German Runzas

If you are not from the Midwest you are probably wondering what on earth is a Runza. It is cooked ground beef, cabbage and onion bundled in a bread dough and baked. I grew up eating these in Nebraska. Lucky for me my mom made these from scratch but we could also go to the local “Runza Drive In” and order them. I think in other parts of the country they are called Bierocks.  Mom’s home made German Runzas are a family favorite. She makes them for us when ever we visit. I am not so talented with making dough from scratch like she is so I have adopted a method that uses frozen whole wheat dough that ups the fiber and nutrition.  I found this recipe in a cooking magazine 10 -12  years ago. It may have been an issue of Cooking Light.  They are sure to please your palate. I serve them with oven fries and fruit salad.

German Runzas

Use frozen bread dough to encase a flavorful meat-cabbage filling for these hearty sandwiches.

Eat them plain or dip or spread them with salsa, catsup, or mustard.

Makes 10 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Rise: 30 minutes
Bake: 14 minutes


  • 2 16-ounce loaves frozen bread dough, thawed (I like Rhodes whole wheat dough)
  • 1 pound ground beef (I use the leanest I can find which is 95% lean)
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Divide each loaf of thawed bread dough into 5 equal pieces. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let dough rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef or sausage until meat is brown. Drain well.
3. In a large covered saucepan, cook cabbage and onion in the boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain thoroughly; return to pan.4. Add meat, Worcestershire sauce, and salt to cabbage mixture.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of bread dough to form a 6-inch square or a rectangle. I prefer the rectangle.Place a generous 1/3 cup of meat mixture in center of each piece of dough. Moisten edges of dough with water., roll up burrito style, pinch edges to seal. Place seam side down on lightly greased baking sheets. (Cover one sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate it, while the other bakes.)
6. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden.
7. Remove from oven and brush with butter or spray with non stick canola oil spray. Makes 10 runzas. Since you already have a mess going consider making a double batch and freeze half of the baked runzas.  Wrap the cooled runzas individually in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bags.

Yields: 10 Servings, Serving Size: 1 runza

Nutritional Information:

Using the lean 95% ground beef and Rhodes whole wheat dough each runza comes out to

Per Serving: 355 Calories; 5g Fat (15.6% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 46g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 148mg Sodium.
Old WWp 7   New WWPP 7

Nutritional Information updated 3/10/11

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  1. Carol says:

    Tami, I like your idea of making the runzas into a roll shape instead of the “bun” shape!!

    1. Tami says:

      Carol this is the shape that the Runza Drive In makes them. I also find it easier to fold the dough for this shape. I have everything in stock to make these, now I just need to find the time.

  2. David says:


  3. Mary says:

    My mom used to make these, but slhe called them Kraut nannies. I loved them, but I have not been able to make them quite right. Maybe the worcestorshire sauce will do the trick

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