A Guide to Ukrainian Cuisine


Ukraine is one of the world’s premier agricultural countries, with its fertile black soil (chornozem). Grains and vegetables play a major role in Ukraine cuisine, with breads made from rye and wheat flour and salads featuring a wide variety of fresh and pickled ingredients a staple on Ukrainian dinner tables. The country also produces a good amount of meat, with poultry and lamb the most popular.

Despite Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the people remain united behind their goals of ending the conflict, reclaiming lost territory and advancing membership in the EU and NATO. President Petro ZELENSKYY has sought to unite the entire nation by emphasizing civic identity, rather than ethnic or linguistic affiliation. In the closing months of 2004, a peaceful mass protest movement known as the Orange Revolution swept away corrupt authorities and ushered in a new era of reformist governance headed by the popular Viktor YUSHCHENKO.

In the heart of Ukraine is the city of Lviv, one of the nation’s main cultural centers and home to a mouthwatering dessert called Lviv syrnyk. The dish consists of deep-fried layers of dough and filling, which can be sweet or savory. The most common filling is a cold herbed butter, but early versions of the dish were filled with a more complex stuffing similar to a quenelle.

Borscht, a nourishing beet soup with a multitude of fresh and dried ingredients, is perhaps the quintessential Ukrainian dish. It can be enjoyed both hot and cold and can be seasoned with meat or vegetable broth, sour cream, onions or garlic, dill or parsley, and even horseradish. It’s the centerpiece of every weekday dinner table and a staple in the kitchens of every Ukrainian household.

Paska, the traditional Easter bread tradition, is also an essential part of a typical Ukrainian meal. It’s cooked in literally every kitchen and sold in every small or large market prior to the holiday. During the work of preparing paska, it’s believed that one should whisper positive thoughts to ensure the best result.

Another beloved sweet treat is kolbasa, a fried chicken dumpling that’s stuffed with a variety of fillings including mashed potatoes and boiled ground meat, liver and fried onions, or quark. It can be a sweet or savory dish and is a favorite of many Ukrainians.

While borscht, salo and paska are undoubtedly some of the most famous dishes in Ukraine, there are many other great foods that are worth trying. Olivier potato salad, which has a huge following outside of the country, is made using ingredients that are easy to find in any Ukrainian grocery store and can be easily prepared at home. Also, do not miss out on the opportunity to try the delectable Kiev cake or other delicious Slavic cakes. For more information about Ukraine and its culture, visit the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also want to check out our guide to the top cities to visit in Ukraine!