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19 Heavenly Hungarian Desserts You Should Know

To help you quench your sugar cravings, in this article, we’ve shortlisted some of the very best Hungarian desserts and pastries, plus tips on where to eat them in Budapest and recipes so you can make your own.

Hungarian Kakaós Csiga chocolate snails lined up in on a baking tray

When it comes to Hungarian food, desserts don’t seem to get the same recognition as some of the main courses and snacks. Yet, there are plenty of tasty of sweet treats served in cafes and pastry shops “cukrászda’s” for you to try. To help you quench your sugar cravings, in this article, we’ve shortlisted some of the very best Hungarian desserts and pastries, plus tips on where to eat them in Budapest and recipes so you can make your own.

Rétes (Strudel)

hungarian-cherry-strudel-wooden-table

Known in Hungarian as a Rétes, strudel first came about when the Central European countries, including Hungary, were under the firm grip of the Habsburg led Austro-Hungarian empire. Although time has passed since its introduction, it’s still one of the popular desserts in the region, with so many varieties and flavours. However, a traditional Hungarian strudel consists of thinly layered pastry, usually filled with apple, cherry, or fresh cottage cheese. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Rétesbolt Anno 1926 | Házi rétesbolt | Strudel Hugó

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2


Túrógombóc ( Cottage Cheese Dumplings)

 

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Túrógombóc is a Hungarian fried dumpling made from Túró cheese (cottage), eggs, semolina, vanilla powder and a coating of breadcrumbs. Although classified as a dessert, the dumplings have a subtle sweetness, so are commonly eaten as a main course. The cottage cheese balls are traditionally accompanied with some sour cream, fruit and sprinkling of sugar. 

Where to eat in BudapestBestia | Náncsi Néni | Déryné Bistro

Make Your OwnRecipe 1 | Recipe 2 |  Recipe 3 (HU)


Kürtös Kalács 

clear pack of Kürtöskalács chimney cake with Molnár's Kürtőskalács label

Kürtöskalács is one of the most famous Hungarian street foods and a firm fixture on the bucket list of foodies visiting Hungary. It’s essentially made using a sweet yeast dough wrapped around a baking spit, cooked over some hot charcoal and finished with a coating of cinnamon and granulated sugar. In recent times the Kürtöskalács has evolved, with a smorgasboard of weird and wonderful varieties on offer.  

Where to eat in Budapest: Molnár’s Kürtöskalács | Édes Mackó

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 Try Recipe 3 (HU)


Kakaóscsiga (Cocoa Snail)

Hungarian Kakaós Csiga chocolate snails lined up in on a baking tray

Kakaóscsiga is a staple Hungarian pastry made with a sweet dough rolled into a snail format, containing cocoa between each of the layers. You can find it in pretty much every bakery in Hungary, with hundereds and thousands eaten every day, for breakfast, a snack and dessert.  

Where to buy in Budapest: Butter Brothers | Pékműhely | Artizán Pékség

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 | Recipe 2 (HU)


Eszterházy-torta (Eszterházy Cake)

Hungarian Eszterházy Cake on a white plate with a fork

Eszterházy-torta is one of the slightly more decadent Hungarian Desserts first made for 19th-century nobleman Esterházy Pál Antal. This cake consists of multiple layers of almond meringue which has rum-vanilla infused buttercream in between. Then, a fine coating of fondant icing goes on top, finished off with some chopped walnuts and marble patterned chocolate decoration. 

Where to buy in Budapest: Café Gerbeaud

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 | Recipe 2


Rákóczi túrós (Cottage Cheese Cake)

 

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Named after it’s creator, master patissier János Rákóczi, this cake consists of a thin shortcrust pastry base, covered with a layer of sweetened túró (cottage cheese) and finished off with a layer of meringue on top. Although initially created for the 1958 Brussels World Expo, Rákóczi túrós has since cemented itself amongst the most beloved Hungarian desserts.

Where to buy in Budapest: Nándori Cukrászda

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 |  Recipe 2


Bejgli (Walnut Poppy Seed Roll)

two slices of hungarian bejgli poppy seed roll in a white plate on wooden table

Bejgli is delicious ground poppy seed or walnut filled sweet pastry eaten throughout the year, especially as part of a traditional Magyar Christmas feast. In Hungary, it’s common practice to remove sugar from the filling and replace it with some delicious apricot jam.

Where to eat in Budapest: Nándori cukrászda | Daubner | Auguszt Cukrászda

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 |  Recipe 2 | Recipe 3 (Hu)


Zserbó Szelet (Gerbeaud Cake) 

 

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After moving to Budapest in 1884, swiss-born confectioner Émile Gerbeaud invented sweet treats that transformed Hungarian dessert culture. With the iconic Zserbó Szelet (Gerbeaud Cake), a chocolate-coated layered cake with apricot and walnut filling being one of his most beloved creations.

Where to buy in Budapest: Gerbeaud Cafe

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 | Recipe 2 | Recipe 3


Rigó Jancsi (Gypsy John Cake)

 

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Rigó Jancsi is a deliciously decadent chocolate cake named after the iconic Hungarian violinist who wooed the daughter of Belgian royalty. It consists of two layers of fluffy chocolate sponge, held together with a creamy mousse-like cocoa filling and finished off with a flavourgasm inducing chocolate ganache.

Where to buy in Budapest: Rigó Jancsi Cukrászda 

Make Your Own: Recipe 1 | Recipe 2 (Hu) 


Somlói Galuska (Somlói dumplings)

 

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Somló Galuska was the brainchild of Károly Gollerits, the former head waiter at Budapest’s iconic Gundel restaurant. Along with Rákóczi túrós, it was one of the two Hungarian desserts that won a prestigious award at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. The mouth-watering treat resembles a trifle, with layers of soft sponge cake, custard cream, rum-soaked raisins topped off with heavy cream and chocolate sauce. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Onyx | Gerbeaud | Károlyi Étterem

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 | Try Recipe 3 (Hu)


Dobostorte (Seven-Layer Sponge Cake)

 

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Dobostorte is a prime example of the ethos that experimentation is the key to discovering great things. With the seven-layered sponge cake being the result of confectioner József C.Dobos attempts to create a cake that lasted. Between each layer is a chocolate buttercream spread, finished off with a glistening layer of hard caramel and a sprinkling of nuts on top.

Where to eat in Budapest: Zila | Nándori Cukrászda | Koch-Danica Cukrászda

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 | Try Recipe 3


Aranygaluska (Golden Dumplings)

 

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Aranygaluska is a Hungarian dessert consisting of melt in your mouth yeast dough balls, with a sugar and walnut coating. Although now popular amongst the masses, the golden dumplings are traditionally made for the religious Jewish holiday of Purim. They’re great on there own or paired with some custard. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Felix Kitchen & Bar

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 | Try Recipe 3 (Hu)


Palacsinta (Hungarian-Style Crêpes)

 

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Palacsinta is a thin Hungarian-style crêpe that’s traditionally rolled up with a jam, Nutella, walnut, poppy seeds or cinnamon-sugar filling. You’ll find these crêpes on the dining table at lunch and dinner, usually served after the main course. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Bank3 | Bajnok Palacsinta Egyesület | Cziko’s Palacsinta

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | See More Recipes


Madártej (Hungarian Floating Islands)

 

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Although originally French, Madártej is one of the most famous Hungarian desserts. Traditionally served cold, it consists of sweet smooth soup known as birds milk, with luscious floating islands of velvety meringue on top. An absolute treat after a big feast or as a lunchtime snack. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Rosentestein | Komedias Café | Olimpia étterem

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2


Szilvás gombóc (Plum dumplings)

 

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Szilvás gombóc is a plum jam-filled potato dumpling that’s traditionally eaten between late summer and fall when Hungary’s plum season is in full swing. The process of making each dumpling involves making potato dough, filling it with plums before boiling it in water. Once ready, the dumplings are rolled into breadcrumbs and finished off with Cinnamon-sugar on top.

Where to eat in Budapest: GomBRO’c

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 (Hu)


Mákos Guba (Poppyseed bread)

 

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Mákos Guba is a delicious sweet pudding made with layers of white bread soaked in a creamy poppy seed sauce. Although now enjoyed all year round, it’s one of the traditional Hungarian desserts you’ll find on the table at an authentic Magyar festive feast. It’s tasty on its own but commonly eaten with some vanilla custard. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Mákos Guba Bistro | Bistro Fine

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 (Hu)


Kókuszgolyó (Chocolate Coconut balls)

 

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Kókuszgolyó is a truffle-like confectionery made with an all-purpose cracker (Háztartási keksz) based dough, moulded into balls and rolled in coconut flakes. Simple to make and super delicious, these coconut balls are a staple during the Christmas period. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Ruszwurm

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 | Try Recipe 3 (Hu)


Gesztenyepüré (Chestnut puree)

 

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Gesztenyepüré is classic Hungarian dessert that consists of sweet pureed chestnut and rum topped with a copious amount of whipped cream. It’s the perfect dessert if you’re craving something creamy that isn’t overly sweet. 

Where to eat in Budapest: Rosenstein

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 | Try Recipe 2 | Try Recipe 3 (Hu)


Krémes (Vanilla Slice)

 

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Krémes is a dreamy treat that’s the Hungarian adaptation of the iconic Austro-Hungarian dessert cremeschnitte. It consists of two layers of puff pastry held together with a light vanilla-infused cream, topped off with a dusting of icing sugar.

Where to eat in Budapest: Ruszwurm | Daubner | Auguszt Cukrászda | Café Gerbeaud

Make Your Own: Try Recipe 1 


Hopefully, this article has both inspired, informed and made you crave some traditional Hungarian desserts. Let us know if we’ve missed any foods or if you’d like to add any recommendations.

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