18 Best Traditional Hungarian Desserts You Must Try in Budapest
You’ll find here 18 of the most delicious traditional Hungarian desserts you must try in Budapest, with recipes and the best confectionery and dessert shops in Budapest.
If you want to learn more about traditional Hungarian desserts and want to learn how to make them or where to find them in Budapest you came to the right place.
While Hungary is famous for its desserts you can mostly hear about the ones you’ll find in confectioneries and less about the just as tasty homemade Hungarian desserts. While they might be less aesthetic than the ones you find in shops around town but they’re just as tasty if not even more.
That’s why we wanted to make a list of all kinds of Hungarian desserts, not just the ones you find in a confectionery.
Here you’ll also find some of the most popular Hungarian desserts that we Hungarians actually make almost on a daily basis. Because while we love and are very much proud of the Dobos Cake, Chimney Cake or Rakoczi slice it’s not really something we make every day.
What kind of desserts do Hungarians actually make at home? Read on and find out.
Best Confectionery Shops & Cafes in Budapest to try traditional Hungarian desserts
You can still find a few excellent traditional Hungarian confectionery shops and cafes in Hungary where you can not only enjoy delightful cakes and sweets but an elegant and royal-like atmosphere.
While each of these traditional cafes and confectioneries is a must-try in Budapest you should also visit some of the more modern places especially if you’re vegan or you’re on a special diet.
Gerbaud Cafe – Probably the most famous Hungarian cafe and confectionery is Gerbaud Cafe. Here you can enjoy some of the best Hungarian desserts in an elegant atmosphere right in the center of Budapest. Gerbaud is open since 1858.
Daubner confectionery – Daubner is another world-famous confectionery opened by Daubner Bela in 1901. You can try here excellent cakes and all kinds of Hungarian desserts as well as more modern and unique delights.
Ruszwurm Confectionery – is a lesser-known Confectionery in Budapest, but it has a fine history and mouth-watering delights. You can find this gorgeous historic Confectionery in the Buda Castle. They first opened in 1827 and they still serve some of the best traditional Hungarian desserts in the country.
Zila café and Krisztina confectionery – You can find this elegant Cafe & confectionery a bit further from the center but it is so worth going the extra mile. You can have here a fine dinner and then try some of the best desserts in Hungary.
Auguszt confectionery – Is another lesser-known treasure in Budapest. They have two confectioneries in Budapest, one in Buda and one in Pest. The original confectionery opened in Buda in 1870. No matter which Auguszt confectionery you visit you’ll surely enjoy some of the best Hungarian desserts of your life.
Strudel Hugó – You can find this little shop in the center of Budapest in the historic Jewish District. Here you can find all kinds of yummy strudels at a pretty good price.
Szamos Gourmet House – Szamos has many shops all around Budapest and Hungary but Szamos Gourmet House is the most beautiful. You can try here delicacies made with the famous Szamos marzipan.
Best Vegan Confectionery Shops & Cafes in Budapest to try traditional Hungarian desserts
Edeni Vegán – This is a really great vegan place if you want to try some Hungarian home-cooked style desserts and dishes.
Vegán Édes Élet confectionery – You can find here really delicious vegan but still traditional Hungarian desserts.
Vega City – Vega City is one of our all-time favorite foodie places in Budapest. It’s right in the center just opposite of the Hungarian National Museum and you can find here really delicious vegan Hungarian home-cooked style dishes and desserts.
Delicious Hungarian Desserts With Recipes
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18| Poppy Seed Bread Pudding (Mákos Guba)
One of the most popular traditional Hungarian desserts is Mákos Guba. There have been recipes found from over 300 years ago. It is also a very common comfort dessert in Hungary as it is easy to make and cheers everyone up straight away.
How to make Makos Guba? The simplest recipe has it all ready in 10 minutes; you just have to soak sliced (often stale) crescent rolls into hot vanilla milk (can be soy milk to be vegan) and then just mix it with poppyseed and powdered sugar.
As simple as it sounds, the Hungarian Poppyseed Pudding is one of the most delicious desserts.
Some versions also pour vanilla custard on top while there are recipes that use dough instead of crescent rolls.
Follow Budapest Cook Class’ yummy home-style ‘Hungarian Poppy Seed Bread Pudding Recipe (Mákos Guba) recipe‘.
17| Golden Dumpling (Aranygaluska)
One of the most common Hungarian desserts is Aranygaluska because it is pretty easy to make and it’s so filling that it can be served as a main course.
All the preparation and baking time is only 90 minutes, less than a movie. It has a quite long history, it is known to be a popular dessert since the mid 19th century.
You have to bake a nice dough in any shape, they can be balls or cubes, sometimes it’s just a delicious mess.
Then you will have to make a delicious vanilla sauce and sprinkle it all with walnuts and sugar or anything of your liking.
Try Zserbo’s amazing ‘Golden walnut dumplings – Aranygaluska recipe‘.
16| Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács)
If you wanted to translate the Hungarian name, it is most commonly called chimney cake in English. Nowadays you can find street vendors in large cities and bakeries in smaller towns or villages selling the popular dough cake.
What is Kurtos Kalacs exactly? This traditional Hungarian dessert is actually fairly simple, yet mind-blowingly delicious.
It is a sort of spit cake, meaning a layer of dough is stuck onto a rotating spit and baked by an open fire.
The dough is often dipped in either sugar, cinnamon or various nuts making it one of the most irresistible Hungarian desserts.
You can now buy theses yummies everywhere often filled with cream or ice cream but the original ones baked on an open fire are the best ones.
It originates from Transylvania that was a beloved area in Hungary, however, after the first World War – as a punishment – it was separated from Hungary (Still a VERY sensitive subject in Hungary.) and became a part of Romania.
You can find out how to make them on ‘Honest Cooking’ if you follow their ‘Kürtöskalács Chimney Cake recipe‘.
15| Rakoczi Cottage Cheese Cake (Rákóczi Túrós)
It was named after one of the bravest Hungarian heroes who led the uprising against the Hapsburg oppression in the early 18th century.
Rakoczi cottage cheesecake should not be missed when visiting, you can actually find it sold by most confectioneries in Budapest.
There are different ways of making this popular dessert. If you buy it in a shop, you are going to get the classic one with scrumptious egg white foam slightly toasted on top.
This Hungarian dessert can be pretty sweet, however, at some of the pastry shops in Budapest, there are some less sugary treats as well.
You can make these delights on your own if you follow Zserbo’s ‘Hungarian curd cheese squares in Rákóczi style recipe‘.
14| Dobos Cake (Dobos Torta)
Dobos cake or drummer torte is actually named after its creator, Josef Dobos. This is another one of the most famous Hungarian desserts you will be able to find easily anywhere you go in the country.
Since the end of the 19th century, it has become widely popular in Hungary.
This sponge cake is fairly easy to make at home as well. You just need seven thin sponge layers and chocolate buttercream. Add a tough caramel cover and you have got a pretty elegant and delicious dessert.
If you are in search of easy to make Hungarian dessert recipes, then this one may just become your new favorite.
You can learn how to make them if you follow The Spruce Eats ‘Hungarian Dobosh Torte (Dobos Torta) recipe‘.
13| Gerbeaud Slice (Zserbo Szelet)
This delight’s birth date is still debated as some say it was first served at the end of the 19th century, some others say it wasn’t presented until the 1950s. Some think it was created by Emil Gerbaud but some say the cake was only named after him.
It remains a mystery as there isn’t much data to go on by, although Swiss-born Budapest based confectioner Emil Gerbeaud passed away in 1919.
For a memorable treat try this amazing dessert at the most famous confectionery in Budapest named after the dessert itself. We also included Gerbeaud Cafe in our 3-day Budapest itinerary.
The dark chocolate glazed cake is made with apricot jam and walnut between the crust layers.
It is not too sweet and difficult to stop eating once the first bite hooked you.
Visit Zserbo.com if you want to try a ‘traditional Zserbó / Gerbeaud Slice recipe‘.
12| Esterhazy cake (Eszterházy torta)
Another one of the most elegant and easy to make traditional Hungarian desserts you are going to love. It is named after an Austro-Hungarian prince and was first created in Budapest at the end of the 19th century.
Using almond macaroon dough and vanilla or cognac flavored buttercream, it is not difficult to make, still your guests or family will definitely love it.
When visiting the Hungarian capital, you can find this cake at almost all pastry shops in Budapest.
Thanks to the striped fondant glaze cover on top, it is also very elegant and beautiful making it a great present or birthday cake.
Check out Domestic Gothess’ ‘Esterhazy Torte (Hazelnut & Chocolate Layer cake) recipe‘.
11| Flodni (Flódni)
Flodni is a rich pastry filled with goodies that are typical to Hungary. It originates from the large Hungarian Jewish population from around the late 19th century.
Now it is one of the most common comfort foods grannies like to treat the little ones with. Between the thin dough layers, you can find delicious plum jam, apple, walnuts, and poppy seeds.
There is no better traditional Hungarian dessert to showcase the country’s beloved products.
Most pastry shops in Budapest have this slice of heaven in their offers regularly.
Follow Jewish Food Experience’s ‘Hungarian Jewish Flódni Cake recipe‘ if you want to learn how to make them.
10| Hungarian Custard Slice (Krémes)
In literal translation it is ‘creamy,’ and for a good reason. It is similar to Napolean pastry, but there is much more cream involved and less pastry.
The vanilla filling was once referred to as ‘vanilla pate’ because it quite thick and its texture resembles some sort of pate.
If you are in search of easy to make at home Hungarian dessert recipes, Krémes is one of your best choices. Without much hustle, you can sweep everybody off their feet with this delicious sweet.
The thin layers of pastry at the top and bottom compliment the vanilla filling so well, they were meant to be together.
Follow Zsuzsanna in The Kitchen’s ‘Hungarian Custard Slice (Krémes) recipe‘ if you want to learn how to make it.
9| Hungarian Trifle (Somlói galuska)
One of the most popular Hungarian desserts Somloi Galuska (Hungarian Triffle) has a considerably short history.
It was born in the 1950’s gaining popularity and acclaim at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Since it is not terribly difficult to make at home, Hungarians tend to offer it as the last course of dinners at gatherings.
Despite being easy to make, it takes some time to prepare. You have to soak the sponge cakes in rum and/or vanilla essence. Otherwise, it is an easy dessert that looks perfectly lavish on the plate. It’s another beloved Hungarian dessert that Hungarians often make at home instead of buying it in a store.
Follow ‘SOMLÓI GALUSKA, HUNGARIAN DESSERT DUMPLINGS recipe‘ by Food Perestroika.
8| Gundel Pancake (Gundel Palacsinta)
Gundel pancake is most certainly one of the most famous traditional Hungarian desserts. This scrumptious dessert has a fairly short history compared to others as it first appeared around the 1940s.
It has a very interesting story because the famous Hungarian writer, Sándor Márai’s wife, Ilona Matzner invented it. When the prestigious Gundel restaurant’s founder, Károly Gundel tasted it at a banquet, he put it on the menu naming it after the inventor Marai pancake.
Following the couple’s migration to Italy, the communist party couldn’t have allowed keeping the name so it was called Gundel pancake from that on.
It is quite easy to make; you just need walnuts, raisins, rum, and dark chocolate sauce and pancakes. Of course, there is a little more to it but still isn’t a difficult recipe.
Follow My Dish’s ‘Pancake A La Gundel/Gundel Palacsinta recipe‘ if you want to make it.
7| Strudel (Rétes)
Wherever you go, the most common of all traditional Hungarian desserts are strudels. This lovely pastry dates back to the 16th century and it is among the most beloved Hungarian desserts that often serves as a fantastic comfort food.
In the soft pastry you can often find delicious fillings such as apple, cherry, poppy seed, walnut and other seasonal fruits.
There are sweet and savory strudels as well so no matter what palate desires, rétes is your new favorite.
It is sort of a home meal for Hungarians as it is quite easy to make and with one tray you can make a number of different flavors. You will also find it in almost all the pastry shops in Budapest.
You can follow Zsuzsanna in the kitchen’s guide to ‘APPLE STRUDEL – ALMÁSRÉTES recipe‘.
6| Hungarian chocolate sponge cake (Rigo Jancsi)
This usually cube-shaped sponge cake with creamy chocolate filling has a scandalous story behind its name. Rigó Jancsi was a talented Hungarian gypsy violinist, who performed in some of the most prestigious restaurants around Europe.
In 1896 he met the American millionaire, E.B. Ward’s only daughter Clara, who was the Belgian prince’s wife. Rigó fell in love for the first sight in the Paris restaurant he was playing at and managed to win over the lady’s heart and created a huge media buzz.
They then got married and lived happily ever after. You could say it was a romantic story if you are not concerned about poor prince Joseph of Belgium.
The creator of the recipe named it after the legendary musician in honor of the love story.
Check out The Bossy Kitchen’s ‘HUNGARIAN DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE- RIGO JANCSI recipe‘ to learn how to make this chocolaty delight.
5| “Roe Spine” Chocolate Cake with Biscuits (Kekszes őzgerinc)
The “Roe spine” can actually be made vegan, has nothing to do with roes, so do not worry. It is an easy home meal that is one of the most beloved traditional Hungarian desserts that we mostly make at home.
You can make it at home without much trouble and the result is a lovely comfort dessert you can’t have enough of.
This chocolate and biscuit mixture can be made either sweet or neutral, so it may be a good fit for everybody.
The best part is; you don’t even need more than half an hour to make this lovely Hungarian dessert.
English Recipe is coming soon, till then, you can check out Cook Pad’s ‘Kekszes őzgerinc recipe‘.
4| Beigli (Bejgli)
Just get a large sheet of dough, cover it with the delicious walnut or poppyseed paste and roll it up to get one of the most famous Hungarian desserts.
You will most likely come across this treat around the festive holidays as it became one of the iconic Christmas sweets. There are also households where it is served during Easter celebrations.
Whenever you are browsing for Hungarian dessert recipes, Bejgli is among the first hits. You can make it with quite a little effort, however, getting it right is pretty difficult.
The paste has to be the right mixture of sweet and spicy, while the dough can often get a little too dry if you’re not paying enough attention. Still, all the efforts are worth it; if done right, Beigli is one of the best Hungarian treats you can try.
Try Budapest Cooking class’ authentic ‘Hungarian Beigli – Christmas Poppy Seed and Walnut Roll Cake recipe‘ if you’re wondering what it tastes like.
3| Plum Dumplings (Szilvás gombóc)
Plum dumpling or balls are among the best Hungarian comfort foods. They are usually sweet, but depending on your taste, you can also make them with cottage cheese balls that can be neutral or savory, making a good main course as well.
Twenty years ago, if you asked any child in Hungary about what is their favorite food, they would have said either of these two.
You can make your own dumplings with all sorts of fruits if you have something more of your liking than plum.
Try The Spruce Eats’ yummy ‘Hungarian Plum Dumplings (Szilvás Gombóc) Recipe‘.
2| Hungarian Chestnut Puree (Gesztenyepüré)
Chestnut puree is something you either love or hate. It has a distinctive flavor and texture many cannot stand. It is often used either as a filling in pastries, but many love to eat it alone with some whipped cream.
Making the puree can be a messy and time-consuming job and to make parents’ life much easier, in may Hungarian shops you can buy ready to eat cubes of the delicacy.
There a number of Hungarian dessert recipes using chestnut puree, which are adored by everyone in the country.
Hungarian Chestnut Pure is one of the easiest, tastiest, and most aesthetic desserts you can easily make at home.
Follow Taste Hungary’s quick and easy ‘The Sweet Gesture of Gesztenyepüré: Hungarian Chestnut Puree recipe‘.
1| Hungarian Marzipan
Although marzipan is not strictly Hungarian, it has played a significant role in the country since the 16th century.
Over the centuries it became more and more common and available for everyone. You can find plenty of cake decorations, bonbons and other sweets made of or filled with this sweet almond paste.
In the 1930’s Szamos Marton turned his passion into one of the most luxurious Hungarian confectionery. It has been esteemed for decades thanks to its quality marzipan and chocolate products.
If you have the chance, visit the Szamos Cafe and Confectionery in Budapest or the chocolate museum not far from the Hungarian Parliament.
Thank you for reading!