Warm Up This Winter: 10 Hearty Polish Recipes to Try in 2023

Polish cuisine, with its rich flavors and hearty ingredients, has always been a quintessence of comfort during the chilly winter months. As the snow blankets the picturesque landscapes of Poland, the kitchens come alive with the aroma of traditional recipes passed down through generations.

These dishes are not just a feast for the palate, but a warm embrace for the soul, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of Poland.

The essence of Polish cuisine lies in its ability to transform simple ingredients into soul-satisfying meals. Be it the comforting warmth of a bowl of Barszcz Czerwony (Beet Soup) or the hearty goodness of Bigos (Hunter’s Stew), each dish tells a story of tradition, family, and the comforting embrace of home.

As we delve into the heart of winter, it’s the perfect time to explore the culinary treasures of Poland right in your own kitchen. In this post, we’ve curated a list of 10 timeless Polish recipes that are sure to warm you up from the inside out.

From the classic Pierogi (Dumplings) to the sweet allure of Sernik (Cheesecake), we’ve got something to satisfy every craving.

Whether you’re of Polish descent or a culinary adventurer, these recipes will transport you to the heart of Poland, with each bite taking you on a journey through the country’s rich culinary landscape.

So, don your apron, gather your loved ones, and get ready to explore the cozy and comforting world of Polish winter cuisine through these ten delectable recipes.

Recipe 1: Bigos (Hunter’s Stew)

Bigos, often dubbed as Poland’s national dish, is a hearty stew that has warmed the hearts and bellies of Poles for centuries.

Its rich history dates back to the 14th century when it was a popular meal among the Polish knights and later, the hunters, earning it the moniker 'Hunter’s Stew’.

With each passing era, the recipe for Bigos was enriched with ingredients brought to Poland from other parts of Europe, making it a culinary emblem of Polish history.

Polish bigos made with souerkrout, ham and sausage.


  • 500g sauerkraut
  • 200g fresh white cabbage, shredded
  • 300g pork shoulder, diced
  • 200g smoked sausage, sliced
  • 100g fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking


  1. Prepare the Base:
    • Drain the sauerkraut and rinse it under cold water to remove excess brine. Squeeze out any remaining water and set aside.
    • In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced pork shoulder and cook until browned on all sides.
  2. Build the Stew:
    • To the pot, add the smoked sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onions become translucent.
    • Stir in the sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, mushrooms, bay leaf, and caraway seeds.
  3. Simmer:
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for about 1.5-2 hours. Check occasionally and add a little water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Season and Serve:
    • Taste the stew and add salt and pepper as needed.
    • Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired. Bigos tastes even better the next day, so consider making it in advance!

Serving Suggestions:

  • Bigos is traditionally enjoyed with a slice of rye bread or mashed potatoes on the side.
  • Pair it with a glass of Polish beer or a shot of vodka for an authentic experience.

Bigos is not merely a dish; it’s a tale of Poland’s rich past, a testament to the nation’s ability to create something heartwarming and delightful from the simplest of ingredients.

As you savor each bite, let the flavors transport you to a quaint Polish cottage, with a roaring fire casting a warm glow on a chilly winter’s night.

Recipe 2: Pierogi (Dumplings)

Pierogi is a beloved dish in Poland and a true comfort food enjoyed across generations.

These versatile dumplings encapsulate the essence of Polish cuisine, offering a delightful canvas that melds seamlessly with a variety of fillings – be it savory or sweet.

Traditionally prepared for family gatherings and festive occasions, Pierogi is more than just a meal; it’s a cherished tradition that brings people together.

Polish pierogi on a plate.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Water, as needed
  • Filling of choice (e.g., mashed potatoes, fried onion and cottage cheese, sauerkraut and mushrooms, minced meat or fruit like strawberries and blueberries)


  1. Prepare the Dough:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, eggs, and salt. Gradually add water, a tablespoon at a time, until a smooth dough forms.
    • Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, until it becomes elastic. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • While the dough is resting, prepare your chosen filling.
  3. Shape the Pierogi:
    • Divide the dough into two halves. Roll out one half to about 1/8-inch thickness.
    • Using a round cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Place a small spoonful of filling in the center of each circle, fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and press the edges to seal.
  4. Cook the Pierogi:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pierogi, in batches if necessary, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until they float to the top.
    • Optionally, for a crispy finish, sauté the boiled pierogi in a bit of butter until golden brown.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve pierogi hot, garnished with sour cream, fresh herbs, or a drizzle of melted butter.
  • Accompany with a side of sauerkraut or a simple salad to balance the hearty dumplings.

Pierogi is a dish that invites creativity and communal cooking. It’s a delightful endeavor to prepare them with family or friends, sharing laughter and stories along the way.

Each bite is a homage to the heartwarming simplicity and communal spirit emblematic of Polish cuisine.

Recipe 3: Placki Ziemniaczane (Potato Pancakes)

Placki Ziemniaczane is a savory delight that holds a cherished spot in Polish culinary tradition. These crispy, golden potato pancakes are a testament to the simplicity and heartiness of Polish cuisine.

Perfectly crunchy on the outside while tender on the inside, they offer a comforting warmth and satisfaction that pairs perfectly with the chilly winter ambiance.

Potato pancakes „placki ziemniaczane”, served with sour cream.


  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 small onion, finely grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Prepare the Batter:
    • Place the grated potatoes and onion in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
    • Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well to form a batter.
  2. Fry the Pancakes:
    • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.
    • Scoop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the skillet, flattening them slightly to form pancakes.
    • Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy.
  3. Drain and Serve:
    • Remove the pancakes from the skillet and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
    • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or applesauce for a sweet contrast.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Placki Ziemniaczane is traditionally served with sour cream, but they also pair well with applesauce, goulash, or a simple salad.
  • A refreshing cucumber salad or a beet soup could serve as a fantastic precursor to the hearty potato pancakes, making for a well-rounded meal.

These humble potato pancakes are a crispy joy that encapsulates the comforting essence of home-cooked Polish meals.

Whether served as a standalone dish or accompanied by other Polish delicacies, Placki Ziemniaczane is bound to evoke a sense of homely comfort, making it a perfect addition to your winter culinary repertoire.

Recipe 4: Barszcz Czerwony (Beet Soup)

Barszcz Czerwony is a quintessential Polish soup that’s as nourishing as it is vibrant. The deep red hue of the soup, derived from its primary ingredient – beets, is a sight to behold and a flavor to savor.

Especially warming during the cold winter months, this traditional soup holds a special place in Polish households and is often associated with the joy of family gatherings.

Barszcz czerwony z uszkami - polish red beetroot soup with small mushroom and souerkrout dumplings.


  • 4 medium beets, peeled and grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 parsnip, grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 liters of vegetable or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill and sour cream for garnish


  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until translucent.
    • Add the grated beets, carrot, and parsnip to the pot and continue sautéing for another 5-7 minutes.
  2. Simmer the Soup:
    • Pour the broth over the sautéed vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil.
    • Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Season and Finish:
    • Stir in the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
    • If desired, blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth or leave it chunky based on preference.
  4. Serve:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill.
    • Serve hot, accompanied by a slice of hearty rye bread or pumpernickel.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Barszcz Czerwony is traditionally enjoyed with a side of bread, but it also pairs well with Pierogi or Uszka (small dumplings).
  • For a festive touch, consider serving this soup as a starter during holiday meals or family gatherings.

Barszcz Czerwony is not just a soup, but a bowl of tradition that warms the heart. Its comforting essence and visually appealing presentation make it a delightful addition to your winter menu, offering a comforting prelude to the hearty Polish meal that lies ahead.

Recipe 5: Żurek (Sour Rye Soup)

Żurek is a distinctive Polish soup known for its tangy flavor derived from fermented rye flour.

This comforting bowl of warmth is a staple during the Easter season in Poland, but its hearty and invigorating nature makes it a beloved choice for the colder months as well.

Polish rye soup „żurek” with a hard boiled egg and sausage.


  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 sausages (such as kielbasa), sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Hard-boiled eggs and fresh marjoram for garnish


  1. Prepare the Fermented Rye:
    • Mix rye flour with 2 cups of water in a jar, covering it with a cloth, and leave it in a warm place for 3-5 days to ferment. Once it has a distinctive sour smell, it’s ready.
  2. Cook the Soup Base:
    • In a large pot, heat oil and sauté the onion and sausage slices until browned.
    • Add the fermented rye mixture, remaining water, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer:
    • Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  4. Season and Serve:
    • Remove the bay leaf, and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with halves of hard-boiled eggs and a sprinkle of fresh marjoram.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Żurek is traditionally served with rye bread or boiled potatoes on the side.
  • A dollop of sour cream can also be added for a creamier texture and richer flavor.

Żurek carries the rustic charm of Polish countryside kitchens, offering a tangy respite from the biting cold of winter.

The harmonious blend of sour, savory, and hearty elements in this soup encapsulates a cherished culinary tradition, ensuring a warm and comforting meal experience.

Recipe 6: Kielbasa (Polish Sausage)

Kielbasa, a traditional Polish sausage, is a staple in Polish households and a beloved comfort food during the cold winter months. Its smoky, savory flavor adds a hearty touch to many Polish dishes, making it a versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

In this recipe, we’ll showcase how to prepare and enjoy Kielbasa in a simple yet satisfying manner.

Polish kiełbasa - homemade sausage on a table.


  • 4 links of Kielbasa (Polish sausage)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of beer (optional)
  • Mustard or sauerkraut for serving


  1. Prepare the Kielbasa:
    • If your Kielbasa is uncooked, boil it in water for about 25-30 minutes until it’s cooked through. If it’s pre-cooked, this step can be skipped.
  2. Sauté the Ingredients:
    • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until they become translucent and slightly caramelized.
  3. Brown the Kielbasa:
    • Add the Kielbasa to the skillet and continue to cook, turning occasionally until browned and heated through. If using beer, pour it over the Kielbasa halfway through browning, letting it simmer until reduced.
  4. Serve:
    • Slice the Kielbasa into diagonal pieces and serve hot with a side of mustard or sauerkraut.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Kielbasa pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides including sauerkraut, pickled cucumbers, or a hearty potato salad.
  • Consider serving Kielbasa as part of a larger Polish feast, perhaps alongside Pierogi and Barszcz Czerwony for a truly traditional meal experience.

Kielbasa embodies the robust and hearty flavors characteristic of Polish cuisine. Its simplicity, paired with its deeply satisfying taste, makes it a perfect dish to explore the savory aspects of Polish culinary traditions.

Whether enjoyed on its own, or as part of a larger meal, Kielbasa is sure to bring a cozy, comforting touch to your winter dining table.

Recipe 7: Gołąbki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

Gołąbki, pronounced as 'gaw-WOHMP-kee’, is a traditional Polish dish made by wrapping minced meat and rice in cabbage leaves and baking them in a tomato sauce.

This dish is a comforting staple during the cold months, bringing warmth and hearty satisfaction to the dinner table.

Polish cabbage rolls - gołąbki, with tomato sauce.


  • 12 large cabbage leaves
  • 500g minced beef or pork (or a mix of both)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce


  1. Prepare the Cabbage Leaves:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the cabbage leaves for about 2-3 minutes until they are pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large bowl, mix together the minced meat, cooked rice, onion, egg, salt, and pepper.
  3. Assemble the Gołąbki:
    • Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a clean surface. Place a generous spoonful of the filling in the center of each leaf.
    • Fold the sides of the cabbage leaf over the filling, then roll it up to encase the filling completely.
  4. Bake:
    • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
    • Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.
    • Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top.
    • Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the cabbage is tender.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Gołąbki is traditionally served hot with a side of mashed potatoes or rye bread.
  • A dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of fresh parsley can add a refreshing contrast to the hearty dish.

Gołąbki is a dish that embodies the essence of home-cooked comfort. The tender cabbage leaves paired with the savory filling and tangy tomato sauce create a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that epitomize the comforting nature of Polish cuisine.

Preparing Gołąbki is a loving endeavor that promises a comforting meal to be enjoyed with family and friends.

Recipe 8: Kaszanka (Blood Sausage)

Kaszanka, often referred to as Polish blood sausage, is a traditional dish with a rich history. This hearty sausage is typically enjoyed in the colder months and is cherished for its robust flavor and unique texture.

Although it may be an acquired taste for some, Kaszanka is a dish that showcases the resourcefulness and rich culinary tradition of Poland.

Polish blood sausage served with bread.


  • 1 pound of Kaszanka (available at Polish delis or specialty stores)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Kaszanka:
    • Slice the Kaszanka into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  2. Cook the Kaszanka:
    • Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat.
    • Once the oil is hot, add the slices of Kaszanka and the sliced onion to the skillet.
    • Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until the Kaszanka becomes crispy and browned.
  3. Serve:
    • Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Kaszanka is traditionally served with sauerkraut and rye bread.
  • It also pairs well with mustard or pickled cucumbers for a tangy contrast to its hearty flavor.

Kaszanka is a celebration of traditional Polish culinary practices, offering a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other sausage varieties.

This dish is a homage to the historical culinary traditions of Poland, providing an authentic taste of the country’s rustic, hearty fare.

Recipe 9: Fasolka Po Bretonsku (Beans in Tomato Sauce)

Fasolka Po Bretonsku, a hearty bean stew in a rich tomato sauce, is a Polish comfort food classic that finds its roots intertwined with French cuisine.

The name translates to 'Beans the Breton Way,’ indicating its historical connection to Brittany, France.

This satisfying dish is perfect for chilly days, offering a blend of savory flavors and wholesome ingredients.

Polish fasolka po bretońsku - cooked beans with sausage and meat.


  • 2 cans (15 oz each) white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200g kielbasa sausage, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for cooking


  1. Prepare the Ingredients:
    • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the kielbasa sausage and cook until browned. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside.
  2. Cook the Vegetables:
    • In the same pot, add the onion and carrot, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
    • Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.
  3. Assemble the Stew:
    • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper.
    • Add the beans and cooked kielbasa sausage to the pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Simmer:
    • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Serve:
    • Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley or a dollop of sour cream if desired.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Fasolka Po Bretonsku is traditionally enjoyed with a slice of hearty bread for dipping.
  • A side salad or pickled vegetables can add a refreshing contrast to the rich, savory stew.

Fasolka Po Bretonsku is a delightful culinary journey that merges Polish and French cooking traditions. Its hearty nature and comforting flavors make it a perfect dish to enjoy during the winter months, bringing warmth and satisfaction to the table.

Recipe 10: Sernik (Polish Cheesecake)

Sernik, the beloved Polish cheesecake, is a sweet finale to any meal. This creamy and slightly tangy dessert is a cherished recipe in Polish households, often gracing the table during celebrations and family gatherings.

With a rich, dense filling and a subtle hint of vanilla, Sernik is a comforting dessert that encapsulates the sweet essence of Polish cuisine.

Polish cheesecake, sernik, on a plate


  • 2 cups of crushed digestive biscuits or graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 500g (2 cups) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250g (1 cup) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Prepare the Crust:
    • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).
    • Mix the crushed biscuits or graham crackers with the melted butter. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a springform pan to form the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sugar until smooth.
    • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
    • Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  3. Bake the Cheesecake:
    • Pour the filling over the prepared crust in the springform pan.
    • Bake for 55-60 minutes until the center is almost set, but still slightly jiggly.
  4. Cool and Serve:
    • Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar for about 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
    • Serve chilled, garnished with powdered sugar or fresh berries.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Sernik pairs wonderfully with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of sweet dessert wine.
  • For a festive touch, consider garnishing with a berry compote or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Sernik is a delightful conclusion to a Polish feast, offering a sweet, creamy reprieve that leaves a lasting impression on the palate.

Its traditional charm and comforting texture make it a cherished dessert that evokes the warmth of family, tradition, and the simple joys of a well-prepared meal.


Exploring the rich and hearty landscape of Polish cuisine is akin to stepping into a cherished past, where each dish tells a story of tradition, family, and the simple joy of a well-cooked meal.

Through the recipes shared in this post, we’ve journeyed from the rustic simplicity of Pierogi to the sweet, comforting embrace of Sernik, each dish offering a unique glimpse into the heart of Polish culinary heritage.

As the cold winter winds usher us indoors, let the warmth of these Polish recipes bring comfort to your kitchen. The robust flavors and comforting textures are sure to provide a cozy refuge, bringing family and friends together around the dining table.

And as you delve into the art of Polish cooking, may each bite deepen your appreciation for the timeless tradition and hearty sustenance that characterizes Poland’s culinary landscape.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook eager to try something new, the welcoming and wholesome nature of Polish cuisine invites you to roll up your sleeves, gather your loved ones, and create memories that will warm your hearts for years to come.

So, here’s to hearty meals, warm laughter, and the endless joy of discovering the comforting and nourishing essence of Polish fare. Smacznego!

O autorach

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Laura i Nathan

Poznaj Laurę i Nathana. Doświadczonych kucharzy domowych. Autorów przepisów które z pewnością pokochasz.

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