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Sep 7, 2022

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings

These spinach and potato dumplings, or varenyky, are tasty little half moon shaped treats filled with a mixture of potatoes, spinach, onions, and zucchini. 

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Varenyky on plates.


There are many versions of these dumplings in Ukraine, both sweet and savory. They are typically boiled and can be eaten straight from the pot, or fried after boiling, often with sour cream on the side. 

On the savory side, fillings usually includes potatoes and onions, and possibly a soft cheese and green vegetables. On the sweet side, fillings can include fruit, such as sour cherries. 

The filling is wrapped in an unleavened dough that often includes sour cream, which is thinly rolled and cut into rounds or squares. 

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Varenyky on plates with jam in the background.

Making these varenyky:

I decided to make a savory version of these dumplings, and filled them with a mixture of potatoes, onions, zucchini, feta cheese, and spinach. 

I also pan-fried them in butter after boiling them. You can actually boil them, refrigerate them, and then pan fry them the next day, making them great for making ahead. 

Leftovers can easily be reheated in the toaster oven. 

Another Make-Ahead Tip:

You can also prepare the dough for the wrappers as well as the filling up to 24 hours in advance. 

Varenyky dough with filling in the center on a cutting board.

Assembling these Ukranian dumplings:

Once you have the dough and the filling, roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut it into 3 inch rounds. I made the rounds all at once, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling the dough. 

The dough rounds can shrink while you are continuing to make more, so keep your rolling pin handy. I re-rolled each round again right before filling it. 

Once you've added some filling to the middle of the dough rounds, use a little cold water around the edges to seal them. You can crimp the edges with a fork if you like, or if you are confident that it's not necessary, you can skip this step. 

Varenyky after shaping on a wooden board.

Once you have filled and sealed the dough, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and boil the dumplings in batches for about three minutes each batch. 

At this point, you can either pan fry them in a little butter, or refrigerate them to pan fry later when you are ready to serve them. 

Because you are frying these later, these dumplings are only parboiled. 

Varenyky after boiling on a white plate.

Serving these Dumplings:

After frying, these dumplings are often sprinkled with fried onion bits, parsley, or other greens. I sprinkled them with some chopped dill fronds. 

Sour cream is the most common side for dipping. As a nod to the fruit versions, I added a little bit of sour cherry jam. If you like to mix things up, I also loved these with some store bought Asian sweet chili sauce mixed with a little chili crisp, as heretic as that may sound. 

Either way, the sweet and savory combination was tasty. 

P.S. I had a little leftover filling, so I made some mashed potatoes and mixed them in, kind of like Irish Champ or Colcannon

Three black plates with Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings.

This month, the Foodie Extravaganza group is celebrating National (or World) Dumpling Day, which is September 26. We are all sharing recipes for dumplings from multiple cultures. 

More Dumpling Recipes on Karen's Kitchen Stories:

Asian Style Chicken Dumpling Soup

Shrimp and Pork Potstickers

Pork and Ginger Potstickers

Beef and Sweet Onion Dim Sum Pandas

Pan Fried Pork and Scallion Buns

Lobster Wonton and Corn Chowder

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings on a plate with sour cream and jam.

Foodie Extravaganza Dumpling Recipes! 

We're here to help you celebrate National Dumpling Day! 

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays by cooking and baking together with the same ingredient or theme each month. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board.

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings on a plate with sour cream.

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings (Varenyky)

Ukranian Spinach and Potato Dumplings (Varenyky)
Yield: 24 dumplings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 2 HourTotal time: 3 H & 20 M
These spinach and potato dumplings, or varanyky, are tasty little half moon shaped treats filled with a mixture of potatoes, spinach, onions, and zucchini.


For the Dough
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 390 grams (3 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 113 grams (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 9 equal pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, cut into a small dice
  • 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled feta cheese
  • For frying: 3 tablespoons butter
  • Chopped fresh dill or parsley for finishing
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sour cream and sour cherry or fig jam for serving


To Make the Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the sour cream.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour and salt. Mix on low while slowly adding the butter pieces, one at a time. Mix for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and sour cream mixture all at once and mix until just incorporated. The mixture should be crumbly.
  3. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and knead it until it just comes together into a ball. Form it into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
  4. Divide the dough in half and place the other half back into the fridge.
  5. Roll the dough out into a 1/8 inch thick round, and, using a 3 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on a plate. Gather up the scraps and re-roll and cut the dough. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator as you work with the other half of the dough. You should get 24 rounds total.
To Make the Filling
  1. Boil the potato pieces in salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and cool.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are softened and transluscent, about 4 minutes. Add the shredded zucchini and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach to the skillet, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Pour the mixture into a colander and press with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Let the mixture drain for 30 minutes while regularly stirring and pressing out more liquid.
  4. Grate the potatoes into a bowl and stir in the spinach mixture. the feta, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Stir to combine.
To Make the Dumplings
  1. Place about 2 1/2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of a dough circle. Wet the edges of the dough and press them together to form a half circle or crescent. Optionally, crimp the edges with a fork. Set aside, and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the rest of the dough circles and filling.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Boil the dumplings in batches for about 3 minutes. Lift them out with a large slotted spoon and place them on a wax or parchment paper lined tray or plate. At this point, you can cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator, or fry them right away).
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry the dumplings, 1 to 2 minutes per side. They should be light brown and just beginning to crisp.
  4. Serve hot, sprinkled with the dill or parsley along with the sour cream and jam on the side.

Nutrition Facts



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Dumplings, potatoes, spinach
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This recipe was adapted from the book Street Food by Susan Feniger. These dumplings were on the menu at her Los Angeles restaurant called Street, which opened in 2009 and closed around 2013. 

Susan, well known for her Border Grill restaurants and Food Network show, Two Hot Tamales (with Mary Sue Milliken), has traveled the globe, sampling street food and bringing back the inspiration and recipes. 

Side note: My first exposure to them was when I got to see them both as an audience member on some long forgotten talk show. I used to manage a temporary help agency and one of our clients (not my favorite) needed folks to fill in for studio audiences. I had to sit in once because we couldn't find enough people. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. So many wonderful flavors packed into these dumplings!! I love that crispy texture from pan-frying too.

  2. These look amazing, Karen! I can't wait to try this. And the crispiness from pan-frying looks perfect.

  3. Ahah!!!! That's why fate interceded and I didn't get my veriniki made. You had already beat me to it. I am still making these as soon as my kitchen is usable. Your's are making my mouth water.

    1. Hilarious! I can't wait to see yours when your kitchen is back!

  4. Crispy and delicious dumplings, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  5. The filling, crispy dumpling, and the sour cream, all sound divine together! This is a great recipe!


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