Polish Open-Faced Sandwich (Zapiekanka)

Polish zapiekanka or open-Faced sandwich

GMVozd/Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Polish open-faced sandwiches (also known as French-bread pizzas) are popular street food in the bigger cities of Poland.

They're known as zapiekanki (plural) or zapiekanka (zah-peeyeh-KAHN-kah), which is singular. The word zapiekanka comes from zapiekac, which means "to bake," and is the Polish culinary term for a casserole.
Most zapiekanki sandwiches start with French bread, sautéed mushrooms, cheese, and ketchup, but there are Hawaiian-style zapiekanki with pineapple, Greek-style with olives and feta cheese, Italian style, and many more.

What makes the open-faced sandwich authentic is a thick drizzle of Polish ketchup across the top, no matter what cuisine the zapiekanka is trying to emulate.


  • 1 loaf bread (long French, cut in half and then cut in half horizontally to yield 4 pieces)
  • Optional: thinly sliced ham or lunchmeat of choice
  • 2 cups mushrooms (sautéed)
  • Optional: raw or cooked vegetables of choice
  • Optional: mayonnaise
  • 3 cups cheese (grated melting cheese of choice)
  • Garnish: ketchup
  • Optional: chopped chives

Steps to Make It

  1. If the bread is long, cut it into 3 pieces and halve each horizontally, otherwise, cut it into 2 pieces.

  2. Layer meat, sautéed mushrooms and cheese on each slice of bread and toast in a hot oven until the bread is crispy and the cheese has melted. Drizzle with ketchup and serve hot.

Recipe Variation

  • Although the traditional zapiekanka consists of mushrooms, cheese, and ketchup, newer versions include ham, salami, vegetables, fried onions or chives, spinach instead of mushrooms, and Highlander's smoked oscypek cheese instead of the melting cheese.