20 Best Ukrainian Foods

If you are curious about this wonderful country’s food, then this list will give you an insight on how this food is enjoyed throughout the country and how you can recreate them at home. 

1. Olivye

Olivye Salad is quite popular among Ukrainians. Everyone refers to it as the same thing, yet each family has their own version that has been passed down through generations. This is the way my family has always made it.

This salad’s fundamental idea is to include potatoes, carrots, eggs, beef, pickles, peas, and onions. For an exquisite finish, many people add fresh cucumbers, fresh or frozen peas, canned corn, and garnish with fresh greens.

This salad is always topped with mayonnaise to taste.

2. Chicken Kiev

Chicken Kiev is a classic Russian and Ukrainian dish that is popular in both Eastern Europe and the United States.

The origin of the iconic chicken Kiev dish is hotly debated, and it is clearly identified with Ukraine’s capital, Kiev (see also ‘14 Of The Best Ukrainian Restaurants Across America‘).

According to Russian historian and gastronomer William Pokhlyobkin, the recipe may have originated at a commercial club in Moscow or Saint Petersburg.

It’s made out of a piece of chicken breast wrapped in a garlic-flavored herb butter. The preparation is battered and then fried in the shape of a ballotine, simulating the natural look of the fowl breast.

This dish is also available in Poland, where it is known as kotlet de volaille, a straight translation from French.

3. Pirozhki

Pirozhki, which translates as “little pies” in Russian, are little, packed buns that are a typical Russian delicacy. They can be filled with a variety of sweet and savory contents.

The yeast dough buns are typically coated with egg before baking to give them a golden-brown gloss. The meal differs from pierogi, a traditional Polish delicacy made with thin, unleavened dough. Pirozhok is the single form of pirozhki.

Pirozhki, like pies, can be filled with almost anything. Sweet pirozhki can be filled with stewed or fresh fruit like cherries, apples, or apricots, as well as jam or cottage cheese.

Savory fillings include meat, fish, potatoes, eggs, vegetables, oats, or rice flavored with meat or giblets. Any combination of these fillings can also be used to produce a tasty pirozhk.

While the pirozhok originated in Russia, numerous nations in and around Eastern Europe have evolved their own versions. The dish is a famous quick meal offered on Armenian and Greek streets.

The Latvian equivalent, prgi, is crescent-shaped, formed of bread dough, and frequently stuffed with bacon and onion. The buns are particularly popular in Central Asia, where street sellers sell them.

4. Pysanky

Pysanky is a Ukrainian term that refers to the Ukrainian practice of adorning elaborate Easter eggs with wax resist dye.

The eggs are decorated with hand-drawn designs ranging from basic to painstakingly elaborate, some of which are religious symbols and others which are natural patterns.

Traditionally, the technique of crafting pysanky is passed down from generation to generation when women and girls assemble to paint thousands of eggs before Easter.

The color red has the most different connotations. It is not without cause that it is associated with the concept of beauty; in the Ukrainian language, the words red (krasnyi) and lovely (harnyi) became interchangeable.

Red represents well-being, joy in living, and optimism for a good marriage for newlyweds. The crimson Easter egg represents resurrection and self-sacrifice.

5. Holubtsi

Stuffed cabbage leaves with meat, rice, and vegetables are popular in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, as well as in Asian and African cuisines.

Because recipes change to meet societal and cultural demands as well as what’s available in the region, many versions of these rolls contain just meat, while others are purely vegetarian or a combination of the two.

The Ukrainian form of stuffed cabbage, known as holubtsi, has several varieties, but the filling is usually grain-enriched and vegetable-flavored.

Although the recipe takes some time to prepare, the beauty is that it gives ample quantities that make terrific leftovers and can also be frozen for a future lunch or supper.

Serve with a salad, a potato pancake, or some crusty bread. Serve the rolls with the pan juices or with a simple tomato sauce or additional sour cream.

Alternatively, combine the pan juices with more sour cream and spoon over the cabbage rolls.

6. Paska

Paska (which means Easter in Ukrainian) is a sweet egg bread that can be garnished with religious motifs.

Paska may be made using only a few components. These ingredients include butter, eggs, flour, and sugar. Cream may be utilized in various instances.

Yeast is typically employed as a leavening agent, although baking soda may also be added to aid in the rise of the dough.

This meal can be served as a side or as a dessert. Paska is often made without fruit and served alongside the main part of an Easter dinner. Like traditional yeast rolls, the top might be sprinkled with butter.

Ukrainians celebrate Easter with another sort of sweet bread known as babka.

Although it is traditionally served around Easter, paska is a welcome addition to any table at any time of year. If you wish to make this bread, bear in mind that it might be difficult at first but becomes easier after a few attempts.

People who appreciate experimenting with new recipes that allow them to add their own personal touches may be interested in preparing this bread.

7. Deruny

Deruny, also known as Draniki in Ukraine, are traditional potato pancakes cooked with finely shredded raw potatoes, onion, flour, and eggs. Pan-fry the pancakes in a liberal amount of any mild-tasting or neutral oil, such as avocado oil.

Deruny means “to grate,” and while it’s a labor-intensive technique that needs some physical work, the end result is an authentic meal.

To expedite the procedure, mix all ingredients in a food processor. The flavor will alter somewhat, but it will still function.

Deruny is usually served as a main course for supper or breakfast with a dab of sour cream. Savory meals, particularly potatoes, are popular morning foods in Ukraine.

Deruny can also be served as a side dish or as part of a huge buffet at large parties or festivals.

8. Syrniki

Syrniki are little Russian cheese pastries that are often prepared with cottage cheese. Traditionally served for breakfast, these delectable morsels are sweet enough to offer as dessert.

Although the essential components for syrniki are the same, there are numerous variations in ingredients, proportions, and procedures.

Syrniki are typically made with tvorog, a dry Russian cottage cheese. If tvorog is unavailable, farmer’s cheese, an unripened cheese with a consistency similar to cream cheese or ricotta, is commonly substituted.

If using wet cottage cheese, strain it through a fine sieve to achieve the appropriate consistency. Using overly wet cheese leads to runny syrniki that will not form into patties or cook properly.

Syrniki are traditionally served with jam and sour cream. You may substitute yogurt with the sour cream if you want. You don’t even have to serve them with jam. They’re also delicious with chocolate spread, caramel, and berries.

9. Vareniki

Vareniki is a popular Ukrainian and Russian national cuisine. They take the shape of semicircular raviolis, with the edges sealed with cold water. These margins may be plain or raised.

Vareniki can be served as a dessert as well. The contents in this case are fruit or soft cheese. Stuffed with blueberries, sour cherries, sweet cottage cheese, or even red berries, they are delicious.

Apples and plums are mentioned in certain vareniki recipes. To make the dough lighter, smetana (sour cream) can be added for flavor.

They are usually served with sour cream, butter, and fried onions in Ukraine. Recipes occasionally use fried bacon and hog grease.

Traditionally, vareniki are eaten as part of a regular meal or on special occasions like Christmas Eve dinner.

10. Kutia

Polish kutia wigilijna, or Christmas cooked wheat pudding, is traditionally served as the first dish at the Christmas Eve feast known as wigilia.

It is made of cracked or whole wheat or barley, honey, poppy seeds, and sweetmeats (akocie) such as figs, raisins, and almonds, and sometimes cream.

Originally eaten only in eastern Poland, along the borders with Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, kutia is now popular across the country. Materials vary according to taste, availability of ingredients, and budget.

Kutia represents paying respect to ancestors. It’s sacrifice food, a form of memorial offering for the dead.

Kutia was left on the table with spoons for the souls of deceased family members after the Christmas Eve feast, demonstrating the unending link between everyone in one bloodline.

11. Nalesniki

These handmade Nalesniki – Ukrainian Crepes, also known as nalysnyky, are thin crepes folded up with cheese and baked till golden brown and soft. If you’re craving comfort cuisine for breakfast or brunch, these are for you.

Ukrainian nalesniki batter is usually made using flour, eggs, milk, water, and a bit of salt. Cottage cheese, egg yolks, a little heavy cream, a few pieces of fresh dill (see also ‘6 Substitutes For Dill‘), and a sprinkle of salt make up the filling.

In Ukraine, farmers’ cheese and sour cream are always a fantastic idea. When you visit the nation, you will notice this for yourself.

Dairy items are popular in both sweet and savory recipes, and cottage cheese may be found in almost every other dish.

Crepes are filled, rolled, and cooked in the oven. Serve these delectable nalesniki warm with melted butter and a dab of sour cream or yogurt.

12. Kiev Cake

Kyiv Cake was invented in the 1950s in Kyiv, Ukraine. It was such a huge thing that if you went to Kyiv and didn’t bring the cake back as a souvenir for your friends, it was nearly a crime.

It has grown in popularity over the years and is now a top option among Ukrainian favorites.

The light sponge layers of this Kyiv cake are followed by a crisp layer of meringue and hazelnuts, which is then filled with jam and a creamy buttercream-like icing.

The recipe for Kiev cake has evolved over the years. The original preparation was an egg white and walnut combination. Walnuts have been replaced by cashew nuts due to the simplicity of supply of raw materials.

Due to economic links with India and weapons exchanges, cashew nuts have become the most widely accessible dry fruit.

Years later, though, cashews were too expensive and were substituted by hazelnuts, with the recipe also experimenting with peanuts.

13. Holodets

Holodets (or kholodets) are a staple dish in many eastern and western European cuisines (Ukrainian, Polish, and many others). The holodets method is easy but time intensive since natural gelatin must be removed from the meat.

To acquire adequate gelatin, you must use collagen-rich meat, such as swine trotters, cattle ears, tail, feet, or hocks, and cook them for an extremely long period in water.

This lengthy and laborious procedure will remove all of the collagen from the connective tissues and convert it to gelatin. As a result, when the soup cools, it solidifies into a jelly.

And because holodets are cooked with a tasty, gelatinized meat broth and soft, shredded beef and are served cold, it is an excellent appetizer.

Holodets are typically served with horseradish and the extraordinarily fiery Russian mustard, which even the hottest wasabi cannot compete with.

14. Walnut Stuffed Prunes

These are a great example of an unassuming dessert that is as easy to make as it is to enjoy.

This is a terrific dish to create with kids since it only takes a child around 20 minutes to produce a tray full of these sweets.

That means there will be no waiting for your youngster to consume what they have prepared. These delectable prunes are the epitome of quick delight.

If someone is allergic to nuts, omit them and instead put the condensed milk over the plumped-up prunes and top with the shredded chocolate. They will still be tasty and enjoyable to eat. Not to mention the Ukrainian language.

15. Banosh

Banosh is a delectable ground cornmeal topped with creamy sheep cheese, sautéed onions, fried mushrooms, and crispy pork crackling.

It’s the Carpathians’ distinctive porridge, made over an open fire by local shepherds in Ukraine’s mountain area.

The authentic banosh recipe is quite complex and enshrined in tradition: for example, shepherds claim that you should stir the corn clockwise and with a wooden spoon, only use fresh Carpathian cheese, and that you cannot serve the dish on anything other than authentic Carpathian plates.

16. Okroshka

Despite the fact that okroshka is a Russian soup, it corresponds to Slavic cuisine, and Ukrainians adore and prepare it.

Okroshka was traditionally served with cucumber or cabbage pickle. Kvass was traditionally used as the basis. Cold soup can also be made with cultured milk items, pickle, broth, or mineral water.

The term is derived from the word “kroshyty,” which means “to cut beautifully.”

The major ingredients of this meal are neutral-flavored vegetables (such as potato, turnip, and rutabaga) and flavoring herbs. Historically, two types of flesh were blended.

This is simple to explain. People frequently used leftover meat from other recipes instead of already prepared components.

Okroshka is ready to serve as soon as it is prepared. However, it is best to chill it for a couple of hours before eating. You may also serve this meal with an ice cube for a unique flavor.

17. Borscht

Borscht is a beet-based soup that can be paired with whatever else is growing in the garden to make a substantial, healthful dinner that also helps to extend your food budget and weekly meals.

Borscht is traditionally prepared in several ways. One method is to use shredded meat or sausage, but because not everyone had access to meat in the “old country,” borscht may (and often is) made vegetarian.

Borscht freezes really well and would also be an excellent candidate for pressure canning. It’s also a terrific way to utilize late summer and fall veggies from your garden that you would not have thought to mix otherwise.

A satisfying, hearty, healthful, and economical way to use up your fresh vegetables while stretching your food budget.

18. Kolach

Kolach is a mildly sweet yeast bread braided and formed into an oblong loaf, a circular braided loaf, or three independent round braids placed on top of each other.

Milk is the component that makes the kalach so wonderful. Water should not be used.

It is usually served during Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinners, as well as weddings and anniversaries.

A candle is put in the center of a stacked kolach and is an integral feature of the Christmas Eve feast (Sviata Vechera).

Because the bread includes eggs, it is not eaten until Christmas Day, and Orthodox Christians fast during Advent, including Christmas Eve.

19. Buckwheat Kasha Porridge

Buckwheat Kasha is a Ukrainian comfort food that, when combined with ground beef, provides a simple yet hearty dinner prepared all in one dish.

Buckwheat, like quinoa, is a pseudocereal, which is a grain that does not grow on grasses but is consumed in the same way as other cereals.

Despite its name, it is the seed of a plant with heart-shaped leaves related to rhubarb and sorrel, and it is naturally gluten free.

Buckwheat is an important regional cuisine in Ukraine and Russia (see also our favorite Russian desserts), having been a nutritional mainstay for many years, feeding peasant communities and entire armies while also appearing on the tables of the tsars in their palaces.

20. Salo

Salo is a term used to describe cured slabs of hog fatback. It’s a rich yet popular meal in many European nations. It is extremely popular in Ukraine, where it has cult-like status and is often regarded as a national dish.

Salo can be produced with or without skin and has minimal to no fat.

Methods vary by country and cook, but salo is commonly made by curing slabs of lard in salt and other spices and herbs such as paprika, garlic, bay leaves, coriander, and black peppercorns.

It can also be smoked and aged in some cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ukrainian Food Healthy?

Despite the fact that many meals have been adopted from other nations throughout the years, Ukrainian food remains distinct in terms of preparation methods.

Ukrainian cuisine is based mostly on peasant foods and is concentrated on native grains and vegetables. Many of the items used in Ukrainian cookery are superfoods in disguise.

Overall, Ukrainian food is beneficial to heart health, skin, hair, weight management, bone health, digestive difficulties, and the prevention of many diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Is Ukrainian Food Spicy?

Although Ukrainian food is not as hot as Mexican or Indian cuisine, pepper is an excellent spice to enhance the flavor of our national meals.

Cooks often use four varieties of pepper: – Scented pepper is used in a variety of marinades, as well as the creation of meat and fish meals, bread, beverages, and sauces.

What Is Ukraine’s National Dish?

Borscht is Ukraine’s national dish. This beetroot soup is popular in Eastern and Central Europe, but it originated in Ukraine.

The soup frequently contains fermented beetroot juice, and it is popular to incorporate meat, as well as root vegetables and cabbage.

Beetroot is a must-have component in any borscht. It contributes to the dish’s unique crimson color and earthy taste.

What Do Ukrainians Eat For Breakfast?

Breakfast in Ukraine is comparable to breakfast in continental Europe. Breakfast cereals are popular among Ukrainians. In cities, for example, cooked buckwheat, rice, or oats are typical breakfast items.

Corn porridge (see also ‘Is Huitlacoche Edible And How Does It Taste?‘) is also popular in Western Ukraine, where it is often served with white cheese.

Summary

Not only is Ukrainian food varied, filling, and comforting – it is also rich in history. Since at least 60% of Ukraine’s land is used to grow vegetables, it only makes sense that they are so prevalent in their cuisine.  

Another plus is that there’s much to sample even if you’re a vegetarian. The majority of these dishes are either vegetarian or do not use meat.

Jenna
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