What do you eat for Christmas in Poland? (The 5 Varieties)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, What do you eat for Christmas in Poland and talk about some popular Christmas dishes in Poland. We also shed light on some cultural practices and elaborate favorite Christmas food in Poland.

What do you eat for Christmas in Poland?

The Polish eat herring, carp, cabbages, bread, and salad for Christmas. In Poland, 12 dishes are prepared on Christmas eve, based on fish and vegetables.

The Christmas dinner is called Wigilia, where they break a wafer together and wish their families well. The Christmas dinner starts after the first star is spotted in the sky. After which, the guests eat a little bit of all the 12 dishes. 

The 12 dishes are eaten for a couple of hours where meat is not allowed. The number twelve is a symbol of wealth and the apostles. The number also resonates with the number of months in a year. 

What are the dishes that the Polish eat for Christmas?

  1. Barszcz

Barszcz is betreet soup, served as an entre. A sour base is prepared a few days ahead of Christmas. The base is made after peeling raw beets, cut into slices, and fermented. 

After fermenting the beetroots for four to five days in cold water and garlic, it is mixed with broth. 

Barszcz is served with dumplings made with porcini and fried onions. Other soups are made with dried mushrooms, served with noodles. 

The Christmas soups are also made with fish such as carp or white borscht. Vegetarian soups are also popular, with sour rye or sweet almonds as being probable options. 

  1. Christmas eve Carp

Christmas eve Carp is served with dried mushrooms, vegetable salad, and potatoes. Carp is also cooked with dried mushrooms, parsley, and cream. 

Jewish style carp is made by slow-cooking fish in fish stock and served alongside onions, almonds, raisins, and soft bread. 

  1. Herring

The classic herring are made with cream, sour apples, and chopped onions and prepared in linseed oil. Herring is served in combination with vegetable salad or potato. 

  1. Pierogi

Pierogi is a dumpling served as a savory item filled with cabbage or sauerkraut and dried forest mushrooms. While sweet Pierogi are served with smoked and dried plums and poppy seeds.

  1. Polish GIngerbread

Polish Gingerbread tastes spicy and is made by lacing the dough with spices such as ginger, anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

The polish gingerbread is also made a month before and is fermented to get an optimum taste. 

  1. Cabbage

Cabbage is served with split peas or made into rolls. Cabbage rolls are eaten the entire year-round in Polish and also on Christmas Eve. Cabbage rolls are made with wheat, rice, or pearl barley, and dried forest mushroom. 

Cabbage rolls are purely vegetarian as with most other Polish foods. Cabbage dishes are seasoned with salt, pepper, caraway, and herbs. 

7. Vegetable Salad

Vegetable Salad includes carrots, pickles, roots, parsley, apples, onions, and peas and mixed in a creamy sauce. A healthy addition to Christmas dinner in Polish, with a rich dressing made with mayonnaise, yogurt, and mustard. 

8. Polish cheesecake

Cheesecakes are as famous in Poland as they are in America. In Poland, cheesecakes are cherished to every bite and an essential part of Christmas. The creamy dessert is made with cheese and is similar to the American-style cheesecake with a few exceptions. 

The cheese added to cheesecake is called Twarog that is popular in native Poland. The Twarog is added together with mascarpone. The cheesecake is dense, creamy, and delicious; slightly different from the American version. 

9. Kutia

Kutia is made with wheat flour and honey. Kutia is made of bruised wheat and poppyseeds soaked overnight. 

The next day, Kutia is boiled and malt, honey, oats, nuts, and dried fruits are added. 

10. Poppy Seed Cake

Poppy Seeds cake is a sponge roll with a swirl of brown that would remind you of chocolate. Besides poppyseeds, the cake also has raisins and honey and surprisingly no chocolate. 

11. Smoked Fruit Cordial

Smoked fruit cordial or Kompot, is the drink of the Polish people, served in bars, cafes, and restaurants. 

Kompot is served with either plums, cherries, and rhubarb, which are either fresh or smoked. 

At Christmas, however, the drink is made with smoked plums. The plums are stewed in a pan on the stovetop and then sugar and spices are added. The beverage is strained before being served.

The dried fruit is soaked in water. The soup is healthy, it aids in digestion and provides a balance of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

12. Potato Salad

Potatoes seem to be quite popular among Polish people. Potato salad is made as a side dish. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question, What do you eat for Christmas in Poland and talked about some popular Christmas dishes in Poland. We also shed light on some cultural practices and elaborated our favorite Christmas food in Poland.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.