Traditional Polish BIGOS – the best recipe for you

by Jan Vasil
Traditional Polish BIGOS - the best recipe for you

This is my most favorite recipe of a very special and traditional dish – Polish BiGOS. The preparation is very easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time. On the other hand, the cooking is a bit longer and it might take a couple of hours. But don’t worry, an old Polish proverb says, that the older (and more heated or cooked) the BiGOS is, the better it tastes 🙂 So enjoy your cooking and “Smacznego” 🙂

PS: I cook BiGOS several times in a year and my whole family loves it 🙂

Traditional Polish BIGOS - the best recipe for you
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Traditional Polish BIGOS – the best recipe for you

Traditional Polish BIGOS – the best recipe for you

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Recipe by Jan Vasil Course: Dinners, Lunches, Recipe bookCuisine: PolishDifficulty: Easy


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Polish classic – BIGOS

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  • 4 onions

  • 1kg of sauerkraut

  • 1kg of white cabbage

  • 0,5kg of beef meat (you can use any kind)

  • 200g of smoked meat (smoked ham is also good)

  • 200g of smoked sausages

  • 100g of smoked bacon

  • 50g of dried mushrooms

  • 50g of tomato puree

  • 3-5 pcs dried plums

  • 20 pcs of juniper fruit (owoce jalowca)

  • 3-5 pcs of bay leaf

  • 2 teaspoons of dried marjoram (majeranek)

  • 2 teaspoons of dried savory (czaber)

  • 1 teaspoon of lovage (lubczyk)

  • 2 teaspoons of red paprika

  • 4-5 pcs of allspice

  • 2 teaspoons of whole cumin/caraway (kminek)

  • Vegetable oil


  • Peel and chop the onions, chop the white cabbage into 1cm slices. Heat up a bigger pot over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Then add the onions and fry until they will turn slightly golden. There is no need to fry the onions for long as they will be cooked for several hours later on. Add the chopped white cabbage to the pot, lower the heat to medium and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cut the beef meat, smoked meat (smoked ham), sausages, and the bacon into medium-sized pieces and set aside. The bigger they are the better 🙂
  • Heat up a bigger pan and add one tablespoon of oil. Add the beef meat and let it close from all the sides. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons of red paprika, 2 teaspoons of dried savory, and 1 teaspoon of lovage. Let it cook for 5 minutes. When the meat is nicely browned add the chopped bacon. After a couple of minutes, the bacon will release its fat which will make the meat juicier.
  • Once the white cabbage is cooked medium add the sauerkraut, the cut smoked meat (smoked ham), sausages, dried plums, tomato puree, and the dried mushrooms. Stir and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Now it is time to combine the cabbage base with baked meat. So pour the meat into the pot and mix well. If there are some leftover meat pieces and juices in a pan add a bit of water, stir well, and also pour into the pot. These leftovers contain a lot of flavors so it would be a shame to throw them away 🙂
  • Season the BiGOS with juniper fruit and marjoram. Add the bay leaf, allspice, and 2 teaspoons of cumin. Stir well, cover with the lid and cook on a low-medium heat for at least 3 hours.
  • Serve the BiGOS with fresh bread and enjoy 🙂

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Aline September 24, 2020 - 6:06 pm

Hi. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Could you please clarify something. Is it two teaspoons or tablespoons of paprika? The ingredient list say teaspoons, but on step 3 it says to season the meat with two tablespoons. Thank you so much.

tasteisyours September 29, 2020 - 10:57 am

Hello Aline. It should be 2 teaspoons of red paprika. I have adjusted the recipe accordingly. Thank you for your comment and let me know how the bigos turned out 🙂 Jan

Aine July 2, 2022 - 5:57 am

I only saw your answer now…long time afterwards. I used the 2 tsp as written. It turned out fabulous! Actually I saw your comment because I’m checking the recipe to make it again! Thank you so much!

tasteisyours July 19, 2022 - 10:15 am

Hello Aline. I am happy to hear that 🙂 Jan

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David Rydzewski November 20, 2022 - 11:20 pm

Best recipe I’ve ever tried or Bigos. It’s wonderful!

tasteisyours December 13, 2022 - 9:59 am

I am so happy to hear that David 🙂 I am making it like 4-5 times per year 🙂 Jan


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