How To Cook A Polish Christmas Eve Dinner

Whether you have Polish heritage or just want to try something new this year, knowing how to cook a Polish Christmas Eve dinner for your family will add a little spice to your traditional meal. The Polish refrain from eating meat on Christmas Eve so here’s how to make a traditional carp stew.


You’ll need:

  • a 3 pound carp
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • 5 ounces of onions
  • 2 green paprika peppers
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 ounce of lard
  • celery leaves
  • salt
  • red paprika
  • cabbage
  • sauerkraut
  1. Prep carp. Clean your fish and sprinkle with salt. Cut into pieces, saving the scraps.
  2. Making fish stock. Cut the inedible sections of the fish into pieces and boil in a pan with half of the onion, chopped, and celery leaves. When done, strain and save fish stock. The fish, onion and celery can be thrown out.
  3. Frying onions. Fry the other half of the onion in lard in a large soup pot. Flavor with red paprika and add fish stock.
  4. Finishing touches. Slice your potatoes and add them to the soup pot. Boil. Add the salted fish pieces, diced green paprika and tomatoes.
  5. Cooking. Simmer your carp stew for twenty minutes before serving hot.


  • It is Polish custom to cover the Christmas Eve dinner table with a white table cloth and set a few extra places for absent relatives and friends.
  • Let your guests snack on dried fruit, sweet cakes and tea or coffee before the meal. Polish sausage, stuffed cabbage rolls and peirogi make great appetizers.
  • If you’re looking for dinner sides, sauerkraut is ever popular. Another Polish dish is carp and vegetables in a a savory gelatin called aspic.
  • Ovoce na Spiritujse is the traditional holiday dessert in Poland. Similar to the American fruitcake, it is made from twelve kinds of dried fruit to represent the twelve apostles.
  • Did you know that it is Polish tradition to fast all day on Christmas Eve, waiting until they see the first star to start their feasting? The meal and celebrations continue late into the night, often ending in midnight Catholic mass.
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