Authentic Bigos Recipe – Delicious Polish Sauerkraut Stew

Welcome to my kitchen, where I’ll be sharing with you my recipe for Bigos, a traditional Polish sauerkraut stew. As a chef, I love exploring different cuisines and experimenting with different ingredients, and Bigos is one of my all-time favorites. This hearty stew is perfect for a cold winter day, and it’s packed with the flavors and textures of sauerkraut, potatoes, Polish sausage, and other delicious ingredients.

If you’ve never tried Bigos before, you’re in for a treat. This stew is often called “hunter’s stew” because it was traditionally made with whatever ingredients were on hand, including game meat. It’s now considered a national dish in Poland, and there are many variations of the recipe depending on the region and family traditions.

In this recipe, I’ll be using pork kielbasa, sauerkraut, potatoes, and onions, as well as some other ingredients that add depth and richness to the stew. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Polish recipe or just something hearty and satisfying to warm you up on a cold day, Bigos is the perfect choice. So let’s get started!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Bigos - Polish Sauerkraut Stew
Bigos – Polish Sauerkraut Stew

Are you looking for a hearty and flavorful stew that will warm you up on a cold winter day? Look no further than Bigos – the traditional Polish Sauerkraut Stew. This stew is also known as “Polish Hunter’s Stew” because it was originally made by hunters in the forest, using whatever ingredients they had on hand.

Why will you love this recipe? For starters, it’s incredibly versatile. You can use pork, beef, or sausage as the meat component, or make it vegan by omitting the meat and adding more mushrooms. The sauerkraut and fresh cabbage add a tangy flavor, while the caraway seeds and bacon add a smoky depth. The stew is then simmered with tomato paste, mushrooms, and onions for even more flavor.

Another great thing about Bigos is that it’s a complete meal in one pot. The potatoes provide a starchy component, while the sauerkraut and cabbage add fiber and nutrients. The stew is also quite filling, so you won’t need to make any side dishes.

If you’re a fan of Polish cuisine, you’ll appreciate the authenticity of this recipe. Bigos is considered the national dish of Poland and has been enjoyed for centuries. Making it at home is a great way to connect with your heritage or explore a new culture.

Lastly, for those who meal prep or like to make large batches of food, Bigos is a great option. It reheats well and actually tastes better the next day as the flavors have had more time to meld. You can also freeze it for a quick and easy meal later on.

In short, Bigos is a delicious and satisfying stew that will delight your senses and warm you up from the inside out.

Ingredient List

 A warm and hearty stew to warm your soul on chilly evenings
A warm and hearty stew to warm your soul on chilly evenings

Let’s dive into the ingredient list for Bigos – Polish Sauerkraut Stew Recipe! To make this authentic Polish dish, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless pork, diced
  • 1 lb Polish sausage (kielbasa), sliced
  • 1-2 small onions, diced
  • 4 oz diced bacon
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small head of fresh cabbage or 5 pounds sauerkraut (shredded white cabbage)
  • 1 can of tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken broth
  • 1 pound of beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 oz dried porcini mushrooms, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups of sauerkraut (canned or jarred)

Don’t worry if some of these ingredients are unfamiliar to you. You can easily find them in a grocery store or a specialty food store. Make sure to measure each ingredient carefully to get the right balance of flavors in your Bigos – Polish Sauerkraut Stew Recipe.

The Recipe How-To

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to make a delicious Bigos – Polish Sauerkraut Stew Recipe.


  • 1 lb Polish sausage or kielbasa, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 lb pork, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 lb boneless beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 oz dried porcini mushrooms, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small head of white cabbage or sauerkraut, shredded
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups water or beef broth
  • 6 bacon slices, diced
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced bacon and cook until it’s crispy, then remove it from the pot and set it aside.
  2. Add the sliced onions and cook until they’re translucent and slightly browned.
  3. Add the sliced Polish sausage and diced pork to the pot, and cook until they’re browned on all sides.
  4. Add the shredded cabbage, sliced potatoes, and drained sauerkraut to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  5. Add the dried porcini mushrooms, caraway seed, tomato paste, and the reserved bacon to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add the water or beef broth to the pot, and stir to combine. Bring the stew to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low.
  7. Cover the pot and let the stew simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the better it will taste.
  8. Taste the stew and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  9. Serve hot with crusty bread or boiled potatoes.

Tips for Perfect Results:

  • For an even richer flavor, replace the water or beef broth with red wine.
  • Bigos tastes even better the next day, so you can make it ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to serve.
  • If you’re making a vegan version of Bigos, simply omit the meat and sausage and add more mushrooms and vegetables to the stew.

Follow these instructions, and you’ll have a delicious and authentic Polish Bigos – Hunter Stew that’s perfect for a cold winter day.

Substitutions and Variations

 Bigos, a traditional Polish dish bursting with flavor and comfort
Bigos, a traditional Polish dish bursting with flavor and comfort

Bigos is a versatile stew that can be adapted to different tastes and dietary needs. Here are some substitutions and variations to consider:

– Vegetarian or Vegan Bigos: For a meatless version of Bigos, omit the sausage and use mushrooms instead. Porcini mushrooms add a meaty texture and depth of flavor to the stew. You can also add other vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and mushrooms, for more variety. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth to keep it vegetarian or vegan.

– Beef Stew Bigos: While traditional Bigos uses Polish sausage and pork, you can also use beef stew meat for a heartier version. Use a mix of beef chuck and brisket, and cook it low and slow until it’s tender. You can also add some beef broth for extra richness.

– Hunter’s Stew Bigos: Bigos is also known as Polish hunter’s stew, as it was originally made by hunters in the forest. To make it even more authentic, you can add game meats such as venison, wild boar, or rabbit. These meats have a gamier flavor than pork or sausage, and they pair well with the sauerkraut and cabbage.

– Kielbasa Sauerkraut Stew: If you don’t have Polish sausage, you can use any type of smoked sausage or kielbasa. The smokiness adds a nice flavor to the stew. You can also use other types of sauerkraut, such as red cabbage sauerkraut, for a different color and taste.

– Fresh Cabbage Bigos: While sauerkraut is the traditional base for Bigos, you can also use fresh cabbage. Shred a small head of white cabbage and saut√© it with onions until it’s tender. Then add the tomato paste, broth, and meat, and simmer until everything is cooked through.

– Vegan Bigos: To make a completely vegan version of Bigos, omit the meat and use vegetable broth. You can also add beans or lentils for protein and fiber. Use smoked paprika and caraway seeds to add flavor and depth.

Whatever substitutions or variations you choose, Bigos is a hearty and comforting stew that will warm you up on a cold winter day. Experiment with different ingredients and make it your own!

Serving and Pairing

 A colorful medley of sauerkraut, meat, and vegetables simmered to perfection
A colorful medley of sauerkraut, meat, and vegetables simmered to perfection

Bigos, the traditional Polish dish, is a hearty and filling stew that is perfect for cold winter days. It is a dish that is meant to be shared with family and friends. When it comes to serving and pairing, there are many options to consider.

Firstly, bigos is typically served with a side of bread, such as a crusty baguette or rye bread, to help soak up all of the delicious flavors. Additionally, it can be served with a dollop of sour cream on top to add a creamy and tangy element to the dish.

As for pairing, a good beer is a natural choice. A crisp and refreshing pilsner or a rich and malty porter would both complement the flavors of the stew well. For those who prefer wine, a full-bodied red like a cabernet sauvignon would be a good choice.

For a complete meal, bigos can be served alongside other traditional Polish dishes, such as pierogi or kielbasa. Alternatively, it can also be served with a simple green salad to add some freshness to the meal.

For those who are vegan or vegetarian, there are options for a meatless version of bigos. Using mushrooms or seitan as a meat substitute can achieve a similar texture and flavor profile. This vegan bigos can be paired with a light and fruity red wine or a crisp white wine.

Overall, bigos is a versatile dish that can be served and paired in many different ways. Its bold and complex flavors make it a great centerpiece for any meal.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The perfect dish to serve for a family gathering or a cozy night in
The perfect dish to serve for a family gathering or a cozy night in

One of the best things about Bigos is that it can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. In fact, many people believe that the flavors of the stew improve after a day or two in the fridge. To make ahead, simply follow the recipe as usual and let the stew cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months.

To reheat, transfer the stew from the refrigerator to a pot and heat over medium-low heat until hot. If the stew seems too thick, add a bit of water or broth to loosen it up. If reheating from frozen, thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

One thing to keep in mind when reheating Bigos is that the sauerkraut can become quite sour if overcooked, so be sure to heat it gently and avoid boiling. Another tip is to add a bit of fresh cabbage or sauerkraut to the stew when reheating to add a bit of texture and freshness.

Overall, Bigos is a great dish to make ahead and store for later. Its complex flavors only get better over time, making it the perfect option for meal prep or entertaining.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A delicious way to incorporate sauerkraut into your diet
A delicious way to incorporate sauerkraut into your diet

When it comes to making a delicious bigos Polish sauerkraut stew, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect results. As a chef who has mastered this traditional Polish dish, I want to share some of my top tips with you to ensure your bigos turns out hearty, flavorful, and authentic.

Firstly, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients to make the best bigos. Choose fresh sauerkraut and white cabbage, and look for a good quality Polish sausage or kielbasa. If you can, use pork or beef that has been locally sourced for an extra touch of authenticity.

Next, be sure to take your time when cooking the stew. The longer you let the ingredients simmer together, the more flavorful and tender they will become. Don’t be afraid to let the stew cook on low heat for a few hours to really bring out the rich flavors.

To add an extra layer of depth to your bigos, try adding caraway seeds to the stew. These seeds have a slightly nutty, earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with the sauerkraut and meat. Just be sure to use them sparingly, as a little goes a long way.

Another tip to keep in mind is to use a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms. Dried porcini mushrooms can add an intense umami flavor to the stew, while fresh mushrooms like sliced button or cremini mushrooms can add a nice texture and earthiness.

Lastly, be sure to adjust the seasoning to your liking. I recommend adding salt and pepper to taste throughout the cooking process, and stirring in a dollop of tomato paste for extra depth of flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other seasonings like paprika or thyme, depending on your personal taste preferences.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make an authentic and delicious bigos Polish sauerkraut stew that is sure to impress your friends and family.


Now, let’s move on to the FAQ section of this bigos – Polish sauerkraut stew recipe article. Here, I will try to answer some of the most common questions that may arise while making this delicious Polish dish. So, let’s dive in and clear up any doubts you may have!

What does Bigos mean in Polish?

A popular Polish meal known as Bigos, traditionally consists of a mixture of chopped meats cooked with sauerkraut and shredded fresh cabbage. It is commonly referred to as hunter’s stew and has also been adopted in neighboring countries such as Belarus and Lithuania.

What’s in bigos stew?

This hearty stew hails from Poland and is perfect for warming up on chilly days. Made with pork, kielbasa, and sauerkraut, it’s a traditional dish that’s sure to satisfy.

How long can you keep Bigos in the fridge?

One tip to enhance the flavor of Bigos is to refrigerate and reheat it daily. Doing so can improve the taste and texture of the dish. It is recommended to repeat this process for up to a week to attain the best results.

Why is it called Hunter’s stew?

Bigos is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed in Poland for centuries. It is known as the ‘Polish Hunter Stew’ and has its roots in Medieval times when hunters would return from their expeditions with fresh game. The meat would then be added to a hearty stew which was slow-cooked for hours, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish. Back then, sauerkraut was a popular ingredient due to its high vitamin content and its ability to withstand the harsh winter conditions. Today, Bigos is still a beloved dish in Poland and is enjoyed by many.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Bigos is not just any stew, it’s a national dish of Poland that has been enjoyed for generations. It’s a dish that brings people together and is perfect for cold winter days. Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegan, there’s a variation of Bigos that will suit your taste buds. The ingredients are simple and easy to find, but the result is a complex and hearty stew that will leave you feeling satisfied. So why not give this authentic Polish dish a try? I guarantee that you’ll love it and it might just become a new favorite in your household. Don’t wait any longer, grab your ingredients and start cooking up a pot of delicious Bigos today!

Bigos – Polish Sauerkraut Stew Recipe

Real comfort food; a great polish dish given to me by my mom

  • 2 Polish sausage (kielbasa)
  • 6 potatoes, cooked and sliced about 1/2 thick
  • 2 lbs sauerkraut
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice kielbasa into 1 inch rounds; brown in skillet.
  2. Brown the onions.
  3. Drain juice from sauerkraut and add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar.
  4. In a large casserole, make layers of sliced potatoes, sauerkraut, kielbasa, and onions.
  5. Mix soup with 1/2 cup water and pour over other ingredients.
  6. Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  7. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour.
  8. Uncover and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes until top is brown.
Main Course
< 4 Hours, European, Healthy, Low Cholesterol, One-Dish Meal, Oven, Polish, Stew, Weeknight

[custom-related-posts title=”Recommended Recipes Just For You” none_text=”None found” order_by=”date” order=”ASC”]