Polish Cuisine 101: Traditional Polish Foods to Try in Poland

Traditional Polish Foods 

Polish cuisine is a rich and flavorful combination of traditional recipes passed down through generations. When visiting Poland, one must take advantage of the opportunity to indulge in the country's delicious culinary offerings. Polish cuisine offers a wide range of dishes, from pierogi to bigos, that will satisfy every palate. This article will explore some of the best traditional Polish foods you should try in Poland.

Pierogi: The Pride of Polish Cuisine

Pierogi are a Polish food staple that cannot be overlooked. These delicious dumplings are made from unleavened dough, which is then filled with a variety of ingredients. Polish pierogi filling options include cabbage and mushroom, potato and cheese, minced meat, and many others. Once cooked, pierogi are often served with fried onions and a dollop of sour cream, adding an extra layer of flavor to these delightful dumplings.

Plate of Pierogi
Plate of pierogi with pickeled cucumber

Rosol - Polish Chicken Soup

Rosol, the beloved Polish chicken soup, holds a special place in Polish cuisine, cherished for its comforting warmth and nourishing flavors. This traditional soup features chicken simmered alongside aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions, resulting in a flavorful and robust broth.
Seasoned with herbs and spices, Rosol delights the senses with its aromatic aroma and savory taste. Whether enjoyed as a soul-soothing meal on a chilly day or served to celebrate special occasions, Rosol is a true testament to the heartwarming essence of Polish cooking.

Zurek Sour Rye Soup

Żurek, the most popular Polish soup, reigns supreme as a culinary favorite in Poland. Crafted from fermented rye flour, this tangy rye soup is often paired with sausage and hard-boiled eggs, offering a wholesome and fulfilling dining experience.

Bowl Of Zurek Soup
Bowl of Zurek Soup

Golabki - Polish Cabbage Rolls

Golabki is a popular dish served in Polish homes and popular in Poland. Golabki is a Polish dish made with boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, ground meat (usually pork or beef), onions, and spices. The stuffed cabbage rolls are usually baked in a tomato-based sauce, which adds a tangy flavor.

Golabki, also known as cabbage rolls or stuffed cabbage, is a hearty and comforting dish that is commonly served for family gatherings and holidays in Poland. It is considered a classic Polish comfort food and has been enjoyed for generations.

The term "golabki" translates to "little pigeons" in English, believed to be inspired by the rolled cabbage leaves' resemblance to pigeon shapes. While preparing golabki can be a bit time-intensive, involving the blanching and stuffing of individual cabbage leaves, the outcome is undoubtedly rewarding—a dish brimming with flavor and satisfaction that truly justifies the effort.

Kielbasa - Polish Sausage

No culinary journey through Polish cuisine is complete without savoring the renowned Polish sausage, known as kielbasa. Crafted from pork and infused with a harmonious blend of spices, this succulent sausage captivates with its rich flavor and tender texture. Whether enjoyed as a standalone delight or incorporated into traditional Polish recipes, kielbasa shines as a versatile culinary gem. Often the centerpiece of barbecues, it pairs exquisitely with pickled cucumbers, imparting a delightful contrast of refreshment and tanginess to the meal.

Polish Potato Pancakes: A Comfort Food Favorite

Authentic Polish potato pancakes, known as placki ziemniaczane, are a beloved comfort food in Poland. These delicious pancakes are made from grated potatoes mixed with flour, eggs, and seasoning, then fried until golden and crispy. They are often served as a side dish with sour cream or applesauce, adding a touch of sweetness to the savory pancakes. These are a must-try when visiting Poland, especially if you want to taste traditional Polish cuisine.

Potato Pancakes With Mushroom Gravey
Potato Pancakes With Mushroom Gravy

Kotlet Schabowy (Polish Breaded Pork Culet) 

Kotlet schabowy, also known as Polish breaded pork culet, is a traditional dish that holds a special place in Polish cuisine. Made from boneless pork chops, the meat is tenderized, seasoned, and coated with breadcrumbs before being fried or baked until golden and crispy. This hearty dish is served with mashed potatoes or sauerkraut, creating a perfect harmony of flavors. The kotlet schabowy is popular among both young and old, and families often gather around the dinner table to enjoy this classic Polish comfort food. Its simplicity and deliciousness have made it a timeless staple in Polish households and an emblem of Polish culinary tradition. 

Breaded Pork Cutlet
Polish Breaded Pork Cutlet

Barszcz- Red Borscht 

Barszcz, also referred to as Red Borscht, embodies the essence of traditional Polish cuisine. Crafted with a base of beetroot, this soup delights with its rich hue and unique taste. Complemented by a medley of onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and sometimes cabbage, each spoonful offers a symphony of flavors. Whether prepared with meat broth for a hearty touch or enjoyed in its vegetarian form, barszcz captivates the palate with its harmonious blend of acidity and savory herbs like dill. It's a true culinary masterpiece that celebrates the vibrant culinary heritage of Poland.

BIGOS - Hunter's Stew

Another Polish food dish that is popular in Polish culture and a must-try is bigos. Commonly known as "hunter's stew or Polish stew," bigos is a hearty and flavorful dish made from sauerkraut, cabbage, and various types of meat, such as sausage or bacon. The Polish meat stew is slow-cooked for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld together and create a comforting and satisfying meal. Bigos is usually served with rye bread, which pairs perfectly with the rich flavors of the stew. It is a delicious Polish dish you should try on a trip to Poland.

Mizeria - Polish Cucumber Salad

Mizeria, also known as Polish cucumber salad, is a refreshing and simple dish very popular in Poland. Cucumber slices are combined with a creamy dressing, typically crafted from sweet sour cream. This combination creates a perfect balance of flavors. Mizeria can be served as a refreshing side dish to accompany a variety of meals. It pairs particularly well with grilled meats, sausages, or pierogi. The cool and creamy nature of Mizeria makes it perfect for hot summer days or as a light and refreshing salad option.

Polish Desserts: A Sweet Ending to a Delicious Meal

Polish cuisine is not only known for its savory dishes but also for its mouthwatering desserts. Whether you have a sweet tooth or are just looking to explore new flavors, Polish desserts are sure to delight your taste buds with their unique and delectable flavors. 


One of the most famous Polish desserts is pączki , which are Polish doughnuts filled with various sweet fillings such as fruit preserves or custard. These delectable treats are traditionally enjoyed on Fat Thursday, a day marking the end of the carnival season. They're often adorned with a dusting of powdered sugar, adding to their allure. Pączki are deep-fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior. The fillings burst with flavor, creating a decadent and indulgent treat that is perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth. In Poland, pączki are a beloved treat that is enjoyed by people of all ages. They are commonly found in bakeries and cafes throughout the country, especially during the weeks leading up to Fat Thursday. Many Polish families also make pączki at home, often following cherished family recipes that have been handed down through generations. 

Pierniki - Polish gingerbread

Pierniki, also known as Polish gingerbread, are a delightful treat. Crafted with honey and a medley of aromatic spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, these spiced cookies come in various shapes and are adorned with intricate icing designs. A beloved tradition at Polish Christmas gatherings, pierniki pair perfectly with a cozy mug of tea or coffee. The origins of pierniki date back to the Middle Ages when spices were a luxury and only the wealthy could afford them. Over time, the recipe evolved and became more accessible to the general population. Today, pierniki are enjoyed year-round, but they hold a special place in Polish culture during the holiday season.

Makowiec Polish Poppy Seed Roll

Makowiec, the beloved Polish poppy seed roll, holds a cherished place in traditional Polish cuisine. Crafted from a sweet yeast dough, it's generously filled with a luxurious mixture of ground poppy seeds, sugar, honey, butter, and occasionally enriched with raisins or nuts. Baked to golden perfection, this delicacy graces special occasions and holidays such as Christmas or Easter, delighting palates with its distinctive flavor and texture. Often savored alongside a steaming cup of coffee or tea, it embodies the essence of Polish culinary heritage.

Polish Cake Dessert


  • vinny

    thank you this helped me a lot

  • Teemllp

    Stew powder is my kitchen’s enchanted wand. With a scramble, it transforms conventional dishes into phenomenal joys, leaving a path of warmth and flavor that waits on the sense of taste.

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