In Ukrainian, we call dumplings “Vareniki” and these Blueberry Steamed Dumplings can be made two ways- steamed right in the pot using a flat kitchen splatter screen (handy kitchen hack for steamer basket) or turned into traditional boiled dumplings. This dumpling recipe is made from refrigerated Pillsbury Grand biscuit dough for an easy meal and they taste just as fluffy as the traditional dumplings grandma would make back in Ukraine (no one will even tell!)

Blueberry steamed dumplings using biscuit dough (Vareniki)
Image: Alyona Demy

Like Borscht, Pierogi, Cabbage Rolls, Potato Pancakes, and Potato Cabbage Rolls, Vareniki are a National food of Ukraine! However, growing up in America we have come to love some American comfort foods like this Chicken Pot Pie Casserole with Biscuits! For more Ukrainian recipes check out this Chicken and Dumplings Soup or this Dumplings Soup using Pelmeni.

What are Dumplings?

Almost every culture has its variation of dumplings! Dumplings are made from a dough typically consisting of flour and can be filled with a variety of fillings like meat, cheese, fruits, and vegetables. They can be boiled, steamed, fried, and sometimes even baked!

Our favorite potato dumplings are Pierogies which we boil and then fry and when we’re craving meat dumplings we make Pelmeni. Vareniki are Ukrainian dumplings usually filled with sweet fruit, cheese, or savory sauerkraut. Interestingly, being both from Ukraine, my family boils these dumplings and my husband’s side loves them steamed, there are both incredibly delicious and quite addicting.

These blueberry steamed dumplings are not too sweet and are considered a main dish meal as they are filling and usually served with a side of sour cream (smetana.) You can eat these anytime of the day, lunch, snack, dinner, or as a summer appetizer! The children love these and they’re so easy to make!  

Vareniki vs Pelmeni or Pierogies

The simplest way to explain all the different European names for dumplings is that the names differ from region to fillings. So, being Ukrainian we would call the meat dumplings Pelmeni and the potato-filled dumplings Pierogi or varenik. Vareniki were the dumplings filled with everything else including cabbage, potatoes, cheese (tvorog), and various fruit. 

Preparation:

Both of our Ukrainian families prepared traditional Vareniki dumplings using buttermilk. Buttermilk was just an ingredient that needed to be used up from the sour milk that was fermenting. The fluffiest vareniki were made from buttermilk and baking soda. You can make my Homemade Vareniki Recipe, however, my mom discovered a much easier way to serve these fruit dumplings after we immigrated to the US.

Using refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuit Dough was a hack my mom figured out when she wanted to serve a meal fast. It is a genius hack and it’s easily available at most grocery stores! You would never know it was refrigerated dough! These steamed dumplings are fluffy, soft, and bursting with blueberry flavor!

Ingredients For Blueberry Steamed Dumplings:

Traditionally you would need flour, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt to make Vareniki. That’s what Ukrainian dumplings were made of. We are making these steamed dumplings with refrigerated biscuit dough that will take a fraction of the time to make and they are already pre-sliced and ready to fold and steam! You will need these simple ingredients to get started;

ingredients for steamed dumplings (Blueberry Vareniki)

  • Pillsbury Grands Biscuit Dough- found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store (or use any generic flaky biscuits dough.)
  • Fresh blueberries- (not frozen) otherwise they can leak out.
  • Granulated Sugar- these are mildly sweet dumplings that can be served as a main dish. We love them dolloped with sour cream!

How To Make Steamed Dumplings:

Once you have the dumpling dough ready they are ready to be filled and then cooked. You’ll want to twist and pop all of the biscuit dough from the can. If you are using the Grands simply slice each piece in half to make traditional dumplings. Using a whole slice of biscuit dough will take longer to steam and will come out too large. To make dumpling dough from scratch use buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and flour as the main ingredients.

how to make steamed dumplings

  1. Cut each circle of dough in half if using Grands biscuits. Stretch each dumpling out to fit a teaspoon of filling.
  2. Place a teaspoon of blueberries into the center and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Fold dough in half and close the filling by pinching and sealing the edges.
  4. Place Vareniki dumplings onto a flat kitchen splatter screen or stainless steel steaming basket. Place steamer over a pot of boiling water about 3-inches deep.
  5. Cover dumplings with a lid and steam for 5-8 minutes until fluffy and cooked thoroughly.
  6. Serve blueberry steamed dumplings with sour cream!

Note: To make crimped edges like chive box pockets (seen in some Chinese dumplings), then fold the edges in, overlapping each other to make a twisted edge pattern.

Filling Variations:

There are so many ways to fill Vareniki Dumplings! Our family favorite is fresh blueberries with a sprinkle of sugar, however, any fruit in season or savory filling will work! Placing the filling into the center of the dough is important to make a half-moon-shaped dumpling that holds its filling in. Here are other favorite fillings to try!

  • Lazy Varenyky- are actually unfilled and just cut into strips and enjoyed as a cooked dough (like Gnocci) topped with jam or sour cream.
  • Cherry Filling- vareniki with cherries are best with fresh cherries. Pit and halve sweet or sour cherries and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar into each dumpling.
  • Potato Filling- mash 1 lb of russet potatoes with salt, butter, 6 oz cream cheese, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
  • Cabbage Filling- we make Fried Cabbage just for Pirozhki (fried buns). A Braised Cabbage filling can be made with mushrooms and a handful of Sauerkraut. Fill dumplings with this and you have a hearty meal!
  • Meat Filling- mix 500 grams of ground meat (chicken, pork, or beef) with 3 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, 2/3 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 2-4 Tbsp of water.
  • Apple Dumplings: core and dice two of your favorite apples (skins removed) and sprinkle each filled dumpling with a pinch of sugar.
  • Cottage Cheese- filling can be sweet or savory. For a sweet cheese filling add sugar to taste or for a savory cheese filling add salt and fresh dill.
  • Strawberry-filled Vareniki: make a great fruit filling for the summer months! Chop up a pint of fresh strawberries and sprinkle a pinch of sugar into each dumpling.

How To Shape and Fold Dumplings:

Closing and sealing the dough right is key for keeping the filling in. Try to keep the edges dry for an easier seal. This Vareniki recipe is super simple and doesn’t require art to crimp the edges.

  1. Begin with a circle of dough and fill.
  2. Fold in half to make a half-moon-shape.
  3. Pinch the edges down. I just press the edges together using my fingers.
  4. Cook.

 

What To Serve With Blueberry Steamed Dumplings?

What to serve with dumplings? Are you wondering what to eat with dumplings? Our favorite way to eat these steamed dumplings is to top them with sour cream (Smetana.) It is the best combination paired with fluffy hot dumplings and cold sour cream! You could also melt salted butter and use that as a dipping sauce for dumplings. These blueberry dumplings are filling and make a Main Course meal. Here are some sides to try:

 

Q&A

How Long To Steam Dumplings?

If you are wondering how long to boil or cook dumplings, it’s really quick! These dumplings are ready once they are fluffed up and the berries are about to burst open. If the berries have already burst open that’s a sign it was overcooked. It usually takes anywhere from 5-8 minutes to fully cook dumplings over the steam, covered.

Can You Freeze Dumplings?

Although some dumplings freeze great, fruit-filled dumplings do not freeze well. Fruits tend to release excess liquid after the freezer and this is not good if the dough is raw as it can easily unseal. In this case, it is better to par-cook these dumplings before the freezer.

How To Make Dumpling Dough From Scratch? 

Here is a quick and easy homemade dough to make for Ukrainian dumplings;

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk 

Can I Make-Ahead Dumplings?

Dumplings can not sit out too long raw, as they will begin to unseal. It is best to either freeze them (if the filling is non-fruit) or par-cook them to seal the filling in. After that, they can be reheated or finished cooking later.

How To Store Steamed Dumplings?

Storing: place leftover steamed dumplings into a food container and close with a lid. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

How To Reheat: steamed dumplings are best revived again in the steam or microwaved until hot. Vareniki dumplings can keep in the fridge for up 3 days after cooking.

Can I Use Flaky Biscuits Dough For Dumplings?

Absolutely! My mother came up with the idea of catching the “buttermilk” label off the refrigerated biscuit dough years ago and has been making blueberry Vareniki since! My Ukrainian mom said these dumplings are best with berries or fruit, since they come out fluffy, however, fillings like Framer’s or cottage cheese, fried cabbage, and potatoes would be fine too.

 

Tips for Making Dumplings:

  1. Sour Cream, melted butter, or Jam makes the best dumpling sauce for European Dumplings.
  2. To make Vareniki dumplings from scratch use buttermilk, baking soda, salt, and flour as the main ingredients.
  3. Pan-fried dumplings are best with a filling like mashed potatoes (Pierogies.)
  4. Fruit dumplings do not freeze well as the filling later leaks out during the cooking time.
  5. Refrigerated flaky biscuits are great for making dumplings! Use them as a shortcut to making Vareniki (dumplings.)
  6. If you love to bake dumplings make these Baked Pirog.
  7. You can use Crescent dough for making dumplings too! Simply pinch and seal all the separate pieces to make a seamless sheet of dough. Cut out circles using a drinking glass and fill. 

More Dumpling Recipes:

I would love to know other ways to transform Pillsbury Biscuits into dinner! Leave a comment below on your favorite and easy biscuit recipes for meal ideas! 

How To Make Blueberry Steamed Dumplings: 

Blueberry Steamed Dumplings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 32 dumplings
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
These Blueberry Steamed Dumplings can be made two ways- steamed right in the pot using a flat kitchen splatter screen (handy kitchen hack for steamer basket) or turned into traditional boiled dumplings. This dumpling recipe is so fluffy and made from refrigerated Pillsbury Grand biscuit dough for an easy shortcut to traditional dumplings like grandma would make back in Ukraine (no one will even tell!)

Equipment

  • 1 8-quart pot
  • 1 kitchen splatter screen or steaming basket
  • 1 Spatula

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans refrigerated biscuits (Pillsbury buttermilk Grands)
  • 24 oz fresh blueberries (washed and patted dry)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Directions:

  • Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Place a splatter screen or steaming basket over the pot.
  • Meanwhile cut each biscuit in half. Flatten and shape each half into a 3-inch circle.
  • Place 4-5 blueberries into each circle and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp of sugar. Pinch ends together to seal the filling in.
  • Steam dumplings over medium heat covered for 5-8 minutes. Dumplings are ready when they fluff up and the berries just begin to burst.

Notes

  • *Sugar is optional. 
  • You can use any generic brand of refrigerated biscuits. Just be sure to cut the Grands in half. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1steamed dumplingCalories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 272mgPotassium: 81mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 12IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 15mgIron: 1mg

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4 comments

    • Al

    These Blueberry Steamed Dumplings are my favorite dumplings! In my childhood, my mom used to make identical ones with wild-picked blueberries from the woods. I enjoy them every time we make them and it reminds me of the good old days. Thank you!

      • Alyona

      Thank you for the feedback, this biscuit dough hack is a game-changer if it tastes like moms:)

    • adriana

    This is my dads favorite meal
    Thanks so much for this great recipe!

      • Alyona

      ❤️

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