Nebraska Runza Recipe

Simple Nebraska Runza Recipe: A Taste of Heartland Comfort

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Prepare to embark on a culinary journey to the heartland of America with our Simple Nebraska Runza Recipe. Originating from the Midwest state of Nebraska, the Runza is a beloved comfort food characterized by its hearty filling of seasoned ground beef, onions, and cabbage, all encased in soft bread dough. Whether you’re craving a nostalgic taste of home or looking to explore regional cuisines, this recipe is sure to satisfy your appetite and warm your soul. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to experience the comforting flavors of the Heartland in your own kitchen!


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional for an authentic flavor)
  • 12 pieces frozen unbaked roll dough
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (for sautéing)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (optional for extra deliciousness)


  1. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat.
    • Add the diced onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the ground beef to the skillet, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
    • Stir in the shredded cabbage and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more.
    • Season the filling mixture with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds (if using), to taste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Prepare the Dough:
    • Thaw the frozen unbaked roll dough according to the package instructions.
    • Once thawed, roll out each piece of dough into a small rectangle or oval shape, about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Assemble the Runzas:
    • Spoon a generous portion of the prepared filling onto one half of each piece of rolled-out dough.
    • Fold the other half of the dough over the filling to form a pocket or envelope.
    • Press the edges of the dough together firmly to seal the filling inside.
  4. Bake the Runzas:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the assembled Runzas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving some space between each one.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Remove the baked Runzas from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving.
    • If desired, sprinkle shredded Cheddar cheese over the top of each Runza for an extra layer of flavor and indulgence.
    • Serve warm and enjoy the comforting taste of homemade Nebraska Runzas!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: For a meatless version of the Runza, you can substitute the ground beef with cooked lentils or vegetarian ground meat crumbles.
  • Add Extra Seasonings: Customize the flavor of the filling by adding additional spices and seasonings such as garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the filling for the Runzas ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to assemble and bake, simply reheat the filling until warmed through before proceeding with the recipe.
  • Freeze for Later: Baked Runzas can be frozen for future enjoyment. Simply wrap each individual Runza tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What is the origin of the Runza? A: The Runza, also known as the Bierock or Krautburger, originated from Eastern European immigrants who settled in Nebraska in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a traditional comfort food in the region and has since become a beloved dish across the Midwest.

Q: Can I use homemade bread dough instead of frozen roll dough? A: Yes, you can certainly use homemade bread dough for the Runzas. Simply roll out the dough into individual portions and follow the assembly and baking instructions as directed.

Q: What can I serve with Runzas? A: Runzas are often enjoyed on their own as a satisfying meal. However, you can pair them with a side of potato salad, coleslaw, or a simple green salad for a well-rounded and delicious meal.

Q: Can I make mini Runzas for appetizers or snacks? A: Absolutely! You can use smaller portions of dough and filling to create mini Runzas perfect for appetizers or snacks. Adjust the baking time accordingly to ensure they are cooked through.

Keto Version and Low-Carb Adaptation:

For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here’s a modified version of the recipe:

Keto Nebraska Runza:

  • Substitute the frozen unbaked roll dough with a low-carb or keto-friendly bread dough made with almond flour, coconut flour, or psyllium husk.
  • Use ground turkey or a combination of ground beef and pork for the filling to reduce the fat content.
  • Replace the diced onion with minced garlic and add extra seasonings such as smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin for added flavor without the carbs.

With our Simple Nebraska Runza Recipe, you can bring the comforting flavors of the Heartland to your own kitchen. Whether you’re a born-and-raised Nebraskan or simply curious to explore regional American cuisine, these hearty and flavorful Runzas are sure to delight your taste buds and warm your soul. From family gatherings to cozy weeknight dinners, these homemade Runzas are guaranteed to become a favorite comfort food in your household. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to experience the heartwarming taste of Nebraska in every bite!

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