Poland’s Most Popular National Dish: Simple 10-Step Recipe

Polish cuisine is a diverse blend of cultural influences. It is not just limited to pierogi, borscht, and pickled cucumbers, but also includes many other lesser-known dishes. However, it is a fact that traditional Polish cuisine is not known for being particularly easy to digest. Historical books describe meals that were rich, fatty, and heavy.

It is well captured by the image of Sarmatian feasts, where tables were loaded with food and drink. The complex history of Poland, with its diverse mix of cultures and religions, has contributed to the variety of dishes found in Polish cuisine. It’s important to note that religious beliefs have also shaped the way that food is consumed in Poland.

Polish cuisine varies depending on the region. In the mountain region of Podhale, a popular dish is oscypki, a sheep’s milk cheese. In Silesia, traditional dishes include rolada, krupniok (not to be confused with krupnik – soup), and delicious Silesian dumpling (kluski śląskie). In Kashubia, local specialties include Kashubian-style herring (śledź po kaszubsku) and Pomeranian-style duck (kaczka po pomorsku) While the daily dinners in each region may differ, there are many of them that are popular throughout whole the country.

What is The Polish National Dish?

Poland’s national dish is bigos, a popular cabbage dish. It should be the ony considering it’s historical background. Other popular dishes include stuffed cabbage rolls (gołąbki), pierogi, minced pork chops (kotlety schabowe), pork knuckle (golonko), guts (flaki), and meat jelly (galaretka mięsna). Soups are also an important part of traditional Polish cuisine, with broth, borscht, and sour soup being common daily and holiday meals.

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Bigos is a delicious and simple way to introduce your friends to traditional Polish cuisine. While traditional Polish dishes may vary slightly from home to home, bigos will satisfy even picky eaters.

Bigos Recipe by My Grandmother

Traditional bigos is made with sauerkraut and white cabbage, and includes meat, bacon, mushrooms, and prunes. It takes time and patience to prepare, but the resulting dish is filling and delicious, making it a popular choice for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The key to making a good bigos is to cook it slowly and without rushing. In fact, it is even better if you can start the day before and allow it to overcook, as it can be reheated later. Bigos goes well with bread or potatoes. Just be sure to stay awake while it’s cooking!


  • 2 kg sauerkraut
  • 1 kg fresh white cabbage
  • 2 large onions
  • 700 g pork (mixed cuts are fine)
  • 500 g bacon
  • 500 g sausage
  • 60 g dried mushrooms
  • 100 g dried prunes
  • 6 bay leaves
  • A few juniper berries
  • A few allspice berries
  • Mustard seeds
  • Peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2-3 cloves
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup red wine

10 Simple Steps For Preparing Bigos:

  1. Drain the sauerkraut and chop it. Place it in a large pot.
  2. Finely chop the white cabbage and add it to the same pot.
  3. Add the bay leaves, juniper berries, allspice, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cumin, marjoram, cloves, and nutmeg to the pot. Pour in enough water to come about 1 cm below the level of the cabbage. Stir everything and bring to a boil over low heat.
  4. While the cabbage is cooking, dice the pork, onions, and bacon. Cut the sausage into half slices. Soak the mushrooms in water, then drain and cut them into strips. Cut the prunes into strips as well.
  5. Fry the bacon until it is slightly browned. Add the onions and fry until they are translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside, reserving the cooking fat.
  6. Add the pork to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, until it is browned. Set aside.
  7. Fry the sausage in the same pan.
  8. Add the pork, mushrooms, and the water from soaking the mushrooms to the pot with the cabbage. Cook for an additional hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Be sure to check the liquid level and add more water if necessary to prevent the bigos from burning.
  9. After an hour, add the bacon, prunes, onions, and sausage to the pot. Continue cooking for an additional 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
  10. When the bigos is almost done, pour in the red wine and continue cooking until the flavors have melded together.

It tastes best the next day, hot, with bread or potatoes.

Click Play to check another way of cooking Bigos

What other dishes do Poles eat?

In Poland, lunch is the most substantial meal of the day. It consists of two courses – soup and a flour or meat dish. Traditional Polish cuisine is very varied, and in its range of dishes we can find one of the most famous one – pierogi. They are certainly the culinary showcase of our country. The most commonly consumed meats is pork, poultry, and fish. We eagerly reach for bigos, which is a valuable source of vitamins for our body, stuffed cabbage rolls and baked beans. It’s hard to imagine a real Polish dinner without a pork chop (kotlet schabowy), potatoes, and mizeria (sliced cucambers with cream). Poles also like to dine on kopytka, dumplings or pyzy. Potato pancakes with goulash and pea soup have their followers too.

If you look for inspiration, please check my other article I wrote about typical Autumn Recipes.

What Has Shaped Polish cuisine?

Poland’s location and history have greatly influenced its diverse population and culture. This diversity is reflected in the country’s cuisine, which has been influenced by Russian, German, Italian, French, and Tartar-Turkish traditions. In addition, each region of Poland has its own unique culinary specialties, such as the dishes of Silesia, Kashubia, and Podhale.

There Was a Time When Food Was Much More Delicious

After World War II, the meals served in Poland were dull and boring, far from traditional Polish cuisine. This rich tradition was preserved only in certain regional folk kitchens and in some old family homes. However, thanks to a renewed interest in regional cuisine, the true flavors and aromas of Polish dishes are once again being discovered and appreciated. If you want to experience authentic Polish cuisine, you can visit regional restaurants in different parts of the country.


  • https://dziendobry.tvn.pl/przepisy-kulinarne/jak-smakuje-kuchnia-polska-tradycyjne-dania-da295027
  • https://kosapopatelni.pl/top-10-naszych-ulubionych-dan-kuchni-polskiej/
  • https://schroniskobukowina.pl/blog/kuchnia-polska-tradycyjne-dania-i-potrawy-regionalne