What is it about Ukrainian desserts that sets them apart, and what hidden gems does Ukrainian food offer?
Desserts like the Medivnyk honey cake and the nutty Kyiv Cake celebrate tradition and taste. A fresh batch of syrnyky is always a breakfast favorite.
But Ukrainian desserts go far beyond these classic recipes.
So I’m happy to share these delightful treats with you, some of which are my all-time favorites!
21 Best Ukrainian Desserts
If you’re into cakes, try #1 or #3! If you want to know my childhood favorite and the ultimate must-try, check out #13!
A delicious Ukrainian treat, Medivnyk (Honey Cake) combines layers of soft cake with the rich flavors of honey.
The layers of cake are held together by a delicious honey-infused cream, giving this traditional dessert a flavor that is both sweet and slightly sour.
I like garnishing medivnyk with chopped nuts as they give the dish a great crunch.
Makivnyk (Poppy Seed Roll)
Makivnyk, also known as Poppy Seed Roll, is a traditional Ukrainian pastry that blends the sweet and delicate dough with the earthy richness of poppy seeds.
A generous layer of poppy seed filling gives the roll a nutty and somewhat sweet flavor. When cut into slices, it has a beautiful swirl pattern on the inside.
I love eating it casually with coffee or tea, but it also makes a delightful dessert for celebrating holidays and other special occasions.
If you want to know what Ukrainian cakes taste like, I insist you try this classic!
Kyiv cake is a sweet confection that originates from the Ukrainian capital. Two crispy layers of meringue with hazelnuts, layered with a buttercream-like filling make up the cake.
Because of its name and packaging with a symbolic horse-chestnut branch and two chestnuts, the cake has become one of the symbols of Kyiv.
Recognized for its braided appearance, babka is a fragrant and sweet Ukrainian dessert. Butter, raisins, and vanilla or citrus zest are common additions to this sweet bread.
The recipe calls for yeast-leavened dough, which is rolled out and filled with ingredients like fruit, cheese, cinnamon, chocolate, or cinnamon. The dough is then braided and baked.
A delightful swirl of sweetness runs through the finished product, which is both rich and delicate.
Thin and delicate crepes known as nalysnyky are a staple in Ukrainian cooking. Fillings such as fruit preserves, sweetened cottage cheese, or farmer’s cheese are common in these crepes.
After stuffing, nalysnyky are rolled or folded to create a mouth-watering combination of textures and flavors.
They can also be made with a bunch of savory ingredients, like mushrooms, meat or even cabbage.
The traditional Ukrainian bread or pastry known as kolach, or kalach, is white ceremonial bread of a special shape, baked from twisted and interlaced dough.
At Christmas Eve, festivals, and other events, this round masterpiece is often the focal point thanks to its symbolic design.
The name “kolo” means “circle” or “wheel”, representing good fortune, abundance, and success.
Lviv Syrnyk (Cheesecake)
Delightful Lviv Syrnyk is a cheesecake recipe from Lviv, Ukraine. The star ingredient, fresh farmer’s cheese, gives this cheesecake its velvety smooth texture.
Eggs, sugar, butter and raisins come together in the classic recipe with many variations. For an extra special touch, some cooks choose to top the cake with melted chocolate or fruit.
No matter how you serve it, Lviv Syrnyk is a beloved treat in Lviv and beyond.
If you like farmer’s cheese, you can also check out this recipe for traditional Ukrainian cheesecake, also known as “zapikanka”.
Syrnyky are little cheesecakes from Ukraine that are battered with flour, eggs, and farmer’s cheese and then pan-fried.
A soft, cheesy interior and a golden crust characterize these delicious pancakes.
Syrnyky are a sweet treat that can be savored for breakfast or dessert with a drizzle of honey or a dollop of sour cream.
This dense, crumbly dessert is made with pulverized sunflower or sesame seeds and sweetened with honey or sugar.
Halva has a distinct flavor profile that combines sweet and nutty notes, often enhanced with cocoa or vanilla.
While I must admit that my love for halva waned with time, I highly recommend giving it a go to see what you think.
The traditional Ukrainian treat known as kysil is a jelly or fruit concoction created with a variety of berries, sugar, water, and starch which gives it its signature texture.
The flavors are extracted by simmering the mixture, and then it is set to form a pleasant gelatinous consistency.
Served chilled, Kysil is a refreshing and fruity delight and one of the oldest Slavic staples.
Depending on the amount of starch, kysil can be thick, medium-thick or semi-liquid. So it can also be served as a drink.
Check out other popular Ukrainian drinks including uzvar and kompot to round out your Ukrainian dessert experience.
Kutia (Christmas Porridge)
There is a unique position in Ukrainian holiday traditions for kutia, a ceremonial Christmas porridge.
Produced with wheat berries, poppy seeds, honey, and occasionally nuts, kutia represents abundance and the cycle of life.
It’s a unique and symbolic dish that is shared during the Christmas Eve supper, known as Sviata Vecheria.
For more Ukrainian recipes for festive occasions, check out my collection of traditional Ukrainian Christmas foods!
Verhuny or Khrusty
Popular in Ukrainian cuisine are deep-fried pastries called verhuny or krusty. The thin ribbons of crunchy dough are often dusted with powdered sugar, which adds a lovely textural contrast.
Enjoyed as a delicious delicacy, verhuny bring a touch of decadence to celebrations, holidays, and other special events.
Verhuny are also commonly referred to as “angel wings”.
Cherry Varenyky (Dumplings)
Flour, water, and occasionally eggs are mixed to make the dumpling dough, which encases the delicious sour cherry filling in a delicate shell.
Cherry varenyky is a popular dessert that showcases the wonderful mix of acidic fruit and pillowy dough, traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream and a dusting of sugar.
It’s a special treat that makes me think of my grandmother and her home cooking.
And it’s an absolute must-try for anyone visiting Ukraine!
Waffle Cake with Dulce de Leche
Delicious Waffle Cake with Dulce de Leche blends the crunchy cake wafers with the smooth, sweet dulce de leche for a beloved treat.
Layers of thin wafers are sandwiched together with dulce de leche to make a decadent delicacy for people with a sweet tooth.
I always looked forward to special occasions when my mom would make this cake as I couldn’t wait to get a taste of dulce de leche (with or without wafers).
The treat we call “solodka kartoplia” (sweet potato) in Ukraine is similar to rum balls, a classic dessert popular in many countries.
The Ukrainian version is made with crumbled cookies, condensed milk, butter and cocoa. This dessert is shaped like a potato and is coated in cocoa.
Paska, a traditional Easter bread from Ukraine, is both delicious and symbolic. It can be filled with raisins or candied fruits, depending on the region and tastes of those preparing it.
Modern pasky usually have a white glaze made from sugar and egg and are decorated on top with sprinkles.
More traditional dough ornaments like braids and crosses are still common decorations as well.
To know more about Easter in Ukraine, check out my article on Ukrainian Easter foods!
Byte Sklo (Shattered Glass Jelly)
Byte Sklo is a Ukrainian dessert known for its striking appearance and delightful taste.
Translating to “Shattered Glass” or this light dessert features colored gelatinous cubes with various fruit flavors suspended in a white sour cream jelly.
When you cut this dessert, the colorful jelly pieces look like broken glass.
A classic pastry from Transcarpathia, kiflyky are little shortbread crescent-shaped pastries. A variety of fillings, including nuts, poppy seeds, cheese, and fruit, are available.
Kiflyky resemble miniature croissants with a Transcarpathian flair.
Ukrainian pastries known as vatrushky are made with yeasty dough and filled with sweet cheese or fruit.
The dough is typically shaped into small rounds, creating a well in the center for the filling. The end product is a whimsical, flower-shaped pastry that is as pretty as it is tasty.
Syrky (Glazed Cheese Bars)
Syrky, also known as Glazed Cheese Bars, are delectable treats made of sweetened cottage cheese or curd cheese and a shiny chocolate glaze.
They can be stuffed with dulce de leche or fruit jams, and they’re perfect dessert bars for any occasion.
Horishky (Walnut Shaped Cookies)
Horishly are walnut-shaped cookies made of brittle cookies & dulce de leche filling.
Though the recipe is very simple, you will need specialized baking molds to make the “shells” of these sweet treats.
Whatever it is about these little cookies, I’ve always loved them. You can get them at a lot of cafés in Ukraine, and I never pass up an opportunity to savor the nostalgic flavors. Why not to try it right away?
- 9 oz sugar (250g)
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 7 oz butter (200g)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 21 oz wheat flour (600g)
- 17.5 oz condensed milk, boiled (500g)
- In a deep bowl, mix sugar, salt and eggs until a homogeneous consistency. Add melted butter to the egg mixture and continue to mix with a whisk until smooth.9 oz sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 eggs, 7 oz butter
- Activate baking soda with vinegar and add it to the bowl with the dough. Then add flour in small portions to the bowl and knead the dough. Knead the dough thoroughly so that there are no lumps. The dough should be soft, elastic and not stick to your hands. Let it rest for 30 minutes.½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vinegar, 21 oz wheat flour
- Next, form small balls. Put the dough balls in a well-heated form. Bake on each side for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. During baking, it is necessary to open the form, checking that the nuts do not burn. The halves should be golden, not pale and not overcooked.
- The finished pastry should be taken out of the mold and allowed to cool. Then carefully break off the excess edges that protruded beyond the edges of the form.
- Add boiled condensed milk into the prepared halves and asseble nuts.17.5 oz condensed milk, boiled
- Easy and simple. Enjoy!
Have you tried any of these Ukrainian desserts? Share your favorite in the comments below!
Curious to discover more traditional dishes from European countries? Check out these snack collections: