10 of the Best Polish Foods

By Mark Wiens 54 Comments
Polish Food
Polish Food

Mark’s Note: There’s no better place to get expert food advice and tips than from a local of that country. Agness, a Polish traveler and blogger, shares with us some of her favorite things to eat when she’s at home. So when you’re in Poland, don’t miss her expert food advice!

About Polish FoodPhoto-1

Traditional Polish cuisine is a real calories bomb, but once you try it, you will not be able to resist the temptation.

It is rich in various kinds of meat (pork, chicken, beef) and famous for its excellent bread and delicious sausages (better than German!).

The basic ingredients used in Polish foods are beetroot, sauerkraut, cucumbers (pickles and gherkins), mushrooms, sausages, kohlrabi, sour cream and different herbs and species (marjoram, dill, caraway, parsley and pepper).

A Polish menu is constantly enriched with new flavours, sometimes even exotic.

Here are my top 10 best Polish foods made according to traditional recipes:

Pierogi (Polish dumplings)
Pierogi (Polish dumplings)

1. Pierogi (Polish dumplings)

Dumplings are made of thinly rolled-out dough filled with a variety of fillings. The most popular fillings are meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms, seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries and cherries), buckwheat, sweet cottage cheese or boiled potatoes with fried onions (called Russian dumplings). Pierogi is a Polish food that’s always served for Christmas.

Homemade Rosół with vegetable and grilled onion
Homemade Rosół with vegetable and grilled onion

2. Rosół (broth/ chicken soup)

Rosół is the most common soup served in Poland. It tastes best after Sunday’s church on cold days. It is very easy and quick to prepare, commonly served with homemade noodles. The ingredients needed for the soup are water, any piece of chicken, onion, small leek, onion, green celery, parsley, cabbage, salt and pepper.

Polish food
A bowl of Gołąbki topped with homemade tomato sauce

3. Gołąbki (cabbage roll)

Gołąbki is a typical traditional Polish food made of minced pork with some rice, onion, mushrooms, wrapped in white cabbage leaves. There are also other variations of fillings such as poultry, mutton or without meat. Before serving cabbage are simmered / fried in fat.

Polish Food
Polskie naleśniki (Polish pancakes) Polish Food

4. Polskie naleśniki (Polish pancakes)

Polish pancakes are very thin and they are served either with cheese, quark previously mixed with sugar, jam, fruits and powdered sugar or with meat and vegetables- all equally tasty.

Łazanki z kapustą i grzybami
Łazanki z kapustą i grzybami

5. Łazanki z kapustą i grzybami

It is a very simple dish consisting cabbage, pork meat, homemade pasta noodles and vegetables (chopped onions and sliced carrot). It is delicious and easy to make.

Śledź w oleju z cebulą (herring in oil with onion)
Śledź w oleju z cebulą (herring in oil with onion)

6.  Śledź w oleju z cebulą (herring in oil with onion)

Herring is a fish you can prepare in various ways. However in Poland, there are two traditional ways of serving the herring, either with sour cream and pickled onions or with oil and garlic.

7. Bigos (Hunter’s stew)

It is a very traditional Polish dish and its basic ingredients are shreds sauerkraut, fresh cabbage (sometimes used only sauerkraut), various types of meat and sausages, dried mushrooms, prunes, onions and spices.

Kotlet schabowy with potatoes and cabbage salad
Kotlet schabowy with potatoes and cabbage salad

8. Kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet)

Kotlet schabowy is one of the most delicious and the oldest Polish foods. The pork breaded cutlet coated with breadcrumbs (served with bones or without) can be perfectly served with buttered potatoes and cabbage salad. If you don’t like pork meat, try to eat chicken cutlet made the same way as the pork one.

9. Gulasz (Goulash)

This dish is originally from Hungary, but the Polish recipe has been slightly changed. It is a stew of meat served with potatoes and vegetables, seasoned with friend onion and peppers.

Traditional Polish croissant cookies with a strawberry jam filling
Traditional Polish croissant cookies with a strawberry jam filling

10. Dessert – Polish croissant cookies

If you feel like having something sweet for your snack time, you can try traditional Polish croissant cookies. They are filled with jam and made of puff pastry or yeast.

Have you ever tried Polish food? If so, what was your favourite? Share your food experience with me!

About the AuthorAgnes-Bio-Photo

Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011.

She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day, and blogging her experiences on eTramping.com.

She is passionate about photography and adventure blogging and shares her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.



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  • Tony

    1 month ago

    Nice list:) I totally agree, Polish food is amazing. For me pierogi (I still struggle to pronounce it correctly) are the best. I could eat them all the time! I’m not the greatest cook, so everytime I visit Warsaw I go to Polish restaurants and eat their traditional food. Last time I went to Akademia Restaurant in Warsaw. It was great – one of the best pierogis I have ever eaten and quite unsual, because with duck. Delicious! I recommend this restaurant for any Polish food lover;)

  • Polish

    2 months ago

    From all this dishes you’ve listed here, I always find pierogi impossible to resist 😉 But actually, when it comes to desserts, I would not say that crossaints should be on the list. I would rather put pączek on the list, it’s more unique in Polish cuisine 🙂 Or our famous Torun gingerbread! Also if I had to choose Polish crossaint, the traditional ones would be St Martin crossaint, originally made in Poznań.

  • Renan Quinhoneiro

    3 months ago

    Hi, I’m brazilian and my favorite polish food by far is not on the list 🙁 Zurek. I came back to the same restaurant 3 times on the week I spent in Krakow just to eat it again.

    Nice article tho. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • nancy

    3 months ago

    we butchered a pig today. Thanks for the recipes. 🙂 Nice to learn more about my Polish background. Nancy K.

  • Brad Pitt

    5 months ago

    Hello from ireland. I have been introduced to polish food through shops in my town. My favourites are vanilla flavovored Danone (danio) yogurts, those choclate plum sweets that come in blue and white paper, dumplings, although as a non red meat eater, i have to make sure they don’t contain pork or any other kind of red meat. Yes, polish people do love their pork. Even something like chicken susages might contain pork. There is probably too much salt in the food too.

  • Kaila

    6 months ago

    Ah bigos! My favorite dish! I visited Wroclaw (not well know Polish city, closer to German border) last summer because of my husband business trip. It was my first time in Poland. My mother was Polish and I grew up with Polish food. When I came to Wroclaw, I knew some food to try like pierogi, golabki, placzki but bigos. I had a limited time so I went on a food tour ( http://www.deliciouspoland.com/ ) to experience the cuisine and learn a bit more about life in Poland. Thanks to the tour I was able to taste Bigos which I fell in love! If you ever come to Poland you have to taste for sure BİGOS!
    Thanks,
    Kaila

  • Phil

    6 months ago

    Hi, ‘living like a local for less than $25 a day’, do you mean, if a local had $25 a day to spend on food, this might be the way they’d choose to eat? Btw, Spent some time in China, Beijing doesn’t have the best food, but being the capital, has the best restaurant choice for Chinese food I’ve experienced. New to Poland, enjoying a lot of the dishes described in this blog, great value too.

  • Dana K Lee

    6 months ago

    That was an excellent, concise summary. Just what I was seeking.

  • Tom Wozniak

    8 months ago

    Do you like duck blood soup

  • Namaste India

    1 year ago

    Love polish food. Pierogi is the best if I am not wrong!!

  • zizan nin

    1 year ago

    im malaysian and will be travelling to poland this coming august, look fwd to try all these tempting food

  • zizan nin

    1 year ago

    Im malaysian, will be travelling to poland this coming august, look forward to try all these food..so tempting!

  • Billy

    1 year ago

    Very very informative
    Also, you’re SMOKING hot

  • anna

    1 year ago

    so cool!

  • Josie c

    1 year ago

    This looks so good, I just ate but I think I’m hungry again! This will help for the project I’m doing at school a bunch

    • anna

      1 year ago

      so cool!

  • Victoria

    1 year ago

    Ate almost all of these…. I am polish. 😀🇵🇱

  • Marta from NZ

    2 years ago

    I love them all but some are missing such as ‘flaczki’ (tripe) or kaszanka (black pudding). I know most people would say ‘yuck’ but don’t knock it till you try it 😉

  • Piotr Kulczycki

    2 years ago

    I’m polish and have to say that Pierogi should be on top of the list :-).
    The second popular dish in Poland is Kotlet schabowy.
    Enjoy!

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Piotr, thank you very much, sounds delicious!

  • joseph

    2 years ago

    Gee, these recipes brought back my Italian Moms cooking . Dad was Polish and Lithuanian . I was born in 1944 and maybe to old to travel to Lithuania ,Poland and Italy.

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Great to hear that Joseph, glad it brought back good memories.

  • Phil Mobsby

    2 years ago

    My Polish father in law (unfortunately no longer with us) showed me how to cook bigos. It is one of my most favourite foods ever.

  • Maciek

    2 years ago

    @croissant cookies
    Im a Polish guy and sorry but croissant cookies are French not Polish food. The rest is 100% true

    Maciek 😉

  • George

    2 years ago

    No WTF ??? I cant believe that Kaszanka is NOT No 1???

    The simplest most delightful polish black pudding made with barley,
    Found everywhere in Poland –

    MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE @Swietokrzyska #Warsaw.
    A friendly warm older couple cooking chickens, Roast Hams & Huge Kaszanka (5zl in May2014) on the grill and ready to eat by hand, (just round the corner from mcdonalds) – I hope this will give them the extra trade, and that this story will be told to them.,

    and at a good butchers in Armley, Leeds, UK

    P.S: I’m English, Im not a spammer, and I love Kaszanka ! @GediCreativeMinds

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey George, thank you for sharing. Kaszanka sounds delicious, I would love to try that when I have a chance to visit Poland.

  • Anna

    2 years ago

    So I’m also Polish, but my English boyfriend loves kaszanka. Pretty sure he is/will be soon posting a comment here about kaszanka anytime soon, I just shared this on FB with him 🙂 Personally, maslanka is my favourite polish food 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hi Anna, great to hear from you, thank you for commenting. I would love to try kaszanka!

    • Victoria

      1 year ago

      My dad is crazy about kaszanka!😆

  • kokroucz

    2 years ago

    Gołąbki means literally “pigeons”, and they are delicious! I want to highly recommend gołąbki, łazanki i pierogi(“pierogi ruskie”!-they’re best). These dishes are unique and tastes almost unearthly.

    I am disappointed that you chose pancakes and herring, you should choose Chłopski garnek(Peasant’s pot) and Żurek(ʒʊrək) instead. Żurek is unique in world’s cuisine, there’s nothing even similar to żurek, it’s made on broth, generally with sausage boiled eggs, but we also add cold cuts, potatoes, bread, greaves and sour cream.
    Besides herrings in oil are eaten when we drink vodka, no one eats herrings in oil just for eating itself, for Poles it’s not a dish, we prefer to think of it as a vodka’s taste killer.

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hi, thank you for the comment, and for the extra food suggestions. I will definitely remember them for a visit to Poland – it all sounds delicious.

  • Lukas

    2 years ago

    Dumplings with cheese and potatoes are NOT called RUSSIAN but RUTHENIAN, means from Ruthenia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruthenia
    Part of Kingdom of Poland by ages. Please stop confusing we called them ‘RUSKIE’, not ‘ROSYJSKIE’.

  • Pietrinho

    2 years ago

    From an international prospective Polish food is horrible, but yes you have few dishes that are actually super tasty.
    This list you have up there though, please!
    I just ask you to be realistic!
    Chicken soup? You really want to list it in the list of your best dishes? Really?
    And then Polish nalesniki?
    And bigos it’s one of the worst dishes ever invented.
    Especially about bigos I keep having this argument with Poles: the fact that this is a dish that reminds you of your childhood and you are used to it, that does not mean that is tasty. In Brazil people do something disgusting called mexidao which means mixing all food you have left when you come back home after school. They know it’s horrible but they all love it because it’s part of their culture. But they don’t go on bragging about how delicious mexidao is. Why you keep doing it about Bigos?
    Just be realist and acknowledge that Polish food is very plain flavour-wise and you concentrate on the other beautiful things about your country which has so much to offer?

    • Chris

      2 years ago

      Polish food is super tasty! And bigos not only taste delicious but make the whole house smell like Polish paradise.
      Potato pancakes nice and hot with salt are so Polish and so good!!!
      Why not chicken soup?? Polish soups put every other country to shame, in flavor. Mmmmm mushroom soup. Ahhh… so tasty!
      And how rude to post such bad words about about such beautiful country with the most lovely women in the world! Shame on you!
      Long live the Poles. XOX
      Rybca

    • Mark

      2 years ago

      Amigo. I strongly recommend that you are try really good Bigos. It’s like with Tequila, one you can’t have enough and other make you feel sick.
      Happy to cook for you. Just bring good tequila with you.
      Ciao for now

      • Mark Wiens

        2 years ago

        Thank you for the recommendation Mark, sounds good!

  • Antek

    2 years ago

    To był zamach!

  • zen

    2 years ago

    Interesting read, but unfortunately not precise enough to be accepted by any polish cuisine lover.
    Beetroot, although very interesting and having it’s place in polish cuisine is definately not a BASIC ingredient. The same applies even more to kohlrabi. I love kohlrabi myself, but it’s very rare to us it in the kitchen, with some regional exceptions.
    Basic broth or rosół recipe does not contain cabbage and definately needs celery root and carrots. Green celery is only used seasonally, ans it is not available after autumn. And we eat rosół all year long.And remember – it’s not quick, vegetables need a looooong time to give good taste. If you need it quick, you add some chemicals, and unfortunately this is what most people does.
    It’s worth mentioning that traditional bigos needs dried fruits, usually plums and red wine. Red wine is a must!
    Kotlet schabowy is in polish kitchen only for 150 years. Bigos for instance is some 600 older.
    Anyway, although polish cuisine is very much meat oriented, and I’m vegetarian, I love to play with it and make some vege variants of traditional dishes.

  • Kasia

    4 years ago

    I love em all so much! My favorite has to be bigos though, the leftovers get better and better over time! Sadly, I’m not much of a cook, but luckily I can order these dishes at http://www.polana.com =)

  • Chris

    4 years ago

    i should NOT have read this while hungry

  • Agness

    4 years ago

    I am in Belgium now enjoying some waffles, but I can’t wait to get back to Poland for Christmas and have some traditional Christmas dishes which are slightly different than these I described in the guest post ;-).

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Mmm, I know those home cooked Christmas dishes are going to be wonderful – have some bites for me!

  • Stephanie – The Travel Chica

    4 years ago

    Polish pancakes and cabbage rolls look delicious!

  • Annette | Bucket List Journey

    4 years ago

    My grandmother used to make cabbage rolls and goulash all the time. Yum!

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Great, good to hear that Annette!

    • Raquel

      4 years ago

      My grandfather made the cabbage rolls also. Very yummy…

      • Mark Wiens

        4 years ago

        Great to hear that Raquel, I bet they were delicious!