Monday, January 9, 2012

Runza's - a pocket full of Deliciousness!

The smell of yeast and homemade bread has been in the air all night. Over the weekend I browned hamburger, cabbage and onions and then for some reason - even though I'm dead tired - I decided (read that 'I'm crazy') to make up the dough and finish making my Runza's.

(Photo courtesy of

What are Runza's you ask? 
Runza's are a filling of hamburger, onion, cabbage all browned and wilted together wrapped in bread dough into little pockets of goodness! Of German tradition here in the Nebraska area they have become the unofficial State comfort food. They're actually very easy to make even though they are a little time consuming. You can freeze them and  either pop them in the oven to thaw or when I was a kid we used to get a little saucepan and steam them to tasty yumminess (usually when Mom was making something gross like salmon loaf!).

Runza's (from the kitchen of Tina Peterson)

1/2 pkg (or 1 cup) seasoned onions w/ green peppers
1 bag (or 4 cups) bagged cabbage (I use the coleslaw bagged cabbage w/ carrots)
1# ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spray your skillet with Pam or add 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil after heating the skillet. Add about 1/2 pkg of seasoned onions (green peppers optional). Once onions are translucent add 1# ground beef and brown. Be sure to break up any large chunks of meat into small pieces.
At this point I add the bag of cabbage to the meat and let it wilt down. If it won't fit in the pan with the meat, remove the meat and wilt the cabbage and then transfer the cabbage and the meat to one big bowl and stir together. Set aside and cool.

2 pkgs Active Dry Yeast
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
7-8 cups flour

1) Put warm milk in a bowl and pour the yeast on top. Gently mix it together and let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast and milk will get sort of foamy on top. If it doesn't get foamy then you may want to get a new package of yeast - it's important that the 'use by' date hasn't expired and the newer it is the better the result.

2) Add sugar, salt, 2 beaten eggs and melted butter (don't add it hot, warm is fine). Mix together and gradually add the flour while mixing (I add about 2 cups at a time). Be sure to mix completely before adding more flour till dough forms a ball. (You may or may not use all the flour.) Knead for 4-5 minutes until smooth. My dough was still a tiny bit 'wet' & sticky when I turned it out of the bowl onto a floury surface - keep your hands floured until the dough isn't as wet. You will add the flour a little bit at a time until it forms a nice ball and is smooth (tip: use as little flour as possible at this stage, too much can dry out the dough)

3. Put your dough into a large greased bowl (mine is ceramic), cover with a towel and put in a warm location. You can warm your oven, turn it off and set the bowl on top of the stove. It helps if you keep the dough in a warm place.

4. After your dough has risen and doubled in size - punch it down (literally), recover and let rise again.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl, divide into thirds. I put 2 sections back in the bowl and covered it. Take 1 part and roll out to about a 1/3" - 1/4" thickness. Cut it into 5-6" squares. Give each square an extra roll before starting the filling.

To make your Runza's:
Take your square of dough (about 5-6") and roll it out if you need to again. Put about a 1/2 cup of filling in the center. Fold one of the sides of up the both sides and finally the other side of the dough. Basically you'll be folding it like you're making an envelope. You can also fold it by corners. Fold up the bottom corner then both side corners and lastly fold the top corner down. Make sure the 'envelope' edges are sealed. If you need to pinch them closed.

Gently pick up your Runza and turn it over. Put your Runza on a cookie sheet that you've prepared by spraying with Pam or lightly greased with olive oil or canola oil. Depending on the size of your Runza's (they'll be all sizes - don't worry) you can get anywhere from 6 to 8 Runza's on each tray.

Heat up your oven to 350 degrees.

Cover the pan with a towel again and sit on top of your stove. Let rise for about 15 minutes. Mine rose enough that I used a metal spatula to gently separate the edges of the runza's so they weren't touching. You can also gently move them over using the spatula if the Runza's shifted when you moved the pan.

Bake Runza's for 15-20 minutes till lightly browned. Don't burn the bottoms.

Delicious served with catsup. You can also make them with a piece of cheese on top of the filling, a little pizza sauce under the filling for some variety.  Put the cheese/sauce on before folding up your Runza's.

This made 12 Runza's for me (this time). LOL


  1. Sounds and looks wonderful!
    I've never heard of Runza's before. I've been missing out! :)

  2. Runzas hey? they sound tasty! Nice and filling for winter!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. If you haven't heard of Runza's - you might also know them as Bierocks (sp?). Italians call them Calzones (a different filling of course).


  4. Oh yum! I will have to try this for sure!! Thanks for letting me know about this...and thanks for s