Борщ, вареники, кутя… Ukraine is famous for its cuisine! Remember our posts about Ukrainian food? Well, this is an article just about all of this good stuff! 🤩
Борщ! 😍 The center of Ukrainian cuisine that brings us strength and power a few times a week. Add some часник – garlic – for excellent flu prevention. Try борщ from different Ukrainian hosts – it will never be the same! 😄
часник – garlic
буряк – a beetroot
сметана – sour cream
Зелений (green) or щавлевий борщ (sorrel borshcht) is a soup made from water or broth, sorrel leaves, potatoes, carrots, eggs, rice, salt and pepper. Due to its commonness as a soup in Ukrainian cuisine, it is often called “зелений борщ“, as a cousin of the standard, червоний борщ – beetroot (red) borscht 👬 It is usually garnished with сметана – sour cream. Зелений борщ is characterized by its кислий смак – sour taste, due to oxalic acid (called “щавлева кислота” in Ukrainian) present in sorrel.
картопля – potatoes
морква – carrots
яйця – eggs
Капусняк (Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup) is a traditional Ukrainian soup. This dish was named after its basic ingredient, sauerkraut, which is pronounced as “квашена капуста” (/kvashena kapusta/) in Ukrainian. It is cooked with meat (or mushrooms during Lent), potatoes, onions, carrots, and millet (or rice). Traditionally kapusniak is served with sour cream and chopped parsley.
квашена капуста – sauerkraut
пшоно – millet
рис – rice
A warming hearty Ukrainian гречаний суп (buckwheat soup) is perfect for cold winter days!
To flavour the soup, traditionally fried onions, carrots and celery are used. Potatoes and buckwheat add healthy carbs and “fill” the soup. And fresh herbs like кріп (dill), петрушка (parsley) and лавровий лист (bay leaf) add another level of flavour.
The traditional version of гречаний суп is made with meat. However, this can easily bee turned into a vegan soup by simply omitting the meat.
гречка – buckwheat
петрушка – parsley
лавровий лист – bay leaf
With the coming of cold weather and Christmas holidays, it is a perfect time for a rich and flavorful split pea soup – гороховий суп.
горох – peas
Грибна юшка (грибний суп, грибна зупа) 🍲
This light wild mushroom soup is perfect for a chilly fall. It is a great way to stay full and cozy at the same time. In the fall, Ukrainians love to go mushroom picking 🐿🍂
гриби – mushrooms
Learn more about food in Ukrainian in our Ukrainian Lessons Podcast Episode 13 🥄
Cолянка (solyanka) is a thick, spicy and sour soup that is common in Ukraine, Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. The ingredients of solyanka are cured meats, sausages, olives, pickles, onions, carrots, dill, parsley, lemon and sour cream.
ковбаса – a sausage
оливки – olives
мариновані огірки – pickles (pickled cucumbers)
Salads and appetizers
Ukrainians say: Сало – сила, спорт – могила – Salo is the force, sport is a grave 😆
Unlike bacon, salo has little to no lean meat. It can be salted or smoked and is eaten on a piece of dark bread to make the most Ukrainian sandwich – бутерброд (or канапка in Western Ukrainian dialect). Great with борщ – borshcht, зелена цибуля – scallions, and часник – garlic.
чорний хліб – dark bread
зелена цибуля – scallions
In Ukrainian cuisine, a meat aspic dish is called холодець (kholodets) derived from the word холод (kholod) meaning “the cold”. Kholodets is usually made by boiling the bones and meat for about 5-8 hours to produce a fatty broth, mixed with salt, pepper and other spices. After boiling, the meat is separated from the bones and minced into small pieces, then returned into the broth and cooled down until solidifying into a jelly.
бульйон – a broth
м’ясо – meat
приправи – spices
Кабачкова ікра, in English – summer squash (zucchini) caviar, is loved by many Ukrainians. It’s a nice and healthy snack that is totally vegan. And so good on bread! 😋
Ukrainians looove гриби – mushrooms 😍 They incorporate mushrooms into numerous everyday recipes, but it is especially so for the 12 course meatless Christmas Eve meal.
A traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve menu will include mushrooms in mushroom soup, varenyky filling, holubtsi filling (cabbage rolls), vooshka filling (dumplings which accompany Ukrainian Christmas Borscht), mushrooms with cabbage, and, of course, мариновані гриби – marinated mushrooms.
Шуба is… a fur coat! And also the name of a meal – 5 layer salad. The layers are: цибуля – onion, картопля – potatoes, морква – carrots, буряк – beetroot, and майонез as a sauce – mayonnaise. And the main ingredient is… оселедець – salty fish of herring.
оселедець – herring
майонез – mayonnaise
Вінегрет is made of beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, green peas, pickles, and sauerkraut. Loaded with fresh parsley and dressed with sunflower oil, this root vegetable salad is healthy and delicious.
зелений горошок – green peas
соняшникова олія – sunflower oil
М-м-м, вареники… 😋 Вареники are dumplings with different fillings, like картопля – potatoes, гриби – mushrooms, potatoes & mushrooms, домашній сир – cottage cheese, ягоди – berries… Serve with сметана – sour cream. Смачного!🍴
Ukrainian Lessons Podcast episodes about вареники:
Learn the names of the most popular traditional dishes in Ukraine, discover how to order food in Ukrainian and where to find the best and cheapest places to try Ukrainian food -> https://ukrainianlessons.com/episode12/
Learn how to cook varenyky together with Khrystyna in a workshop from Olena Bilous -> https://www.ukrainianlessons.com/episode112/
Галушки are lumps of dough boiled in water, milk or broth. They are made mostly of flour, as well as of semolina and combinations of flour with potatoes, cheese and other products.
тісто – dough
борошно, мука – flour
манка – semolina
History, types, recipe of halushky -> http://proudofukraine.com/ukrainian-dumplings-galushki-history-types-recipe/
Гречка (buckwheat) is one of the most popular everyday side dishes in Ukraine. It is delicious with everything: м’ясо (meat), овочі (vegetables), гриби (mushrooms) or just смажене яйце (fried egg), and even with молоко (milk) for breakfast. Common students’ food and a must have in any Ukrainian kitchen.
Гарбузова каша (pumpkin porridge) is quite popular in Ukraine. Recipes differ from region to region, from one family tradition to another, but the tradition to enjoy this meal during all cold winter months stays the same throughout the country 🎃
Ingredients: молоко (milk), рис (rice) or пшоно (millet) and, of course, гарбуз (pumpkin). Родзинки (raisins) are a nice addition to the recipe, although they are optional, and so are горіхи (walnuts) or курага (dried apricots).
☝ The word “каша” refers to any cooked grain or cereal.
Вівсянка (вівсяна каша) is a popular breakfast food in Ukraine that consists of oats and a liquid, such as вода – water, коров’яче молоко – cow’s milk, or рослинне молоко – plant-based milk. Вівсянка tastes delicious with seasonal fruits, nuts, honey or dried fruits 😋
Тушкована капуста is stewed cabbage, a delicious Ukrainian appetizer or side dish. It can be cooked also with mushrooms, meat, and/or dry plums. Смакота! Yummy stuff 🤤
Фарширований перець – sweet pepper stuffed with rice, meat, vegetables and cooked in a tomato sauce. Ням-ням-ням – yummy!
перець – a pepper
томатний соус – tomato sauce
Рагу – це тушковані овочі з м’ясом.
Ukrainian рагу is a stew usually made with meat, potatoes, onions, carrots and other vegetables (tomatoes, sweet pepper, eggplant, garlic…).
тушкувати – to stew
тушкований – stewed
Голубці is the most common Ukrainian kind of rolls. Сabbage leaves are stuffed with rice (sometimes other cereals), meat, onions, and carrots. Cooked in a yummy veggie sauсe, together with some sour cream, they are amazing. It’s truly the taste of Ukraine 😋
Зрази (zrazy) – mashed potato patties filled with meat, cabbage or mushrooms, traditionally served with sour cream. Zrazy are also popular in Lithuania, Poland, Belarus and Russia.
Картопля по-селянськи (country-style potatoes) is one of the most simple but delicious ways to cook potatoes! Ukrainians like potatoes very much. We could eat potatoes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, forever, and never complain 😜
Деруни (пляцки, терті пляцки) is our favorite Ukrainian dish! Every nation has their specialty from potatoes. This is Ukrainian 🍟 It’s very easy to make – you need a grater, potatoes and an onion. The thinner you fry them – the crispier they get. Serve with lots of sour cream and greens 😊
Кров’янка (krov’yanka) is a Ukrainian blood sausage. In some regions it is called “кишка” – kyshka (meaning “intestine”). It is made with pig’s blood and includes buckwheat as a main filler.
Котлети (Ukrainian Pork Meatballs) is a classic, simple-ingredient dish made up of ground meat (usually pork), soaked bread, onion, salt and pepper. Traditionally you will find them served up with mashed potatoes and paired with a side of fresh homemade salad.
фарш – mince meat, ground meat
свинина – pork
картопляне пюре (two stresses possible) – mashed potatoes
Гречаники (hrechanyky) are soft, tender cutlets made with buckwheat and minced meat. It can be served as a main course or a side dish. You can use any minced meat you want.
Млинці (Ukrainian thin pancakes) are a well known traditional food in Ukraine. Our cuisine is pretty simple, it involves anything our ancestors had near at hand. Молоко (milk), яйця (eggs), масло (butter) and борошно (flour) are the foodstuffs that could be found in any home.
Млинці is a staple food during Масниця or Масляна. Listen to our podcast episode about this holiday here 👈
Have you heard of Київський торт? Kyiv cake is crunchy inside and colorful outside (usually, there is a symbol of Kyiv on top – a blossoming chestnut tree). Ням-ням 🍰
Cирник 😋 This cake is similar to the cheesecakes that are so popular in the western part of the globe. However, this one is made from quark cheese (fresh farmers cheese), not from the cream cheese. It is a very popular dessert in the West of Ukraine. It is often made with raisins.
домашній сир – farmers cheese
родзинки – raisins
Медівник (honey cake) is a layer cake popular in countries of the former Soviet Union. There are many recipes and variations of this cake, but the main ingredient is мед (honey) 🐝, which gives it incredible taste and flavor. Honey cake with чорнослив (prunes) and горіхи (nuts) is delicious!
мед – honey
чорнослив – prunes
горіхи – nuts
Маківник (завиванець з маком, рулет з маком) is a sweet roulade with a poppy seed filling traditionally made for Ukrainian Christmas 🎄💫
Roulades are traditionally made of yeast dough with various and sundry stuffings in Ukraine. In most cases they are filled with poppy seeds, nuts, cottage cheese, apples, and cherries.
рулет = завиванець (from “завивати” – to wave, to curl)
Learn when Ukrainians celebrate Christmas and why it is so in this article!
Сирники are small Ukrainian cheese pancakes, a Sunday morning traditional breakfast (but not only). Delicious with варення – jam, сметана – sour cream, мед – honey, or свіжі ягоди – fresh berries.
In this Ukrainian lesson, Anna’s mom gives the recipe for сирники 🙂
Пиріжки (patties) are a dish of dough and stuffing; made by baking or frying. Just like with вареники, the stuffing can be of any kind: with berries or fruits (пиріжки зі смородиною – patties with currant, пиріжки з яблуками – patties with apples), with meat (пиріжки з м’ясом), mushrooms (пиріжки з грибами), stewed cabbage (пиріжки з (тушкованою) капустою), potatoes (пиріжки з картоплею) or even poppy seeds (пиріжки з маком)… By the way, the name of the dish – пиріжок (singular) – comes from “small pie”! 🥧
Паска is what Ukrainians call their Easter Bread. When this dessert bread is made properly it will be light and fluffy, but still somewhat moist. Usually paska is topped with thick white glaze and sprinkled with sprinkles.
Check out out article about Easter greetings in Ukrainian! They are completely different from our usual Добрий день 🤫
Кутя (kutya) is a traditional holiday dish in Ukraine, enjoyed on January 6th (Christmas Eve) as a part of Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper – Свята Вечеря (Holy Supper). It is made out of wheat berries, honey, walnuts, dried fruit, raisins, poppy seeds and узвар (see below what узвар is!).
There are many ways to make кутя. Here’s our content manager Milena’s great-grandma’s recipe:
- Soak the wheat berries, preferably overnight;
- Cook the wheat berries;
- Make узвар;
- Add (ground) poppy seeds, walnuts, dried fruit, raisins, honey and узвар to taste (yes, узвар goes right into the plate/bowl!);
Listen to Anna’s mom telling you what she cooks for Christmas in Episode 61 of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast!
Компот is a sweet non-alcoholic beverage. It is made by cooking fruit such as полуниці, яблука, or вишні in a large volume of water, often together with sugar as an additional sweetener. Kompot is widely used in Ukraine as a way of preserving fruit for the winter season.
It is so delightful to get a glass of квас during the boiling hot summer weather. Kvas is made of rye bread and malt, sometimes adding fragrant herbs and honey 😋
Узвар is компот made from dried fruit. Узвар used to be cooked primarily for religious holidays, such as Christmas, but nowadays it can be enjoyed all year round. Especially if you go to an eating establishment like Пузата Хата 😉🏡
Phew, that was quite a lot! We hope that this article gave you inspiration for cooking Ukrainian food or at least trying it sooner or later 😃
Feeling inspired to learn more? Why don’t you check out our recent vocabulary video, which is all about fruits and vegetables!
Are you just starting to learn Ukrainian?
Check our Ukrainian Lessons Podcast! It’s a free series of audio lessons that take you step by step through your Ukrainian language journey!
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