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Top 5 Authentic Romanian Recipes

by World food team

From the heart of Eastern Europe, Romania offers a culinary palette shaped by various historical influences, encompassing Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Slavic tastes. Romanian cuisine stands out for its hearty and flavorful dishes. Delve into the top five traditional recipes that embody the soul of Romanian gastronomy.


Often regarded as Romania’s national dish, Mămăligă is a cornmeal porridge similar to polenta. It can be a side dish or a main, often accompanied by cheese, sour cream, or stews.

Recipe Snapshot:

Ingredients: Cornmeal, salt, and water.

Boil water, add salt, and gradually whisk in cornmeal until thickened.

Serve with toppings like cheese, sour cream, or meat stews.


Sarmale are savory cabbage rolls stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice, and spices. Slow-cooked in tomato sauce, they are often enjoyed during festive occasions and holidays.

Recipe Snapshot:

Filling: Minced pork (or a mix of pork and beef), rice, onions, and seasonings.

Wrap the filling in pickled cabbage leaves.

Layer in a pot with tomato sauce, bacon, and smoked sausages. Cook slowly until tender.

Ciorbă de Burtă

This traditional tripe soup, often considered a hangover cure, boasts a tangy and rich flavor. The sourness typically comes from vinegar or fermented wheat bran.

Recipe Snapshot:

Ingredients: Beef tripe, sour cream, vinegar or fermented wheat bran, garlic, and seasonings.

Boil and prepare the tripe, then simmer in a flavorful broth.

Add a garlic and sour cream mixture for a rich finish.

See also: Discovering Romania’s Enigmatic Beauty: Essential Tips for Tourists

Mămăliga cu Brânză și Smântână

A variation of the classic Mămăligă, this dish is layered with cheese and sour cream, then baked to perfection. It’s a cheesy delight loved by many.

Recipe Snapshot:

Prepare a basic Mămăligă.

In a baking dish, layer the Mămăligă, cheese (typically feta), and sour cream.

Bake until golden and bubbly.


Ending on a sweet note, Papanăși are fried or boiled doughnuts traditionally filled with soft cheese and topped with sour cream and jam. It’s a dessert that captivates both locals and visitors alike.

Recipe Snapshot:

Dough: Soft cheese (like cottage cheese), eggs, sugar, flour, and a touch of lemon zest.

Shape into doughnuts and either boil or fry.

Serve warm with sour cream and fruit preserves.

Romania’s culinary treasures are a testament to its rich history and diverse influences. Each dish offers a hearty embrace, echoing the warmth of its people and traditions. To truly savor the spirit of Romania, one must indulge in its flavors, and these recipes are the perfect starting point.

View also: Romania’s Top 5 Wines: Sipping Through the Cradle of Viticulture

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