Polish cuisine is often an unexpected highlight of many people’s trip thanks to the country’s food culture that's every bit as rich as other European nations. Packed full of flavour and calories, many of the best Polish foods are rich, meaty, and served in belly busting portions. Here are the best dishes in Poland that you shouldn’t miss.



    Pierogi are Polish crescent-shaped dumplings that can be boiled, fried or baked and come with a variety of fillings. The most typical fillings include cabbage and mushrooms, potato and cheese, or simply meat – usually pork or beef.

    A sweet variety of pierogi is not uncommon either. Among these, the most popular ones are filled with cottage cheese and raisins or fruit.



    This cabbage-based stew is an absolute must on the Christmas table of every single Polish household. It typically consists of both fresh and fermented cabbage, different kinds of meat chopped into chunks, various kinds of Polish sausages, onions, dried forest mushrooms and a plethora of herbs and spices like bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg, marjoram and others.

    A variety of meats is considered essential when making bigos – the more types, the better.

    photo by Jennifer Morrow (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Placki ziemniaczane

    Classic potato pancakes, Placki ziemniaczane are made of a combination of eggs, grated potatoes and onion, then fried in oil until crispy. They’re served with a variety of condiments that range from savoury ones like sour cream or gravy to sweet ones like apple sauce or sugar.



    Barszcz is a beetroot soup that can be served either hot or cold and is typically served with uszka – ravioli-type small dumplings filled with meat or cabbage and mushrooms. The recipe varies between different families, and different vegetables like tomato or carrots may be added, changing the consistency of the soup depending on the local tradition.

    Uszka literally means "little ears" – the name comes from the shape of the dumplings.

    photo by Lablascovegmenu (CC BY 2.0) modified



    One of the best Polish food you can try is in the form of a cabbage roll. Gołąbki is minced meat, chopped onions and rice wrapped in a cabbage leaf that creates a sort of envelope or pocket, which is then cooked in tomato sauce. This hearty dish is typically eaten for lunch or early dinner. Gołąbki means "little pigeons".

    photo by Quinn Dombrowski (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified



    This staple Polish treat differs from what we know as doughnuts in that it doesn't have a hole, but is a flattened sphere of dough typically filled with rosehip jam, vanilla pudding or chocolate, and then deep fried. They are also usually covered with powdered sugar or icing and sprinkled with freeze-dried orange zest.

    The last Thursday before Lent is called Tłusty czwartek ("Fat Thursday") in Poland, and one is supposed to celebrate this last feast before the long period of fasting by eating a lot of doughnuts.



    Żurek is a soup made of soured rye flour that usually contains pieces of boiled pork sausage and a hard-boiled egg. It is very typical during the Easter season and can sometimes be served in an edible bowl made of bread.

    photo by Dr. Bernd Gross (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified



    The name of this soup is derived from its main ingredient – thin cleaned strips of beef tripe. It usually contains a wide variety of vegetables and aromatic herbs, but the recipe varies widely across different regions of Poland.

    photo by Duc Ly (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified



    Oscypek is a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk, produced in the Tatra Mountains region. It can be used as an ingredient in meat dishes and salads or eaten on its own as a snack. It is then typically grilled and served with cranberry sauce.



    The world-famous Polish kiełbasa is simply a sausage, but nearly every region of Poland has its own variety. They can be produced from different kinds of meat, have different seasoning and shapes, and can be prepared in different ways.

    The most popular kinds of kiełbasa are kabanosy (thin, dried pork sausage with caraway seeds), krakowska (thick, smoked sausage with pepper and garlic from the Cracow region) and biała (white sausage that is sold uncooked and is often used in soups).

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