Looking to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday table? Then you should try these traditional Polish Christmas foods.
The Polish are famous for their Christmas spread. Or more appropriately, their Christmas Eve cuisine.
Every year on December 24th, the Polish celebrate Wigilia — derived from the Latin vigil.
During Wigilia, 12 traditional meatless dishes are served after the first star appears in the sky.
If you’re wondering why such a specific number, it’s a representation of the 12 apostles. And it’s a tasty representation if I do say so myself!
From savory dinners to Christmas cookies, here are some fabulous Polish Christmas recipes to bring to your table next holiday season.
1. Polish Layered Herring Salad (Śledź pod Pierzynką)
Although red meat is not allowed due to the religious nature of Christmas, fish is the one exception. So what salad could be more fitting than this herring dish!
Appetizer or side, herring salad is a simple and economical meal you can easily whip up.
It has several layers including boiled potatoes, carrots, and herring. Herring itself can be very salty, so you might want to skip adding extra salt.
2. Polish Kolaczki Cookies
While the Polish people might have great savory dishes, their sweets are definitely something to write home about. Like these kolaczki cookies, for example.
These creamy, buttery cookies are an extra special Christmas treat. They have cream cheese in the dough and canned fruit for a filling.
I think jams and jellies also work well with these cookies. Regardless, you’ll want to polish these off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
3. Polish Kutia (Wheat Berry Pudding)
Kutia is a popular Christmas pudding you can bet will be on a Polish table come Christmas Eve.
It’s a sweet and savory combination of wheat berries, dried fruits, and nuts.
Poppy seeds are a nice touch that helps to thicken the pudding when mixed with half-n-half.
While I love that this makes it a bit more creamy, you can substitute non-dairy milk, too.
4. Traditional Polish Shredded Beets Salad (Buraczki)
Warm or cold, buraczki is a holiday must. This beet salad requires minimal ingredients and is very simple to whip up.
You’ll need to spruce up the beets with an acidic base to give them more flavor. I like using either balsamic or red wine vinegar, but lemon juice works as well.
If you’re serving this warm, you can skip the vinegar and serve this with thickened hot butter.
5. Barszcz (Polish Borscht)
Borscht is common in many cultures. However, if you’re sticking with the theme, you’ll want to use the Polish rendition of this soup.
For this, you’ll need to add some onions, carrots, and celery. You’ll add some fresh garlic, too.
I love the bright, vibrant color just as much as I love the sweet and sour flavor.
While it’s good as is, you can jazz it up even more by serving it with a dollop of sour cream.
6. Polish Gingerbread Cookies (Pierniczki Tradycyjne)
These gingerbread cookies are not like the cute little gingerbread men, or women, cookies you find in America.
Rather, they use gingerbread spice as well as honey and powdered sugar.
My favorite part, though, is the topping which is a simple powdered sugar glaze.
Between the flavor and the looks, I think these traditional Polish treats will make a fine addition to your Christmas cookie platter.
7. Grandma’s Golumpki (Stuffed Polish Cabbage)
Cabbage is a common ingredient you’ll find in all the best Polish recipes. While I have several favorites, I think this one is perfect for a holiday feast.
This homey recipe comes straight from a grandmother’s kitchen, so you know it’ll be amazing.
It involves taking boiled cabbage leaves and stuffing them with a savory mixture of ground beef, pork, and rice.
I know I said red meat isn’t typically eaten on a Polish Christmas Eve, but this one is too good to ignore! So I say, bust it out the next day.
8. Polish Christmas Eve Mushroom Soup
If the weather outside is frightful, cozy up inside next to the fire with this Polish staple.
You won’t find any meat or dairy here. However, what you will find is a soup that is spectacular enough for Christmas.
This soup is an earthy blend of dried mushrooms, herbs, and Lazanki noodles. Lazanki is a type of Polish pasta that adds a luscious layer.
If you can’t find lazanki, you can use a wide egg noodle instead.
9. Homemade Kluski Egg Noodles
Speaking of egg noodles, these aren’t just found in Asain cuisine. You can find them in Poland, too!
Requiring only five ingredients, you can have this noodle dish ready to serve in just 30 minutes.
You can top them with extra ingredients if you like, but they’ll also taste grand with a coating of butter and a sprinkle of salt.
10. Ryba Po Grecku (Polish “Greek-style” Fish)
I think every Polish Christmas should include this dish. It’s an elegant meal that features firm white fish and root veggies with a tomato paste coating.
You’ll want to use a firm fish like cod or haddock. While pollock is a very popular fish in Poland, it’s more delicate and soft.
So if you go this route, be careful not to over-cook it.
11. Polish Poppy Seed Noodles (Kluski z Makiem)
If you like your noodles with a bit more flair, try this sensational Polish recipe.
Egg noodles get a festive twist with a handful of poppy seeds along with raisins, nuts, and honey.
While this may sound like an odd combination, it’s one you’ll have to try.
12. Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi
I know I’ve said it before, but I love pierogies! This recipe in particular is meat-free, which makes it ideal for a Polish Christmas feast.
It has a tangy, earthy filling of sauerkraut and mushrooms. If you want to give it even more depth, you can toss in some prunes.
13. Polish Poppy Seed Roll (Makowiec)
Christmas desserts shouldn’t just taste good, they should also look stunning. That’s why I love this Polish roll.
Sweet, buttery dough is smothered in a poppy seed spread that’s texturized with eggs. Then, there’s a powdered citrus sugar glaze for the final touch.
14. Dried Fruit Kompot (Kompot z Suszonych Owoców)
I find this to be a particularly interesting Polish Christmas recipe. It’s a type of fruit broth seasoned with a dash of spice and a hint of honey.
You can either drink it as a warm beverage or leave the fruit in and eat it like a soup.
15. Christmas Fried Carp
Whether you’re doing 12 Christmas dishes or want a few solid recipes, I think fried carp should be high on your wishlist.
These carp have a light coating with a nice crunchy texture. For seasoning, you can keep it simple with a squeeze of lemon, salt, and pepper.
16. Polish Potato Salad (Sałatka Kartofli)
You didn’t think I would have a Polish foods list without a potato dish, did you? Like cabbage, potatoes are a Polish staple, and so is this potato salad.
You’ll use mayo to bind together a savory mix of potatoes, celery, onions, and dill pickle. While this recipe calls for sugar, I usually leave it out.
17. Sernik (Polish Cheesecake)
You know it’s a holiday in my house when I take the time to craft a decadent cheesecake. This year, it’s all about the Polish version.
What makes this one unique is the sugary cocoa powdered crust. It also has a lush, creamy filling that calls for vanilla pudding.
18. Polish Christmas Fruit Cake
There’s something about Christmas fruit cake that was always a little off-putting to me. Then I tried the Polish version and fell in love.
It’s soft and subtly sweet with a blend of dried fruits and nuts for the filing.
You could serve this by itself. Or, go with Polish tradition and offer this with numerous dessert options.
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