Delicious Hungarian sweets: from the strudels to the poppy seed roll

Hungarians have a really sweet tooth. As a result, the country is known for many delicious, unique sweets worth trying.

If you visit Hungary, maybe you also heard about the Hungarian gastronomy, where paprika powder, sausage, and onion are essential. But not just the main courses are worth trying, but the desserts.

Delicious Hungarian sweets: from the strudels to the poppy seed roll

Hungarians have a really sweet tooth. As a result, the country is known for many delicious, unique sweets worth trying.

In the middle of Europe, you can find a variety of sweets, the poppy seed or walnut rolls, usually made during the winter period, the delicious zserbo, the tasty strudels or the unique chimney cake, that can be ordered in many flavours.

The strudels

Budapest has many faces; it is worth visiting every year. After a nice walk next to the Danube River, where you can check the Szechenyi Chain bridge, the Deak square, and you just want to try out something really special, then go visit the First Strudel House of Pest Café and Restaurant on Október 6 street. It has a lovely building built in 1812, and you can taste the Hungarian fish soup, the goulash, and even the strudels and other cakes there. And if you fulfil your gastronomy curiosity, you can continue the city walk, because not so far there is the magnificent Saint Stephen’s Basilica.

Strudels have many flavours, sweet cottage cheese, cherry, apple, plum, apricot, poppyseed, cabbage, meat, cheese, chestnut… you name it. The flavours can be mixed, like the poppyseed with the cherry or the cottage cheese with the apricot – each is delicious, no matter your choice. And believe me, it is a hard choice.

Chimney cake

In downtown Budapest, many chimney cake sellers are on the street. They are so good that sometimes you have to wait in line till you get your Hungarian sweet – but it is always worth waiting for it. The chimney cakes have unique appearance (well, they resemble a chimney, that is where the name comes from). It is traditionally sweet in Transylvania amongst the Székely people, which was once part of Hungary.

Watching how the chimney cake maker is doing the process is also satisfying. The cakes are baked on a log and rotated over coals. But first of all, the dessert maker sprinkles it with sugar and some spice, usually with cinnamon, shredded coconut, vanilla, walnut or cocoa, but nowadays, there are many flavours. If you are near Deák Ferenc square and want to go via Andrássy street to Heroes square, you will indeed find some chimney makers.

Dobosh Torte or dobostorta

The Hungarian dobostorta is a sponge cake with seven layers filled with chocolate. The cake was first made in 1884-85. The inventor and pastry cook, Dobos C. József, invented this delicious cake because he wanted a dessert that could hold its shape and form and be eaten and enjoyed for a long time, even with the slightly outdated cooling techniques of the time.

Luckily, you can find this in many places during your tour in Budapest, but one of the oldest and most acknowledged confectionery is in the Buda Castle district. That one is the Ruszwurm pastry. Just imagine sitting in the old, historic building where the Schwabl Ferenc pastry maker opened a “sweet restaurant” in 1827. Eat a slice of Dobos cake, enjoy a cup of coffee, and then look around the beautiful castle district, where the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church and the Sandor palace are located. What a nice trip!


Also, the Ruszwurm pastry is a place where it is worth trying out the walnutty Eszterházy cake. The characteristic, nutty delicacy decorated with a fancy pattern was first made in the XIX century. However, we can only guess about the creator; some people said it should be Franz Sacher, the well-known pastry maker who served in the Esterházy’s court. There is still a debate if the real Esterhazy cake has 4 or 5 layers, but the cake is fantastic.

After that, you should definitely go for a nice walk and marvel at the panorama of Buda Castle. You can even see from there the Parliament, the Saint Stephen’s Basilica. Or, if you want to discover a new area, go to Szamos cafe in Vörösmarty square, and explore the Budapest downtown!


Zserbó is also a delicious Hungarian sweet usually served during celebrations, like Christmas or Easter. Luckily you can try it out at Gerbeaud Coffeehouse and Pastry, located to the well-known Vöröstmarty-square. The pastry shop was opened in 1858, and it has been operating since then.

This little cake has crumbly dough; the layers are filled with apricot jam and ground walnuts, and the top is covered with a layer of chocolate. The origin is still not clear. Some people said that a pastry master from Switzerland made the first one at the end of the XIX. century, but others said it was invented after the first world war. Anyway, everyone loves this small but delicious cake.

Bejgli – walnut or poppy seed roll

Another sweet that is usually made during Christmas evening. The bejgli or pastry roll has two traditionally filling: walnut and poppy seed. According to popular belief, walnuts should be eaten against spoilage, and poppies bring abundance to the house. Nowadays they have many flavours, like chestnut, cottage cheese and raisins, cocoa, poppy seed mixed with cherry jam, and so on.

Usually, you can find it in the winter period, when the wonderful Christmas markets open in Budapest. The most popular one is located just in front of Saint Stephen’s Basilica, there is an enormous, sparkling tree, and you can also watch the light show on the Basilica wall. But Vörösmarty square is also a place worth visiting during this period because you can find amazingly good food there too.

If you want to visit Budapest, don’t hesitate to contact me! Let’s explore the city together.