Nebraska is a little weird.
We have a weird college football mascot.
We do pointy-finger waves when we see people on gravel roads.
And everyone in the state is knowledgable about a weird meat and cabbage pocket called a Runza.
But until a year ago, I would have to take a small road trip to get my Runza fix, so I worked, and worked, and worked until I found a recipe that mimics the beloved Nebraska sandwich.
(PS: This is not a bierock. No matter what anyone tells you. They are different.)
Homemade Runza (Meat & Cabbage Pocket)
Ingredients For Crust
4.5 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
Ingredients for Filling
2 pounds lean hamburger or ground chuck
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium to large head of cabbage, shredded
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1. In a large mixing bowl place 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Stir to combine.
2. In a medium sauce pan heat milk, water and shortening over medium-low heat till it reaches 120 degrees F.
3. Pour milk mixture over flour mixture, add eggs, and beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Then beat on high for an additional three minutes.
4. Stir in remaining flour, knead until smooth and elastic (about seven minutes) and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm place till it doubles in size. (Approximately one hour.)
5. Meanwhile, Brown hamburger and onions on medium high in a large skillet. Drain.
6. Place mixture back in skillet and add cabbage, salt, sugar and pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat until cabbage is wilted. Stir frequently.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8. Punch down dough and roll out on a floured surface into 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into 6 inch squares. (I use a pizza cutter to cut my squares.)
9. Place 1/3 cup of meat mixture in the middle of the square. (Add a 1/2 slice of American Cheese to the inside for a Cheese Runza.) Fold edges to the middle and pinch to seal. Place on a greased cookie sheet with pinched side down.
10. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
If you don’t have time to make the crust part of the Runza, you can create the filling and freeze it for a later time.
Also, you can half-bake the Runzas (baking them for 10 minutes), taking them out, letting them cool and freeze them for a later meal. You’ll need to let them thaw, and then cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
What about you? Do you have a favorite recipe from home? Share it with us via the comments or on the Kansas City Mamas Facebook Page.
Thanks for this recipe. We take a small cooler with us to visit my fam in Omaha so we can stop and get frozen Runza’s and bring them back to KC with us.
Michelle – we’ve done the same thing. Us weirdo Nebraskans… 🙂
Becky Perrett says
Did you know Runza opened a location in Mission, Kansas (KC) last year? You don’t have to make your own – just visit 6751 Johnson Drive.
Becky – Thanks. I knew about the new location (there is also one in Lawrence), however I will still probably make my own since I’m cheap and like having them on demand.
Thanks for sharing , Kelly ! This is so ironic because I just tried this tasty little sandwich after driving by their new location off Johnson drive (yes , they are now local!!) Thats a bit of a drive ( not as far as Nebraska , at least), so I will be excited to try whipping up my own batch!!
There is a Runza fastfood restaurant in Mission! It is on Johnson Drive next to Hobby Lobby.
I know. It’s so nice to have it close. However, I will probably still make my own because I’m cheap (and slightly lazy).
My now husband slaved to come up with homemade Runzas to bring to my house in San Antonio for a NU/OU game watch party (our first sort of date). They were awesome and a sweet memory for me and I can’t wait to share your recipe with him to compare approaches. I do have to ask, now that I live up here, do ya’ll know there is now a Runza in Mission on Johnson Dr. now? It is right by my office so I must be living right! Still fun to know how to make them at home, though. But, either way, no more cooler trips to NE required! 🙂
Julie H says
I’ve also cheated and used frozen dinner roll dough instead of making the dough from scratch.
I’ve done that too. But I have to admit that this dough is better. It’s softer and a bit sweeter. Really it is just yumminess in flour form.
I have used frozen bread loaves, thawed and let them rise until doubled. It makes about 6 Runza’s per loaf. I too am a crazy Nebraskan that has been away from home for way too long.
That’s a great idea too!
have you made these ahead of time and frozen them? I was thinking of making a bunch for a party and wondered if that was an option.
Yes, ma’am. I usually half-bake them (so for half the time), then freeze them, then pull out of the freezer, thaw and bake for full time. They come out great.
Perfect! Thanks so much! My best friend and I are both nebraska natives and are planning to make a bunch of these together to freeze!
How many does this make?? thank you
I make them smaller, but between 18 – 24 Runzas.
That is too a Kraut Bierok… sorry. I also am from Nebraska and enjoy these. The recipe originates from the German settlers so, sorry you’re wrong in that statement. Thank you for the recipe.
Yes.. not sure why it is different than a bierock? I make these.. dough little different tho from an old family recipe.. but same inside ingredients.
I think it is the bread. Honestly, they are different, I promise I’m not making it up. 🙂
Thrilled to have found this recipe! I’m a Nebraskan now living in Texas and they don’t have these down here. 🙁 We do get to Omaha often for holidays and family things, but it certainly would be easier to be able to make them when I want. And freezing them is great! Thanks so much. 🙂
YEAH!! I hope you love them as much as we do. They are a must on Husker Football Saturday. 🙂
You can also use Pillbury Hot Roll Mix. It works just as good!
I am wondering if I can make this dough in my bread machine? What kind of mixer do you use? I do not have a stand mixer and am worried that the hand mixer I have will not work right.
You could absolutely make this dough in your bread machine. 🙂
I’m 72, born, raised, & retired in a small farming community in Wa. I cooked for a harvest
crew for a lot of years and “kraut runzas” were a staple. They are considered a German dish
in this neck of the woods. Some people use sauerkraut instead of cabbage in their filling
and the size varies from bun to calzone.
frances doak says
raised in ne. runzas was made with sauerkraut.bierox cabbage,and the doughs were different.
I’ve been making these (or a likeness thereof) for some time. In the middle of Colorado, we often use Elk burger. If I’m pinched for time, I use Coleslaw mix from Sam’s (red cabbage?-carrots-? no worries) And if there’s no time for making the dough and filling it, we put the filling on French rolls (Sam’s again) top with cheese slices and voila’, dinner is served. It’s the Whata Burger? for busy folks!
[…] If you can’t get yourself to Nebraska to the popular eponymous chain, try this recipe, made with plenty of cabbage and onion just like the original stuff. More here. […]