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Traditional Polish Christmas Food: 12 Dishes for Wigilia

Polish Christmas, or Wigilia, is a time of pleasure, family, and delicious traditional food.

Polish Christmas food presents the most comforting and hearty dishes that have been enjoyed for generations.

Traditional Polish Christmas Food featured image | Girl Meets Food

Because eating meatless dishes on Christmas Eve is a Polish tradition, you’ll find various vegetarian Polish foods on this list.

12 Polish Christmas Foods

Without further ado, here are the most popular traditional dishes for Wigilia!

A bowl of Polish Red Borscht on the tablecloth | Girl Meets Food
Barszcz Czerwony z Uszkami (Red Borscht with Dumplings)
Check out this recipe

One of the most iconic dishes served during Polish Christmas Eve is Red Borscht With Dumplings. The soup is made with beetroot, wild mushrooms, and root vegetables.

This beetroot soup is served hot with small mushroom dumplings called “uszka”, creating a flavorsome and hearty dish.

A bowl of Zupa Grzybowa (Mushroom soup) with toasts on a cutting board | Girl Meets Food
Zupa Grzybowa (Mushroom soup)
Check out this recipe

Mushroom soup, Zupa Grzybowa, is a hearty Polish Christmas Eve meal. This soup has a rich taste and aroma from forest mushrooms and many other ingredients.

It’s a super creamy and comforting dish that will warm you up on a cold night.

Pierogi are one of Poland’s most famous foods and a Christmas staple. They can be filled with potatoes, cheese, or sauerkraut.

Once you boil and fry them, you get a wonderful combo of flavors and textures.

I can’t imagine serving pierogi without sour cream. So, make sure to have some on hand for dipping!

A baking dish with Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls) | Girl Meets Food
Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)
Check out this recipe

Gołąbki, or Cabbage Rolls, are stuffed cabbage leaves with ground pork, rice, and spices cooked in a delicious tomato sauce.

Since Wigilia has a meatless tradition, Gołąbki can also be made with potatoes or buckwheat and mushrooms.

Each mouthful tastes like comfort and family traditions.

Sledzie (Herring)

A plate of herring | Girl Meets Food

Herring is marinated in oil or vinegar with onions and spices to be part of the Polish dinner table during Christmas.

 It can also be served as a śledzie pod pierzynką (herring salad) made with boiled beetroot, potatoes, carrots, onions, pickled herring and mayo.

Braised Sauerkraut

A bowl of Bigos on the table | Girl Meets Food

Braised sauerkraut is a prominent ingredient in Polish cuisine as a filling for pierogi or a side dish. It’s also very popular during Christmas when it’s served with mushrooms, peas or beans.

I also like the sauerkraut and kielbasa combo but if you can’t have meat on Wigilia, save it for the next day.

Ryba po Grecku (Greek-Style Fish)

Traditional Ryba po Grecku (Greek-Style Fish) served on a plate and oval dish | Girl Meets Food

Ryba po Grecku, or Greek-style fish, is a classic Polish dish made with white fish fillets in a tomato sauce with onions, carrots, and parsley.

Ryba po Grecku is a popular Christmas Eve main entrée in Poland. But no matter the occasion, delicate fish and flavorful tomato sauce make it cozy and delightful.


Fried carp is served on a blue plate | Girl Meets Food

Prepared in various ways, from fried to baked, this freshwater fish is a staple of the festive season.

It is often served with a creamy sauce and onion. Jellied fish is an even more popular alternative.

For those with a sweet tooth, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a selection of Polish desserts such as piernik (gingerbread), makowiec (poppy seed cake), and kutia (a sweet wheat berry pudding).


A bowl of kutia on the wooden background | Girl Meets Food

Kutia is made with cooked wheat berries, poppy seeds, honey, almonds, and dried fruits. While it’s not the most common Polish Christmas food, it’s still served in some households.

I’d say kutia was more of a popular dish for Ukrainian Christmas where it’s a true holiday symbol.

Piernik (Polish Gingerbread)

Sliced piernik on a stone board | Girl Meets Food

Piernik means the same as gingerbread—a popular Christmas treat. It contains honey, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and other spices.

It can be made into gingerbread cookies or gingerbread cake. 

If you like cakes, you can make a gingerbread loaf with plum jam—I really like it! Or you can look for other Polish cakes for any special occasion.

Makowiec (Poppy Seed Cake)

Sliced Makowiec (Poppy Seed Cake) on a stone chopping board | Girl Meets Food

Makowiec, or poppy seed cake, is a sweet bread roll filled with a mixture of ground poppy seeds, nuts, honey, and sugar.

It’s commonly served sliced with powdered sugar on top. 

Kompot z Suszonych Owoców (Dried Fruit Compote)

Compote of dried fruits and assorted dried fruits in bowl | Girl Meets Food

As for drinks, Polish Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a glass of dried fruit compote. Simmering dried fruits in water with sugar and spices created this delicious drink.

Polish Christmas meals feature this sweet-tangy drink to cleanse the palette.

 If you’re looking for more drinks, check out my article on non-alcoholic Polish beverages!

I hope these Polish foods bring joy to your Christmas table. Wesołych Świąt!

Fried carp is served on a blue plate | Girl Meets Food

Traditional Polish Christmas Food: 12 Dishes for Wigilia

Celebrate Christmas with traditional Polish Christmas food. From pierogi to barszcz, learn more about the dishes of Wigilia.


  • Barszcz Czerwony z Uszkami (Red Borscht with Dumplings)
  • Zupa Grzybowa (Mushroom soup)
  • Pierogi
  • Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)
  • Sledzie (Herring)
  • Braised Sauerkraut
  • Ryba po Grecku (Greek-Style Fish)
  • Carp
  • Kutia
  • Piernik (Polish Gingerbread)
  • Makowiec (Poppy Seed Cake)
  • Kompot z Suszonych Owoców (Dried Fruit Compote)
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