Runzas Nebraska Fast Food It's Runzatastic!




About: I'm "retired", and now have time for all the creative things I've done since I was a child. I especially like anything with texture.....fabric, wood, glass, stones....even rusty objects. I have a LARGE fabr...

I grew up in Nebraska, and Runzas were a school night staple in many homes. I think they have a Germanic background, and since we are Irish, and Scandinavian I only got to have this hand held delicacy when I ate with friends.

Much later Runza Fast Food Restaurants started opening in Nebraska and surrounding states.

There are several recipes around but this is one from a church cook book from 1972. I believe it is very close to what is served in the restaurants (all though it's been many years since I've tasted one in Nebraska)

I made my own dough. It is soft, and slightly sweet, but you could use frozen/refrigerated bread, or roll dough

Step 1: The Dough Recipe

This is my T&T ( tried and true) dough recipe. It is very forgiving. It yields a soft, easy to work with bread, that you could stuff with many other things besides this mixture. I've also just made dinner rolls from it.

4.5 C flour (divided into 1.75 Cups and2.75 cups)                                             
2 packages of yeast (or 4.5 teaspoons) (.25 ounce)                                      
1/2 C sugar                                                                                                                 
1 teaspoon salt                                                                                                           
1/2 C water                                                                                                                  
3/4 C milk                   
1/2 C solid shortning                                                                                                                          
2 eggs 
In a large mixing bowl place 1.75 C flour, sugar, yeast and salt
Heat water, milk, & shortning to 120°-130° on the stove or in the microwave....check with a thermometer
Pour the warm liquids over the dry ingredients.
Add eggs
Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended
Beat 3 additional minutes on HIGH
Change to a dough hook if your mixer comes with one, and add the rest of the flour.
Mix for another minute
Turn out onto a floured board, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic (I did this mainly IN my mixer)

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and place in a warm area for about 1 hr.

Step 2: The Filling

1 pound lean ground beef                              
2 small onions chopped
5 Cups chopped cabbage                                                                                  
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

While the dough is raising brown the beef, and onions. Drain if necessary.
Add salt, pepper, and cabbage
Cook until cabbage is wilted

Step 3: Time to Make the Runzas

Pre-Heat oven to 350°
Punch down dough and roll out onto floured board. Cut into 5-6 inch circles or squares.
Fill each with 1/3 Cup of meat mixture and seal. You can also add cheese before sealing
Place on baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet

Step 4: Serve or Freeze

Bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown

Cool slightly and serve, or wrap and freeze.



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    19 Discussions

    Sandy Harvill

    2 years ago

    This looks like an incredible quick meal, I am saving it to make for the next family get together! Thanks for the recipe


    Use canned, jarred or bagged Saurkraut instead of the cabbage. (It makes things a bit easier and much more authentic tasting).
    You're completely missing the not-so-secret ingredient - White Pepper. About 1 teaspoon in your filling (there is no subsitute). Your dish will go from ho-hum to seriously yummy. Don't feel bad - I haven't found one recipe on the net that knows about white pepper being the secret. Yes. I worked in a Runza Hut. I would imagine a good Beiroc would be the same.


    5 years ago

    My family is German and Russian there is something very similar called bierocks.

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Bierocks, Runzas, and Cabbage Burgers are all exactly the same thing. I grew up in Scottsbluff, NE and we always called them Cabbage Burgers. Runza was the fast food joint. The best ones were at "The Western Cafe".


    Reply 5 years ago

    You're right.....many in Nebraska still call these Bierocks.....I think all most all cultures have some sort of dough stuffed with meat and or veggies.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I've done that as well, but it doesn't have quite the same IS faster though


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    They will raise a little as you work on them, but no I didn't set them aside to raise again. My husband was "helping" me with these, so I'm sure it took me a little longer to get them all filled and sealed! LOL


    6 years ago on Introduction

    My Grandmother is German/ Russian and originally from Nebraska. She taught us this recipe with the addition of Black pepper. She calls them Bierocks. They would wrap them in linen and put them in the lunch box and they would stay warm until the farmers would break for lunch.

    Still Yummy today!



    6 years ago on Introduction

    Sounds good!

    I come from a Spanish background and we have something similar called "Empanadas". The filling is made out of ground beef, onions, garlic, peas, salt, pepper, and sometimes slices of hard boiled egg and/or raisins. They could either be deep fried or baked, but deep fried anything is always better.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I think a lot of cultures have similar....dough filled with something tasty! I agree frying makes just about anything taste good


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'll have to try your dough. I'm still on the hunt for an easy one. We make something similar. Instead of cabbage we use sauerkraut. I'm not sure of their origins either because I think sauerkraut is german, but we always called these Russian Hamburgers.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    When I first had them the lady that made them called them "Kraut Runzas". Some people make them with no meat in them at all.

    I think this dough is very easy. It a real easy to work with dough


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Ha! I was about to say that they look just like empanadas. Yum!

    I will take either version, and using sauerkraut sounds so good. :D