This stuffed bun goes by many names: Bierock, Krautbrot, Pirozhki or Pirogi. In Nebraska, we call these tasty stuffed buns a Runza. And it turns out, there are a lot of creative spins on the Runza recipe out there.
Traditional Runza recipes call for a yeasty bread pocket stuffed with beef, cabbage, onions and some spices. Essentially, it’s a Hot Pocket crossed with a hamburger that has an Eastern European twist to it.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
Most Nebraskans get their Runzas from the local fast food chain, Runza Restaurants. At least, that’s where I get mine. Some small town cafes in Nebraska serve Bierocks, including probably the most famous of them all, Sehnert’s Bakery & Bieroc Cafe in McCook.
Runza recipes and Runza variations
If your travels aren’t taking you through Nebraska any time soon, you can easily make Runzas at home. I’ve round up a traditional Runza recipe from a Nebraskan baker, plus all sorts of variations. Enjoy!
Homemade Runza Recipes
The obvious choice for copycat Runza recipes has to come from a Nebraska cook. Michaela at An Affair From the Heart hails from Nebraska so I'm gonna bet she knows her stuff.
This is the basic recipe, except she makes it easy by using store-bought dough. Basic ingredients are cabbage, onion, and seasoned ground beef.
Cheddar Cheese Runzas
Adding some cheddar cheese to the traitional Runza recipe creates some serious savory flavors in each mouthful. Check out this Cheddar Cheese Runza recipe if you want a little more zip to the meal.
FYI: This recipe includes a homemade dough recipe.
Honey Mushroom and Beef Runzas
When you're a chef known for using wild mushrooms in recipes, adding them to a Runza recipe makes sense. The Forager Chef naturally added some mushrooms he had on hand (honey mushrooms) to a Runza filling.
Note: This recipe skips the cabbage in the filling.
Vegan Runzas with Cheese
Here's another Nebraskan's recipe for Runzas, but this time, there's a vegan twist to it. Interestingly, she uses a 1960s recipe that was printed in the Omaha World-Herald as inspiration for reecipe.
Runzas With Hazelnut Filling
This unique take on Runzas is admitedly not-quite-a-Runza, but it's definitely sounds tasty. The Candadian cook replaced the traditional beef-caabbage-onion filling with a Georgian-style hazelnut/garlic filling.
Note: The ingredients in this recipe are measured in the metrics system, so you may need a coversion calculator.
Keep the ground beef but switch out the flavor profile with this recipe. The filling includes pizza sauce and low-fat mozzarella as well as some chopped spinach.
Instant Pot Runzas
What's a recipe round-up without an Instant Pot recipe? This version quickly pressure cooks the meat and cabbage in an electric pressure cooker. This recipe calls for cheese as an optionaal ingredient.
Venison and Ham Runza
This wild game version of a Runza is filled with ground venison, ham, bacon, cabbage, herbs, spices and a lot of cheese.
Philly Steak and Cheese Runza
This is an intriguing take on the Runza, bordering close to the flavor profile of my go-to order at Runza, the Swiss Mushroom Runza. This recipe calls for two different cheeses, and I think they may even be a better choice than Swiss!
Korean-Spiced Beef and Cabbage Rolls/Runzas
What do you get when a Nebraska girl marries a Korean man? You get rolls with Korean flavors but inspired by the traditional ingredients stuffed into a Runza.
The flavors of a homecooked Runza with the secret to a quicker prep: Crescent Rolls!
Cheesy Breakfast Runzas
A cheesy, sausage & egg version of a Runza? This sounds like morning perfection to me! Why hasn't Runza resaturants looked into a breakfast line?
It's the traditional Runza filling of cabbage, beef and onions but in this recipe, a homemade sourdough bread is used.
Chef John takes the traditional Runza stuffing and puts it all into eggroll wrappers. It's a pretty easy recipe to follow!
Grab a fork for this version. It's all the flavors of a Runza but served up casserole-style.
This is an easy and quick variation to the Runza since there's no baking involved. Just prep the filling of a Runza and the serve it on hamburger buns. Voila!
Black Bean & Cabbage Runza (vegan)
This veggie version of the Runza adds some additional secret ingredients along with the cabbage: Grated carrots and chopped onions.
Monte Cristo Runza
Combine the ingredients of a Monte Cristo sandwich - ham, Swiss cheese, and shredded chicken - and stutff that all into dough and you get the Monte Cristo Runza!
Cheesy Chicken Runza
This cook created a Weight Watcher-friendly version of the Runza, one that calls for diced chicken and Paremsan cheese. The result? A tasty Runza that's 4 points.
OK, OK, this recipe is a stretch. Swap out the stuffed bread dough and wrap this Runza up with a tortilla. It's a Runza burrito with a little extra kick in the seasoning.
What ingredients are in a traditional Runza sandwich?
A traditional Runza sandwich typically consists of ground beef, finely chopped onions and cabbage, and seasonings, all baked inside a homemade bread pocket. The seasonings can vary depending on the recipe, but they often include salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Some recipes may also include other ingredients like cheese or mushrooms. The ingredients in a Runza sandwich create a savory, hearty flavor that has become a beloved comfort food in the Midwest, where it originated.
What sides go well with a Runza sandwich?
If you’re at a Runza restaurant, the classic pairing will be French fries. For homemade Runza sandwiches, you have a lot more options, but a few go-to sides are onion rings, can be a great complement to the Runza’s meaty filling; coleslaw, which can help balance out the richness of the Runza sandwich; baked beans or potato salad.
What are the nutritional values of a Runza sandwich?
The nutritional values of a Runza sandwich can vary depending on the specific recipe and ingredients used, as well as the size of the sandwich. However, here are some general nutritional facts for a typical Runza sandwich made with ground beef, cabbage, onions, and bread:
Calories: A single Runza sandwich can range from 300 to 600 calories, depending on its size and ingredients.
Protein: A Runza sandwich can provide around 15 to 25 grams of protein, depending on the size and meat-to-vegetable ratio.
Fat: A Runza sandwich can contain around 15 to 25 grams of fat, depending on the type and amount of meat used, as well as the bread.
Carbohydrates: A Runza sandwich can provide around 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the size and type of bread used.
Fiber: A Runza sandwich can contain around 2 to 6 grams of fiber, depending on the type and amount of vegetables used.
Sodium: A Runza sandwich can contain around 500 to 1000 mg of sodium, depending on the type and amount of salt used.
It’s worth noting that some recipes may use leaner meat or whole wheat bread to make the sandwich healthier, while others may add cheese or other ingredients that can increase the calorie and fat content. If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider making a homemade Runza sandwich with lean meat and plenty of vegetables.
How do I reheat a Runza sandwich?
Reheating a Runza sandwich is a simple process. Here’s how to do it:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Wrap the Runza sandwich in foil. This will help to keep it moist and prevent it from drying out.
Place the wrapped Runza sandwich on a baking sheet and place it in the oven.
Heat the sandwich for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is heated through. The exact time will depend on the size and thickness of the sandwich.
Once the sandwich is heated through, remove it from the oven and unwrap it from the foil.
Let the sandwich cool for a few minutes before serving.
Alternatively, you can also reheat a Runza sandwich in the microwave. Here’s how:
Place the Runza sandwich on a microwave-safe plate.
Cover the sandwich with a damp paper towel. This will help to keep it moist.
Microwave the sandwich on high for 30 to 60 seconds, or until it is heated through. The exact time will depend on the wattage of your microwave and the size of the sandwich.
Once the sandwich is heated through, remove it from the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.
Whether you choose to reheat your Runza sandwich in the oven or microwave, it should be heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat.
Got a recipe?
I’d love to know if you’ve got a recipe for Runzas that differ from those above. Share a link or the recipe itself in the comments below!
Have an idea for another quintessential Midwestern dish? Leave me a comment with your suggestion! Or check out the other recipes: