Ukraine is home to many internationally recognized dishes. It is incredibly rich and diverse — every region in Ukraine has its own popular dishes and variations of Ukrainian classics. This cuisine is less familiar than your usual Chinese and Mexican takeout options, but this food is full of history and delicious flavors that foodies around the world will appreciate. If you’re ready to embark on a culinary journey like no other, try these 12 must-try traditional Ukrainian dishes.
Made in Ukraine on Easter, this sweet bread is usually brought to the church on the holiday so that it can be blessed. The paska is shaped like a cylinder and is made with yeast, milk, butter, sugar and eggs, covered with a creamy glaze and sprinkles. Cheesy pasta is made from cottage cheese.
2. Chicken Kyiv
One of Ukraine’s most beloved classics, this breaded butter chicken dish calls for a chicken fillet to be flattened and wrapped in cold butter. The chicken is then sprinkled with parsley, dill, mushrooms, black pepper and grated cheese. It is dipped in a yolk mixture and fried, resulting in a star dish that all chicken lovers will enjoy.
Known around the world as pirogi, this is the Ukrainian version of those little salty dumplings from Poland. They are often filled with hearty potatoes, meat, cabbage and mushrooms. For dessert, cherry dumplings with a little sour cream on top are not uncommon
The star of this dish, like many other Eastern European dishes, is sauerkraut. It is pre-rinsed and gives the Kapusniaka its pure color and is usually cooked in a mushroom or meat stock along with carrots, onions, potatoes and bay leaves with a garnish of chopped parsley and sour cream.
If you’re not a fan of kale, you just haven’t been eating it right. Golubitsi or cabbage rolls are filled with minced meat, but the vegetable alternative is buckwheat or plain rice. Meat is wrapped with boiled cabbage leaves, along with carrots, onions, mushrooms and rice. They are often served with a garnish of dill.
Wondering what Ukrainian comfort food is? These fluffy boat-shaped cakes have both sweet and savory fillings. Whether stuffed with minced meat and mushrooms or sweet apples, these snacks can be baked or fried. The dough is prepared, flattened and filled. As a final step, it’s pinched at the edges to seal in all that goodness.
A dish adaptable to both carnivores and vegetarians, borscht is a hot or cold beet soup that is made richer in flavor by yogurt or sour cream. In Ukrainian culture, it is often served with garlic doughnuts. Meat-based borscht is cooked in broth, while the meat-free version contains only vegetables. You can make it vegan with non-dairy sour cream. In the spring, this country has a tradition of making green borscht.
Potato pancakes are popular in Ukrainian cuisine and are one of the most versatile side dishes, especially on Sundays. In this country, Deruny, otherwise known as potato pancakes, are often made with a sour cream sauce combined with mushrooms and fried onions.
9. Stuffed food with walnuts
When Ukrainians think back to the carefree days of a child, prunes stuffed with walnuts are a primary nostalgic memory. Often served at birthday parties and other celebrations, this unique and delicious dish of stuffed prunes with walnuts is often served. Finished with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk, it tastes heavenly.
Sometimes called blinchyky, this is the Ukrainian take on stuffed pancakes. They can be filled with cottage cheese and fruit for dessert or for a savory main course with a filling of meat, salted fish or caviar. After filling, the pancakes are baked in the oven or fried in oil.
Some would say this is one of the best traditional Ukrainian dishes you can try, but many tourists are shocked by its strange nature. Still, don’t knock it until you try it! Holodets is a jelly-like dish of frozen meat broth containing chunks of meat inside. It is most often made from pork leg and hooves.