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delicious runza

Easy Homemade Runza Recipe

Classic Russian-German beef and cabbage filled sandwiches baked in yeast dough. More like a hand pie than a sandwich I think.

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Nebraskan
Keyword Runza
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
dough rising 1 hour
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 runzas


Dough, the Runza Wrapper

  • 2 cups very warm water about 110 degrees, a little warmer than a hot tub
  • 5 tsp yeast or two packets
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 cups flour approximately
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter melted, to brush on finished runza

Runza Filling

  • 6 cups chopped cabbage about one medium head
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or more if you like
  • 2 tsp favorite seasoned salt
  • 2 tsp pepper


  1. This is by far easier when you use a large stand mixer with a dough hook. Put warm water, yeast, sugar, salt and butter in bowl and add a cup of flour. Using whip beater attachment, mix thoroughly, scraping down sides of bowl. 

    HInt: grab a clean dish towel and wrap it around the bowl, see photo. That is unless you really enjoy cleaning up flour. (I don't.) Add 2 cups of flour, one at a time, and beat well. 

    You'll still want to keep your mixer modestly draped for the next step. Switch to dough hook and keep adding flour gradually until the dough hook starts pulling the dough away from the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and feel the dough. If it's still sticky, add a tablespoon or so of flour at a time and resume kneading with the dough hook. Stop adding flour when it's soft but handles without sticking to your fingers.

    Great bread dough should feel satiny and elastic.

    At this point I simply remove the dough hook and gather the dough into a ball. I spray the bowl generously with Pam or similar, return the dough to the bowl (not necessary to wash it first) smooth a little cooking oil or olive oil over the dough, cover with dish towel and set in a nice warm place. (In the summer, I've found my car makes a great proofing box!!)

    When the dough has doubled in size, divide into 16 pieces and roll out into a thin oval about 6" by 8". Heavens, this is no time for exactitude. Think rustic and handmade. I like my runzas a little on the small side with thin, crisp dough wrappers. You may like yours chubby.

    (Sometimes I make 8 runzas with half the dough and cinnamon rolls with the other half.) 

    modestly draped mixer

Making the Filling

  1. Brown the ground beef and when it's losing it's pink and starting to brown, add the butter, olive oil, onion and cabbage and cook until the cabbage wilts. Add salt, pepper and garlic. At this point you can set it aside to cool until the bread is ready and rolled out.

    Put about 1/2- 2/3 cup of filling on each dough oval and fold over, sealing edges of bread. You may water to wet the dough with your finger dipped in warm water to make it seal better.

    Lay runzas seam side down on baking sheet with a little space between to allow for the bread to rise. Let them rise about 20-30 minutes the bake in 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes until nicley browned. Brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven to give them a soft, beautiful color and tasty crust.

    These keep well in the fridge for a few days. Or, wrap individually in foil and freeze. They really freeze well so make a bunch when you do. 

    REHEAT: Heat frozen wrapped runzas in 400* oven for 20-25 min. Remove foil last 5 min.