There’s more to Hungarian cuisine than goulash and paprikas. Learn about the flavors and popular dishes of this European culinary treasure.

Serving platter of Hungarian cabbage rolls

Traditional Hungarian cuisine (also referred to as Magyar cuisine) is the results of centuries of Turkish, Germanic and Slavic influences. Many who are unfamiliar with Hungarian food think that there is not much beyond goulash and paprikas, but the cuisine has far more to offer than those two well-known dishes.

The Flavors Of Hungary

Paprika is one of the most notable seasonings used in Hungarian food and the country produces some of the finest quality paprika in the world. It can be either hot or mild and is used to flavor soups, stews and gravies.

Other common ingredients used in Hungarian cooking are bacon, cabbage and sauerkraut caraway seed, poppy seed, black pepper, onions, garlic, sour cream, and dill.

  • Gulyás or Goulash (pronounced goo-yash): Gulyás can be a soup or stew depending on how it’s made.
  • Pörkölt: Pörkölt is a stew that can be made with any type of meat or poultry.
  • Paprikás: Paprikás is a stew made with either chicken or veal and finished with sour cream.
  • Töltött Káposzta: Töltött Káposzta is rolled cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and/or beef and rice.
  • Nokedli: Nokedli are Hungarian dumplings similar to German spaetzle and are often served with Chicken Paprikás.
  • Palacsinta: Palacsinta are Hungary’s version of a crêpe and can be filled with either sweet or savory fillings.

In addition to all the savory dishes listed above, Hungarian cuisine boasts some of the finest pastries in the world. Here’s a sampling:

  • Kürtőskalács (Chimney Cake): Kürtőskalács is a sweet pastry flavored with cinnamon or nuts that’s formed around a cylinder and baked over charcoal.
  • Kifli (kiffles): Kiflis are traditional Hungarian cookies made from cream cheese dough and filled with various flavors of pastry filling or sweetened nuts.
  • Dobos Torte: Named for Joszef Dobos, the Dobos Torte is an elegant dessert made with layers of vanilla sponge cake and chocolate buttercream and glazed with a thin layer of caramel.