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For the Perfect Pierogi Filling, Use a Stand Mixer

It plays an essential role in ensuring that your filling has the perfect texture.
By

Published Sept. 9, 2021.

My Lithuanian great-grandmother’s pierogi were the stuff of dreams. Every Easter, she would arrive bearing an aluminum dish filled with the best part of our holiday meal. My family eyed them greedily, ignoring the glistening ham, various side dishes, and even the famous bunny cake with its jellybean eyes and marshmallow tail. 

Swaddled in butter and with flecks of onion scattered across, her pierogi were tender and plush with a springy chew to the potato filling. Over the years, I’ve tried to replicate them, but my potato and cheese filling was always too mashed potato-like: light and fluffy, a bit grainy, and without that signature chew. 

It wasn’t until I interned at America’s Test Kitchen with Cook’s Country editor Bryan Roof that I learned the secret: Use a stand mixer to mash the potatoes with the cheese; it releases just enough starch to give the filling that toothsome, chewy, springy texture.

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Our science expert, Paul Adams, explains, “the unique chewy texture would result from interaction between the long, stretchy protein from the cheese and the starch. You do want to release a good amount of starch in order to get that texture. And it sounds like the mixer releases enough starch from the potato cells.” 

Go too far, (like in a blender) and you’ll get a gluey, not so great potato liquid. The stand mixer provides just enough force to tease out the starch, without overdoing it. 

If you want a taste of my great grandmother’s potato pierogi, this method is the way to get it.


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