Recipe: Reuben Pierogies With Thousand Island Dressing

A bonus recipe from Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food by Casey Barber, featured on this week's Clever Cookstr podcast.

Kara Rota
3-minute read


Since the reuben is one of my all-time top five favorite sandwiches, my husband and I have a running joke that I have a Reuben-shaped hole in my stomach: at least once a week, if not more often, I get an intense, all-consuming craving that nothing else can satisfy. I basically have to eat an entire batch of Reuben pierogies to fill the hole, but that’s totally acceptable, right?


2 large eggs

1/2 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (full-fat, reduced-fat, or nonfat)

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces, 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (4 1/4 ounces, 120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup (3 3⁄4 ounces, 106 grams) dark rye flour or pumpernickel flour

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 tablespoon water



1 ⁄ 2 cup (3 1⁄2 ounces, 100 grams) sauerkraut

1 ⁄ 3 cup (1 1⁄3 ounces, 37 grams) shredded Swiss cheese, finely chopped

1 ⁄ 8 pound (2 ounces, 57 grams) thinly sliced pastrami, finely chopped (about 1 ⁄ 2 cup)



1⁄2 cup (4 ounces, 113 grams) mayonnaise

3 tablespoons (2 1⁄4 ounces, 64 grams) ketchup

2 tablespoons (3⁄4 ounce, 21 grams) sweet pickle relish

1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce



Whisk 1 egg, sour cream or yogurt, butter, and salt in a bowl. Add flour and caraway seeds to a large bowl. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour. The dough will initially be very dry and shaggy, seeming as if it will never come together, but have no fear: Keep stirring, and it will pull itself into shape.

Once the dough starts to come together, press and smash it against the sides of the bowl with your palms, picking up dough bits and essentially kneading it within the bowl until it forms a ball.

Tip dough and any remaining shaggy flakes out onto a clean work surface or Roul’Pat. Knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover dough with the bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

Whisk remaining egg and water in a small bowl for egg wash.



Mix sauerkraut, cheese, and pastrami in a bowl.



Stir the ingredients in a small bowl. (Dressing can be made up to 1 week ahead; cover and refrigerate.)



Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper.

Divide rested dough into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Set aside 3 dough pieces and cover with the mixing bowl. Roll remaining dough as thinly as possible into a rough 8- x 12-inch rectangle.

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of dough. If the dough isn’t quartered evenly, you may get 5 rounds from one piece and 7 from another. Resist the temptation to re-roll dough scraps for additional rounds. It seems wasteful, but the dough won’t be as tender the second time around.

Spoon filling into the center of dough rounds. Be judicious with soft fillings like fruit jams—if they spread to dough edges, it will be difficult to pinch shut, so take care not to overfill those varieties!

Using your finger, swipe a very scant amount of egg wash—just a light touch—around the dough edge.

Fold into a half-moon shape: Either fold the dough over the filling on the work surface—I call this “the blanket”—or gently cup the pierogi in your hand in a U shape—I call this “the taco.” Gently but firmly seal the pierogi by pinching and squeezing the edges together with your thumb and pointer finger. Start with one pinch at the top, then move to one “corner” of the pierogi and pinch along the edge back to the top. Repeat on the opposite side to finish sealing the pierogi.

Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling. Freeze on the baking sheet, refrigerate up to 3 hours, or cook immediately.




Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat (fill approximately 1 quart water for every 6 pierogies). Add pierogies and cook until floating, 2 to 3 minutes for fresh and 4 to 5 minutes for frozen.



Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil (like canola or vegetable) or melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add as many pierogies as will fit in a single layer without crowding. Cook until pierogies are brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with additional oil or butter and pierogies.

To cook large batches for parties, you can also pan-fry pierogies on an electric or two-burner stovetop griddle.



Use an electric deep fryer or a large, high-sided pot filled with at least 2 inches of vegetable or canola oil (fill the pot no more than 1/3 full). Heat oil to 350 degrees. Add pierogies and cook until golden brown; frying time varies based on equipment, about 3 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Transfer pierogies to the baking sheet and cool for 1 minute.

Reprinted with permission from Pierogi Love by Casey Barber, copyright © 2015. Published by Gibbs Smith. 

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.