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.
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.
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.
6. Carrot And Peas Salad
Counting the peas in a dish is a popular pastime for children. No wonder kids love this creamy pea salad with carrots.
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.
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.
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, 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)
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.
- boiled potatoes (mashed or whole)
- baked potatoes
- french fries
- pearl barley
- 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?