Oktoberfest Beer Pairing: Homemade Pierogi

Although pierogi are Polish and it may be considered a sin to pair with German beer, I'm doing it anyway! These babies are filled with potato, garlic, and cheddar and are just begging for an amber lager like Oktoberfest to accompany them.

I just spent the entire afternoon making pierogi. Yep, an entire afternoon. And I'm not going to lie that besides it being time consuming, it also took a lot of elbow grease. This is not meant to discourage you though!  The good news it that I now have about 60 pierogi nicely packed away in the freezer for future dinners.  So the next time I'm too lazy to cook, I'll have plenty of homemade freezer meals! I will gladly take one afternoon of hard work for that!

Bonus: This is one of the most budget-friendly meals I have ever made. All it really cost me were a few potatoes and a block of good cheddar cheese.

The Pairing

These Pierogi could honestly go with any beer. After all, potatoes and cheddar are pretty accommodating ingredients--they're really not going to overwhelm any beer nor be overpowered by one either. Since its the end of September (already!) and I've got my mind on all things Oktoberfest and...German??...whatever. I really had a hankering for making these!

So, why pair these with an Oktoberfest lager? Oktoberfests, being German, are very malty lagers. This means  they have a great "breadiness" to them. You won't find any hoppiness in these beers my friends, as the bitterness is there  to just balance out the beer. German Oktoberfests are tending to get lighter and lighter each year whereas American Craft versions are a bit darker and maltier. Since the pierogi are packed with potato and cheese filling, they are a natural accompaniment to the caramelly toastiness of the beer. And the sour cream makes this pairing even better.

My favorite Oktoberfests

German Oktoberfest

  • Paulaner
  • Spaten
  • Weihenstephaner (almost drinks like a pilsner. Try this one if you're weary of darker lagers)
  • Ayinger
  • Erdinger

American Oktoberfest Styles

  • Brooklyn
  • Victory "Festbier"
  • Sam Adams
  • Tenaya Creek (local Las Vegas brew)

Don't have access to this seasonal style yet? Fear not, as I said pierogi go with almost any beer. They're especially great with German Pilsner and Vienna Lager.

The Recipe

Pierogi can often be an accompaniment to a meal or a meal in itself--its all up to you! I put together a delicious sauce for these cheddar-potato pierogi so they can shine on their own as a main course. Think sour cream in a garlic-sauce form... its absolutely amazing and worth the 5 extra minutes rather than putting a dollop of plain cold sour cream on top.

Can I mention again how CHEAP this recipe is to make? I didn't intentionally make it for that reason, even though I'm on this ridiculous $30/week grocery budget goal, but check out the ingredients to make these...my wallet is super thankful!

Pierogi dough adapted from Martha Stewart's basic pierogi recipe


For the Dough:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 Cup water
  • 5 Cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface dusting

For the Filling

  • about 5 lbs (or 11) yukon gold potatoes (substitute floury potatoes okay)
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3/8 Cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp butter

For the Sour Cream Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Cup dry white wine (or chicken broth if you don't have one open!)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard (do not use a grainy mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives

To Make the Pierogi

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and sour cream. Stir in the water and milk. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, whisking into the mix fully before adding more. By the 5th cup, the dough will be very thick.
  2. Place the dough onto a floured surface and start kneading. To knead, push very hard into it with the palms of your hands. Fold the dough in half then turn a quarter to the right. Knead again, then repeat the folding and turning steps for about 8 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky. Add flour to your work surface as needed throughout this process.
  3. Place the cough back in the bowl and cover with saran wrap. Let sit for at least 1 hour before using again.
  4. While the dough is resting, make the filling: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and quarter the potatoes and place in the boiling water. Add the smashed garlic cloves to the water as well. Cook for about 18 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.
  5. Drain the softened potatoes and garlic. Add them to a large bowl along with all the remaining ingredients for the pierogi filling. Use an electric mixer to blend everything together. A kitchenaid comes in really handy for this part!
  6. After the dough has sat for an hour, break it up into about 4 pieces. Roll one piece out onto a floured surface and roll until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Take a mason jar, large cup, or 3" round cookie cutter and stamp circles closely to each other in the dough.
  7. Take each circle of stamped dough and place about a tablespoon of filling in the middle. Fold the dough in half and pinch the outside edges together, making a half-moon-looking dumpling. Repeat this with all the remaining dough (this is the time-consuming part!). After your dumplings are created from each batch of dough, be sure to store them on a cookie sheet or platter covered in saran wrap. Do not pile them all together or they will clump together (as I unfortunately learned).
  8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and submerge about 10 pierogi at a time in it. The pierogi will sink to the bottom for a few minutes, then rise to the top. Let them float at the top for 2 minutes, then remove. Continue this step with all the pierogi until completed.
  9. If you are intending to freeze your pierogi, this is the time to do it. Place pierogi in a single layer on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then remove and place in a freezer bag. This ensures that the pierogi will not stick together.
  10. If you are intending on eating some of the pierogi immediately, you can either eat them as-is or pan-fry them (which is my favorite). Just put some oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat, then place the pierogi in a single layer. Fry for a few minutes until browned, then flip and do the same.

To Make the Sour Cream Sauce

  1. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant for about 1 minute. Be careful not to brown the butter or garlic.
  2. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced about half. Mine reduced very quickly, taking about 2 minutes.
  3. Slowly add the sour cream, little by little, along with the mustard. Stir continuously until the sauce has thickened. Make sure the sauce does not come back to a boil.
  4. Once thickened, turn off heat. Stir in the fresh chives and serve over the pierogi.

Happy Pairing!