7 Traditional Foods to Try in Hungary! Hungarian Cuisine Guide

This blog contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps keep this content free.

Looking for some traditional foods to try in Hungary? Here’s a list of mouthwatering Hungarian dishes you won’t want to miss!

When it comes to famous European cuisine, Hungary probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind. Along with being largely underrated, its fare is often overshadowed by nearby neighbouring countries, or mistakenly overlooked altogether.

But Hungarian food is so much more than just Goulash and paprika, although both are prominently featured. With influences from the Turks, Austrians, and Germans (amongst many others), Hungarian cuisine has evolved to include a unique complexity of flavours and an abundance of ingredients.

Most dishes are notoriously heavy and deliciously rich, often cooked in lard and topped with cheese curd or sour cream. A few staple ingredients used in most recipes include pork or beef, cabbage, potatoes, and, of course, the most ubiquitous of all Hungarian ingredients: paprika. Ranging from spicy to smoky to sweet, this vibrant red spice dominates most dishes and is used commonly as a condiment as well as a seasoning.

From handmade pasta and dumplings to tenderly cooked meats and savoury soups, with exquisite and indulgent desserts, Hungarian cuisine definitely doesn’t deserve to be overlooked.

Whether you’re travelling in Budapest or elsewhere in Hungary, the following foods are a delicious introduction to Hungarian cuisine.

This 4-hour Budapest Culinary & Wine Walk will take you to a patisserie, artisan chocolate shop, food market, and restaurant and you’ll get to try Hungarian wines! If you’re pressed for time in Budapest, this is a great way to feast on Hungarian dishes!

Traditional Foods to Try in Hungary

7 Traditional Foods to Try in Hungary! Hungarian Cuisine Guide: Langos is a fried dough and a traditional food to try in Hungary

Lángos – Fried Dough

Lángos is the ultimate Hungarian street food: flattened, deep-fried dough topped with savoury ingredients, such as sour cream and grated cheese or garlic butter, although sweet versions are popular as well. 

Its flavourful toppings, crispy exterior, and soft chewy centre make for a really heavy (albeit delicious) snack.

Paprikás Csirke – Chicken Paprikash

Another traditional food to try in Hungary is Chicken Paprikash.

This popular and flavourful dish is made with chicken stewed in a creamy paprika sauce, sometimes topped with a dollop of sour cream, and often served alongside noodles or nokedli (Hungarian dumplings)

The sauce is generally made with a sweet paprika, so it’s a great dish to sample if you’re sensitive to spice.

Gulyás or Goulash - a traditional food to try in Hungary

Gulyás – Goulash

Goulash is Hungary’s most well-known national dish, but traditional Hungarian Goulash is quite different from the variations you’ll find outside the country – it’s more of a soup than a stew.

Primarily made with tender chunks of beef, vegetables, and plenty of paprika, with some versions including csipetke (hand-rolled pinched noodles).

It’s hearty and comforting, with a distinct smoky, spicy-sweet flavour.

Halászlé – Fisherman’s Soup

Goulash may well be the most infamous Hungarian soup, but halaszle is just as much of a national staple, and equally delicious. 

It’s characterized by a fiery red broth, made from fish giblets, paprika, peppers and onions.

The ingredients are simple, but the flavours are complex – it’s spicy and savoury, with generous portions of melt-in-your-mouth freshwater fish fillets – usually carp, catfish, perch or pike.

Try it accompanied by a basket of sliced white bread and, you guessed it, more paprika – in the form of a spreadable hot paste.

Túrós Csusza – Curd Cheese Noodles

Another traditional food to try in Hungary is curd cheese noodles. 

Only four ingredients make up this basic and tasty dish: túró (a fresh, soft curd cheese), homemade egg noodles, fried bacon, and sour cream.

The noodles, cheese, and bacon are mixed together, topped with sour cream, and heated briefly before serving.

Lecsó or Vegetable Stew - a traditional dish to try in Hungary

Lecsó – Vegetable Stew 

Lecsó is a versatile stew of tomatoes, onions, peppers and sweet or hot paprika.

It can be eaten for breakfast with a fried egg on top, served as a side dish, or enjoyed as a main meal with added kolbász (Hungarian sausage) or bacon.

Traditional Desserts to Try in Hungary 

Hungarian confections are much like their savoury counterparts – decadent and incredibly delicious.

Naturally, I couldn’t recommend just one, and you can’t go wrong with any of the following.

Hungary’s favourite cake is somlói galuska, made from sponge cake layered with chocolate cream, walnuts, rum and topped with whipped cream.

Kürtőskalácsor ‘chimney cake’ is baked rotisserie-style outdoors over charcoal, and topped with anything from cinnamon to walnuts, granulated sugar and caramel

Kifli are a great lighter option: crescent-shaped pastries filled with a sweet walnut or poppy paste, and Krémes – a massive portion of custard between layers of pasty – are perfect if you prefer something rich and filling.

Now you have some ideas of traditional foods to try in Hungary during your visit. Bon appetit and Jo étvágyat!

Traditional desserts to try in Hungary

What do you think of Hungarian cuisine?
Have you tried any of these foods?

Join the Conversation


    1. says: Attila

      It’s so easy to make, 1 whole Chicken cut into leg and thigh size pieces, 3-4 chopped medium onions, table spoon salt, black pepper to taste Brown together add 3 tablespoons paprika, cover with water bring to boil and braise on simmer until tender, 60-75 min. Gently remove chicken and set aside then slowly add Sour cream to sauce with the consistency of a thin gravy. Put chicken pieces back in, bring to almost a boil. Individual portions serve over bed of rice, fusilli, large egg noodles or Hungarian baby finger sized dumplings which sop up the sauce. Easy peasy.

  1. says: Anna

    I tried only a couple of things from this list – my time in Hungary was faaaar too short – but I loved pretty much every street food item I saw. I’d say it had to most appetizing array of all European open-air markets I’ve visited to date.

  2. says: HARRISON

    And what about Layered cabbage a la Kolozsvar?? that is one awesome comfort food!!! especially with soured cabbage!! (Kolozsvar was part of Hungary, so we can safely include this dish as Hungarian)and with lots of soured cream!! I think we could make a much longer list, especially if we include the dishes of ex-Hungarian regions in Eastern Europe.

    1. I haven’t tried that layered cabbage dish, but it sounds delicious! And I agree – we could easily add so many more dishes! This is more of an introductory list, for those who may not be as familiar with Hungarian cuisine 🙂

  3. says: Tori

    When I was in Hungary I used to try langos it is very tasty. In general, I liked the Hungarian cuisine. Very satisfying.))) Thanks for the article!

  4. says: Gabor

    The list is good, and your Hungarian spelling is perfect 🙂 I came to your blog from a youtube video (South Africa) and very funny to see my home country food on your blog.

    Greetings from Budapest.

  5. says: Judy

    I’m going to Hungary in about 10 days, so I was excited to get all this information about foods to try! Thanks, Audrey!

  6. says: Attila

    Another popular one pot dish is Szekely goulash and a more refined dish called Vadas is recommended. Although the Vadas may not be served in most restaurants because it’s designed for wild game it may use beef as an alternative.

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *