Nebraska Beef Buns

June 26, 2013

Runsas | http://laurassweetspot.com

Forgive me for being a little groggy this morning. I’ve been up since 4:30am with my 6 month-old. You know how that is.

And to top it all off I can’t find my bananas to save my life.

Or my smoothie straw.

Not a good start to my day.

Seriously, I don’t know how a bunch of bananas can just disappear! Nobody ate them. They have to be in the kitchen. I can’t find them for the life of me. It’s driving me nuts. And my smoothie straw- I feel like I just saw it. Where did it go??

I bet I’d be able to find these things if I hadn’t woken up at 4:30am.

Runsas | http://laurassweetspot.com

Oh well, I guess I better move on with my day. Maybe I’ll try to tell you about these awesome beef buns.

Sweet, soft bread dough encases a delicious and simple filling of ground beef, cabbage, onions, and Colby Jack cheese. Each bun is the perfect size to hold in your hand and snack on. Pretty Awesome. You probably don’t even need a plate, making these perfect to be eaten on the go. Unless your a sloppy eater. Then you might want a plate. Or a broom at least.

We can thank Nebraska for these guys. They are more notably known to the locals as “Runzas” or “Bierocks”. The recipe came from German-Russian immigrates that arrived in the US around the 1870’s. I think that’s pretty cool when I local recipe has a long standing cultural heritage. Kind of like Kolaches from the Czech Republic in Texas or the Kringle from Denmark in Wisconsin. So cool. I’m from Upstate NY. We’ve got nothing.

Runsas | http://laurassweetspot.com

I’m really glad that Cooks Country decided to print this recipe because these are darn delicious. I ate two every night until they were gone. Dave wouldn’t help me so I was all alone in the task. No problem with me. It is a little frustrating how he doesn’t like things wrapped in bread though. Who in their right mind doesn’t think that makes it all the more delicious??

5.0 from 3 reviews
Serves: 12
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs 90% lean ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ small head green cabbage, cored and chopped fine (4 cups)
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • For the Dough:
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 Tb unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
  • 3½-3¾ cups (17½ to 18¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tb instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, plus 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  1. For the Filling: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in Dutch oven over med-high heat until just smoking. Add beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up pieces with spoon, until liquid evaporates and meat begins to sizzle, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain meat in colander and set aside.
  2. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to now-empty Dutch oven and heat over med-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in drained beef, cabbage, and chicken broth. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until liquid evaporates and mixture begins to sizzle, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl and let cool 15 minutes. Stir in Colby Jack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to assemble runsas.
  3. For the Dough: Meanwhile, grease large bowl. Combine milk, water, butter, and sugar in 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Microwave until temperature registers 110°F, 1 to 2 minutes. Using stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix 3½ cups flour, yeast, and salt on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, slowly add milk mixture and single beaten egg until incorporated and dough comes together, about 3 minutes.
  4. Increase speed to med-low and continue to mix until dough is smooth and pills away from sides of bowl, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes dough looks wet, add remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to bottom. Transfer dough to greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, 50-60 minutes.
  5. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide into 12 equal (2¾-ounce) portions. Form dough pieces into balls, cover with plastic, and let rise for 5 minutes.
  6. Working with 1 dough ball at a time (keep remaining balls covered with plastic), roll out into 5½-inch round with rolling pin. Transfer ½ cup lightly packed filling (3 ounces) to center of round. Use hands to press filling into compact mound. Stretch edges of dough over filling and pinch together to form bun. Arrange 6 runsas, seam side down, on each prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
  7. Discard plastic, brush runsas with egg wash, and bake until golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer sheets to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Barrow June 26, 2013 at 10:55 pm



lmachell June 27, 2013 at 6:25 am

Sorry Mary- I fixed that in the recipe card.


Lindsay L June 27, 2013 at 3:51 am

I make these and use Rhodes Frozen Bread dough and it works great! Also they are called “Runzas” not Runsas.


lmachell June 27, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thanks Lindsay! I’m not from Nebraska so I wouldn’t have a clue- I just typed it the way Cooks Country spelled it. I guess they were misinformed themselves. I’ll change it though. Great idea using frozen dough! I bet that makes the job easier.


Margaret Otley July 21, 2013 at 2:57 am

Actually runza is the correct spelling but other restaurants have been sued by Runza Drive In for using that term. That may be why they spelled it runsa.


Magda October 25, 2013 at 6:34 am

How long can you store them for? would they last a day or two or should you eat them fresh? Thanks


lmachell October 29, 2013 at 6:34 am

I had mine in the fridge for about 4 days and they kept fine.


Magda November 3, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Made them and they were really great, thanks for sharing the recipe! It’s a keeper for me 🙂


Eurl September 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm

What’s a good side dish for these ?


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