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Traditional Lithuanian Dishes

Updated on October 01, 2014

About Lithuanian Cuisine

Lithuanians like to eat a lot and enjoy good food. Our traditional cuisine is rather simple, but has a variety of interesting dishes, many of them hearty and suitable for those cold Eastern European winters. Rye, potatoes, various meats, beetroots and turnips, mushrooms, berries, and diary products are often used when preparing Lithuanian food. You will find some of the most popular traditional Lithuanian foods, dishes and drinks on the page below.

Didžkukuliai (Also Called Cepelinai) - Potato Dumplings


Didžkukuliai (more commonly known as cepelinai) is often called the national dish of Lithuania. While it's considered an old, traditional recipe now, potatoes were only brought to Lithuania in the 17th century, and became widely used for food in the beginning of the 19th one.

Cepelinai are large, Zeppelin-shaped (that's where they get their name from) dumplings made from grated potatoes stuffed with meat. They are usually served with sour cream, spirgai (cracklings), or mushrooms. Some restaurants will serve a vegetarian version of the cepelinai made with a curd filling instead of meat. As you can imagine, it's a rather filling meal with enough calories to make any light eater or dieter run for the hills.

Šaltibarščiai - Cold Borscht (Beetroot Soup)


Šaltibarščiai is a popular summer soup easily recognizable by its vivid pink color. It's made from hard-boiled eggs, cooked and shredded beets, fresh cucumbers, dill, and green onions. All the aforementioned ingredients are chopped and put into a pot, and then soured milk or kefir is added. The soup can be seasoned with salt and some pepper to taste.

Šaltibarščiai is served cold, usually with hot boiled potatoes sprinkled with dill on the side. Sometimes a sliced hard-boiled egg is added into the plate as well. It's a great, refreshing meal on a hot summer day!

Juoda Duona - Dark Rye Bread


Duona (bread) is probably the oldest traditional Lithuanian food that has been the center of Lithuanian cuisine for hundreds of years. It played a role in various agrarian rituals and still is occasionally used in wedding ceremonies. As a staple food, rye bread was shown great respect and viewed as holy.

Lithuanian dark rye bread is delicious, heavy, fragrant and can remain fresh for a long time. It can be eaten during breakfast, lunch or dinner. Of course, it isn't as popular these days as it was in the old times, when it was consumed with almost every meal. Nowadays it's eaten with soup, used for sandwiches, or fried in oil and rubbed with garlic as a beer snack.



Balandėliai ("little doves") are made from cabbage leaves stuffed with a minced meat, rice and onion filling. They can be served with sour cream or tomato sauce. Since rice is not grown in Lithuania, pearl barley had been used instead in the traditional recipes.

This Lithuanian dish is far from unique, of course - many traditional cuisines in Europe and elsewhere in the world have some sort of stuffed cabbage rolls.


Bulviniai Blynai

Bulviniai blynai, or potato pancakes are one of the many Lithuanian dishes made from potatoes. Shredded potatoes are mixed with eggs, some flour, seasonings, and occasionally an onion or two. They are usually served with sour cream, and sometimes with mushrooms. These are so-very tasty, never mind the extra calories!

Similar potato pancakes are also eaten in many other European and Middle Eastern countries.



Gira is a fermented drink traditionally made from black rye bread (a few raisins tossed in is a more modern addition). It has a unique bready flavor, and a sweet, yet tangy taste. Gira contains a lot of vitamin B and is a great drink for a hot day. It is known as "kvass" in Russia and is popular in other countries in Eastern Europe as well.

Gira is considered a soft drink but contains some alcohol (0.05-1.5%) due to the natural fermentation process, which also adds some natural carbonation. This doesn't apply to kvass-flavored sodas; these are carbonated artificially and have little to do with the traditional drink.



Skilandis (also known as Kindziukas from its Polish name) is a pig stomach stuffed with minced meat and seasonings, smoked, and matured (dried) for some time. It is one of the many smoked meat products that are popular in Lithuania, such as smoked and dried ham (rūkytas kumpis) or smoked sausage (dešra). This traditional way of preserving meat has been used in the region for many centuries.



Lašiniai are slabs of pork underskin fat with skin, often eaten as an appetizer with bread and / or onions. Lithuanian lašiniai are a smoked product, while the Russian and Ukrainian equivalent salo is usually only salted.

Aguonų Pienas and Kūčiukai

Kūčiukai are small, hard pastries made from leavened dough. They are traditionally consumed on the Christmas Eve (Kūčios) together with aguonų pienas. Aguonpienis, or "poppy milk" is made by soaking poppy seeds in water for a day to soften them up, and then crushing them using a food processor until a white liquid comes out. It is then diluted with some cold water and sweetened to taste with honey or sugar. This is an important part of the time-honored twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper in Lithuania.


Bulvių Plokštainis (Commonly Known as Kugelis)

Bulvių plokštainis is another fattening, yet delicious and hearty potato-based dish. Grated potatoes (with the juice removed) are mixed with eggs, milk, onions, and seasoned with pepper, salt, and occasionally marjoram or other herbs. Mushrooms and meat (chicken or pork, browned prior to adding it into the mix) are frequently added to this basic dish. The whole mixture is then baked in the oven, resulting in a flat potato pie, which is what the name bulvių plokštainis literally means. It is usually served with sour cream and occasionally spirgai.

Potato-stuffed version of vėdarai with a glass of gira in the background.
Potato-stuffed version of vėdarai with a glass of gira in the background. | Source


Vėdarai refers to baked sausages made from pig intestines and stuffed with either potatoes (bulviniai vėdarai) or a filling made of pork blood, barley, and other ingredients (kraujiniai vėdarai), similar to blood sausages eaten in Germany or Great Britain.

Both versions involve stuffing the mix into pork casings and baking them in the oven. This meal is usually eaten as a second course, with sour cream or some fancier sauce on the side.

A jar of krienai from a Lithuanian supermarket.
A jar of krienai from a Lithuanian supermarket.


Horseradish (krienas) has been used as a condiment in Lithuania for hundreds of years. The roots are washed, cleaned, finely grated, and marinated in a mixture of water, salt, and vinegar. Some beetroot juice is usually added to give krienai a light pink color. Their powerful taste adds some spiciness reminiscent of the Japanese wasabi to the normally mild Lithuanian cuisine.

Horseradish sauce is also popular in Poland and other Eastern European countries.

Traditional Lithuanian Cookbook

If you want to try your hand at cooking some of the aforementioned ethnic Lithuanian dishes, this volume by B. Imbrasiene will definitely come in handy. Unlike several other similarly-titled books, this one contains actual, authentic recipes, such as they were (and still are) used in the Lithuanian countryside. In addition to the 300 great recipes, it also provides some information on the country's culinary traditions and food culture.

Links and Resources

  • Lithuanian Traditional Foods page has a lot of information on our national cuisine. The available recipes were compiled by Birute Imbrasiene, the author of the book displayed above.
  • Wikipedia has a nice long article about Lithuanian cuisine.

A Small Country on the Eastern Shore of the Baltic Sea


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    • profile image

      Paulina 2 weeks ago

      Helped a TON with my school project. Thx!

    • profile image

      Jasmine 4 weeks ago

      Thx Helped with my thing for school!

    • profile image

      Isa 4 weeks ago

      Thank you!

      Now I can do my Social science proyect


    • profile image

      Small 8 months ago

      The foods of my childhood! My father's family was from Lithuania and he died when I was little, but my mom kept cooking many of these things-- I had no idea they were so specific to his heritage. Thanks!

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Really interesting! Vote up!

    • profile image

      dddddddddddd 2 years ago


    • Titus2Homemaker profile image

      Titus2Homemaker 3 years ago

      Thank you for this lens! My g-g-grandparents were Lithuanian, so I was looking to bring a bit of the culture into my home. This makes it look pretty doable. :)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Wow! They sure look delicious! Hope to try them someday. - Ms. Charito from the Philippines

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      mmmmmm. Not a geeky lens. Still looking.

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      othellos 3 years ago

      What a wonderful resource. Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive guide!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: KUGELIS :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: that thing in lithuanian is called KUGELIS

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi,

      I just stumbled upon this website looking for the same thing. My grandmother's version is made with ground beef rather than chicken/rabbit, but it sounds like it's made the same way. We call it (and I have no experience with the language so please forgive me) "cugulous". I can't find it by that name either, so it's probably called something completely different!


    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Hi all,

      My Dads family was from Lithuania and he used to cook he called (this is what I remember and what I think it sounds like) Koishi (coyshee). It was grated potatoes, onion, salt, mixed with browned chicken or rabbit and baked. Is there another name for this or something similar as I can't find anything searching. Thanks.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 3 years ago

      That Zeppelin potato cake sounds delicious. I'd love to try some of this Lithuanian food,

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am looking for a Lithuanian recipe that is grated potatoes stuffed in casings - they are called dashieds

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: hi

      First make sure you wash the casings really well, if they have fat inside don't remove it, it will melt away and will prevent casing from cracking during baking.

      For the filling:

      Since I don't know how many casings you have itâs hard for me to tell you how many potatoes you will need. But let's assume you have one medium size casing.

      1. Peel 4 or 5 medium Idaho potatoes and grate them fine, loosely squeeze some of the liquid off.

      2. Heat up about 1/3 of the cup milk just to boiling point and pour over potatoes. Hot milk bleaches potatoes otherwise they will look dark grey. You can also use lemon juice from ½ a lemon.

      3. Lightly beat 2-3 eggs and add to the potatoes.

      4. Add salt and paper to taste and one crumbled up bay leave.

      5. Take the narrow end of the casing and close it tight by wrapping a thread, make sure itâs tight over wise filling will spill out.

      6. You have to ask someone to help you for this step. One person will hold an open end of the casing and another will pour the filling spoon full at a time into the casing. Make sure you donât fill it up too tight, because potatoes will expand and will break the casing.

      7. Tighten up the wide end of the casing; lay it out on a greased baking sheet. Take a toothpick and prick some holes into the casing, again to prevent breakage. Rub some olive or canola oil on top.

      8. Put in the oven for about 1.5 hours at 375F you will know itâs done when your house will smell amazing and the casing looks crusty.

      If your casing brakes donât worry, its part of the process, it all tastes amazing.

      For the sauce you can sauté some onions in butter, you can add mushrooms or bacon. Or you can simply serve with sour cream. Also if you have some filling left, just make some pancakes.


    • gintyy profile image

      gintyy 4 years ago

      Very delicious my country food :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: OMG hahahah lol that's so funny

    • ViolaSuSi profile image

      ViolaSuSi 4 years ago

      Everything makes my mouth water. I should try some of these. Unique recipes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am looking for something very simple to cook with a ten year Lithuanian girl any suggestions?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: it is

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      The food looks amazing but I LOVE the clay dishes in the soup photo. I already drink kvass. It's super healthy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Our clothing for an average day is very casual. Blue jean pants, basic shirt, long or short sleeved, tee shirt, or sweater, leather or athletic shoes. For casual dressy maybe kakhi pants with a shirt that has a collar and leather shoes. Suits are only worn for dress, weddings, funerals, work if it's an office environment. For a job interview you would try to dress according to the attire of the place you are thinking of working. Being clean, well groomed and pleasant is helpful too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Utica, NY has 2 Polish meat markets Polaski on Lenix Ave.....the polish ladies make the fresh kilbasa its the best.....I think they will ship

    • Valdacious profile image

      Valdacious 4 years ago

      Your lens is making me hungry...:-) Thanks for sharing your culture...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The black rye bread looks delicious!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I remember all these dishes from LT. Our friends made them to us, and we like them very much. I bought the book many ears ago, but I haven't made something, yet.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: The Lithuanian part of my family is also from mass,(Methuen). I know there is a Polish foods store in Worchester that sells many different home made kielbasi and sausages. I'm not sure of the name but I'm sure you can find it on line.

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      jimmyworldstar 5 years ago

      Ah borscht, the traditional Eastern European soup. I'm not familiar with cuisine in the former USSR but potato stuffed with meat and a side of sour cream to eat with it sounds hearty and filling to me.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @poutine: where would I find the grey kielbasa my grandmother from Lithuania made. She moved to Brighton/Alston MA. I also live in MA . The Lithuanian Club was a place we'd go to , though I was too young to remember that. Loved her type of kielbasa anyday over the red stuff in the stores

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My grandmother was from Lithuania and moved to Allston/Brighton Mass. She hand made grey kielbasa die for...where could I find some? I also live in Mass.

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      My dear, it all looks delicious and healthy too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love rye bread, don't know why I just do, this food looks good.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      im Lithuania and i need to know what the traditional clothing there is... does any one know???

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Im Lithuania. This delicous foods :)

    • Beadsnresin profile image

      Beadsnresin 5 years ago

      Thanks for this, didn't know much about Lithuanian food. Being the meat lover I am, i think i would very much like to eat the Skilandis, mmm yum.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @EuroSquid LM: kibinai is actualy tatars national dish not lithuanian. grand duke Vytautas used tatars as personal guards for their extraordinary abilities of fighting.

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      Debbie 5 years ago from England

      Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @marketmasterpro: aaw thats deadly

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 6 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      How great to see a personal regional food lens like this! Blessed by your neighborhood angel and added to my regional food lens.

    • Padaneis profile image

      Padaneis 6 years ago

      Slurp! It looks like mouth-watering...Very fine lens. Bests

    • EuroSquid LM profile image

      EuroSquid LM 6 years ago

      I am not a big fan of Cepelinai. I prefer Kibinai which is sort of like a crunchy Cepelina. I believe it is a speciality from the area of Trakai..or at least that is where I had it first.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      @aka-rms: If you want to learn more about Lithuanian cuisine, check this Lithuanian travel guide, i find useful :D Kugel actually is pretty good. They even give you the recipe and the directions so you can prepare the dish on your own.

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      poutine 6 years ago

      I love Lithuanian dishes, specially the perogies and the borscht soup.

    • marketmasterpro profile image

      marketmasterpro 6 years ago

      Do you have any good perogie recipes? Great site...I am Lithuanian.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack2205 6 years ago

      Returning to bless.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack2205 6 years ago

      These recipes look delicious.

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      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've tried a variety of ethnic foods, but I've never come across Lithuanian food. You lens made me want to try it. Well done and presented! **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

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      NeuroPhite 6 years ago

      Love your lens!

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