To all fans of Czech food! Do you want to know what typical recipes represent Czech cuisine? What dishes is Czech gastronomy famous for? You've come to the right place, read on!
➤ I was born in the Czech Republic and have lived there for over 40 years, cooking daily for my family. I have carefully selected 30 traditional Czech foods that proudly represent our country for you.
Below the list, you will find a quick description of each dish, including a photo and a link to the authentic recipe (it is written in English, no fear of the Czech language).
Svíčková na smetaně (Roast Sirloin in Sour Cream Sauce)
RECIPE => Svíčková na smetaně
Svíčková pronunciation 🡳
Svíčková is a classic Czech creamy sauce of root vegetables, thickened with roux, and softened with cream. The exact translation into English might be "Beef sirloin in cream sauce", as the dish also includes slow-braised beef. Usually accompanying the sauce are the famous bread dumplings.
Svíčková is a festive dish in the Czech Republic, often served as the main course at essential celebrations or weddings.
Svíčková is a festive dish in the Czech Republic, often served as the main course at essential celebrations or weddings.
Hovězí guláš (Beef Goulash)
RECIPE => Beef goulash (Czech hovězí guláš)
Guláš pronunciation 🡳
If looking for typical Czech food, beef goulash is an iconic part of Czech gastronomy. It is comprised of slow-braised cubes of beef that are soft and juicy as a result. Czech goulash is characterized by a large amount of onion and spices such as caraway seeds, marjoram, sweet paprika, or garlic. In Czech pubs, goulash is served with dumplings or bread and always with a pint of chilled beer.
Rajská omáčka (Sweet Tomato Gravy)
RECIPE => Czech sweet tomato gravy
Czechs adore this creamy tomato sauce made from tomato paste. The sauce is typically served with bread dumplings and sliced cooked beef, although it also pairs well with stuffed peppers or meatballs.
Koprová omáčka (Dill Sauce)
RECIPE => Czech dill sauce
If you like dill, then you will enjoy another well-known Czech sauce prepared from this fragrant herb. Dill sauce has a creamy texture, is made from heavy cream, and is thickened with roux. It will surprise you with its sweet taste with a slightly sour note.
Dill sauce pairs well with dumplings and a slice of boiled beef, for vegetarians there is a meatless version with boiled egg and potatoes.
Smažený sýr (Fried Cheese)
RECIPE => Czech fried cheese
Smažený sýr aka smažák is one of the culinary gems that Czechs love. It may not be the healthiest, but fried cheese in the Czech version just tastes so yummy!
This is a thicker slice of semi-hard cheese (such as Gouda or Eidam, both Dutch-style kinds of cheese), coated in flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs. Just fry the cheese on both sides in the fat until golden brown and the perfect delicacy is ready to go on the table. Serve with Pommes and tartar sauce.
Pečená kachna se zelím (Roasted Duck with Cabbage)
RECIPE => Bohemian roast duck
A typical delicacy from the cuisine of Bohemian and Moravian grannies. Slow roasted duck with a crispy crust, seasoned with caraway, a traditional Czech spice.
Roast duck has always been considered a festive dish in the Czech Republic, served on special occasions such as family celebrations. As a side dish, braised red cabbage and slices of potato dumplings are an excellent choice.
RECIPE => Czech sekaná meatloaf
A mixture of minced beef and pork, formed into a loaf, roasted in the oven. Do not spare the garlic and marjoram, without them it would not be a true Czech meatloaf! A simple yet so delicious dish that Czechs often have for lunch with boiled or mashed potatoes.
Čočka na kyselo
RECIPE => Czech cocka na kyselo
I think this dish is so unique to Czech cuisine that there is no equivalent for it abroad. Sour lentils are cooked green lentils, thickened with roux, seasoned with salt, vinegar, marjoram, and a little salt. Serve on a large plate and add fried sausage, sunny-side-up fried egg, and pickle. Top the lentils with fried onions and a great meal is ready!
Šunkofleky (Ham Egg and Noodle Casserole)
RECIPE => Czech sunkofleky
Shunkofleky is a dish into which Czech grandmothers processed leftovers from the kitchen. They pan-fried the ham, the leftover meat, and onions. Then they mixed it with cooked noodles, put it in a baking dish, and poured over milk beaten with eggs. Then just cook šunkofleky in the oven and serve the dish to eager diners.
Bramboráky (Potato Pancakes)
RECIPE => Bramboráky potato pancakes
Bramboráky pronunciation 🡳
Bramboráky dish is potato pancakes richly flavored with garlic and marjoram, fried in lard. You can often get them as street food in one of the stalls in the center of Czech cities. Small potato pancakes (bramboráčky) are served as a side dish to the main meal.
Knedlíky (Bread Dumplings)
RECIPE => Bread dumplings (Czech knedlíky)
Knedlíky / houskové knedlíky pronunciation 🡳
Czech dumplings are famed all over the world! The classic dumplings are made of yeast dough shaped like cylinders, which are cooked and then sliced. You can enjoy dumplings as a side dish to Czech sauces such as svíčková, rajská, koprová. They taste great with beef goulash.
Vepřo Knedlo Zelo (Pork Roast Dumplings Sauerkraut)
RECIPE => Vepřo knedlo zelo
Vepřo knedlo zelo pronunciation 🡳
These three words make up the phonemic shortcuts to pork roast, dumplings, and cabbage stew. In the past, Czech grandmothers used to make pork dumplings as a festive dish on Sundays. It is a hearty dish, also popular nowadays, that will satisfy any hungry soul.
Who wouldn't love a schnitzel! A satisfying and quick dish that will please the cravings of any and all meat lovers. A thin slice of pork pounded with a meat mallet, salted and dredged in flour, dipped in beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. Fry in a pan on both sides until golden brown and serve with famous Czech potato salad or mashed potatoes.
Ovocné knedlíky (Fruit Dumplings)
RECIPE => Fruit dumplings (Czech ovocné knedlíky)
Ovocné knedlíky pronunciation 🡳
Czech dumplings again, this time made as a sweet dish. Czechs are a nation of dumpling eaters, and yeast dumplings filled with seasonal fresh fruit are one of the most popular desserts. Enjoy them topped with ground poppy seeds, grated tvaroh cheese, or a dollop of sour cream drizzled with melted butter.
Bábovka (Bundt Cake)
RECIPE => Bábovka
Bábovka / Mramorová (marbled) bábovka pronunciation 🡳
Bábovka stars as a great dessert at Czech weekends. It is baked in a special mold and decorated with a layer of icing sugar. The closest English equivalent to Czech bábovka could be bundt cake. Bábovka is easy to make and tastes perfect for everyone!
RECIPE => Palačinky
Palačinky pronunciation 🡳
Palačinky are a divine Czech dessert from the time when Bohemia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The liquid batter is poured onto a hot pan and fried on both sides until golden brown. Sinfully good! Spread the pancakes with jam, roll them up and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
RECIPE => Czech kolache
Koláč / Koláče (kolache) pronunciation 🡳
Koláč (in English kolach or kolache) is a type of sweet pastry known all over the world. Authentic Czech kolaches are baked with yeast dough, are round in shape, and contain various sweet fillings. There is nothing more reminiscent of Bohemia abroad than a beautifully baked koláč in your hand!
My tip: Especially when eating out, Czech kolaches are a popular choice for breakfast.
Buchty (Sweet-Filled Buns)
RECIPE => Czech buchty buns
Buchty is true food from Czech fairy tales. A typical fairy tale character, Czech Honza, sets off into the world to gain experience, and his mother bakes him buns so he won't go hungry.
Buchty buns are sweet rolls of yeast dough, usually filled with fruit jams, poppy seed, or Czech tvaroh quark cheese.
Moms bake buchty buns in the oven, layered on a baking sheet. Once buchty come out of the oven, the house is filled with a delightful aroma, and they are gone from the table in a flash.
Žemlovka (Apple Bread Pudding)
RECIPE => Czech žemlovka apple bread pudding
The traditional Czech dessert known as žemlovka is a type of bread pudding that makes excellent use of stale white bread.
Pieces of bread are dipped in a sweet mixture of milk and beaten eggs, layered with grated apples and raisins, and flavored with cinnamon. Then just drizzle the last layer of bread generously with butter and put the pudding to bake in the oven. I promise you will enjoy this classic Czech dessert!
RECIPE => Czech trdelník
A traditional sweet delicacy found at street vendors in the centers of Czech cities. Trdelník is especially popular among tourists in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
The preparation of trdelník on hot coals makes this street food an unforgettable experience. Thin strips of dough are rolled onto a special spit and slowly baked over an open fire. You can choose whether you want the pastry simply coated in sugar and cinnamon or filled with Nutella, fruit, or ice cream.
Either way, trdelník is an essential part of today's Prague!
Krupicová kaše (Cream of Wheat)
RECIPE => Czech krupicova kase
Children especially love krupicová kaše. This sweet porridge or cream of wheat is made of a mixture of milk and semolina, which is sprinkled with sugar and cocoa on the plate and finally topped with melted butter.
You won't find this delicacy in Czech restaurants, it is most often prepared by Czech grannies for their beloved grandchildren. Not for nothing is this simple dish nicknamed fairy tale of youth!
Vánočka (Houska Bread)
RECIPE => Vánočka bread (Houska)
Vánočka is a festive sweet bread made from yeast dough during the Czech Christmas season. Strands of dough are skillfully braided into a loaf shape, generously sprinkled with almonds, and baked in the oven.
Many descendants of Czech immigrants to the USA know vánočka under the name of houska. This is what the Czechs would call vánočka in the past, and new generations in the USA still use that name for vánočka today.
Bramboračka (Potato Soup)
RECIPE => Bramboračka soup
Bramboračka / Bramborová polévka pronunciation 🡳
Potato soup (bramboračka in Czech) counts among the treasures of Czech cuisine. It is very rich and contains root vegetables and mushrooms in addition to potatoes. In winter, it warms and comforts the body and soul. It is one of the must-try hearty soups when you visit the Czech Republic.
Česnečka (Garlic Soup)
RECIPE => Česnečka soup
Česnečka / Česneková polévka pronunciation 🡳
Česnečka is a sought-after soup served in many Czech restaurants. It is a clear soup with fresh garlic, flavored with marjoram. This garlic soup is often accompanied by bread croutons, cheese, or diced ham. Czech women cook garlic soup as a supportive cure for illness or hangovers.
Zelňačka (Sauerkraut Soup)
RECIPE => Zelňačka soup
Zelňačka / Zelná polévka pronunciation 🡳
Made from sauerkraut, Czech zelňačka is one of the soups packed with vitamins and flavors, especially suitable for colder weather. It also contains potatoes and sausage and is softened with sour cream. Foreign tourists love this soup!
Hovězí polévka s nudlemi (Bohemian Beef Noodle Soup)
RECIPE => Bohemian Beef Soup with Noodles
A staple food in many Czech homes, beef soup often forms the first course of a holiday menu. Czechs prepare homemade beef broth by long and slow cooking of beef meat and root vegetables. The resulting rich broth makes the basis for an outstanding beef soup, which is famous in Czech gastronomy for its taste.
Kulajda (Mushroom Soup)
RECIPE => Czech kulajda soup
I dare say that you would hardly find a soup similar to Czech kulajda in other national cuisines. The soup is made from fresh mushrooms, heavy cream, and fresh dill and features a sweet and sour taste. As a final touch, a cooked or poached egg is added to the soup, making it a real culinary gem.
Kyselo (Sourdough Soup)
RECIPE => Kyselo sourdough soup
Kyselo is a national specialty from the Krkonoše Mountains, the highest mountain in the Czech Republic. Kyselo is a soup made from sourdough starter, which is otherwise used to bake bread. The soup also includes fresh mushrooms picked in the forest and a pile of fried eggs.
It is more or less a regional food that you won't find in Prague restaurants. If you want to try kyselo, head to the Krkonoše Mountains in northeastern Bohemia and visit one of the local pubs where kyselo will definitely be on the menu!
Utopenci (Drownen Men)
RECIPE => Utopenci Czech pickled sausages
Beer lovers, watch out! Utopenci is a classic Czech delicacy, served in traditional pubs and beer gardens as a starter or an appetizer. Freely translated into English as drowned men, it is a special pickled sausage with onions and spices. You will be surprised by their delicious sweet and sour taste! Serve with a fresh slice of rye bread.
Obložené chlebíčky (Open Face Sandwiches)
RECIPE => Czech open-faced sandwiches
These open-faced sandwiches are an ingenious Czech invention. Each piece fits just right in the hand and serves to quickly drive away hunger. Each sandwich is spread with a layer of butter or potato salad and lavishly garnished with egg, ham, cheese, and various vegetables. Once finished, it looks like a little work of art that beckons you to take a bite.
Czech cuisine is very diverse, and its roots can be found in the 19th century. At that time, the Czech lands were part of the vast Austrian empire that occupied most of central Europe.
The Czechs thus lived in one state unit together with Slovaks, Austrians, and Hungarians. This is also why all these national cuisines have many similar dishes, although something unique can be discovered in each of them.
This is where you can find all Czech recipes on my blog.
❤️ The best 30 Czech dishes (summary):
- Svíčková na smetaně (Roast Sirloin in Sour Cream Sauce)
- Hovězí guláš (Beef Goulash)
- Rajská omáčka (Sweet Tomato Gravy)
- Koprová omáčka (Dill Sauce)
- Smažený sýr (Fried Cheese)
- Pečená kachna se zelím (Roasted Duck with Cabbage)
- Sekaná (Meatloaf)
- Čočka na kyselo
- Šunkofleky (Ham Egg and Noodle Casserole)
- Bramboráky (Potato Pancakes)
- Knedlíky (Bread Dumplings)
- Vepřo Knedlo Zelo (Pork Roast Dumplings Sauerkraut)
- Řízek (Schnitzel)
- Ovocné knedlíky (Fruit Dumplings)
- Bábovka (Bundt Cake)
- Palačinky (Crepes)
- Koláče (Kolaches)
- Buchty (Sweet-Filled Buns)
- Žemlovka (Apple Bread Pudding)
- Krupicová kaše (Cream of Wheat)
- Vánočka (Houska Bread)
- Bramboračka (Potato Soup)
- Česnečka (Garlic Soup)
- Zelňačka (Sauerkraut Soup)
- Hovězí polévka s nudlemi (Bohemian Beef Noodle Soup)
- Kulajda (Mushroom Soup)
- Kyselo (Sourdough Soup)
- Utopenci (Drownen Men)
- Obložené chlebíčky (Open Face Sandwiches)
BONUS FOR YOU: I've included a short audio clip for some of these dishes with Czech pronunciation. I'm a native speaker, so you'll get an idea of how we, Czechs, speak. Plus, when you visit Prague or another beautiful Czech city, you'll be able to try ordering a meal in a restaurant in the Czech.
I hope you enjoyed my article about typical Czech dishes. Let me know in the comments; I'm interested in your opinion! Is there a dish missing from your list that you think characterizes the Czech nation?