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Traditional Ukrainian Food

With a vast agricultural industry, Ukraine is a powerhouse for food production in Europe. Breads, vegetables and grains are a staple for all Ukrainian meals. But what are some of the most famous and popular Ukrainian dishes? We have taken a look at what you could expect to find served up in a Ukrainian home or restaurant. But, by no means is this an exhaustive list, there are dozens of specialities, each more delicious than the last. These are just some of the most famous traditional Ukrainian food.

What is Traditional Ukrainian Food?

While some may think they are unfamiliar with any Ukrainian dishes, you may be surprised at how many you have heard of. Dishes such as borscht and Chicken Kyiv are found across Europe, with the latter being incredibly popular in the UK. But there is plenty of other traditional Ukrainian food to be explored.

The beauty of Ukrainian dishes is the variations which can be found across the country and even the world. Due to its homely nature, chefs are always proud to add their own touch to the dish to replicate their childhood favourites. This means that when eating meals prepared by a true Ukrainian chef, you can guarantee you are getting the real taste of their homeland.


Any list about traditional Ukrainian food would be incomplete without mentioning borscht. This hot beetroot soup is a staple meal for all Ukrainians. Flavoured with sour cream, borscht is frequently served with garlic doughnuts to soak up the liquid.

Borscht - Traditional Ukrainian Food

The beauty of borscht is its appeal to both meat eaters and vegetarians. Cooked with either a meat or vegetable broth, depending on the audience, this dish can keep any dining audience happy.

It is not unusual to see this soup dish served any time of the year. It can be fixture on weekday evenings, weekends or even formal occasions such as weddings or funerals. The colour of the broth is entirely dependant on the beetroots used as well as time of the year. The popularity of borscht shows exactly why it is the national dish of Ukraine.

Chicken Kyiv

Probably the most famous Ukrainian food in the UK. Chicken Kyiv (or Chicken Kiev) has been a staple for many UK households for decades. This breaded chicken breast with garlic butter centre always goes down well with hungry diners.

Chicken Kyiv - Traditional Ukrainian Food

The history of the Chicken Kyiv however is cloudy and is said to date back to the 19th century. Though this relates to the dish’s early form. The dish as we know it now is said to have been perfected at the Continental Hotel in Kyiv in the early 20th century. The hotel was operated until 1941 when it was destroyed by the German Army as the captured the city.

Since the mid-20th century, the popularity of the dish has soared across the world. This traditional Ukrainian food is now a regular in supermarkets across Europe, Australia and Canada. A great go-to meal for families.


Made from wheatberries, poppy seeds and honey, Kutia is a traditional Ukrainian food generally served on Christmas Eve. It is the main of the twelve dishes served for Sviata Vecheri (Christmas Eve supper) and has been eaten in Ukraine for thousands of years. Researchers have found evidence of it being made as far back as the Neolithic period (10,000-4,500 BC).

Kutia - Traditional Ukrainian Food

The history of Kutia is steeped in tradition. There are many different elements to these traditions which include leaving the dish out after the meal with a spoon so that dead ancestors may eat. There are also superstitions relating to throwing a spoonful of the dish to the ceiling. Depending on what sticks to ceiling determines how good the year ahead will be for farming.

While it may not be a dish you would tuck in to on weekday evening in front of the television, Kutia is a very important, traditional Ukrainian dish.


These delicious stuffed, savoury dumplings are a mainstay of Sunday dinners in Ukraine. And what is even better is that they are frequently a family activity to produce.

Varenyky - Traditional Ukrainian Food

Dough is mixed, kneaded, cut and stuffed with a range of savoury fillings. Potatoes, sauerkraut, cottage cheese and mushrooms are common fillings, all topped of with some sour cream. However, they don’t have to be savoury. Some households decide to change things by using berries and rhubarb to create a sweet treat instead.


This traditional sweet, egg bread is made across Ukraine to celebrate Easter. The bread is decorated with religious symbols and on Easter morning, taken to church to be blessed.

Paska - Traditional Ukrainian Food

Once the Paska has been blessed during the service, families return home to dine on the blessed dishes. The paska is generally eaten with hrudka or syrek, this is a sweet custard dish made from milk, eggs and beets. It’s slightly different from the idea of a chocolate egg!

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Discover More About the Ukrainian Language and Culture

Ukrainian culture is rich and steeped with tradition. Learning Ukrainian as a second language is such a beneficial tool to discovering more about this European country. Why not start your language learning journey into the world of Ukrainian with Cactus?

Cactus offer Ukrainian language courses for those looking to start learning Ukrainian. Our courses are designed for absolute beginners, so you don’t have to know any Ukrainian before you start. Not only can you study in one of our language centres, but you can also study at home! With weekly lessons, you can soon build up your skills to be able to converse in one of these countries.

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