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Best Traditional Polish Food: 24 Must-Try Dishes

Are you curious about traditional Polish food? I understand why you might be!

As someone from Ukraine, a neighboring country to Poland, I’ve had the opportunity to try many delicious Polish dishes.

They are generally very comforting and hearty, perfect for the colder months. However, you’ll find many refreshing options as well.

Best Traditional Polish Food featured image | Girl Meets Food

Let’s get to know unique side dishes, mains, desserts and everything else that makes up Polish cuisine.

24 Traditional Polish Foods

I divided the traditional Polish food a bit for easier understanding. I hope it helps you find your next favorite meal!

🥗Polish Starters and Side Dishes

Not sure where to start when it comes to traditional Polish cuisine? Let’s be predictable and start with the starters and side dishes!

Pierogi, Poland’s national food, are versatile and available in many varieties. They can have savory or sweet fillings like potatoes, cheese, sauerkraut, blueberries, or cherries.

These traditional dumplings are usually boiled or fried. They are often served with sour cream, fried onions, or butter.

Pierogi are popular not only in Poland but also in many other countries under different names and recipes.

A pile of potato pancakes topped with sour cream on a plate | Girl Meets Food
Placki Ziemniaczane (Polish Potato Pancakes)
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Grated potatoes, flour, eggs, and spices make crispy potato pancakes called placki ziemniaczane. They are cooked till golden brown and served with sour cream or apple sauce.

I love eating potato pancakes as a snack, side dish, or even main course.

A plate of Polish cucumber salad on the table | Girl Meets Food
Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad)
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Thinly sliced cucumbers, sour cream, lemon juice and fresh dill make mizeria, a delightful Polish cucumber salad. This light, zesty side dish is commonly paired with hearty mains.

Cucumber and dill go well together, else there wouldn’t be any dill pickles. My grandmother always used to make this salad for me when I was a kid, and it still remains one of my favorites.

Leniwe Pierogi

Leniwe Pierogi in a waffle bowl topped with powdered sugar and mint leaves | Girl Meets Food

Polish pierogi leniwe, or kluski leniwe, are “lazy dumplings” prepared from farmer’s cheese, eggs, and flour. They also don’t contain any fillings.

After boiling, they are served with sour cream, butter, sugar, cinnamon, or fruit preserves.

“Lazy pierogi” are faster and easier to cook than traditional pierogi.


Krokiety topped with basil leaves | Girl Meets Food

Krokiety are breaded and fried pancakes or crepes loaded with savory fillings like mushrooms and cabbage or meat.

They are usually served with a dipping sauce.

Kluski Śląskie (Silesian Dumplings)

Traditional Polish dumplings prepared with mashed potatoes, a touch of potato starch and sometimes egg are called kluski śląskie. They come from the Silesian region of Poland (Katowice, Wrocław).

You can serve them with gravy and a red cabbage salad on the side.

Check out my blog post about popular Polish side dishes for more options!

🥘Polish Meats and Mains

Who hasn’t heard of Polish kielbasa? Let’s find out what else Poland offers for meat lovers.

A baking dish with Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls) | Girl Meets Food
Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)
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Polish gołąbki are a traditional meal created by wrapping cabbage leaves around a filling of minced pork, rice, onions, and spices. The rolls are simmered in tomato sauce.

For me, cabbage rolls are the epitome of Polish comfort food. They’re also a traditional food in Ukraine, so I can enjoy them at home.

A plate of Kotlet Schabowy with vegetables on the table | Girl Meets Food
Kotlet Schabowy
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Kotlet schabowy is a Polish-style breaded pork cutlet. Typically, thinly sliced pork loin is pounded thin, marinated in milk, coated in bread crumbs, and then fried till golden and crispy.

This food is also known as Schnitzel across Europe. It is often served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, or salads.

A bowl of kielbasa and potatoes on the table | Girl Meets Food

And of course, Polish sausage, known as kiełbasa, is a beloved meat product. It has diverse recipes and tastes varying by area.

Kielbasa can be made in several styles, such as wędzona (smoked), wiejska (village-style), kabanos (air-dried sausage) and more.

It can be grilled, fried, boiled, or smoked and served with various sides. The best combos are kiełbasa with sauerkraut or with potatoes.

🍜Polish Soups and Stews

Some of the soups here are truly unusual and they even made it to the list of the weirdest Polish dishes.

A bowl of Polish Red Borscht on the tablecloth | Girl Meets Food
Barszcz z Uszkami
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Traditional Polish beetroot soup is served with sour cream and small dumplings called “uszka“, which translates to “little ears.”

The soup contains beetroot, wild mushrooms, and root vegetables. The dumplings are usually stuffed with mushrooms and onions.

This traditional soup is vegetarian and you can find it among other delicious vegetarian dishes from Poland.

Rosół is a clear broth soup cooked by boiling chicken or beef with vegetables including carrots, celery, and onions.

Sometimes garlic and peppercorns are added along with parsley and dill. Rosół is a popular meal for cold weather and as a treatment for ailments.

Gulasz, or goulash, is a hearty stew made from tender chunks of beef or pork. It’s cooked with carrots, onions, tomatoes, and a few spices.

My favorite sides for gulasz are mashed potatoes, bread, or dumplings. I always want to eat it with a piece of bread to soak up all the delicious sauce.

A bowl of dill pickle soup and a cutting board with ingredients are on the table | Girl Meets Food
Dill Pickle Soup
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This creamy soup is made with brined pickles, fresh dill, and chicken. It tastes best served with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with fresh herbs or cheese.

If you’re a dill pickle lover like myself, you have to try this one!

Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup)

A bowl of Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup) on the table | Girl Meets Food

Sauerkraut is a major component in Polish kapusniak soup. It usually contains pork, sausage, potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Sauerkraut makes the soup tangy and slightly sour. Bread is the perfect accompaniment, in my opinion.

Kapusniak is a popular winter meal in Poland because it’s warming and soothing.


Two bowls of Chłodnik on the white surface | Girl Meets Food

Chłodnik is a popular cold soup in Poland, particularly during summer. It contains buttermilk or kefir, beets, cucumbers, radishes, and fresh herbs like dill and chives.

Chłodnik is pleasantly tangy and is often served chilled with cooked potatoes or rye bread.

Żurek (Rye Flour Soup)

A bowl of Żurek on the linen cloth. Bread, wheat grains and garlic cloves are next to the bowl | Girl Meets Food

A sour soup called Żurek is created from fermented rye flour. It often includes sausage, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, and sometimes mushrooms or bacon.

While traditionally an Easter breakfast dish, Żurek is also consumed year-round.


A bowl of Bigos on the table | Girl Meets Food

Bigos, or Polish hunter’s stew, is a classic meal prepared with sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, various chopped meats, and veggies. It’s slow-cooked over low heat for hours to blend flavors.

It’s usually served with rye bread, often a bread bowl, or boiled potatoes.


A bowl of flaki on the table. A wicker basket with buns is next to the bowl | Girl Meets Food

Polish flaki or flaczki is a hearty soup with beef tripe, vegetables, and spices. It usually comes with bread to soak up the wonderful broth.

🍰Polish Desserts

Looking for some sweets among these delicious traditional dishes? Here they are!

Pączki, classic Polish doughnuts, are filled with jam or custard. They’re deep-fried and then dusted with powdered sugar.

Pączki are traditionally eaten in Poland on Fat Thursday, the final Thursday before Lent.

Sernik, a traditional Polish cheesecake, uses farmer’s cheese or twaróg, which gives it a distinct flavor. The texture is rich and creamy, similar to a New York-style cheesecake.

Shortcrust pastry is a popular crust choice, though it can be baked without it.

Polish apple pie (szarlotka) | Girl Meets Food
Szarlotka (Polish Apple Pie)
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Apple pie is called szarlotka in Poland. This classic delicacy has a buttery, flaky crust and a sweet, cinnamon-scented apple filling.

In this variant, Szarlotka is topped with latticed cookie dough.

I like apple pie warm with vanilla ice cream, but you can also try whipped cream.

Polish Kolaczki | Girl Meets Food
Fruit-Filled Polish Kolaczki
Discover some cookie secrets with my comprehensive guide to kolaczki, featuring the finest Polish cookie recipes!
Check out this recipe

Kolaczki are famous cookies with fruit jams, almond jam, poppy seed paste, or other sweet preserves.

The buttery, flaky dough is rolled and folded into crescents, thumbprints, diamonds, or pinwheels.

These sweet treats are perfect for sharing with friends and family. Check out how I make kolaczki here!

Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll)

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

Makowiec is a popular dish for sugar and spice lovers. The roll is filled with honey, sugar, ground poppy seeds, and chopped almonds or raisins.

Braiding or wrapping the layers into a log gives it its distinctive look when cut.


A plate of Faworki decorated with powdered sugar | Girl Meets Food

Faworki, also known as “Angel Wings” or “Chrusciki,” are famous deep-fried sweets. These crispy treats include flour, eggs, butter, sugar, sour cream, rum, and a sprinkle of salt.

Once rolled thin, the dough is sliced into ribbon-like strips and deep-fried. As a finishing touch, faworki are dusted with powdered sugar.

Let me know which traditional Polish food you would like to make at home!

A plate of pierogies topped with sour cream | Girl Meets Food

Best Traditional Polish Food: 24 Must-Try Dishes

Planning a trip to Poland? Make sure to try this traditional Polish food including pierogi, kielbasa, kolaczki and more!


Polish Starters and Side Dishes

  • Pierogi
  • Placki Ziemniaczane (Polish Potato Pancakes)
  • Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad)
  • Leniwe Pierogi
  • Krokiety
  • Kluski Śląskie (Silesian Dumplings)

Polish Meats and Mains

  • Gołąbki (Cabbage Rolls)
  • Kotlet Schabowy
  • Kiełbasa

Polish Soups and Stews

  • Barszcz z Uszkami
  • Rosół
  • Gulasz
  • Dill Pickle Soup
  • Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup)
  • Chłodnik
  • Żurek (Rye Flour Soup)
  • Bigos
  • Flaki

Polish Desserts

  • Pączki
  • Sernik
  • Szarlotka (Polish Apple Pie)
  • Fruit-Filled Polish Kolaczki
  • Makowiec (Poppy Seed Roll)
  • Faworki
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