll make them today! I don’t have a fresh cabbage, but a whole lot of Sauerkraut to get through. Thanks for the recipe:)

  9. This looks good! I make my runza dough with sprouted flour so that we get optimal nutrition (and a couple of egg yolks to keep it moist), We had a company a couple of weeks ago and this is what I made for dinner that night, well, like this. I am always cruising for things to link to from my blog’s FB to keep ideas flowing. I am putting this there today!

    • That’s great that you made them with sprouted flour! And thanks for the FB link! :)

  10. Christy de Leon says:

    This sound wonderful! I can’t wait to try them. Do you think it would be possible to make them with sour dough?

    • I think sourdough would work Christy- you might have to adjust the rising times a bit, but it would be worth a try!

  11. Yum! 42 yrs ago, when my sweet MIL taught me to make these, we used a few pieces of bacon cut up, and “stewed” the cabbage and onion down in the bacon grease! We also basted the tops of the buns with grease, then set them to rise. Yay for you–this is an old timer recipe, but filling and economical!

  12. Oh wow! I’m so going to try these!

  13. These look wonderful. My husband and I both like cabbage and I imagine these would be good with sausage.

  14. Thank You so very much for this recipe!!! A dear friend made these for me many, many years ago and I loved them, but I did not get the recipe and have regretted it ever since. You have made my day!!

  15. Have you ever made these and frozen them to bake at a later time?

    • Hi Amy,
      No, I haven’t. But, I’m betting that it would probably work. You’ll have to let me know if you try it!

  16. Mase these today after pinning them earlier. Very good! Added some carraway seeds. Reduced flour to 3.5c to keep dough on tacky side and baked at 350 for twenty min. Perfect! Thanks

  17. This looks so GOOD! I can’t wait to try this recipe! :) Thanks for sharing!

  18. Jill,

    These were delicious! I am not sure if you serve them with anything, but we added some sharp cheddar and sour cream. Ohh, and I used honey in the dough instead of granulated sweetener, and it still worked very well. Just delish. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Oh yes- I think sharp cheddar would be a fantastic addition! SO happy that you liked them!! :)

  19. Thank you so much for the inspiration to make these! We are transplants to a German Mennonite community and I had never heard of Bierocks before living here. My family loved them – so woohoo! I used half whole wheat and half AP flour. They came out perfectly on my baking stone. I also went with your idea of using leftovers since I had some taco meat in the fridge. Great idea! I unintentionally had some extra dough, so I made a plain bun and it was delish. I think I need to use the dough recipe the next time I need buns. :) Thanks again!

    • Yay! So happy you and your family liked them. :) Yes, I think the dough would be great for plain buns, too! It’s generally nice and soft.

  20. Boundary Line says:

    I have been making something close to this for years. We call them Krautburgers. They don’t have the peppers. I brown hamburger, drain, then add shredded cabbage, finely diced onion, garlic salt. I have made both biscuit dough from a can (that is before Nourishing Traditions, now make homemade bread dough. Make it in a circle shape alittle larger than your hand. Hold dough in your hand and fill. Pull all sides up to meet in the middle, press gently together. Bake until lightly brown. These reheat great.

  21. This is interesting, I never knew you could do this. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Riversana says:

    I’ve made these several times and frozen most of them; Hubbs loves to take them to work for lunch. It can be a big job to roll out and stuff each one, I recommend enlisting a helper and making them assembly-line style!

  23. Do you keep it in the frig, to use as leftovers? If so, how do you warm it up? Thanks!

  24. Oops, I noticed comments about freezing them :-). But do you reheat in an oven? What temperature and for how long if from frozen? From frig? Sorry, I am a total novice at oven cooking and baking. My culture doesn’t bake a lot. Not at all, in fact.

  25. I tried to make these yesterday, but i’m not very good at cooking main-course things.
    We had just ran out of cabbage, so i used lettuce….. bad idea XD
    The boogie-man also stole our giant bag of peppers a few nights back, so i ommited that…. another bad idea.
    I substituted the milk for buttermilk, since i nedded to make butter anyway, and the crust turned out DELICIOUS! It was almost like some kind of sweet-bread!
    Thanks for this lovely recipe, i can’t wait to try it (again) when i actually have some cabbage!!! XD

  26. Heidi Peterson says:

    I have been looking forward to making these for months. Today I did, and boy are they delicious. I used shredded stew beef and since I don’t like regular peppers, I added carrot and fermented banana peppers. They are so yummy. Thank you for sharing!

  27. These look great, can’t wait to try. What do you usually serve with them? How do you put them in a meal?

  28. Gladys Geis says:

    I just use hamburger buns and it makes great sandwiches. You can melt cheese on the meat if you want.

  29. I am wondering if you can use a nut flour for the dough? They sound so good but I am not sure how a nut flour would work? Or coconut flour? Thanks!

  30. Shelly Moore says:

    I have eaten and baked these most of my life. My dad came from a german community in North Dakota, they call these Runzas up there. Here in Kansas most call them Bierocks a few call them cabbage rolls. When I was first married and didn’t want to make a huge batch of dough for two people I experimented and started using texas sized (if you can find them) dinner rolls. You can get them in a whole wheat variety but homemade is always best! In western Ks. Most make these with either cabbage or sauerkraut. I prefer cabbage. Some add a little grated cheddar cheese (swiss is also very good!) Or some add a can of cream of mushroom soup. A friend also gave me a bierock casserole recipe that is awesome easy and no waiting for dough to rise. (9×12 pan two layers of fat free or whole wheat crescent roll sheets)The pan is usually emptied quickly. Bierocks are very good after freezing. Just heat in microwave. If you have any leftovers…….

  31. Can u make these glutenfree!!!!!!!!! Love to try these.

  32. These are a tradition in my husband’s german family in Kansas and he misses them but all the family recipes call for Crisco and I had not had luck in adapting them back to lard and butter. Used your recipe for the dough with great results! Thanks!