Polish Christmas Dessert Recipes

These Polish dessert recipes are typical of the types of meal-enders Poles serve for the Christmas holidays when friends and family come to visit.

Our Polish family started baking for Christmas around St. Nicholas Day, Dec. 6. The tasty treats we made were so full of butter and sugar, they theoretically could last until the Feast of the Three Kings on Jan. 6. But we and our company gobbled them up so quickly, we invariably had to make more after Christmas to see us through the Twelfth Night. You'll find Polish Christmas Cookie Recipes here.

  • 01 of 09

    Polish Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec) Recipe

    Makowiec- Poppy seed roll
    Verdina Anna / Getty Images

    Poppy seeds are a favorite in Poland with white poppy seeds being the most sought after. But they are hard to come by so bakers have come to use blue poppy seeds (what we know as black) with good results.

    This sweet yeast dough poppy seed roll—makowiec—could actually be classified as a poppy seed strudel. It is eaten year-round, but especially for Christmas and New Year's because Poles believe poppy seeds bring good luck. Canned poppy seed filling works well in this recipe unless you want to grind your own!

  • 02 of 09

    Polish Almond Roll (Strucla z Migdalowa) Recipe

    Homemade apple and almond strudel on baking paper over light blue wooden backdrop
    The Picture Pantry / Getty Images

    Almonds are plentiful in Poland and they find their way into both sweet and savory foods. Here they are used in the almond roll—strucla z migdalowa— literally "strudel with almond filling." Canned almond filling (not paste) works well unless you want to make your own!

  • 03 of 09

    Polish Angel Wings or Crullers (Chruściki) Recipe

    Angel wing cookies, a European Christmas tradition
    Brian Yarvin / Getty Images

    What could be more appropriate for Christmas than angel wings? These Polish crullers—chruściki—are delicate, fried bowtie knots. They are eaten at many feasts and holiday events including Easter and weddings. This is one dessert that doesn't keep especially well—a day or so at the most. But, wow, are they worth the effort!

  • 04 of 09

    Polish Gingerbread or Spice Cake (Piernik) Recipe

    Gingerbread cake with christmas baubles and dried orange, spice on wooden table, close up

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Gingerbread—piernik—baking in Poland started in the Middle Ages, as soon as the Crusaders came back with their cache of spices. Gingerbread-baking guilds sprung up throughout Europe with strict guidelines as to who could make it, how it should be made, etc. Torun, Poland, the birthplace of Copernicus, is the home of excellent piernik and has a museum with antique gingerbread molds that is a must-see on any trip to Poland.

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  • 05 of 09

    Polish Fruitcake (Cwibak or Chleb Wigilijny) Recipe

    Candied fruitcake

    Anouk Stricher / Getty Images

    This is one fruitcake that won't become a white elephant gift for your next Secret Santa exchange. Cwibak or chleb wigilijny, which literally means "Christmas Eve bread," has a moist, light crumb and is great for gift-giving. See these other ideas for edible gifts.

  • 06 of 09

    Polish Cheesecake (Sernik) Recipe

    Woman eating a slice of cheesecake
    masahiro Makino / Getty Images

    Who doesn't love cheesecake? Poles make it many ways—fluffy, dense, gelatin-topped, New-York style and more. This recipe for sernik has a custardy texture and holds well for two weeks refrigerated. Just make sure it's covered. If you want to upscale this dessert, add warm apples and cinnamon ice cream, or any fruit and whipped cream. But, if you ask us, that's just gilding the lily.

  • 07 of 09

    Polish Dried Fruits Compote (Kompot) Recipe

    Polish Dried Fruit Compote (Kompot) Recipe

     The Spruce

    Not the prettiest kid on the block, dried fruit compote—kompot—packs a wallop of flavor. It's traditionally made with 12 different reconstituted dried fruits to represent the 12 Apostles. The longer the compote sits, the better it gets. This is another great edible gift, but it must be refrigerated. Compote is the most typical dessert served for wigilia or Christmas Eve supper. In our family, the compote was made of prunes only. Despite its reputation for having "medicinal" qualities, stewed prunes are delicious. Of course, they went down better with a few Polish Christmas cookies.

  • 08 of 09

    Polish Three Kings Cake (Ciasto Trzech Kroli) Recipe

    King cake

    _laurent / Getty Images

    Jan. 6 is Twelfth Night or Feast of the Three Kings (also known as the Epiphany) and is considered the official end of Christmas celebrations. Decorations are put away and everyone enjoys King Cake or ciasto trzech kroli. The person to get the coin or almond baked (or placed inside after the cake is baked) is king or queen for the day and will have a year of good luck.

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  • 09 of 09

    Polish Royal Mazurek (Mazurek Krolewski) Recipe

    Royal Mazurek

    The Spruce / Barbara Rolek

    Traditionally served for Easter but made year-round, this flat, flaky pastry is set off by dollops of fruit filling or jam. A traditional mazurek should be no higher than about 1 inch. This particular mazurek (there are many varieties—some filled, some with streusel topping, some plain) is called royal because the lattice-top filled with alternating flavors of fruit filling looks like the jewels in a crown. Since the fruit filling is added after the mazurek is baked, jam can be used.