Runza 2It’s National Cabbage Day!  Hey, I admit cabbage gets a bad rep, but mixed with hamburger and onion in these little pocket sandwiches, it’s so good!

Runzas (not the original name) originated in Russia in the 1800’s, but the version we know best in the United States was actually made popular at a little drive-in in Lincoln, NE, in 1949.  Since Lincoln is less than 45 miles away from me, everyone around here knows and loves them, but in other parts of the country, the runza sandwich is a bit more obscure.

Technically, I suppose, runzas are made from a somewhat delicate dough prepared from scratch, but while I was growing up, my mother simply used frozen bread dough, and the convenience is just too much to give up.   But if you have a favorite bread dough recipe, by all means, use it.   

The runza ingredients can be increased by as much as you need.  In this version, I took convenience a step further and used a half package of coleslaw (shredded cabbage and carrots.)   

A good ratio is a half head of diced cabbage to a pound of hamburger and a whole onion.  But don’t let all that cabbage scare you.  It softens and cooks down nicely.  And if you have more meat mixture than dough, the mixture freezes great.  

Be sure to pass the ketchup!



  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1/2 head finely chopped cabbage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed (or your favorite bread dough recipe)


  1. Brown hamburger and onion. Drain. Salt and pepper generously. Add chopped cabbage. Cover pan with lid to allow cabbage to soften. Stir often.
  2. On floured surface, roll out dough and cut into squares. (Or slice dough and roll out individually.) Put a generous spoonful of hamburger mixture onto dough. Bring ends up and seal. Place sealed side down on baking sheet.
  3. Variations - add shredded cheddar cheese on top of meat mixture before sealing. Or diced dill pickle and cheese for a cheeseburger runza.
  4. Bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

3 Responses to Runzas

  • Yummy! I love cabbage, bad rep and all. And I love beef and I love onions. Seems to be a recipe from heaven for me. And the variations … !

    I’m going to have to try that with some low carb bread, no added wheat gluten for my diabetes but, man, it would sure lighten up the pressure on me always having to make something healthy when I don’t have a lot of time to do it. If I could work them, I could make a bunch, freeze them and pop them in the microwave for a quick meal when I’m on the run.

  • Never heard of them until this post.

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I’m a wife to one, mom to four, grandmother to eight. . . and a romance novel writer! After publishing 14 western historical romances with traditional publishers, I self-published a contemporary romance before embarking on my new 1920s historical romantic suspense series, The Secret Six. Please do visit my website,, to learn more about my books, all available on Amazon as well as most other online booksellers.

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