Main dish

Cheesy Bierocks "Homemade Midwest Runza Copycat"

Delicious homemade cheesy bierocks recipe - a Runza copycat. Ground beef, cabbage, and cheddar in pastry buns. Freeze and reheat for a quick, satisfying meal.

To recipe
cheesy bierocks homemade midwest runza copycat
Recipe insights & TIPS

I created this homemade Runza copycat cheesy bierocks recipe when I was trying to come up with a way to replicate the sandwich from the Runza fast-food chain in Nebraska and Kansas that the kids love so much. And I finally nailed it! The magic lies in the golden-brown exterior, which hides the layers of flavor inside. The succulent meat, perfectly cooked cabbage, and the punch of the sharp cheddar cheese. The use of a strong and potent cheese is essential to up-leveling this dish. So, even if you choose to make a plant-based version of this recipe, I highly recommend choosing a ‘sharp’ variety. 

While you will have to wait a while for the dough to thaw and rise, I’ve purposefully designed this recipe to be a large batch so you can freeze the majority of the cheesy bierocks and simply reheat them later for the perfect quick lunch. Since you can reheat them in the microwave, they are also a great option for school lunches. Simply wrap them in a paper towel to soak up any moisture and heat for 1-2 minutes. 

This recipe can be adapted to your personal dietary requirements, including removing gluten by using a gluten-free bread dough and plant-based by swapping out the filling.


How do I store cheesy bierocks?

Once cooled, place them in an airtight container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap. They'll stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. 

Can I freeze cheesy bierocks?

Absolutely. Once baked, let them cool completely, then wrap them individually or pop them in a ziploc bag and freeze. A quick reheat in the microwave or oven, and you'll have a warm, delicious meal on demand.

What can I serve with cheesy bierocks?

These savory delights are incredibly versatile and can be paired with a variety of sides. A crisp, fresh salad adds a delightful contrast, or you can serve them with a side of roasted vegetables for a heartier meal. For a cozy dinner, consider pairing them with a warm soup or a side of creamy coleslaw.

Can I customize the filling to suit dietary preferences?

The beauty of cheesy bierocks is their versatility. Feel free to experiment with different fillings, whether it's swapping out meat for plant-based alternatives or adding extra veggies. Tailor the recipe to suit your family's tastes and dietary needs.

Can I make mini versions for a party or appetizer?

Simply adjust the size of the dough portions and filling to create bite-sized versions perfect for parties or as appetizers. They'll be the star of any gathering, and you can experiment with different fillings to cater to diverse tastes.

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This is a copycat recipe that my kids have said, “This is even better than a real Runza!”

Main dish
30 minutes
Total TIME:
450 minutes
420 minutes


  • 1 package of Rhodes Thaw, Rise & Bake White Bread (or your favorite pre-made bread dough)
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef 
  • 1 small white onion 
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 tsp of seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 16 slices sharp cheddar cheese

Ingredient Swaps

  • Swap the pre-made white bread dough for whole grain or multigrain dough to increase fiber content. You can also make your own dough from scratch. 
  • Substitute the ground beef for a plant-based alternative like lentils, mushrooms, or a plant-based meat substitute. 
  • Opt for a reduced fat, or plant-based cheese alternative to lower saturated fat content. 


  1. Thaw four loaves worth of bread dough.
  2. While the dough is rising, sauté 2lbs of ground beef and one small diced white onion over medium/high heat until the meat is brown.
  3. Drain any excess grease.
  4. Stir in 2 tsp of seasoning salt, 1 tsp of pepper, and 4 cups of cabbage.
  5. Cook down the cabbage and stir until everything is combined.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  7. Once the dough has risen remove one loaf’s worth and knead to remove bubbles.
  8. Divide the dough into four evenly sized balls. 
  9. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll out each ball of dough to approximately 8 inches x 6 inches. 
  10. Take the cheese and use it to line the center of the dough.
  11. Place ½ cup of the meat and cabbage mixture on top of the cheese.
  12. Fold in the sides of the dough so that they overlap, then pinch them together.
  13. Fold up the open ends and pinch together.
  14. Place the prepared Runza on a greased cookie sheet. 
  15. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients. You should be able to fit up to 8 Runzas on a single cookie sheet.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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