Hrudka – Traditional Ukrainian Easter Cheese Made From Eggs

4.75 from 8 votes
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Hrudka, the Ukrainian Egg Cheese is the Eastern European Easter cheese made from eggs that we have made in my family for generations. This traditional Ukrainian Easter food is always part of our Slovak Easter menu.

Hrudka Ukrainian Egg Cheese For Easter

Sadly I don’t know a lot about the background of many of the traditions in my Eastern European heritage. I don’t think it’s that I didn’t pay attention as a kid. I honestly don’t think that my family really talked about it. I mean, I have a cursory understanding. All of the foods that we put in our Easter basket to be blessed at church on Holy Saturday have a significance. The homemade bread is a symbol of Jesus, the Bread of Life. Horseradish is usually mixed with beets and the color is a symbol of the blood he shed for us. Eggs are a symbol of new life and the rebirth of Christ. A candle is lit to symbolize the Light of the World.

Well as I was researching the recipe I was making for today’s Sunday Supper, I learned that cheese is symbolic of the moderation Christians should have in their lives. Huh? Cheese? Moderation? I never thought that cheese and moderation belonged in the same sentence, especially when you are talking about a cheese made from a quart of whole milk and a dozen eggs. But I’ll go with it.

I also have no idea about the origins of this particular cheese. A cheese made out of eggs. I mean, I guess it makes sense in the context of Easter and the symbolism of the eggs. Maybe it came out of frugality – those chickens laid a lot of eggs, so it was a way to stretch out the milk supply. I’m not sure, but it is definitely unique, and, from what I can find, unique to Eastern Europe. A Google search for “egg cheese” turns up lots of cheese eggs, but really only Hrudka as actual cheese made from eggs.

Sliced platter of Hrukda cheese

Ukrainian Easter Cheese

While I might not have known much about the overall history of the recipe, I do know that in our family, while my mom was helping my grandma make Paska, my aunt was making the Easter cheeses – the sweet Syrnyk, and this one. As a kid, unless it was my grandma’s cheese eggs (which I decided I hated by the time I was about five), I wouldn’t eat anything with eggs. Well, I mean, unless it was a cake or something, but you know what I mean. I told you once how this frustrated my grandpa every year on Easter when it was expected that we would all share a blessed hard boiled egg. So I certainly wasn’t eating this.

I totally blame my family. They should have just called it cheese. I’d have eaten cheese. But egg cheese? Heck to the no!

By the time I even began to accept that eggs were not repulsive, my aunt had long since moved to Kentucky and wasn’t often with us for Easter to make the egg cheese. Hence, the first time I ever even tried a bite was just several days ago when I made this…

Close up of Ukrainian Easter Cheese

I am so proud to slowly be ticking items off the list of foods from my Eastern European background.

I have now made Hrudka, the Ukrainian Egg Cheese for Easter.

And I tried it. And I liked it! I think I could have used a bit more salt (I wrote the recipe to reflect it) since the recipe my aunt gave me literally said “level salt”. The only thing I changed from the family recipe was to omit the flour. It was only two tablespoons, and every recipe I found online didn’t call for any flour. Since I didn’t want to mess around with gluten free flours, I just left it out. Seems no harm, no foul.

Or fowl? Hahaha! I’m a bad egg! How punny!

And while I shunned all things with egg as a kid, The Bug is alllll about cheese and eggs, so he was totally game for egg cheese. If you saw my Snaps the other day (yes, I’m on Snapchat at cupcakekalechip), he said “It’s pretty good! It tastes like an Easter egg!” I’m not sure what that means, but since he requested it in his lunchbox, I’m guessing that’s a good thing. I think it’s smooth and slightly sweet, and would be yummy with some Easter ham.

Hrudka - my generations old family recipe for the traditional Ukrainian Egg Cheese for Easter

All you need to make Hrudka is:

  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Sugar
  • Salt

Plus a pot, a whisk, and some cheesecloth. Check out the recipe to see how simple it is!

Ukrainian Hrudka recipe

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Here are some more of my family’s Eastern European recipes…

You can also try Haluski or Fried Cabbage and Noodles from A Family Feast. Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls from Noble Pig are always a classic. And though more popular around Christmas than Easter, you can’t go wrong with Nut Roll from Brown Eyed Baker.

 

Ukrainian Easter Cheese Recipe

If you are Ukrainian, Polish, Slovak, or other Eastern European descent and want to connect with your roots, or just like trying new and unique recipes from different regions of the world, give this Hrudka recipe a try. It’s easy, fun, and pretty awesome to say that you made your own cheese!

4.8 from 8 votes

Hrudka - Ukrainian Egg Cheese for Easter

A generations-old family recipe for the traditional Ukrainian Easter cheese made from eggs.
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Draining Time 8 hrs
Total: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set aside.
  • Combine the ingredients in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler and whisk until combined.
  • Place bowl over a pot of water or assemble the double boiler and, over medium heat, bring the water to a simmer. Cook, stirring very frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken and then the bids separate from the whey. This will take 20-30 minutes form when you start to see the curds begin to form, and it will look similar to scrambled eggs when it is done.
  • Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth to drain off the liquid (the whey), and allow to drain for several minutes. Then gather the cheesecloth, forming the cheese into a ball and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, allowing to cool until you can handle it, if necessary.
  • Keeping the cheesecloth wrapped tightly around the cheese, drain for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the cheese in an oven save dish. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
  • Cool completely in the refrigerator before slicing.
  • Serve with your Easter ham.
Nutrition Facts
Hrudka - Ukrainian Egg Cheese for Easter
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 59 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 145mg6%
Potassium 82mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 185IU4%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy!

42 Comments
  1. Cathy

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing! I believe this recipe is pretty much the one I know, minus the oven part. Is that just for color or does it change the texture any?

    I’m not Eastern European, but my mother-in-law is and I’ve had the traditional Slovak Easter dinner every year since I started dating my husband 15 years ago. Now that my mother-in-law is older and no longer able to cook much, it’s up to me to keep the traditions going and pass them along to my daughters. When I first had egg cheese, I thought it was really odd. But it is really yummy especially on bread with ham and horseradish. I’m about to go try to make this now, only my second time ever making it, last year it turned out but I struggled with getting it shaped right haha. I am sure practice makes perfect though and will do my best to keep the traditions alive!

  2. Patricia Grausam

    5 stars
    My Ukrainian husband LOVES egg cheese! I tried this recipe last year for Easter and he stated I should have made more. This year I made two! Very easy to make. Thank you so much!

  3. Adriana

    My Mennonite neighbor brought me some egg cheese yesterday after she borrowed my cheese cloth to make this for her family for Easter. She suggested we serve it with maple syrup drizzled over top. Our kids licked their plates clean and asked for seconds. Yum!
    Thank you for sharing your recipe and the history behind it.

  4. Christine

    I grew up with this and have made it for 50 years myself. Our whole family got together to do Ukrainian eggs on Good Friday afternoon and on Holy Saturday our parish priest actually came to Bless the food and house. Love our memories and traditions

  5. Karen

    My mother’s family was Slovak. We made the Easter cheese every year, but we called it “Cirek .” Ours was not baked in the oven after draining it . We refrigerated it and ate it with our nut roll and poppyseed roll on Easter morning.
    My mom used the liquid from draining the Easter cheese in yeast dough—some in the Paska, some in the nut and poppyseed roll dough, and if she had any left, she froze it and used it at some other time when she baked bread.
    I

    1. Thank you for sharing your traditions! I actually think my great-grandmother used to do the same with the liquid from the cheese. But then they started dividing tasks amongst my family and my mom made the Paska while my aunt made the cheese so everything was done separately.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Pam. Unfortunately, a microwave won’t work for this recipe. To make Hrudka, the eggs must be cooked very slowly and gently so that the curds can form.

  6. Lesley

    Does it actually taste cheesy? Or just like smooth, sweet eggs? The texture in the pictures and the description are making me think of tamagoyaki, Japanese omelet commonly used in sushi. Could you slice it for an egg sandwich?

    1. You know, it’s hard to describe the flavor. It’s not super sweet and it does have a bit of a cheesy flavor. It’s not overly eggy. I have not heard of tamagoyaki. The Hrudka is typically sliced, but in my family we have not used it on sandwiches. I suppose you could.

  7. Christina Kasa Russo

    5 stars
    My mom’s family has been making this forever, too! Our recipes are the same, also. We just wish there was a device to form & squeeze the egg ball, instead of scalding our hands & cutting fingers on the string as we tie it tight?

    1. Annemarie

      I am Ukrainian and Polish and have never had this. Will have to give it a go. Would a “nut milk bag” work rather than cheese cloth?

  8. Maria Pappano

    My mom was Slovak, so I also grew up eating this at Easter. However, we didn’t bake it in the oven. Also, my mom added a little sugar and cinnamon. I made it for the first time yesterday. Does anyone know if it can be frozen? Thanks so much!!! I love seeing traditional recipes. Thanks for posting!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      It’s a classic dish at our house, Cathy. I think it’s fun to try new ethnic recipes once in a while!

  9. Laura Peterson

    My family has been making this for over 100 years!!! My great-grandmother was born in 1889, and her mother and grandmother made it! (If I calculate her grandmother being age 50 in 1889, that’s 178 years!!!!) I remember my great-grandmother making this, and the same for my grandmother, my mother and father, my sisters and I, and now my children!

    Our recipe differs slightly . . .

    Instead of a quart of milk, we use one cup of milk, and 1 1/2 pounds of ricotta cheese. Years ago, a similar cheese was used that cannot be found now, but I don’t remember the name of it.

    Also, one egg yolk is retained and put aside. Before baking, the yolk is broken on top and rubbed around the outside.

    It’s DELICIOUS, and easy to make!

    After my father had a triple bypass, I made one for him with (don’t gag!) Egg Beaters and skim milk . . . I know . . . It’s sacrilegious in the making of our Hrudka! But, it turned out pretty good!

  10. Ella Bell

    My Dad’s family made this cheese every Easter…they passed this on to their children but it wasn’t passed on to my generation. Thank you for giving me this blessing. I took it to my Grandson’s school for a presentation on Easter traditions (blessing of Easter baskets…they loved it.

  11. Patricia

    I’m Slovak and we’ve been making this since I was a child, however we refrigerate it overnight and just serve it the next day with our ham or kielbasa. What is the reasoning for putting it in the oven? It seems as if it would dry it out. We always serve it with beet horseradish, as an option too! Yum!!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Patricia! I’m not exactly sure why we heat it, but that’s how my family has done it for generations. It’s very good that way, but I guess there are a few different ways to make it! 🙂

  12. me here too 52

    My baba called it “chicken cheese” in English. I made it, oh, maybe 20 years ago for my husband. Glad you reminded me of it, seeing as right now I’m overstocked with eggs from my neighbor.

  13. WOW! I learned so much!! Thank you so much for sharing! I think it’s wonderful you are digging into your roots through recipes. Can’t wait to come back and learn more!

  14. I love this post Brianne! This is so unique and very interesting. After reading your recipe I am pretty sure I would eat this and I may have to give this one a hand at making too!

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