Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

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Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Many people have at least a few favorite foods they grew up with. Today I’d like to share with you one of my ultimate favorite dishes. This dish holds a very special place in my heart. It’s also a very popular street food called Polish zapiekanka. Essentially, it’s an open-faced baguette sandwich topped with a variety of toppings and toasted in the oven. I suppose it’s a Polish answer to a popular pizza dish.

Growing up zapiekanka has always been my go-to fast food option. It became the perfect snack to grab when running around town, hanging out with friends or having a bite before or after a movie. The simplicity of it made it super fast, warm, gooey and definitely delicious food option. Sometimes, it even became a full dinner. This dish is made with only a few ingredients therefore it’s not that time consuming and very easy to make. Living away from Poland I’ve often missed this awesome street food, therefore, I decided to start making it at home. Since then, I’ve perfected my recipe and I’m delighted to share it with all of you.

Smacznego (bon appetit)!

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home

History of Polish Zapiekanka

Why is it called zapiekanka? The name comes from the word ‘zapiekac’ which means ‘to bake’. And in my opinion, it just sounds cool. It’s pronounced (zah-peeyeh-KAHN-kah). This fast snack became popular in the 1970s during the Communist era when Poland was under very strict conditions. Even though there were restrictions on what was allowed in Poland at the time, the Communist authorities did allow some certain private enterprises especially in the catering industry.

What soon followed was an onslaught of small family-owned food service establishments, known as ‘mała gastronomia’ or small gastronomy. These businesses opened small stalls or food trucks that would typically serve such dishes as Polish kielbasa, boiled ham hock, tripe soup and such American fast food as hot dogs, hamburgers and French fries. Consequently, zapiekanka because of its simplicity become a popular snack during this time. If you want to learn more about Poland during the Communist era read up about it here.

Today you can still find zapiekanka on the streets of Poland. However, it has taken on many different varieties. Last time I went to Poland I personally went on a quest to find a good zapiekanka. Sadly I couldn’t find one as good as I remember from my childhood. I hope next time I’ll find one that’s up to my standard. Until then, I’m happy to be making them at home.

Classic Polish Zapiekanka

The classic Polish zapiekanka has only a few ingredients. And it takes about 20-30 minutes to make including 15 min. baking time in the oven.

Ingredients

1/2 of 280 gr. stick of shredded cheese (cheddar or mozarella or any similar cheese)

4-5 shredded mushrooms

2 medium ciabattas or flat baguettes

Sprinkle of paprika

Ketchup to taste

Directions

Shred the cheese in one bowl and the mushrooms in another bowl.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Slice the ciabatta or baguette lengthwise into two long pieces. Place the bread on a baking tray face open.

Sprinkle with enough cheese to cover the entire ciabatta or baguette. Add the shredded mushrooms to cover the entire ciabatta.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Sprinkle with more cheese to cover the entire ciabatta or baguette.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Place the bread in the oven and turn the oven to broil on low setting. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check the doneness of the bread to see that the top layer of the cheese has started to create a bit of a crust. Turn the oven off and leave it there for an additional 5 minutes. Take out of the oven, sprinkle with paprika and top with as much ketchup as you like.

Why Classic Zapiekanka?

What I love about this classic Polish zapiekanka is the gooey and cheesy factor. This zapiekanka is all about the cheese and the mushrooms are a great compliment to the dish.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Other Versions of Polish Zapiekanka

In addition to making the classic version of Polish zapiekanka I’m sharing with you few other variations.

Ingredients

1/2 of stick of shredded cheese (cheddar or mozarella or any similar cheese)

4-5 shredded mushrooms

2 medium ciabattas or flat baguettes

Half a stick of good quality kielbasa, ham, pepperoni or other favorite meat

1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes cut up into small pieces

Sprinkle of paprika

Ketchup to taste

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Directions

Shred the cheese in one bowl and the mushrooms in another bowl. Slice the ciabattas or baguettes lengthwise into two long pieces. Place the bread on a baking tray face open. For this version I’m using sun-dried tomatoes. My boyfriend’s father usually buys sheets of sun-dried tomatoes vacuum packed. You can then transfer these to a jar and fill it up with your favorite oil. This preserves the sun-dried tomatoes and prevents them from drying out and going bad. You can store them in the fridge to make sure they stay fresh.

Take out a few slices of the sun dried tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. Sprinkle as many of them on the bread as you like.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Next, sprinkle shredded mushrooms to cover the entire ciabatta or baguette. Then add shredded cheese to cover the entire ciabatta or baguette

Cut the kielbasa or pepperoni in cubes and lay flat on the ciabatta.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Place the bread in the oven and turn the oven to broil on low setting. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check the doneness of the bread to see that the top layer of the cheese has started to create a bit of a crust. Turn the oven on and leave it there of an additional 5 minutes. Take out of the oven, sprinkle with paprika and top with as much ketchup as you like.

Why This Version of Zapiekanka?

What I love about this version is that it brings that sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes and the crunchiness of the slightly fried kielbasa on top. Adding the kielbasa or any other meat also ensures that you add some protein to the dish making it a lot more substantive. Thus, you can easily have this version of a Polish zapiekanka as a full dinner.

No matter what version of Polish zapiekanka you end up making I’ll guarantee it will be delicious. You’ll fall in love with this super tasty Polish street food and now you can re-create it at home.

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Yummy Polish Zapiekanka You Can Easily Make At Home!

Want more Polish recipes? Check out my recipe for a favorite Polish fried dough pastry called Angel Wings or ‘Faworki’ here.

What do you think of this dish? Do you have a favorite street food from your childhood? Share with me in the comments below. I’m very interested to know some of the other street foods from different cultures.

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18 Comments

  1. Lisa K says:

    Well it is easy to see why this is a crowd pleaser! Toasty oven-baked cheesy bread with some additional toppings, mmmmm. My husband would love the kielbasa version for sure:)

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Ha ha ha you got it Lisa. Who doesn’t love oooey gooey cheese on a toasty bread, right? I hope you do make the kielbasa version for your husband.

  2. Karen says:

    Wow, this looks delicious! I am Polish and never heard of this. Probably because my family left Poland before the 1970s. I’m going to try all of these. I’m a vegetarian so I’ll be substituting the kielbasa. Luckily Tofurky makes a really good vegan kielbasa. Dziękuję!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Oh wow Karen. I’m glad to introduce you to zapiekanka then. It was so popular when I was a kid. I used to eat it all the time. Now I make it at home and it’s so delicious. I hope your Tofurky version is just as tasty.

  3. Melissa Rogers says:

    These look so good! And anything that is simple to make, is a favorite of mine 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thank you Melissa and I totally agree.

  4. Katchutravels (@Katchutravels) says:

    The name Zapienka does sound cool. I am just wondering if you increased the intensity of wildness of the mushrooms in the dish, would this dish give you a high 🙂 ?

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Ha ha ha definitely just a natural high. Nothing else!!!

  5. Tahnee says:

    Melted cheese is my weakness 😂😂 these look incredible! Perfect for the cold weather coming in. Thanks for sharing a great post

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Oh yes these are definitely comfort food. I used to eat them a lot back in Poland on a cold day and they definitely warmed me up 🙂

  6. Cristine says:

    Such a great recipe and easy to create. More people need to explore different types of foods and expand their palate

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thanks Cristine. Yes I totally agree with you. I love trying different foods from other cultures.

  7. sj says:

    This looks delicious and so tempting, I really really loved seeing the pictures. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. Have a great day 🙂

  8. echoesofhervoice says:

    The recipe looks amazing and easy to make. I have to give this a try one day. Thanks for sharing!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thanks so much. It is indeed easy and really tasty.

  9. eclectickristal says:

    I love how simply this is and I can make it really quick. My life is so hectic I need easy things to do and meal prep.

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      This is my go to dish when I’m super busy and only have a few ingredients on hand. But in all honestly it’s so good I could eat it on a weekly basis if only it wasn’t so much cheese 😉

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