How to Make Bierocks

A bierock, also known as a runza, is a soft yeast roll stuffed with ground meat, cabbage, and onions. This dish can be made by making homemade yeast dough or utilizing frozen dinner rolls. Pin it for Later »

Homemade bierocks lined up on a sheet pan

Bierock Recipe Overview

What is a Bierock (aka Runza)?

A bierock, also known as a runza, is a ground meat, cabbage, and onion filled yeast roll. Growing up in Kansas this was a common dish served in the area and it is also popular in Nebraska due to the population of German Mennonite.

Bierock can be made with or without cheese and are commonly served with mustard as a dipping sauce. The ground meat is traditionally beef, but other ground meats can also be used. It is also common to substitute the shredded cabbage for sauerkraut in a bierock.

Homemade bierock showing the filling

How to Make Bierock with Frozen Rolls

Traditional bierocks are made with a homemade soft yeast roll dough. Below you will find a full tutorial for how to make them from scratch. However, bierocks can also be made using a frozen yeast roll or some people even make them with store bought biscuit dough.

To make bierocks with frozen rolls, you must make sure that the frozen yeast rolls you have purchased are raw. Thaw the rolls completely according to the package instructions and proceed with the recipe starting with preparing the filling.

How to Make Bierock (Runza) from Scratch

To make bierocks from scratch you will make a soft yeast dough. I love using my master enriched dough recipe for these, which is also the same recipe for my soft dinner rolls. While the dough is rising, you will then make the meat filling for the bierocks.

Make the Bread Dough

  • STEP 1: Hydrate the yeast in the warm milk and set aside.
  • STEP 2: Mix the fat, sugar, salt, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  • STEP 3: Stir the eggs into the mixing bowl.
  • STEP 4: Stir the milk/yeast mixture into the mixing bowl.
  • STEP 5: Stir in the flour until it is all hydrated.
  • STEP 6: Knead the dough by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough attachment. Knead until your dough is smooth and elastic.
  • STEP 7: Cover the dough and allow it to rise until double in size.

Make the Beef & Cabbage Filling

  • STEP 8: Saute the onions and garlic in a large skillet or dutch oven until translucent and starting to get some color.
  • STEP 9: Add the ground beef and saute until cooked through.
  • STEP 10: Add the cabbage and salt to the pot. It will look like too much cabbage but it will wilt down considerably.
  • STEP 11: Allow the filling to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Assemble & Bake the Bierocks

  • STEP 12: Divide the yeast dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • STEP 13: Roll out a piece to 1/8″ thick and fill with meat (and cheese if using). Pull the edges of the bierock up and pinch to seal.
  • STEP 14: Cover the bierocks to rise while the oven preheats.
  • STEP 15: Bake until golden brown. Brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven.

Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

  • The yeast dough can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time. If you do this, put it in the refrigerator right after it has been kneaded. Take it out of the refrigerator when you start preparing the filling.
  • Start with the minimum amount of flour suggested for the yeast dough. It will likely need a little more, but begin kneading the dough for a bit of time before adding more. It will become less sticky as it is kneaded. This should be a very soft dough.
  • Bierocks freeze incredibly well. You can either freeze them raw, or freeze them fully cooked. I prefer to freeze cooked bierocks because they reheat perfectly.

Bierock (Runza) Recipe

This is a recipe for how to make homemade bierocks (runza). This recipe includes a homemade yeast dough for the bierocks but it can be substituted with frozen rolls if you prefer. 
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Ingredients:

For the Yeast Dough
  • 1 cup (237 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
  • 1 package (7 gr, or 2 1/2 tsp) active dry or quick rise yeast
  • 1/4 cup (49 gr) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (73 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 tsp (6 gr) kosher salt or table salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups (476 - 535 gr) all-purpose flour
For the Bierock Filling
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil of choice
  • 1 medium onion, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound (455 gr) ground beef (85-90% lean)
  • 4 cups of shredded green cabbage (about 10 oz)
  • 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • black pepper
  • 4 oz (112 gr) shredded cheese of choice (I like a sharp cheddar)

Directions:

Make the Yeast Dough
  1. HYDRATE THE YEAST: Warm the milk to about 110-115 F (43-46 C). This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. It should take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir it together.
  2. COMBINE THE FAT & SUGAR: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the cooled butter, sugar, and salt with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
  3. ADD THE EGGS: Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next.
  4. ADD THE MILK/YEAST: Stir in the milk/yeast mixture.
  5. ADD THE FLOUR: Stir in 4 cups of the flour until it is all hydrated. The dough will be shaggy at this point.
  6. KNEAD: This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 6-7 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be very sticky to start, but will become less sticky as it is kneaded. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead at medium/high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping about halfway through to scrape the bottom of the bowl. If needed, add more flour while kneading until you have a soft dough.
  7. FERMENT: Lightly spray the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it ferment at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick rise yeast and 1-2 hours if active dry yeast was used. A warm spot will speed up the fermentation time.
Note: If you want to use frozen rolls instead of making your dough, defrost 12 of them completely according to the package instructions.  Make the Bierock Filling
  1. COOK ONIONS: Heat your cooking oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Cook the diced onions and minced garlic for about 3 minutes, until the onions become translucent and are beginning to take on some color.
  2. COOK THE MEAT: Add the ground beef to the pot and cook, breaking up the meat with your spoon, until the meat is cooked through.
  3. ADD THE CABBAGE: Add the cabbage and 1 tsp salt to the pan. It will look like too much but it will wilt down considerably. Saute until the cabbage completely wilts down, about 3-4 more minutes.
  4. SEASON: Taste the mixture and add black pepper and more salt to taste. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes before filling the bierocks.
Assemble the Bierocks
  1. DIVIDE THE DOUGH: Gently press down on the middle of the yeast dough to deflate it, and then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. You can do this by eyeballing it or if you would like to weigh the pieces out they should be about 83-85 grams each.
  2. FILL THE BIEROCKS: Roll each piece of dough to about 1/8" thick. If using, place about 2 tbsp shredded cheese on the dough and then top with a generous 1/3 cup of filling. It may look like too much filling but the dough will stretch to close. Bring the corners of the dough up to the center and pinch to seal like a little purse. Place the filled bierocks on parchment lined baking sheets.
  3. PROOF THE BIEROCKS: Cover the prepared bierocks with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C) .
  4. BAKE THE BIEROCKS: Uncover the bierocks and bake in a 350 F (177 C) oven for 30 minutes, until the bierocks are golden brown. If desired, brush the baked bierocks with melted butter. Serve with mustard or sauce of choice.

Recipe Notes:

  • To Freeze Raw Bierocks: Place in the freezer on a sheet tray once the bierocks are filled. When frozen solid, transfer to a freezer ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature on a sheet pan. Cover the bierocks with plastic wrap while thawing. This should take about 2 hours. Bake as directed.
  • To Freeze Baked Bierocks: Allow to cool completely. Freeze in a freezer ziplock bag or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat in a 325 F (162 C) oven for 20 minutes, until warmed through.
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8 comments on “How to Make Bierocks”

  1. Thanks for the recipe and detailed instructions. Made these yesterday and they could be the best thing ever! I bake alot, but bread is my nemesis. These worked perfectly.

    Rating: 5
  2. I'm so embarrassed!  I don't know if I can even ask this.... Ok...deep breath.  How do you pronounce these?  Is it Beer Rocks?  Which of course it does...but maybe it's  Buyer Rocks?  Or maybe Rocks don't have anything to do with it. I'm hopeless to try making these scrumptious looking beauties until I know how to say it.  But I think I'd love them.  Please help!
    • Hi Twyla! You are correct, it is "beer-rock!" Let me know if you make them and how they turn out!
      • These are REALLY wonderful!  I made the dough up last night and that helped a lot on time.  Once we got home this afternoon I set it out to warm up and assemble them.   Well, mine don't look as beautiful as yours.  I have different sizes....I was clumsy and got some filling on the dough...but ...they taste just fantastic!  Thanks for teaching me something new!  I'll definitely be making these again!   Oh and we tried mustard on the first one...but nixed it after that because the flavor of the dough is special enough on its own.  Wonderful!

        Rating: 5
  3. When it comes to baking, I’m all about precision and your site is amazing!  Finally a place with tons of recipes that are detailed and answer every question I have.  And you have so many recipes to choose from.  Thank you!!!   My mom made these “cabbage buns” when I was growing up and your recipe is just the precision I need.  Only thing I did different was used 75% whole wheat flour 
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