Vareniki with Tvorog or Cottage Cheese – Recipe from my Grandma

This is another nostalgic recipe for me: vareniki. Think dumplings filled with cottage cheese from the Ukraine. You may serve these as a savory main dish, but you may also serve them sweet, traditionally filled with sour cherries. I was used to a rather hybrid version, we would eat them with tvorog or cottage cheese and served it with a sour cream sauce we knew as “shmargus”. Since everything was seasoned with salt and pepper, you may think of this as a savory dish. But it is also possible to serve with sugar sprinkled on top and some additional sour cream. As you can see on the last picture, my grandma actually passed on a recipe. This comes as a huge surprise as she normally did not write down any recipes she would make regularly. She knew them off by heart and thus did not see the need to document. So I am beyond grateful that she took the time to write down ingredients and amounts. Mind you, no instructions other than a list of ingredients, but at least this is a starting point. Since it is only the two of us, I halved the recipe, I have learned the hard way that my grandma always wrote down large amounts to feed a crowd. But at least there is something documented.

So I took the ingredients list for the dough and worked from there. I have had my share of dumplings I have made. Obviously, I have had my hand at empanadas. From Slavic countries I have tried Russian pelmeni and Polish pierogi, so I had an idea what to do. The filling is pretty straight forward, you will mix tvorog, egg, salt and pepper and that’s it. Since we live close to a Ukrainian shop, I managed to get proper tvorog, here in Germany Lidl and Aldi sell tvorog (named “cottage cheese”), usually from the brand Dovgan. Back in the days when my grandmother lived with us in Germany, she complained that German quark contained more liquid and had to be drained in order to produce anything similar. So she would get cottage cheese and quark and first drain both properly before using.

You will often find recipes with a potato and onion filling. However, my family only served the version with cottage cheese. I only remember one time that we were gifted a large amount of sour cherries, so everybody was busy making jam, compote, and vareniki. The same dough was used as the basis, but you would add about two to three destoned cherries to each vareniki and sweeten them with a bit of brown sugar. Then you would serve them with sour cream and sprinkle with some more sugar. As stated, I only remember eating them sweet once, we would have the cottage cheese version all the time. My grandma would invite a friend or two and they would take the whole morning to make vaerniki while happily chatting. A few batches would be frozen and one batch served fresh. I am sure that my mom was relieved she could consult the freezer in order to serve us nice dinner and didn’t have to make the vareniki herself.

Vareniki - Ukrainian Dumplings According to my Grandma's Recipe

Serves: For about 3 servings
Prep Time: 1hr 30min Cooking Time: 15min Total Time: 1hr 45min

Vareniki - these dumplings from the Ukraine are filled with farmer's cheese and can be either made savory or sweet. My family served it with a sauce containing sour cream.


  • Dough
  • 125 grams of boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 375 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 40 grams of neutral oil
  • 1 egg

  • Filling
  • 300 grams of cottage cheese (preferably tvorog)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Sour Cream Sauce (we called it "shmorges")
  • 20 grams of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 100 grams of heavy cream
  • 100 grams of sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste



In this reel you see how I make them. For the dough mix the salt with the boiling water, then weigh the flour into a large bowl. Add the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon. Whisk together the oil with the egg and add to the mix. Stir with the spoon until cool enough to work with your hands. The dough will first be crumbly, but should come together soon. Once you have a ball, knead for at least five minutes. Yes, I do put a timer. Once the dough is ready, an indented fingerprint should spring back, the dough should be soft and elastic. Cover airtight and let sit for at least half an hour or longer at room temperature.


For the filling mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.


Divide the dough into four equal parts. I usually manage to roll it out without any additional flour. If needed, only flour lightly. Roll out thinnly (1mm). Then using a glass or breakfast bowl, cut out circles, mine were on the small side (7cm), I would recommend bigger circles (10-13cm). Place 1-3 teaspoons of filling onto each circle, wet your finger with water and wet the edges of all circles, then fold over half so that you get half moons. Press down edges with your fingers, then seal the edges additionally with a fork. Roll out dough, cut out circles and fill and seal until all dough and filling is gone. I would recommend keeping prepared vareniki on parchment paper. They shouldn't sit for too long as they will be sticky. If not immediately using, place loose on parchment paper into freezer for about an hour, then transfer to an airtight platic bag and freeze fully.


Bring water in a large pot to a boil, salt. Place as many vareniki inside until they cover the bottom of your pot, you don't want to overcrowd your pan. Let them boil on medium until the float on the top, this takes between 5-7 minutes, depending on their size. Sometimes they get stuck at the bottom, gently release so that they can float as the others. Cook for another minutes. Then take out water, drain and serve immediately.


For the sauce melt butter and flour in a frying pan, while stirring, add the cream and cook on medium for a few minutes until it thickens. Then add the sour cream last. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste.


If you desire, you can also briefly fry the vareniki in some butter once they are cooked, this is my favorite way of eating them, but that is optional. Serve with a lof of the sauce. Enjoy.

I don’t have that many Russian-German or Mennonite recipes on my blog, but if you are interested, check out:

Pelmeni – dumplings from Russia

Pierogi – dumplings from Poland

Ukrainian borscht – red-beet soup

Russsian German twoiback – brioche-like double buns

Plautz – yeast-dough on a baking sheet with fruits

Ukrainian paska – sweet yeast bread for Easter

Napoleon cake – layer cake with sweetened condensed milk

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Friday April 12th, 2024 at 02:52 PM

    Thank you for sharing your grandma’s vareniki recipe! It’s clear that these dumplings hold a special place in your heart, bridged by fond memories and family traditions. Your appreciation and reverence for the recipe as passed down through generations shines through vividly. While the detailed descriptions and personal anecdotes enrich the narrative, consider including step-by-step cooking instructions to aid readers in recreating this cherished dish more easily. Your efforts to preserve and share such a treasured family recipe are commendable, and it’s wonderful that you’ve adapted it to suit smaller servings. Keep up the great work in keeping your family’s culinary heritage alive!

    • Reply
      Saturday April 13th, 2024 at 10:16 AM

      Hi, thanks for your reply. You have the chance to see how I make this dish in this reel. Even if you don’t have Instagram, you should be able to see it.

  • Reply
    Petra aka Cascabel
    Friday April 12th, 2024 at 04:44 PM

    Ich finde es richtig klasse, dass du uns ein Familienrezept vorstellen kannst! Deine Wareniki hören sich klasse an. Ich werde jetzt mal nach Tworog Ausschau halten, danke für den Einkaufstipp 🙂

    • Reply
      Friday April 12th, 2024 at 04:51 PM

      Ja, ich bin auch sehr gerührt, dass Oma das Rezept aufgeschrieben hat. Ich habe sehr in Erinnerungen geschwelgt.

  • Reply
    Saturday April 13th, 2024 at 10:47 AM

    Liebe Jenny, vielen Dank für dein Oma-Rezept. Nudelteig ist für mich ein “Angstgegner”. In deinem Reel sieht es so einfach aus, einen elastischen Nudelteig herzustellen. Das mit dem heißen Wasser ist spannend. Vielleicht ist das ja der Trick, dass es bei mir auch gelingt. Viele Grüße, Regina

    • Reply
      Saturday April 13th, 2024 at 02:02 PM

      Nudelteig ist eigentlich nicht schwer, mit kochendem Wasser wird der Teig noch elastischer. Meine laienhafte Erklärung ist, dass sich dadurch das Gluten noch besser ausbilden kann. Falls du dich traust, melde dich gerne, ob es geklappt hat. Grüße, Jenny

  • Reply
    Wednesday April 17th, 2024 at 03:01 PM

    Liebe Jenny, wie schön, dass Du noch so ein Rezept Deiner Oma hast. Die Schrift erinnert mich an die Handschrift meiner Oma. Leider habe ich von ihr nur ein paar “Kritzeleien” in einem alten Dr. Oetker-Backbuch, aber immerhin.

    Wareniki will ich vielleicht auch noch machen – das ist ja bei mir immer eine Frage der Fitness. Deine Teigtaschen würde ich gerne probieren!
    Liebe Grüße Britta

    • Reply
      Wednesday April 17th, 2024 at 05:34 PM

      Liebe Britta, eine Frage der Fitness? Wie meinst du das? Grüße, Jenny

      • Reply
        Wednesday April 24th, 2024 at 08:49 AM

        Ich bin ja nicht wirklich gesund, seit über 40 Jahren chronisch nierenkrank mit Dialyse und jetze die zweite Transplantation. In letzter Zeit sind Herzprobleme und sonstige Neben- und Nachwirkungen dazu gekommen. Oft schaffe ich es nur, ein einfaches Essen zu kochen. Aufwändigere Gerichte, wie z. B. diese gefülltne Nudeltaschen fallen mir zunehmend schwerer, so dass ich eben immer gucken muss, wie es mir geht und ob ich es mir leisten kann, die nächsten Tage die Folgen der zusätzlichen Anstrengung auszukurieren.

        Liebe Grüße Britta

        • Reply
          Wednesday April 24th, 2024 at 11:09 AM

          Ah, ok, das wusste ich nicht. Da hast du ja aber trotzdem sehr fleißig ukrainische Gerichte gekocht! Hut ab!

  • Reply
    Thursday April 18th, 2024 at 09:42 AM

    Oma-Rezepte sind fast immer die besten, auch weil die Erinnerung an früher mitspielt… deine Wareniki sehen richtig toll aus und mit der Fülle kann ich sie mir gut vorstellen!

    • Reply
      Thursday April 18th, 2024 at 10:00 AM

      Danke, du hast auch welche gemacht, oder?

  • Reply
    Thursday April 18th, 2024 at 09:49 AM

    Vielen Dank, dass du das Rezept deiner Oma mit uns teilst. Dein Nudelteig sieht echt perfekt.

    • Reply
      Thursday April 18th, 2024 at 10:00 AM

      Danke, ich war sehr nostalgisch!

  • Reply
    Friday May 3rd, 2024 at 11:28 AM

    Ich bin ja arg spät dran und schätze mal, Ihr habt alles aufgegessen. Da hilft es mir nur, dein Rezept nachzukochen – und ich bin sicher, ich werde es mögen.

    • Reply
      Friday May 3rd, 2024 at 05:12 PM

      Das hoffe ich doch ! 😉

  • Reply
    Friday May 3rd, 2024 at 04:31 PM

    Liebe Jenny, deine Wareniki sehen ja total lecker aus. Ich habe sie auch schon mal gegessen. Sie ähneln ein bisschen den Pieroggi, die es bei uns zu Hause des Öfteren gibt. Omas Rezepte sind einfach immer die besten.

    • Reply
      Friday May 3rd, 2024 at 05:14 PM

      Hi Michael, Pierogi gab es bei uns auch und die mag ich auch total gern. Ich geb dir Recht, Omas Rezepte sind einfach die besten. Grüße, Jenny

    Leave a Reply