Authentic Polish Bigos Recipe That Tastes Like Poland!

An authentic Polish bigos recipe is used not only in Poland but all over the world. The popular hunter’s stew made of sauerkraut and meat is not only delicious but also quite heavy, that’s why you can’t be sure you won’t be hungry after eating a bowl.

Traditionally, bigos is being cooked and eaten during wintertime. It’s definitely not a summer dish. Why?

Sauerkraut, onion, and meat are the ingredients easily available in the winter. A few hundred years ago, when there were no fridges, people’s diets were quite limited and adjusted to the current circumstances. The other reason why bigos was so popular in Poland during wintertime is that this dish is greasy and satiating, thus it keeps one warm for a long time.

Authentic Polish Bigos Recipe Tips

Fry, fry, fry!

The secret of getting the perfect taste of Polish bigos is frying it, the more you do it, the better.

My mom-in-law, who is bigos MasterChef says that bigos tastes best after a few days. You need to fry it each day, cool it off, and repeat.

Use sauerkraut not fresh cabbage

Although you can make Polish bigos from fresh cabbage, the taste won’t be as authentic as when you use sauerkraut.

You can also mix fresh and fermented cabbage to get a bit different taste.

Serve it in a bread bowl if you have a chance

Some people serve bigos in a bread bowl. It looks really amazing! Plus you can eat the bread afterwards.

Types Of Authentic Polish Bigos

The basic ingredients of authentic Polish bigos are sauerkraut and meat. However, there are some local variations available including:

  • bigos litewski (Polish Lithuanian bigos) with the addition of apples
  • bigos myśliwski (Polish hunter’s stew bigos) with the addition of venison meat 
  • bigos hultajski with the addition of lard and a large amount of meat
  • bigos węgierski (Polish Hungarian bigos) with the addition of red pepper and sour cream
  • bigos galicyjski (Galician bigos) with the addition of potatoes and white beans
  • bigos wegetariański (vegetarian bigos) with soya instead of meat

How To Store Bigos?

Once bigos is ready, you can keep in the fridge for up to a week.

You can freeze it and keep it like that for up to 6 months.

If you decide to pasteurize bigos, you can keep it like that for up to 3 months (in the fridge).

What To Serve Bigos With?

Although authentic Polish bigos taste great just like that, here are the most popular add-ons:

Authentic Polish Bigos Recipe 

Bigos Recipe

Bigos Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2.5 pounds of sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona)
  • 1 pound of smoked bacon
  • 2-3.5 pounds of different kid of meats (sausage, ham, etc.)
  • 2-3 average onions
  • 16 oz of tomato paste
  • handful of dry mushrooms
  • 3.5 oz of plum jam (powidło śliwkowe)
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram


  1. Cover dried mushrooms with cold water and leave for at least 2 hours (may be overnight). After that, cook the mushrooms until they are soft.
  2. Rinse the sauerkraut, to make sure bigos won't be too sour. Cover it with water and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the sauerkraut when it's cooked.
  4. Finely chop the onions and the smoked bacon.
  5. Fry the bacon for 10 minutes. Add it to the sauerkraut.
  6. Using the same pan, fry the onions. The pan is already covered with bacon fat, so the onion will be easily fried.
  7. Add fried onion to the sauerkraut and bacon.
  8. Chop the mixed meat and fry it on the pan, use some oil if necessary.
  9. Add mixed meat to the pot. Add tomato puree, powidło (plum butter), salt, pepper, dried marjoram, and cumin.
  10. Chop the mushrooms and add then to the pot.
  11. Mix everything together.
  12. Fry bigos on the pan. If you have a small pan, fry it partially. Don't skip this point! Frying bigos at the end is a secret to get the best flavor. It's believed that the more you fry, the better bigos you will get.

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