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The Most Popular Polish Side Dishes

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A tray of white donuts on a white plate showcasing Polish cuisine.

Polish food is so varied, there’s an accompaniment or side dish for almost everything. Polish side dishes can be vegetarian, meat, or fruit-based, and include a variant to suit every taste.

They also employ a number of methods of cooking, but most of them are quite easy to make at home. From kluski and kopytka, to mizeria and ogorek kiszony, here are some very popular Polish side dishes to try at home!

1. Kluski Śląskie (Silesian Dumplings)

The kluskie śląskie are potato dumplings originating from the Silesian region of Poland. They look like miniature handmade bowls or tiny cups without handles, and they’re just are perfect for holding extra gravy or butter in them.

Easy to make with mashed potatoes, potato starch, and eggs, these Silesian dumplings are cooked in boiling water before being served with veggies or meat dishes such as goulash.

2. Kopytka (Polish Gnocchi)

These gnocchi-like dumplings are made from leftover mashed potatoes, eggs, and a bit of flour. Like the kluski slaskie above, they’re also made by boiling in hot water. Where they differ, is the simple yet pleasant diamond shapes and the method of serving.

While kluski are only eaten with savory dishes, kopytka can be both sweet and savory. Savory kopytka go well with meat dishes, veggies, or sauerkraut while sweet kopytka is eaten with fruit, cheese, cinnamon powder, or sugar.   

Did you know that kopytka translates to ‘little hooves’? 

3. Pierogi Leniwe (Lazy Pierogi)

Don’t let the name fool you. These pierogi don’t look like traditional pierogi at all. Instead, they offer a cheesy spin on the kopytka, and are cooked in boiling water using the same method.

Perhaps they’re called ‘leniwe’ which means ‘lazy’ because these pierogi can be made so easily? No stuffing like the traditional meat pierogi or sauerkraut pierogi

Although they have the same diamond shape too, instead of mashed potatoes, they’re made with farmer’s cheese, flour, and eggs. Once cooked, these cheesy pierogi leniwe dumplings are served with sauerkraut,  goulash, fruits, sour cream, or cinnamon and sugar. 

4. Kluski Lane

A childhood favorite from Poland, kluski lane can be ready in just 5 minutes!

Made with flour and egg, all it takes to make these drop noodles is to mix the flour with the egg and drop it into boiling hot water. Cook for a few minutes and the perfect snack is ready to eat!

Also called poured noodles, kluski lane are the perfect addition to rosol – chicken soup, to vegetable broth, or even to hot milk.

5. Kapusta Zasmażana

Made from braised or stewed cabbage or sauerkraut, this warm cabbage dish is called kapusta zasmażana.

Perfect for wintertime, the dish also includes onions, flour, spices such as pepper, bay leaves, or caraway seeds. Bits of bacon or kielbasa and pork lard are added for flavor. 

We usually make kapusta thick, but there are some Polish families that make it soupy thin. Kapusta goes really well with pork dishes such as golonka w piwie, or pork cutlets, and boiled potatoes.  

6. Carrot And Peas Salad

Carrots and green peas in a white bowl.
Creamed carrots and peas – groszek z marchewką

Counting the peas in a dish is a popular pastime for children. No wonder kids love this creamy pea salad with carrots. 

The easiest to make of all cooked salads, groszek z marchewką is like a simpler version of the salatka jarzynowa.

Made by cooking carrots and peas and frying them in butter. Seasoned with salt and pepper, this carrot and peas salad is easy to digest too!

Serve this warm and buttery carrot and pea salad as a side for kotlety mielone.

7. Red Cabbage Salad

Tasting better the next day, the Polish red cabbage salad is easy to make in under 15 minutes.

Finely diced red cabbage and onions are allowed to marinate overnight with vinegar, salt, and pepper. The next day tasty apples and leeks are added to the salad and served. 

This salad goes well with meaty dishes such as Polish meatballs called klopsy or veal stew

8. Shredded Beets Salad

Another tangy Polish side dish is the shredded beetroot salad called buraczki when it’s cold or buraczki zasmażane when it’s warm.  

The cold buraczki is made by cooking the beetroot, then peeling and shredding them, and mixing with pepper, salt and lemon juice or vinegar. The warm version involves cooking the cold buraczki mixture with a roux of butter and flour to give it a creamy taste.

 This easy-to-make salad is often served with kotlet schabowy or other dishes such as meatloaf

9. Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad

Gluten-free and ready in 5 minutes, this cucumber salad is popular all over Poland. You’ll find many families making this dish, especially during the summer or cucumber season!

This 16th-century Polish salad is named after Queen Bona Sforza who cried every time she ate cucumbers because it reminded her of Italy. 

The easiest mizeria can be made with just chopped cucumbers, sour cream, and salt for seasoning. If you want a bit more flavor, add some chopped onions, chopped dill, lemon juice, and sugar. 

Mizeria goes well with pork chops, mashed potatoes, beef steaks, or rice. 

10. Carrot And Apple Salad

Another easy-to-make salad, the surówka z jabłka i marchewki is a well-known Polish side dish made of only apples and carrots. It’s a bit different from the surówka salad that’s made with sauerkraut, apples, carrots, and onions. 

Ready in 5 minutes by mixing with lemon juice, oil, salt, and sugar, this carrot and apple salad must be eaten fresh. Eat it as a side dish for kotlet schabowy, Polish gnocchi, Polish goulash, and with potatoes or rice. 

11. Ogórek Kiszony (Dill Pickles)

Polish dill pickles
Ogorek Kiszony

What sets Polish dill pickles apart from traditional US pickles is the tartness they proffer. Different from the characteristically sweet dill pickles in the USA, the ogorek kiszony is pickled with horseradish and garlic. 

Easy to eat plain as a snack, the ogorek kiszony can also be added to sandwiches, soups, or salads. They’re also the perfect accompaniment to meals such as the Polish beef tartare.  

If you’re a vodka drinker, you must have some dill pickles on the plate near you. It’s tradition to have a drink of vodka followed by a bite of the pickles and then another drink of vodka, and so on!

12. Others Polish Side Dishes – Potatoes, Groats, Bread, And Rice

Some other traditional side dishes eaten with Polish food include a variety of bread, potatoes, and other grains cooked in different ways; some are baked, some are mashed, some are fried, and some are boiled.  

  • Polish potato salad
  • boiled potatoes (mashed or whole)
  • baked potatoes
  • french fries
  • buckwheat
  • millet
  • pearl barley
  • rice
  • any kind of bread

What’s your favorite side dish to eat with a hearty Polish meal? What other Polish side dishes should go on this list?

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