The Must Try Food in Poland

Polish food is a regular in our household since my husband’s parents are from Poland, however nothing quite compares to feasting on regional favourites and the must try food in Poland while travelling. There is something wonderful about enjoying smoked sausages after exploring one of the Old Towns, or warming your belly during a Polish winter with a hearty serving of pierogi.

During our month in Poland a few years back, we had a great time sampling all the must try food in Poland in the different cities we visited. From Zakopane to Krakow, Bialystok to Warsaw, they each had something amazing on offer to keep my inner foodie happy.

Food of Poland, for the most part, is not created with the waistline in mind. Hearty comfort food, smoked meats, and plenty of carbs is a good way to sum up Polish food, not so unlike many other parts of Europe. And of course, the food is just one of the reasons to go to Poland!

There are a lot of similarities to German food, with their own unique twist. Food in Poland is something you need to experience! And we want to make sure you experience the best food in Poland when you visit!

All the must try food in Poland you need to experience when you visit Poland. Enjoy the traditional Polish food and cuisines that make your travels even more enjoyable to this incredible part of the world.

The Absolute Must Try Food in Poland

Pierogi (Dumplings)

If you are familiar with Polish food, chances are pierogi is the first dish that comes to mind. Resembling ravioli in appearance, pierogi is the equivalent of dumplings in Poland. Most traditionally they are filled with potato and cheese, however other popular traditional Polish pierogi includes cabbage and mushroom, or meat filled dumpling variations.

Dessert pierogi is also a must try Polish food, often filled with sweet fruit filling and actually great with ice cream.

My mother in law makes great Pierogi back home, so these are Poland foods we enjoy often. Especially when served with diced fried bacon and onion.

Must try Polish food

At home we like to fry our pierogi with bacon & onion on top. Yum!

Kapusta (Cabbage/Sauerkraut)

Much like sauerkraut which is likely a more familiar term, kapusta is the Polish traditional cabbage speciality that is extremely popular and served virtually everywhere. From side dishes with your meats or on top of sausages in a roll, kapusta is everywhere, and utilised in the place of the usual salads you may be accustomed to back home.

Personally I’m not a huge cabbage fan (unlike the husband), but in small amounts the occasional kapusta can be enjoyable. And traditional Polish kapusta is full of flavour so it doesn’t just taste like boiled cabbage.

Must try food in Poland when visiting Poland  Poland popular foods

Polish sausage (Kielbasa), bigos and potatoes

Kielbasa (Smoked Sausages)

Another favourite back home and in Poland are the traditional style smoked sausages. The strong smokey flavours of the meats and the various ways they are cooked makes Polish sausage a popular choice. This is a bit of a staple dish on a lot of Polish food menus, usually served with a generous side of kapusta. Poland popular food definitely brings images to smokes sausages to mind for most.

Bigos (Cabbage and Meat Stew)

In case you really love cabbage, but especially if travelling to Poland in winter, bigos can be a good choice. A meat and cabbage (kapusta) stew that will warm you from the inside out. It is sometimes referred to as Hunter’s Stew, as it is filled with various types of meat, which traditionally would have been whatever the hunter was able to catch.

must try food in poland

Rye bread – good alone or accompanying any of the other must try food in Poland

Rye Bread

A perfect accompaniment to bigos, or to any Polish food, the Polish rye bread is a delicious sourdough style bread, with a rich flavour and firm crust. The cuisine of Poland involves a lot of stews and flavours, so having bread to mop up the juices is always a winner!


Borscht (Beetroot Soup)

My first introduction to beetroot soup was Christmas eve more than a decade ago – my first Christmas Eve with my husband’s family. If you are familiar with Polish culture, Christmas Eve is one of the most important meals all year and ours would often begin with a serve of beetroot soup. So of course there’s lots of traditional food Poland has on offer like this.

I love soup so I enjoy it, and actually find it not so drastically different in flavour to tomato soup due to that acidic flavours. however some members of the family are less keen. Alternatively it can be given in a cup to sip or dumplings can be added to the soup.


Pork knuckle is usually served with a side of kapusta (cabbage)

Golonka (Pork Knuckle)

This is a favourite of ours and we still have great memories of our best ever golonka in the centre of Krakow old town, from a market stall. Slow cooked to perfection, so your meat falls from the bone, golonka is a must try food in Poland for sure. This is my other favourite of the Polish delicacies. So good!!!


Placki (Potato pancakes)

This is every bit as carb loaded as it sounds, but Placki is must try food in Traditional Polish food for sure. Think shredded potato made into fried pancakes and served with a topping of your choice. In Poland this can often be fried up mushrooms, cabbage or sour cream.

Here in Australia my hubby and his brothers are fans of BBQ sauce on their placki. Yep… it’s a bit sad! They are great just as is though, kind of like a flat chip!

Must try food in Poland. These Polish foods are a must when visiting Poland.

Placki – Potato pancakes

Makowiec (Poppy Seed Cake)

And for dessert… well honestly i’m personally not a huge fan of Polish desserts, however my husband and his siblings will tell you a must try food in Poland for dessert is makowiec, which is a poppy seed style pastry. It is pretty much a bread-like roll, filled with crushed poppy seed. Not nearly sweet enough for my preference, but a Polish favourite worth trying. Our eldest daughter is a big fan too and while I wouldn’t say it’s the best Polish food, it’s definitely one that many love.


If you are planning to visit Poland, make sure you aren’t coming with plans to eat light. When in the country, embrace the hearty food on offer and fill yourself with the must try food in Poland. You won’t regret it! The traditional foods of Poland are worth skipping your diet!

And if you aren’t sure where to start with planning your Poland trip, be sure to check out our best places to visit in Poland guide!!

Have you tried any Polish traditional food?

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  1. Amazing food in Poland. We love the polish food its great if you are a meat lover. All the better when washed down with a Tyskie beer or a shot of sophlika vodka

    • Oh yes, our vodka of choice too. Cherry flavour of course! We managed to get a case shipped over here a while back. At least with the hearty food, it’s absorbing the alcohol lol

  2. Hopping over from Malinda’s link-up!

    YUMMY!!!! I live in Chicago and we have an ENORMOUS Polish population here. (Some of our city documents even include translations in Polish!) Accordingly, are some great neighborhoods with tremendous Polish influence – and of course, amazing food! I love love LOVE pierogies, borscht, and placki. I even took a class to learn how to make homemade pierogies from scratch (and I need to practice – a LOT!). Your pictures look so scrumptious – excuse me while I wipe the drool off of my computer keyboard. =P
    Emily @ Out and About recently posted…Three Things ThursdayMy Profile

    • Haha Emily, that’s awesome. We haven’t tried making our own pierogi yet since my mother in law does it for us but there is a Polish salad type thing we adore and make ourselves every Christmas. It’s like a super chunky tartare sauce but not. I had no idea about Chicago’s Polish community but hubby did. Very cool.

      • Holly, Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw. Detroit and Milwaukee both have sizeable Polish populations also. Some great Polish delicacies to be had in Chicago!!

    • There’s a couple of good places in QLD you can get good Polish food & likely other states too. Mt Tambourine actually has 2. We’ve been to The Polish Place. A tad expensive but nice plus there’s another nearby too.

  3. Thank you for sharing this on Travel Tuesday! We do not have Polish restaurants here in Singapore, but we have MANY German restaurants. All these food does remind me a lot of German food… Sausages, Sauerkraut, Pork Knuckles.. All the stuff I usually order at a German restaurant. Someone should open a Polish restaurant in Singapore and see how it goes! We Singaporeans are pretty adventurous about food. Eating is our national sports.
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted…{Travel Tuesday #6} Renaissance Okinawa Resort Review (Part 1) – Facilities & DiningMy Profile

    • Haha that’s an awesome national sport 😉 They are definitely similar types of food since they are neighbours. Both are great hearty foods. And if anyone reading this gets onto opening that restaurant it’s sure to be popular since it will be the first!

  4. Love polish food…my husband and I are both polish and my best friend in high school was also polish with strong family traditions. Every year around Xmas, her family gets together to make batches of pierogis…the best I ve ever had. You left my favorite dinner off the list, though. Galumpki are cabbage stuffed with meats and rice and simmered in a tomato sauce..I make a lighter version with ground turkey…it’s also my kids fav dinner!

    • Oh no, I love them too. My hubby failed me on the ‘what am I forgetting?’ question obviously lol but we did enjoy some left over Christmas Eve pierogi for lunch today that we had frozen for later. The mushroom kind since there was no meat on wigilia 😉

      I am looking forward to being back in August to Poland! And will probably come back fatter. Especially after the 12 course wedding we are attending.

    • Time to start planning a trip home I think! I will be enjoying home cooked Polish food here in Australia tomorrow when we visit with the in laws. Yum yum! But looking forward to being back in Poland in 3 months too 🙂

  5. well my favorite thing to eat in Poland is golumpki a bit of the same process on making bigos but more like wrap

  6. Mmm! Polish food is so good! I actually wrote a blog post about trying Polish food in the Polish district in Toronto. I love the sounds of Bigos, which I’d never heard of before but looks delicious! I’ve been wanting to try pork knuckle but i’m a bit intimidated. I thought it would be more hoof like (ek!) but that looks a lot like ribs.
    Lauren Bishop recently posted…Egyptian Food in Toronto: Maha’s BrunchMy Profile

  7. Dear Holly,

    I’m very happy to hear that you like Polish food. What’s your favourite one?

    Next time you will visit Poland let us know – we will find something special for you at ! 🙂

  8. I just love Polish food, and my favourite are pierogi, they are so delicious. I could eat them every day;) I love visiting Poland and trying all of their delicious food. My favourite spot for going out is the Akademia Restaurant in Mokotow/ They have Polish cuisine in modern versions. Everything is freshly made and delicious!

  9. I love Polish food, especially all the delicious appetizers:) My favorite Polish dish is probably tartar – it such an unique but delicious dish. I would never guess that raw meat can taste so good. The best tartar I have had so far was in Warsaw, in a bar called Bubbles. Even though it is bar and they specialize in champagne, they also serve delicious food, and their tartar is out of this world. And they have a meatless option from tomato:D

    • I just can’t bring myself to love raw meat. It’s where I draw the line Haha but hubby loves his raw herring which is a popular polish dish too.

  10. According to your comment @Lisa, I agree with you, that Bubbles is the best Bar in Warsaw. Recently I also tried Bubbles Bar. I love Polish food, especially kopytka. They serve a lot of different dishes which I like and tried before. I would like to go again to Bubbles Bar!

  11. Holly, Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw. Detroit and Milwaukee both have sizeable Polish populations also. Some great Polish delicacies to be had in Chicago!!