What is Hungary’s traditional food?

Traditional Hungarian foods are usually based on meat, seasonal vegetables, and fresh bread. Spices used in Hungarian dishes include paprika, black pepper, several different spices, and onion which is very popular as an ingredient too.


The most popular traditional Hungarian dishes are :

Goulash soup (Gulyásleves)

When it comes to Goulash (gulyás), the first thing to clarify is that we are talking about a soup, not a stew. This hearty soup requires a long preparation that starts with onions and ends with pepper. What’s in between includes veggies, and beef (or beans, for the vegetarian variation).


Goulash soup

Fisherman’s soup (Halászlé)

A hot and spicy meal combining fish broth, carp, catfish, or pike, with a generous amount of paprika, and hot peppers. The most known version comes from the city of Szeged. Surprisingly for a landlocked country, this is a traditional folkloristic dish.

Fisheman's soup

Fisherman’s soup. Photo: femina.hu

Layered potato (Rakott krumpli)

The layered potato is popular comfort food made of a casserole of potatoes, layered with hard-boiled eggs, and sausages, and kept together with cheese, and sour cream.

Layered potato

Layered potato. Photo: mindmegette.hu

Hungarian meat stew (Pörkölt)

A traditional stew with boneless meat, normally beef, this recipe requires few ingredients: meat, sauteed onions, and paprika.

Hungarian meat stew

Hungarian meat stew (pörkölt). Photo: femina.hu

Chicken paprikash (Paprikás csirke)

This creamy, and tender chicken-based main dish cannot exist without paprika, and it’s often served with nokedli (dumpling).

Chicken paprikash

Chicken paprikash. Photo: shutterstock.com

Stuffed cabbage (Töltött káposzta)

Stuffed cabbage is a staple on Hungarian festive tables. The filling can be either ground beef, or pork, while flavorings and sauce can vary depending on family traditions, and geography.

Stuffed cabbage

Stuffed cabbage

Ratatouille (Lecsó)

A simple combination of tomato, sweet paprika peppers, and onions, which can be flavored with szalonna (similar to bacon), lecsó is mostly eaten in the good season, when lower temperatures call for lighter meals.

Hungarian ratatouille lecso

Ratatouille (lecsó)