runza cut open

Anyone else know what a runza is? If you aren’t from the Midwest (Nebraska-Kansas-Iowa), you may not, but if you’ve ever had one (either homemade or from the restaurant), I’m sure you’ll understand that these are amongst the things that I miss from back home! 

Runzas have been on my list of things to make since we’ve been married. It took me almost 5 years to tackle them, largely because I thought they would be a big production. I guess moving away from easy access to them must have been the push I needed, and it turns out they really were not that hard to make 🙂   

runzas filling

So I haven’t answered the question yet… What is a runza? It is ground beef, onions, cabbage and seasoning wrapped up in homemade bread that comes from a German heritage. There are several variations you can make including adding cheddar cheese inside the dough and a swiss-mushroom combination that was a favorite with my parents. Nonetheless, for my first attempt, I went with the simpliest version shown below. I used red cabbage because that is what I had leftover from another recipe, but they are traditionally made with green cabbage. I guess the biggest question is how did they taste? Spot on. Exactly like the runzas I remember. Now that I know they are this easy, I have a feeling we’ll be having runzas more often. Enjoy

(Printable Recipe)

Adapted from The Test Nest

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
4-1/2 tsp. yeast (2 pkg)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 lb.93% lean ground beef
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 large onion, chopped
1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
ketchup, for serving 

For the dough, measure the white whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix in the sugar, salt, and yeast with a spoon. Heat water, milk, and butter in the microwave until just warm and pour over flour mixture. Add the eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and on high for 3 minutes. Add remaining flour in 1/2 cup increments. You may need to add additional flour if the dough feels really wet. Four cups was perfect for me, but we live in the desert. If extra flour is needed, add 1/4 cup at a time (I made these again when it was more humid, and I definitely needed more than 4 cups of flour. Use what feels right). Change to the hook attachment and knead on low using the mixer until the dough is smooth.

Cover the dough and let rise for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the ground beef, onion, and cabbage together until the ground beef is cooked through and the onion and cabbage have softened. Stir in the crushed beef bouillon and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Divide the dough into about 10 approximately equal balls. Flatten into a disk and distribute the filling mixture between the pieces of dough. Fold in the ends of the dough and roll up tortilla style, pinching the dough together at the seam. Place seam-side down on a baking dish and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes. 

While the runzas are resting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the runzas for approximately 15 minutes, or until the dough turns golden brown on top. Serve with ketchup. Runzas freeze well to make great meals for busy nights!


4 thoughts on “Runzas

  1. These look just like Runza's. 🙂 I grew up in Kansas and we didn't have Runza's there but I had a friend who was originally from Nebraska. She first introduced me to them, homemade! The bread was delicious.

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