Soft butter bread stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and cheese make runzas delicious. This simplified recipe also makes them a lot quicker and easier!
Runzas, or bierocks, are a delicious stuffed bun style sandwich native to Nebraska. This recipe uses a few shortcuts that make them much easier to make. You can use this as a base recipe and make any variation you can dream of!
Have you ever heard of a runza? I never had until my coworker started talking about them.
Perhaps that’s because I’ve never been to Nebraska. They are a regional specialty that seems to have a stronghold there.
My coworker and his family make them for Christmas almost every year. His mom made them when she was alive, so I am sure there is a strong sense of nostalgia.
He and his siblings each make a batch with various seasonings or twists on the original. He always seems to really look forward to feasting on runzas.
After hearing about them for several years, I decided to see what all of the fuss was about and make some myself. I went looking for recipes and found several.
As busy as life is right now, I decided to take a few shortcuts to make them more approachable. I figured you guys wouldn’t mind.
Instead of making dough from scratch, I used frozen dinner roll dough. All you have yo do is let it defrost and you’re ready to go.
Instead of shredding cabbage, I used packaged coleslaw mix. That saved a lot of time and effort as well.
To make the filling, brown the ground beef. Add the shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix and saute it for about 10 minutes.
The cabbage should be softened a bit. Stir in a bit of sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar.
A hint of soy sauce is good for a bit more savory umami flavor. Really you could get creative with your flavors here if you’d like.
To form the actual sandwich, you take two balls of dough and squish them together. Either roll them out or smash them with your hands to form a big flat circle.
They don’t have to be perfect. Just get rhem as large and flat as you can. That will help make sealing the filling inside a bit easier.
Now scoop about 1/3 of a cup of filling onto the circle of dough and top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Gold the dough over the filling and pinch it to seal the goodies inside.
Place them pinched side down on a greased baking sheet. Brush them with melted butter and bake them yo golden perfection.
We chowed down on them while watching a football game and were very happy with the results. The rest were wonderful warmed up and served alongside a bowl of soup.
My coworker still marvels over the dinner plate sized runza he had at a diner once. Mini versions would be fun appetizers as well.
Really your imagination could help take these stuffed buns in all sorts of directions. Add jalapenos for spice or cheddar for a sharper cheese flavor. Do both together, that would be delicious too!
You could even fill them with shredded left over country ribs and kraut. The possibilities really are endless.
More fun recipes that start with frozen bread dough
If you have a favorite runza variation, I would love to hear about it. I am thinking it’s time to make some more!
- 24 frozen dinner roll dough balls, thawed but cold
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 14 oz package coleslaw salad mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef in vegetable oil over medium heat. Drain any excess grease, reserving about 1 Tablespoon.
- Add shredded cabbage mix to beef and remaining grease in skillet. Sprinkle in the sugar, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Sauté for about 10 minutes or until cabbage is mostly softened. Taste the filling and adjust seasoning to your taste. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, take 2 balls of cold bread dough and push them together. Roll or flatten them into a large circle. Scoop about 1/3 of a cup of filling into the center of the dough. Top with about 1 Tablespoon of cheese.
- Fold the dough over the filling, pinching to seal the dough into a ball around the dough. Place seem side down on the prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat until all of the dough and filling has been used. Brush the balls of dough with melted butter.
- Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes. The tops should should be golden brown.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 473mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 17g
All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.