Czech Food and Drink

Traditional Czech cuisine is not exactly a synonym for healthy cooking. Typical Czech meals tend to be high in calories, fat, and sugar. Meat is very common, as are various sauces, condiments, and dumplings. There is a similarity to traditional German cooking and some meals that are sometimes thought of as "typically Czech", such as goulash or spaetzle, actually originated in other countries.

Czech Potato Soup (Bramboračka)Soups

A Czech meal typically starts with soup (polévka). Some popular Czech soups are:

Potato soup (bramboračka)
Garlic soup (česnečka)
Chicken noodle soup (kuřecí polévka s nudlemi)
Beef soup with liver dumplings (hovězí vývar s játrovými knedlíčky)
Sauerkraut soup (zelňačka)
Dill soup, made from sour milk (koprovka)

Turkey with Potatoes and LettuceThe Main Course

The main course (hlavní chod) usually consists of meat (maso) and a side dish (příloha). Popular meats are chicken (kuře), pork (vepřové), beef (hovězí), duck (kachna), and turkey (krůta). Meat is often served with some kind of sauce (omáčka). Fish is not very common although you will find salmon (losos), trout (pstruh) or cod (treska) on some menus. The mackerel (makrela) is a popular fish to grill over open fire in the summer. Carp (kapr) is traditionally served on Christmas Eve.

Meatless main courses include the Czech specialty of fried cheese (smažený sýr), fried cauliflower, potato pancake (bramborák) filled with cabbage, sweet fruit-filled dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), etc.

Some well-known Czech main dishes are:

Roast pork, dumplings and sauerkrautBeef goulash with dumplings - a thick beef stew of Hungarian origin (hovězí guláš s knedlíkem)
Beef sirloin with dumplings and vegetable cream sauce (svíčková na smetaně, knedlík)
Roast pork, dumplings and sauerkraut (vepřová pečeně, knedlík, zelí or vepřo-knedlo-zelo)
Pork schnitzel with mashed potatoes - a slice of pork, breaded and fried (smažený vepřový řízek)
Roasted duck with sauerkraut and dumplings (pečená kachna se zelím a knedlíkem)
Fried cheese with French fries and tartar sauce - a thick slice of cheese, breaded and fried (smažený sýr)
Roasted chicken with potatoes (pečené kuře s brambory)
Stuffed bell peppers with tomato sauce (plněná paprika s rajskou omáčkou)
Breaded and fried mushrooms (smažené žampiony)
Fruit-filled dumplings (fruit wrapped in potato or yeast dough, boiled, and served with sugar, ground poppy seeds, cottage cheese and melted butter): plum, apricot, strawberry, blueberry (kynuté ovocné knedlíky: švestkové, meruňkové, jahodové, borůvkové)

Side Dishes

Mashed potatoes (Šťouchané brambory)The most common Czech side dishes are:

Boiled potatoes (vařené brambory)
Roasted potatoes (opékané brambory)
Mashed potatoes (bramborová kaše - pureed, šťouchané brambory - coarsely mashed)
French fries (hranolky)
Potato pancakes (bramboráčky)
Rice (rýže)
Bread dumplings (houskové knedlíky)
Potato dumplings (bramborové knedlíky)
Sauerkraut or cabbage (zelí)
Potato salad (bramborový salát)


KoláčeDessert (moučník, dezert or zákusek) comes in many varieties. Some are rather fatty due to the use of butter (máslo) and whipped cream (šlehačka), some are light and fluffy. In general, Czech desserts and cakes (dorty) are not overly sweet. Some popular desserts are:

Crepes (palačinky) filled with jam (džem) or fruit (ovoce) such as strawberries (jahody), chocolate (čokoláda), whipped cream (šlehačka), and sometimes nuts (oříšky)
Honey cake (medovník)
Fruit-filled dumplings (ovocné knedlíky)
Apple strudel (jablečný závin or štrúdl)
Cake (dort)
Ice cream sundae (zmrzlinový pohár)


As far as drinks (nápoje) go, the national Czech beverage is beer (pivo). Other popular drinks are mineral water (minerálka), various fruit juices, such as orange juice (pomerančový džus), apple juice (jablečný džus), pear juice (hruškový džus),
lemonade (limonáda), or soda (keep in mind that soda in Czech means "soda water"). Czechs also like to drink tea (čaj) with sugar (cukr) and lemon (citrón), and coffee (káva) with or without milk (mléko) or cream (smetana).

Cook your own Czech meal at one of the Prague cooking classes that are offered through our partner!

"Eating Out" Czech phrases and vocabulary on Local Lingo

The Czechoslovak Cookbook Cherished 
                            Czech Recipes
The Czechoslovak Cookbook The Best of Czech Cooking Cherished Czech Recipes