Skip to content

Polish Food Glossary – All the Terms You Need to Know

  • by
What Are Some Common Polish Food Terms

You might be aware of a few common Polish foods, such as the krupnik and the kluski śląskie, but there’s so much more to Polish delicacies than just that. If you are visiting a Polish restaurant, you may want to learn a few Polish food terms for common dishes and drinks so you can discuss your meal choices with the waiter and make plans with friends easily.

Although some of the words may be challenging to pronounce, if you try practicing saying them out loud a few times, you will definitely succeed. If you are ready to learn about some delectable Polish meats, fermented dishes, and vodka, check out the list below.

We have listed some essential Polish food words to ensure you can become well-versed in Polish fare.

Glossary of Polish Meats

Boczek Słonina

Boczek is a general name for various types of Polish bacon made from rib and belly pork. After the curing process, the bacon is usually smoked and cooked, smoked, double-smoked, hunter-style, or prepared with ribs on. This type of meat is usually enjoyed with soups, casseroles, or in a rye bread sandwich with scrambled eggs and mustard.

Kiełbasa Piaszczańska

Kiełbasa Piaszczańska is a half-dried type of cured pork sausage that is a specialty of a Polish village called Piaski Wielkie. The village is renowned for producing various meat and cured products, especially sausages.

The locals of the area have developed a special process for marination that utilizes rock salt, allspice, nutmeg, ground black pepper, juniper berries, cloves, bay leaves, and herb stock, which sets Kiełbasa Piaszczańska apart from other sausages.


Čvarci is a deli meat specialty of the Balkans and the Southeastern European region. This meat delicacy contains pork cracklings or pork rinds and is usually made at home after extracting the fat from the lard.

The pork lard is usually cut into blocks and fried in the fat until it melts away, leaving behind only tough and crispy pork rinds. It is a popular winter and autumn snack and is commonly paired with raw onion and beer.

Kiełbasa Lisiecka

Kiełbasa Lisiecka is a smoked meat sausage made from top-quality pork. It has been an old meat staple since 1930, when the local butchers began to produce it. The sausage is made using the same traditional recipe to this day and is shaped like a dark brown ring due to the smoking process. It utilizes carefully selected pieces of loin and ham chopped together with spices and stuffed into a natural casing.

See also  The Most Amazing Polish Deli Gifts

Kiełbasa Jałowcowa Staropolska

Kiełbasa Jałowcowa is a type of unique sausage that is usually found in the shape of a garland and is made from the meat of fattened pigs. The meat is combined with pepper, finely chopped juniper berries, and sugar before being stuffed into pig intestines and formed into small or large garlands.

The sausage is prepared and smoked over juniper branches before being fried for almost a week to produce the final product that has a rich brown color and a delicious piney aroma.


The head cheese Salceson is considered to be a gourmet delicacy nowadays. There is a wide variety of traditional Polish head cheese depending on the shape, seasonings, and main ingredients used.

Most types of head cheese are prepared with blood, brawn, or offal from the pork while some varieties exclusively use veal. No matter which kind of Salceson you try, you will surely enjoy its unique texture. This amazing treat can be accompanied with other meat products as well as bread. I have to be honest – I’m not  much of a fan of this!

Polish Food Glossary

Barszcz – It is a type of soup which has two different versions, one with meat and one without. The vegetarian version is usually the soup that is served as the first course during the Christmas Eve dinner. It is served to guests with a mushroom or sauerkraut filling along with uszka, which are tiny ear-shaped dumplings.

Bigos – It is a type of meat and cabbage stew made with a tomato base.

Chłodnik – It is a delicious cold soup made with beets, small beet leaves, soured milk, cucumber, and fresh dill.

Czernina – It is a unique Polish delicacy that is commonly known as duck blood soup.

Fasolka z migdałami – A delectable side dish made with fresh and slender steamed green beans with a topping of breadcrumbs, butter, and toasted almond slices.

Flaki or flaczki – It is a special Polish stew made with pork or beef guts tripe along with marjoram. The word Flaki translates to guts, and in some areas, this stew is made from the cow’s stomach, which is cut in stripes.

Gołąbki – It is a dish made with minced meat stuffed in cabbage leaves along with rice or a mixture of mushroom and rice.

See also  Best Polish Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Grochówka – This is a simple type of lentil or pea soup.

Gulasz – A tasty stew made from various vegetables, meat, and noodles with paprika and other seasonings.

Kapusta kiszona – A Polish way of referring to sauerkraut.

Kapusta zasmażana – Pan-fried sauerkraut with fried onions, whole pepper, cooked pork, and a variety of spices.

Kasza gryczana ze skwarkami – A dish made of buckwheat groats along with chopped and fried onions and lard.

Kaszanka – It is a type of Polish blood sausage made from fat, lungs, liver, and pork blood that is spiced with onion, marjoram, and pepper.

Kołacz or korowaj – It is a type of traditional Polish sweet bread, also called yeast cakes which are typically served at weddings or special occasions.

Kompot – A delicious fruit drink with a clear appearance. It is made by cooking fruits like apricots, apples, rhubarbs, peaches, gooseberries, strawberries, and sour cherries in a large volume of water.

Kotlet schabowy – It is a pork cutlet made from pork tenderloin or pork chop. Kotlet z piersi Kurczaka is a type of Polish cutlet that is made with chicken and is coated with breadcrumbs, whereas Kotlet z Indyka is a type of traditional Polish turkey cutlet coated with breadcrumbs. These cutlets are usually served with sides like boiled potatoes and cabbage stew.

Kiełbasa – It is a type of classic Polish sausage that comes in various smoked or fresh varieties. This Polish sausage can be made with lamb, veal, turkey, beef, or pork, and each region adds its own special seasonings to it.

Kurczak pieczony po wiejsku – This main dish includes a whole Polish village-style roasted chicken along with smoked bacon, onion, and garlic.

Kvass (Polish: kwas chlebowy) – This is a delicious, fermented drink made from sugar, dark rye bread, and yeast, usually served to peasants. Although it lost its popularity in the 20th century, it has made a comeback in the past few years.

Kwaśnica – This is a type of traditional Polish soup made with sauerkraut. It is usually a specialty that is enjoyed in south Poland.

Łosoś – It is a type of baked or boiled salmon served with a dill sauce.

Pierogi – Polish dumplings that are stuffed with a sweet or savory filling. Savory fillings include ingredients like sauerkraut, mushrooms, meat, potato, and cheese. On the other hand, sweet fillings include ingredients like sweet curd cheese with vanilla, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and apples. These dumplings are topped with sour cream or sugar, depending if you’re enjoying the savory or sweet version.

See also  The Best Polish Cookies You’ll Ever Try

Placki ziemniaczane (placki kartoflane) – These are a type of Polish potato pancakes which are served with sour cream.

Rosół – It is a simple type of Polish soup made with chicken and noodles.

Sałatka – It is a Polish salad made from pickled cucumber, fresh cucumber, tomato, and lettuce. It contains dressing ingredients like heavy cream, white vinegar, other dressings, and mayonnaise.

Sałatka warzywna (sałatka jarzynowa) – It is a traditional Polish side dish made with chopped root vegetables, carrot, potato, parsley root, celery root, chopped pickled cucumbers or chopped dill cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs. These ingredients are mixed together with mustard and mayonnaise sauce.

Sernik – This is a type of cheesecake that is one of the most famous Polish desserts. This cake is mainly made from twaróg, which is a type of fresh quark cheese.

Tort – It is a type of multi-layered sponge cake that is filled with whipped cream or buttercream. It contains nuts or fruits and is served on a special day like a birthday or name day.

Zapiekanka – It is a type of short Polish baguette that is cut in two slices. The baguette is topped with tomato sauce, softly fried onions and mushrooms, and grated and roasted cheese.

Zrazy – It is a dish made with twisted and thin slices of chopped beef, which is seasoned with pepper and salt and stuffed with mushrooms, vegetables, potato, and eggs.

Zrazy zawijane – These are Polish beef rolls with a filling of onion, pickle, and bacon.

Zupa pomidorowa – It is a soup made with tomato and served with rice or pasta.

Zupa szczawiowa – It is a type of Polish soup made with sorrel (szczaw).