Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Ukrainian dishes often use several ingredients & are known for their variety and high taste qualities. Ukrainian cuisine includes hundreds of recipes.
Here are some of the most delicious Ukrainian food you should try if you visit Ukraine.
Here are the famous dishes in Ukraine.
Appetizer (Mezze) & Main Courses
Borscht is the most famous Ukrainian dish.
This simple soup is made with beetroot as the main ingredient and fermented beetroot juice, along with meat, pork or bone stock, sautéed vegetables as cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrot, tomatoes, and beans.
There are many versions - the broth can even be fish or vegetable-based, and the choice of vegetables varies from region to region.
The beetroot and the fermented beetroot juice give the dish a unique red color and provide sweet and sour flavors.
There is also a summer version of borscht, called “green” for its distinctive color. In this case, the broth is thickened with fresh sorrel, potatoes, carrots, and boiled eggs.
Borscht is usually served with smetana (sour cream) and pampushky (small savory yeast-raised buns with garlic on top).
Pampushki is small Ukrainian yeasted buns, traditionally served with Ukrainian borscht, but can also be a small snack.
They can be prepared in sweet or savory versions.
The dough usually consists of milk, flour, eggs, sugar, butter, yeast, oil, and salt, and it is then shaped into small balls, while the savory ones have no filling, but are traditionally flavored with garlic sauce and served alongside borscht. After the pastry is baked, the pampushka is covered with olive oil, parsley, and garlic sauce.
The sweet version is often stuffed with ingredients such as fruit jam, berries, fresh fruit, or cottage cheese.
The classic paska shape is cylindrical, with creamy frosting and sprinkles on top. Paska is a special dish prepared in Ukraine for Easter. This sweet bread is usually taken to church to be blessed on Easter morning.
It is made with yeast, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar. It is often enriched with citrus juice or zest, vanilla, rum, ginger, and occasionally saffron.
Some varieties of paska also might include raisins, candied fruit, or maraschino cherries. Cheese paska is made from cottage cheese, and its shape imitates the Tomb of Jesus.
According to tradition, when working the dough, the cook should whisper positive thoughts to achieve the most delicious result.
Varenyky are popular Ukrainian dumplings filled with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, potatoes, cabbage, cheese, sauerkraut, eggs, and mushrooms.
These stuffed dumplings are usually shaped into squares or half-moons, boiled or steamed, then drizzled with oil or melted butter and served with sour cream.
There is another version of varenyky that is stuffed with fruits like blueberries, cherries, apples, and strawberries, but they are more a seasonal dish and in winter quite rare.
Both types of salty and sweet varenyky are served with sour cream as the main topping.
It is widely popular to add shkvarky (fried salo) and caramelized onion on top of varenyky with potato.
Olivier Potato Salad
The salads in Ukraine have traditionally been prepared from simple ingredients that are always at hand.
The Olivier potato salad is a popular salad with a greater number of ingredients is the king of any Ukrainian feast (such as a New Year party, wedding, or birthday).
The salad includes five key elements: meat (usually boiled sausages), eggs, potatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise.
Eggs and potatoes are boiled then cut into cubes. Meat and pickles are cut into cubes as well and then mixed in with mayonnaise.
The dish can be stored in the fridge or served immediately.
Along with the Olivier salad, the holodets are served at all celebrations.
The name of the dish derives from the Ukrainian word cold, “holodnyii.”
Holodets are made of meat broth, frozen to a jelly-like state, with pieces of meat inside. usually made of pork, fish, or chicken, and vegetables as onions, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, and black pepper are added to the meat broth and boiled.
The pork leg boiled for 6-7 hours (it’s a cold broth jellied due to the bones and cartilage), meat is then cut, added back to the mixture, and the holodets are put in the fridge to freeze.
Aspics are a good way to prevent meat spoilage since the gelatin protects the meat from air and bacteria.
Chicken Kiev is a simple dish prepare from the chicken fillet that is first flattened and wrapped around cold butter.
Then, the chicken is first coated with a mix of grated cheese, parsley, dill, mushrooms, and pepper, dipped in beaten egg yolk, and fried.
It is traditionally served as a main dish.
While in the classical version, the chicken bone is retained, nowadays, the boneless version is more popular.
Although the dish is very popular, no one knows where it came from or how it got its name, and there are numerous contradicting theories attributing its invention to Ukrainian, Russian, and French chefs.
Salo is a traditional Pork product it is made of fatback slices, the slices are rubbed with salt and spices, such as black pepper, paprika, thyme, garlic, dried dill, bay leaf, marjoram, cardamom, and cumin.
While usually the skin is retained, many Ukrainians prefer to eat salo without the skin.
The meat is then placed in a fridge for 3-4 days, It can be consumed raw or fried.
Salo is traditionally served with rye bread, borscht, and Ukrainian alcoholic drink horilka.
Okroshka is a refreshing soup that is mostly cooked during the summer period.
The ingredients vary it may be prepared with kvass or kefir, both of which are sour in taste.
The accompanying sausages, cucumbers, greens, carrots, and radishes should be chopped into large pieces to give it texture.
Pyrizky is baked buns stuffed with different fillings. There are two types of them, sweet and savory.
The sweet pyrizky are stuffed with seasonal fruits and berries or jams and poppy seed paste in winter. And the savory ones can be stuffed with meat, liver, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, and peas. The last one is topped with salty garlic paste.
Linyvi varenyky, or lazy dumplings, are a quick version of Ukrainian varenyky.
It is made of fresh cottage cheese is mixed with egg, sugar, vanilla powder, and flour. The dough is then cut into small slices, sprinkled with flour, and boiled for a couple of minutes.
Lazy dumplings can be served with sour cream, yogurt, honey, condensed milk, jam, or fresh berries.
Korovai is a traditional Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian bread, most often used at weddings, where it has a great symbolic meaning and has remained part of the wedding tradition.
Ukrainians bake this massive, lavishly decorated bread that is often made by seven married women from seven different places. Participation of widows in the bread-making process is forbidden since it is believed that a piece of their fate will be forwarded to the prospective couple. There are many superstitions and rituals connected to korovai – for example, if the bread cracks in the oven, the marriage will be doomed.
Solianka is a spicy soup made of different types of meat, including smoked ribs, pickles, and olives. The soup is served with sour cream and a slice of lemon.