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Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

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Soft butter bread stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and cheese make runzas delicious. This simplified recipe also makes them a lot quicker and easier!

close up of hand holding half of a runza with cabbage and ground beef filling showing

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.

beef and cabbage filling in saute pan for runzas

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.

putting shredded cabbage and ground beef cabbage on flattened dough circles for runzas.

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.

brushing melted butter over stuffed bierock rolls ready to bake.

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.

golden brown ruzas fresh out of the oven.

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.

plate of golden brown bierocks filled with cabbage and ground beef, one cut open with the filling showing

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.

hand holding half of a bierock (or runza) with mozzarella, cabbage and ground beef filling showing

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

close up of runza halves with their filling showing

If you have a favorite runza variation, I would love to hear about it. I am thinking it’s time to make some more!

Yield: 12 Runzas

Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

plate of golden brown bierocks filled with cabbage and ground beef, one cut open with the filling showing

Soft butter bread stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and cheese make runzas delicious. This simplified recipe also makes them a lot quicker and easier!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a large skillet, brown ground beef in vegetable oil over medium  heat.  Drain any excess grease, reserving about 1 Tablespoon.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Repeat until all of the dough and filling has been used. Brush the balls of dough with melted butter.
  7. Bake at 350° F for 30-35 minutes.  The tops should should be golden brown.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

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.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

Soft butter bread stuffed with ground beef, cabbage and cheese make runzas delicious. This simplified recipe also makes them a lot quicker and easier!

Share with your friends!

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Susan B

Sunday 21st of June 2020

I used to make these with frozen bread dough. I used to take them to summer concerts as they’re good at room temp and don’t need to be kept cold.

Carlee

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

They really would be perfect for picnics and stuff too!! What a great idea

Karen

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

These are soooo neat! I've definitely got to give these a try. They sound delicious !

Carlee

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Of course you are welcome to make your own bread dough since you are the queen of bread! I can see you doing all sorts of fun things with this basic idea.

Julia

Tuesday 12th of November 2019

I LOVE this! First time I've seen a recipe like this and it looks amazing.

Carlee

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

They are really tasty for sure!

Amy

Monday 11th of November 2019

I have never heard of runzas or bierocks but they sure do sound good. We love coleslaw. I am going to have to try these!!!

Carlee

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

It is worth trying for sure

Debbie

Friday 8th of November 2019

Hi Carlee, I've never heard of these, but they sound like they would go perfectly with soup. I think I'll have a go at these and see my expressions on faces as my family bite into their bread rolls!

xx

Carlee

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

They were a perfect heartier side to soup. My husband doesn't consider soup a meal, so we have to have some sort of sandwich or something with it for him to accept it as dinner ;-)