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Friday, November 8, 2019

Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

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.

large swiss diamond suate pan filled with cabbage and ground beef filling mixture

      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.

frozen roll dough smooshed into circles and topped with shredded cabbage and ground beef filling with some shredded cheese on top

    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.

suffed bread dough for runzas on baking pan with melted butter and pastry brush, almost ready to go in oven

     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.

baking tray filled with golden runzas fresh from 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!

easy runza recipe, shortcut runza recipe, easy bierock recipe, shortcut bierocks, stuffed bun recipe
Yield: 12 servings

Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

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 Mcook time: 35 Mtotal time: 60 M


  • 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


How to cook Simplified Runzas {or Bierocks}

  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.  Saute 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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Created using The Recipes Generator

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


  1. Too funny, I was just talking about these with a friend the other day and said I thought they were hard to make. Now I can try it, the flavors sound soooo yummy. Happy Weekend lovely!

    1. They can definitely be more time consuming if you start with homemade dough and a head of cabbage. This way makes them more approachable!

  2. Yum. Kind of like an egg roll in a roll. Bet that's good!

    1. Basically, with a softer buttery bread wrapper.

  3. 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!


    1. 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 ;-)

  4. 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!!!

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

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

    1. 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.

  7. 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.

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


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!