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Pagach (Pierogi Pizza)

Pagach – aka Pierogi Pizza – is pizza crust topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and buttery sautéed onions and then baked until it’s golden brown and delicious. How could that not be good?

Up here in Northeast Pennsylvania, Pagach (or pagash as it’s sometimes spelled) is very popular. It’s a dish of Slavic origin (Polish in my case). You’ll find it in most local pizza shops, and many of our moms and grandmas often made it at home.

If you’ve never heard of it or tried it, you are in for a real treat!

And I do mean treat! Pagach (we pronounce it paw-gotch; some say puh-gosh) is some serious carb-a-licious, cheesy comfort food. It’s totally addictive, and you will definitely want to eat more than one piece.

I think it’s worth every single calorie!

Pagach is sometimes referred to as Pierogi Pizza because the potato and cheese topping is pretty much the same potato and cheese filling that’s stuffed into pierogi.

I’ve had Pagach two different ways: one with the potatoes stuffed between a top and bottom crust, and one with just a bottom crust with the potatoes spread on top. Also, some have onions, and some don’t. Most use cheddar cheese, and some use mozzarella (or both).

Everyone seems to have their own way of making it!

The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is the way my mom and dad always made it (and the best way as far as I’m concerned) – just a bottom crust with a cheesy potato and sautéed onion topping that’s baked, and then you spread on more buttery onions and cheese and broil it until golden brown.

square of pagach on a spatula being taken from the tray

My mom was the cook in our house, but this is one of a few recipes where my dad would actually get in the kitchen with her, and they would cook it together while my sister, brother and I watched and waited with anticipation.

We couldn’t wait to eat it (I sure do miss those days)!

In their earlier days of making pagach, mom and dad used thawed frozen bread dough as the crust, which was very good.

Later on, they started using a store-bought pre-baked Sicilian-style pizza crust, which not only made it better because the crust was much more sturdy and crisp, it also made it a much easier recipe since there was no dough to fuss with!

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED:

  • Pre-baked rectangular Sicilian-style pizza crust (see note below)
  • Potatoes (I use Russets or Yukon Golds)
  • Butter
  • Onions
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper

Note: Pre-baked pizza crusts are usually found in the refrigerated/dairy section of the supermarket near the mozzarella cheese.

HERE’S A QUICK LOOK AT HOW TO MAKE PAGACH (PIEROGI PIZZA):

three images showing the steps to make pagach pierogi pizza
three images showing the steps to make pagach pierogi pizza
three images showing the steps to make pagach pierogi pizza
three images showing how to make pagach pierogi pizza
three images showing how to make pagach pierogi pizza

TIPS & TIDBITS:

  • Properly seasoning the potato topping is key to the success of this recipe! If it is bland, you will very likely be disappointed. Be sure to salt the water when you are cooking the potatoes and, once you have prepared the potato topping, give it a taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • If you’ve got an Instant Pot, you can cook the potatoes in there as you would for Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (except don’t add the butter and milk).
  • I highly recommend using extra-sharp cheddar cheese (yellow or white) because it adds a lot more flavor to the potatoes than a mild, medium or even a sharp cheddar.
  • If you aren’t into onions, you could leave them out, but they sure do make it extra yummy!
  • When adding the milk, add only enough to help the potatoes be a little more easy to spread onto the crust. They should be tighter than mashed potatoes. Be careful not to make them too loose and runny.
  • When the pizza comes out of the oven, carefully remove it from the pan to a wire rack to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This will help keep the crust crisp. If you let the pizza sit in the pan, the bottom will steam as it cools off, and the crust can become a bit soggy.
  • If you have leftovers, the crust will lose its crispness as the pagach sits in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325°F oven until the potatoes are heated through and the bottom is crisp OR put it in the microwave until the potatoes are heated through and then crisp up the crust in a frying pan over medium-low heat.
  • For those of you that would like to gild the lily even more, you could top this with some sour cream and chives or crispy bacon (or all three)!
squares of pagach stacked on a plate

Pagach is delicious eaten fresh and hot from the oven, of course, but let me just say that it is also very good at room temperature, and it’s even really good cold.

Yes, cold! Since I was a kid, I have always enjoyed eating a leftover piece straight from the refrigerator as a snack. Just try it!

I hope you try this recipe for Pagach (Pierogi Pizza) a try and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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several pieces of pagach piled on a white plate

Pagach (Pierogi Pizza)

Pagach – aka Pierogi Pizza – is pizza crust topped with cheesy mashed potatoes and buttery sautéed onions and baked until it's golden brown and delicious!
4.80 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 310
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • 1 store-bought pre-baked rectangular Sicilian-style pizza crust
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I use Russets or Yukon Golds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese (white or yellow), divided
  • ¼ cup milk, you may need less or more
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pizza crust on a large baking sheet (the size may vary depending on the brand of crust; my crust fits perfectly in a 17¼ x 15½-inch pan).
  • Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and lightly golden brown. Set aside ½ cup of the sautéed onions (they will be used later to top the pizza).
  • When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them and return them to the hot pot. Allow them to sit for a minute or two until any excess moisture evaporates and they are no longer wet.
  • Add 2½ cups of the cheese to the hot potatoes and mash until well-combined and smooth (be careful not to over-mash, as this can make the potatoes gummy). Stir in the sautéed onions (except the ones you set aside).
  • Add just enough milk to help the potato mixture be a bit more easy to spread on the crust. The consistency should be tighter than mashed potatoes. ¼ cup of milk usually works for me, but add less or more as needed, being careful not to end up with loose or runny potatoes. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Spread the potato mixture evenly over the pizza crust, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza crust is golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and turn on the broiler.
  • Spread the reserved ½ cup of sautéed onions over the top of the pizza and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese.
  • Place the pizza under the broiler until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden brown (about 5 minutes).
  • Carefully remove the pizza from the pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into 12 squares. Note: If you leave the pizza in the pan, the bottom will sweat as the pizza cools, and the crust may become a bit soggy and lose it crispness.

Notes

  • Properly seasoning the potato topping is key to the success of this recipe! Be sure to salt the water when you are cooking the potatoes and, once you have prepared the potato topping, give it a taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • If you have leftovers, the crust will lose its crispness as the pagach sits in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325°F oven until the potatoes are heated through and the bottom is crisp OR put it in the microwave until the potatoes are heated through and then crisp up the crust in a frying pan over medium-low heat.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
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Recipe Rating




Lisa

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Hey just wondering if I make this with a store bought defrosted dough ball like I do for my pizza do I cook dough partially before I put on the potato toppings I just wasn’t sure if the dough would cook up crispy enough with the potatoes on it.

Michelle

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Hey, Lisa! Yes, I would definitely recommend par-baking the dough/crust before adding the potatoes. Thanks for your question, and let me know how it goes!

Peggy

Friday 3rd of November 2023

A friend brought perogi pizza from Greensburg,PA and I became addicted! LOL. I’ve tried to make it. Somewhat successfully, but it is great to have your recipe. Thank you

Michelle

Friday 3rd of November 2023

Thank you, Peggy!

Joyce G

Wednesday 1st of March 2023

Hi - I haven't made this yet... just ran across this today. You should have seen my face when I saw this on Pinterest Pure delight!!! Years ago, a local pizza place used to make a mashed potato pizza. We ordered it every time we ordered from their shop. Without warning, they eliminated it on their menu. We were VERY sad. Maybe we were the only people to order it, who knows. Sooooo... I'm going to make this and I will let you know!!! Thank you for posting this!!!

Michelle

Wednesday 1st of March 2023

Hi, Joyce! Glad you found this recipe, so happy you're going to try it, and looking forward to hearing back from you on how it went. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

JIM CLARK

Monday 27th of February 2023

Slice some Kolbasi, pan fry and then put on the pie as a pepperoni substitute.

Michelle

Monday 27th of February 2023

Thanks, Jim! That sounds fantastic, and I can't wait to try it!!

Jeanne & Steve C.

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

Excellent Receipes....We make Paugach following different Receipes. We especially like to make our own homemade dough, filled with mashed potatoes or Partially Steamed/Fried Sauerkraut. There has never been a Receipe that we don't like. Your Receipes are Great. Thank You.

Jeanne & Steve C.

Michelle

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

Thank you, Jeanne and Steve! And I agree...whichever way you make Pagach, it's just so good!