What are Ukraine’s main dishes?

If you’re curious about the gastronomic delights of Ukraine, you’ve come to the right place. Ukrainian cuisine is known for its rich and diverse flavors, influenced by centuries of history and a mix of cultural traditions. From hearty stews and dumplings to savory pancakes and borscht, Ukraine offers a wide range of delicious main dishes that are sure to satisfy any food lover. In this article, we will explore some of Ukraine’s most popular and traditional dishes, giving you a taste of the country’s culinary heritage. So, grab a seat and get ready to embark on a mouthwatering journey through Ukraine’s main dishes.

Traditional Ukrainian Cuisine


Borscht is one of Ukraine’s most famous and beloved dishes. This hearty soup is made by combining beetroots, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and onions, resulting in a vibrant and flavorful dish. Often served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, Borscht is a staple in Ukrainian households. Its rich red color and unique blend of ingredients make it a true culinary symbol of Ukraine.


Varenyky, also known as Ukrainian dumplings, are a classic dish that can be found throughout the country. These small pockets of dough are typically filled with various ingredients such as potato, cheese, sauerkraut, or fruits like cherries or plums. Varenyky can be boiled, steamed, or fried, depending on personal preference. They are often served with melted butter, sour cream, or a side of bacon for added richness and flavor.


Holubtsi, also known as stuffed cabbage rolls, are a traditional Ukrainian dish that has been passed down through generations. Made by rolling cooked cabbage leaves around a filling of rice, ground meat, and aromatic seasonings, Holubtsi are then baked in a tomato-based sauce until tender and flavorful. This dish showcases the heartiness of Ukrainian cuisine and is often enjoyed as a main course. The combination of tender cabbage and savory filling makes Holubtsi a comforting and satisfying dish.

Ukraine’s traditional cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes, but Borscht, Varenyky, and Holubtsi are undoubtedly among the most iconic and beloved. These flavorful dishes represent the rich culinary heritage of Ukraine and are a must-try for anyone looking to explore the country’s gastronomic delights.

Famous Ukrainian Dishes

Chicken Kyiv

Chicken Kyiv is one of Ukraine’s most famous and beloved dishes. It is a breaded and fried chicken cutlet, typically stuffed with a flavorful combination of butter, garlic, and herbs. When cooked to perfection, the golden crust of the chicken gives way to a burst of deliciously melted butter inside. This dish is often served with a side of mashed potatoes and a fresh salad, making it a complete and satisfying meal.


Kholodets, also known as studen, is a traditional Ukrainian dish that is commonly enjoyed during holidays and special occasions. It is a type of meat jelly made by simmering pork or beef bones, along with spices and vegetables, for several hours. The resulting broth is then cooled and set, creating a firm jelly-like consistency. Kholodets is served cold and typically sliced into small pieces. It is commonly enjoyed with mustard, horseradish, or pickles, adding a tangy and refreshing element to its rich meaty flavor.


Deruny, also known as Ukrainian potato pancakes, are a staple in Ukrainian cuisine. Made from grated potatoes mixed with flour, eggs, and seasoning, deruny are fried until they develop a crispy golden exterior. They are often served as a main course or side dish and can be enjoyed with sour cream, applesauce, or even savory toppings like mushrooms or cheese. Deruny are a comforting and versatile dish that showcases the humble yet delicious potato, which is a significant part of Ukrainian culinary heritage.

Regional Specialties

Crimean Tatar Cuisine

Crimean Tatar cuisine is a unique and flavorful cuisine that has been influenced by various cultures throughout history. The Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group native to Crimea, have left a lasting impact on the culinary traditions of the region.

One of the most famous dishes in Crimean Tatar cuisine is “Chebureki,” which are deep-fried turnovers filled with a savory mixture of ground meat, onions, and spices. These crispy and delicious pastries are often enjoyed as a snack or a main course.

Another popular dish is “Pilaf,” a fragrant rice dish cooked with meat, vegetables, and aromatic spices. Crimean Tatar pilaf is known for its rich flavors and tender meat, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Hutsul Cuisine

Hutsul cuisine originates from the Hutsul region in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine. It is known for its hearty and rustic dishes, often made with locally sourced ingredients.

One of the signature dishes of Hutsul cuisine is “Banosh,” a traditional cornmeal dish. Banosh is typically served with sheep cheese, fried bacon, and mushrooms, creating a hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for cold mountainous weather.

Another notable dish is “Bryndzové halušky,” which are potato dumplings served with sheep cheese and topped with crispy fried bacon. This comforting dish is a true Hutsul specialty and is loved by locals and tourists alike.

Bukovynian Cuisine

Bukovynian cuisine is characterized by its diversity and the influence of neighboring cultures. The Bukovyna region, located in western Ukraine, has a rich culinary heritage that reflects the traditions of Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish, and Jewish cuisines.

One popular dish from Bukovynian cuisine is “Sarmale,” which are cabbage rolls stuffed with a mixture of rice, ground meat, and spices. These delicious rolls are typically simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce, creating a perfect harmony of flavors.

Another traditional dish is “Grybivka,” a mushroom soup that showcases the abundance of forest mushrooms in the region. This hearty soup is made with a variety of mushrooms, potatoes, onions, and spices, resulting in a comforting and satisfying meal.

Bukovynian cuisine offers a wide range of culinary delights, showcasing the diversity and cultural fusion of the region.

Ukrainian Desserts

Kiev Cake

The Kiev Cake is a famous Ukrainian dessert that originated in the capital city of Kiev. It is a multi-layered cake made with delicate sponge cake layers, buttercream, and roasted hazelnuts. The cake is known for its elegant appearance, with a smooth chocolate glaze covering the top and sides. Some variations of the Kiev Cake also include a thin layer of apricot or cherry jam between the sponge cake layers, adding a hint of fruity sweetness to the dessert. It is a beloved treat in Ukraine, often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.


Medovik, also known as the Honey Cake, is a traditional Ukrainian dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. This cake is made with layers of thin honey-infused sponge cake and a rich, creamy filling made from sweetened condensed milk mixed with butter. The layers of cake and filling are stacked on top of each other, creating a deliciously moist and sweet treat. Medovik gets its name from the prominent use of honey, which gives the cake a distinct flavor and a delightful aroma. This dessert is often served during holidays and family gatherings, as it is a symbol of warmth and togetherness.

Napoleon Cake

The Napoleon Cake, also referred to as the Mille-Feuille, is a popular Ukrainian dessert that has its roots in French cuisine. This indulgent pastry consists of multiple layers of crispy puff pastry filled with a rich, velvety custard cream. The top layer is typically dusted with powdered sugar or adorned with a decorative pattern made from chocolate or icing. The Napoleon Cake is known for its delicate balance of textures, with the flaky pastry layers contrasting beautifully with the smooth and creamy filling. It is a beloved dessert in Ukraine, often enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea as a delightful afternoon treat.

These Ukrainian desserts offer a glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of Ukraine. Whether you have a sweet tooth or want to explore the diverse flavors of this Eastern European country, Kiev Cake, Medovik, and Napoleon Cake are sure to satisfy your cravings for delectable desserts.

The diverse and rich culinary heritage of Ukraine is showcased through its main dishes. From the hearty and comforting borscht to the savory and delicious varenyky, Ukraine offers a wide range of traditional dishes that cater to all tastes. Whether it is the famous chicken Kyiv, the flavorful salo, or the indulgent holubtsi, Ukrainian cuisine is a true delight for food enthusiasts. These main dishes not only reflect the country’s history and cultural traditions but also highlight the use of fresh, local ingredients. Exploring Ukraine’s main dishes is a culinary journey that guarantees to satisfy any appetite and leave a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to indulge in its flavors.

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