Kraut Runza Recipe

Welcome to our Kraut Runza recipe guide! If you’re craving a delicious and hearty dish, look no further. Kraut Runza is a mouthwatering combination of ground beef, sautéed onions, tender cabbage, and flavorful spices, all wrapped in a warm and pillowy dough. This traditional German-inspired recipe is a comfort food favorite, especially in the Midwest, particularly in Nebraska. Whether you’re a fan of sauerkraut or just looking to try something new, this runza recipe will not disappoint.

Kraut Runza Recipe

Key Takeaways:

  • Kaut Runza is a German-inspired dish that originated from German immigrants in Russia and Ukraine.
  • Nebraska is known for its love of runzas, and it has become part of the state’s culinary culture.
  • The key ingredients for Kraut Runza include ground beef, onions, cabbage, and homemade dough.
  • Making the filling involves browning the ground beef, sautéing onions, and cooking the cabbage until tender.
  • The dough is prepared using yeast, warm water, sugar, salt, butter, and all-purpose flour.

The Origins of Kraut Runza

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the delicious German stuffed cabbage known as Kraut Runza? This traditional runza dish has a rich history that dates back to the immigrant communities in Russia and Ukraine.

German immigrants brought their cherished recipes with them when they settled in the Midwest United States, particularly Nebraska. These hearty cabbage rolls quickly became a staple among the community, and the dish evolved into what we now know as the Nebraska Runza.

“The history of the runza is intertwined with the cultural heritage of the German-Russian community in Nebraska. It’s a testament to their traditions and the enduring love for this comforting dish.” – Chef Anna Schmidt

The popularity of runzas in Nebraska speaks to their deep connection with the state’s culinary culture. They can be found in local bakeries, diners, and even celebrated at annual festivals.

These traditional runzas are not just a tasty treat; they are a symbol of heritage and community, bringing people together over a shared love for good food.

Ingredients for Homemade Runza

To make an authentic and delicious homemade runza, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Ground beef – 1 pound
  • Chopped onion – 1/2 cup
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cabbage – 4 cups, finely shredded
  • White bread dough – prepared

Using fresh ingredients is key to achieving an authentic flavor in your runzas. The combination of seasoned ground beef, caramelized onions, and tender cabbage wrapped in a fluffy bread dough creates a mouthwatering experience.

To give your recipe a personal touch, you can experiment with different seasonings or adjust ingredient quantities according to your taste preferences.

The Importance of Fresh Ingredients

“Using fresh ingredients is essential in creating a homemade runza that tastes truly authentic. The quality of the ground beef, the sweetness of the onion, and the freshness of the cabbage all contribute to the overall flavor profile of this classic dish.”

– Chef Jennifer Thompson

By investing in high-quality ingredients and taking the time to prepare them properly, you can elevate your homemade runza to the level of an exceptional culinary delight.

Now that you have gathered all the ingredients, it’s time to dive into the exciting process of making the flavorful filling for your runza in the next section.

Making the Filling

Creating a flavorful filling is a crucial step in making delicious Kraut Runza. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making the perfect filling for your runzas:

  1. Brown the ground beef: In a large skillet, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it browns, breaking it up into small crumbles with a spoon.
  2. Sauté the onion: Add finely chopped onion to the skillet with the ground beef. Cook until the onion becomes translucent and fragrant.
  3. Cook the cabbage: Add shredded cabbage to the skillet and sauté until it wilts and becomes tender. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  4. Season to taste: Season the filling with salt and pepper to enhance the flavors. You can adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

Once the filling is prepared, it’s time to move on to the next step of assembling and baking the Kraut Runza.

Preparing the Dough

When it comes to making homemade runzas, the dough is a crucial component. It provides that delightful texture and satisfies your craving for an authentic runza experience. Follow these simple steps to prepare the perfect dough for your kraut runza.

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve one packet of active dry yeast in warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy. This process, known as proofing the yeast, ensures that it is active and ready to leaven the dough.
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and softened butter. Mix well until the butter is evenly incorporated.
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Gradually add the all-purpose flour, about one cup at a time, while stirring. Continue adding flour until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes. Kneading helps activate the gluten in the flour, giving the dough its elasticity and structure.
  6. The dough should be smooth and slightly tacky when it’s ready. If it feels too sticky, you can add a small amount of flour during the kneading process.
  7. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a greased bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until it doubles in size.

Now that your dough is ready, you’re one step closer to enjoying a delicious homemade runza filled with flavorful kraut. The next section will guide you through assembling and baking your kraut runza, bringing your German food recipe to life!

Assembling and Baking the Kraut Runza

Now that you have prepared the filling and dough, it’s time to assemble and bake your delicious Kraut Runza. Follow these steps to create a traditional Nebraska runza that will delight your taste buds:

Step 1: Roll Out the Dough

Take the prepared dough and roll it out into a thin, rectangular shape. Make sure the dough is evenly rolled to ensure consistent baking.

Step 2: Place the Cabbage Mixture in the Center

Next, spread a generous amount of the cabbage filling onto the center of the rolled-out dough. Be sure to leave some space around the edges to allow for sealing the runza.

Step 3: Seal the Dough

Gently fold the sides of the dough over the cabbage mixture, ensuring a tight seal. Press the edges firmly together to prevent any filling from leaking out during baking.

Step 4: Let It Rise

Place the assembled runza on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let it rise for the second time. This step is crucial for achieving a light and fluffy texture.

Step 5: Bake to Perfection

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Once the temperature is reached, carefully place the runza in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.

Remember, baking times may vary, so keep an eye on the runza and adjust accordingly.

Once baked, remove the runza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. The tantalizing aroma of a homemade runza will surely whet your appetite.

“The smell of fresh-baked runzas always takes me back to my childhood in Nebraska. It’s a taste of tradition and comfort.” – Sarah, Runza Enthusiast

Now that you know how to assemble and bake a traditional runza, it’s time to dig in and enjoy the delightful flavors of Nebraska’s cherished dish. Serve it with a side of sauerkraut or crispy onion rings for an authentic experience.

Variations and Serving Suggestions

To add some variety to your Kraut Runza recipe, try these delicious variations and consider different serving suggestions. These ideas will help you tailor your sauerkraut runza to your taste preferences and create a memorable German food experience.

1. Sauerkraut Runza

If you want to intensify the tanginess of your runza, substitute the traditional cabbage with sauerkraut. This variation adds a bold and slightly sour flavor to the dish, enhancing the overall taste profile.

2. Cookout Side Dish

The sauerkraut runza, with its hearty filling and flavorful dough, makes a great addition to any cookout or barbecue. Serve it alongside classic picnic sides like onion rings, potato salad, coleslaw, or a side of chips and fries. It will surely be a hit among your guests.

3. German Feast

For a complete German food experience, serve the sauerkraut runza as part of a German feast. Accompany it with other authentic German dishes like bratwurst, sauerkraut, schnitzel, pretzels, and a variety of mustards. This meal will transport you to the heart of Germany.

4. Vegetarian Option

If you prefer a meat-free version, you can customize your runza by substituting the ground beef with plant-based meat alternatives or a combination of mushrooms and lentils. This vegetarian runza still offers a satisfying and flavorful experience.

Get creative with your sauerkraut runza and experiment with different variations and serving suggestions. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or try something new, the result will be a comforting and delicious German-inspired dish that will surely impress.

Storing and Reheating Kraut Runza

Once you’ve enjoyed the delicious homemade runzas, you may find yourself with leftovers that you want to save for later. Here’s how you can store and reheat your authentic runzas to enjoy their flavors again:

  1. Refrigeration: Leftover runzas can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days. Make sure to allow them to cool completely before storing to maintain their freshness.
  2. Reheating in the Oven: To reheat your runzas, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the runzas on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. This will help restore the crispy crust and warm the filling to perfection.

For those who enjoy meal prepping, you can also freeze your homemade runzas for later use:

  1. Freezing Before Baking: If you want to freeze the runzas before baking, assemble them as usual but skip the baking step. Place the unbaked runzas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flash freeze them for about 2 hours. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag for long-term storage. When you’re ready to enjoy them, simply follow the baking instructions as usual, adjusting the baking time accordingly.
  2. Freezing After Baking: You can also freeze the runzas after they’ve been baked. Allow them to cool completely, then place them in a freezer-safe container. To maintain their flavor and texture, it’s recommended to wrap each runza individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing. When you’re ready to enjoy them, thaw the runzas in the refrigerator overnight and reheat them in the oven following the reheating instructions above.

By properly storing and reheating your homemade runzas, you can continue to savor the authentic flavors of this German-inspired dish long after its initial preparation.


Preparing homemade runza is a delightful way to experience the authentic flavors of German cuisine. This German food recipe, popularized in Nebraska, pays homage to the cultural heritage of the state while satisfying your taste buds with its delicious combination of savory fillings and soft, golden-brown dough.

By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can create your very own homemade runza that rivals those found in traditional German bakeries. The aroma of the ground beef, onions, and cabbage cooking together is simply irresistible, and the satisfaction of taking a bite into the warm, flaky dough is unparalleled.

Whether you enjoy runzas as a hearty lunch, a comforting dinner, or even as a party snack, these homemade runzas are sure to impress your family and friends. So why not try your hand at this authentic runza recipe and introduce a taste of Germany to your home? Your culinary adventures await!


What is a Kraut Runza?

A Kraut Runza is a traditional German dish that consists of a savory filling encased in a dough, similar to a stuffed cabbage roll. It is commonly associated with the state of Nebraska in the United States.

What ingredients do I need to make Kraut Runza?

To make Kraut Runza, you will need ground beef, chopped onion, salt, pepper, cabbage, and white bread dough.

How do I make the filling for Kraut Runza?

To make the filling, brown the ground beef in a skillet, sauté the onion until translucent, and cook the cabbage until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

How do I prepare the dough for Kraut Runza?

To prepare the dough, proof the yeast in warm water with sugar, then mix it with salt, butter, and all-purpose flour. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

How do I assemble and bake the Kraut Runza?

Roll out the dough, place the cabbage mixture in the center, and seal the dough. Let it rise, then bake at the recommended temperature until golden brown.

Can I make variations of Kraut Runza?

Absolutely! You can use sauerkraut instead of cabbage for a tangier flavor. You can also experiment with different fillings, such as adding cheese or vegetables.

What can I serve with Kraut Runza?

Kraut Runza pairs well with side dishes like onion rings, potato salad, coleslaw, or chips and fries.

How do I store and reheat Kraut Runza?

Leftover Kraut Runza can be refrigerated for up to three days and reheated in a 375°F oven. You can also freeze the runzas before or after baking and reheat them later.

What makes homemade Kraut Runza special?

Homemade Kraut Runza allows you to enjoy an authentic German-inspired dish made with fresh ingredients. It is a delicious way to connect with Nebraska’s culinary heritage.

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