Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) – an authentic Polish recipe.

by Jan Vasil

Kielbasa Krakowska (Cracow sausage) is one of the most traditional and authentic dishes coming from Krakow. I have eaten it many times and can say, it has a really specific texture and taste. Even though the preparation is really time-consuming, it is actually a pretty simple dish to make. Once you learn how to make it, you will not wanna buy sausage in the grocery store anymore.

Kielbasa Krakowska – the history.

Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) - an authentic Polish recipe.
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The history of the sausage goes back into the medieval Cracow. More concretely it started in the 19th century. That time Cracow was part of a region called Galicja. The region was very famous for its great cuisine and the Kielbasa Krakowska is exactly a proof of that.

The first sausages were produced from high-quality pork meat (the sausage was made with 85% of pork ham), spices, and some potato starch. The original recipe came from Wincent Satalecki, a master butcher that lived in Cracow. He inherited the recipe from his ancestor that has lived in Košice, Slovakia. Just by the way, Košice is a city in which I was born and lived for almost 20 years.

Anyways, Kielbasa Krakowska got really popular among people not only in Galicja but also in Lithuania or Ukraine. It is still being produced and it belongs to a culinary heritage of Poland.

As of 2018 the “Krakowska Kielbasa sucha Staropolska” (the full name could be translated like this: Old Polish dry Cracow sausage) is on a list of 42 Polish dishes certified with the European Union labels of protected designation of origin.

Kielbasa Krakowska – the authentic Polish recipe.

Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) - an authentic Polish recipe.
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The original sausage is produced from the best cuts of pork. Usually, it is made with pork ham and pork shoulder. All the meat is firstly cut into bigger chunks, then separated into 3 categories. The first category are the nicest pieces without fat, then the medium fat ones and very fat ones. The second and third categories are later on grind.

The ground meat is later on mixed with the big chunks, and the spices are added. In the next step, the meat is generously seasoned with salt and left in the fridge (or another cold place) for at least 1-2 days.

In the 3rd step, the pickled meat is filled into the edible sausage casing (sausage skin or simply casing) and dried at the room temperature for 12 hours.

The last step of the production is smoking. The authentic Krakowska Kielbasa is smoked twice on beech wood. Firstly it is smoked at 60°C for about 3,5 to 4 hours, then the temperature is increased into 80°C and the sausage is smoked for another 45 minutes. Once it is smoked, it is left for another 7 days to mature.

So as you see the production takes almost 2 weeks. But the final taste is unforgettable.

The sausage should have a gentle flavor of garlic, nutmeg, and black pepper. Once you slice it thinly, you should see the characteristic mosaic structure.

Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) – an authentic Polish recipe.

Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) – an authentic Polish recipe.

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Recipe by Jan Vasil Course: AppetizersCuisine: PolishDifficulty: Hard

Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) – an authentic Polish recipe.

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  • 700g of pork ham

  • 800g of pork shoulder

  • 200g of unsmoked bacon

  • 20g of non-iodized salt

  • 20g of pickling salt

  • Ground black ground pepper

  • Ground coriander

  • Dried marjoram

  • Dried yellow mustard seeds

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

  • 55mm thick sausage casing


  • Cut all the meat to bigger 1-3cm big chucks. Separate the meat into 3 categories. The first category should be the nicest pieces with no fat. The second category is the medium fat pieces and the third one should be the ones with the most fat.
  • Grind the second category to a medium thickness (around 8mm) and the third category to very smooth (here you should use the thinnest adjustment or setting you to have on your grinder).
  • Transfer the meat to a bowl, mix together, and season generously with both salts. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for at least 1 day. The best is to leave it in the fridge for 2 days.
  • Once the meat is pickled, pour in around 100ml of cold water and mix. Season with the spices and the pressed garlic.
  • Prepare the filling machine and the soft sausage casing. Fill in the sausage mixture very gently so the casing will not break or pierce trough. The filling should be enough to create around 4 15-20cm long sausages. Tie the ends with lace and generously pierce with a toothpick. This way the sausage will dry out nicely before smoking.
  • Hang the sausages in a dry place with room temperature for about 12 hours or leave to dry overnight.
  • Smoke the sausages in a smoker using beech wood. The first smoking should take around 3,5 to 4 hours at 60°C. Then increase the temperature to 80°C and smoke the sausages for another 45 minutes.
  • Hang the smoked sausages in a dry place with room temperature (the kitchen is ok) for 7 days to mature.


  • There is no specified amount of spices. You should as much as you like and adjust the amount to your taste.
  • To make the authentic Kielbasa Krakowska you should use a 55mm thick sausage casing.
  • It is recommended to soak the sausage casing in a cold and slightly salted water for 15 minutes. This way it wil be softer.

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Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) - an authentic Polish recipe.
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Cracow sausage (kielbasa Krakowska) - an authentic Polish recipe.
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