In Hungary, the farsang or carnival period lasts from the day of the Epiphany until Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lent. However, in terms of most customs and beliefs, it is mostly Carnival Sunday, Carnival Monday and Shrove Tuesday, which is called the “farsang farka”, meaning the end or (literally) the tail of the Carnival is when most of the fun happens. The day after Ash Wednesday, fasting is suspended so that leftovers from the Carnival can be eaten. This day is called “torkos cs√ľt√∂rt√∂k” meaning Gluttonous Thursday.

According to Rockstar, the development of the Carnival season in Hungary can be traced back to the Middle Ages, mainly due to German influence. Its most characteristic event is the masked, costumed figuring that occurs in almost every carnival custom. One of the most well-known Hungarian customs around this time is the bus√ļj√°r√°s at Moh√°cs. It was originally a procession of the South Slavs near Moh√°cs, but it developed into a Hungarian tradition.

The Carnival period is characterised by dancing, merrymaking and revelling and selecting a partner. It used to be a marriage and bridal season, as it was forbidden to hold a wedding during the following Lent. In addition to choosing a mate, this is also the period of scaring away Winter and welcoming Spring. In Hungary, the ball season is also celebrated during the Carnival season.

Because Carnival is a pre-Lent period, characterised by the abandonment of meat and alcohol, merrymaking and revelling are accompanied by consuming fatty and spicy meat dishes made with alcohol. In this article, we collected the typical dishes you could make to celebrate farsang along with Hungarians. All the recipes in this article are from Anna Fischer at


Gomb√°s korhelyleves (Hungarian korhely soup with mushrooms)

Korhelyleves Soup
Gomb√°s korhelyleves (Hungarian korhely soup with mushrooms) Photo:

The essence of the korhelyleves, of course, is to soothe a hangover after a revelling; reduce headaches, heartburn and other symptoms of having had too much fun the previous night, and also to replenish energy so you can rinse and repeat.

  • 25 dkg smoked meat
  • 10 dkg smoked sausage
  • 35-40 dkg sauerkraut
  • 10-15 dkg mushroom
  • 2 onions
  • a bundle of parsley
  • 5 dkg flour
  • 2 dl sour cream
  • 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil
  • salt, pepper, paprika
  1. Dice the onions and glaze them in a bit of oil, then put the diced meat into the pot. Sprinkle it with paprika, mix it and then add the sauerkraut. Add as much water so that it covers everything, then cover with a lid and cook over medium heat.
  2. While the soup is on the heat, slice up the mushrooms and fry them with a little oil. Add it to the soup, season it and bring to a boil.
  3. Make a light roux to thicken the soup. Slice the sausage and when the soup is almost ready, add in the slices of sausage. Season the soup with sour cream to your liking, or you can serve the sour cream on the side. You should be careful not to add too much salt as the smoked meat and sausage is already quite salty. Enjoy.

Becsin√°lt leves (Fricassee soup)

Becsin√°ltleves Soup
Becsin√°lt leves (Fricassee soup) Photo:

The sour fricassee soup is also ideal for alleviating hangover while recharging with a little energy. Like most Hungarian cures, it works for everything; you could heal a broken heart or help you with your cold. But seriously, nothing beats a hot and delicious soup in the gloomy winter months. Thanks to the ingredients and spices, it is a genuinely nutritious soup.

  • 40 dkg pork
  • 20 dkg carrots and parsley roots mixed
  • 10 dkg celeriac (celery root) and kohlrabi mixed
  • a bundle of parsley
  • 2 dl sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cut the meat into small cubes and sear them in a little oil. Add salt and then add approximately 1 litre of water.
  2. When the meat is cooked semi-soft, add the chopped carrots, parsley roots, celeriac, kohlrabi and the parsley into the pot and continue cooking.
  3. When the meat is completely tender, remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the sour cream and vinegar mixed with the egg yolks. Serve with more sour cream.

Main dishes

Részeges csirke (Drunk chicken)

Részeges csirke (Drunk chicken)
Részeges csirke (Drunk chicken) Photo:

If you like heavier, more spicy foods made with white wine, then this dish might be for you. This is a main staple dish during the Carnival season.

  • 1 medium-sized, whole chicken
  • 10-15 dkg of smoked bacon
  • 10 dkg butter
  • 3-4 dl white wine
  • salt, pepper, marjoram
  1. Wash the chicken and salt it heavily and thoroughly. You can put plenty of salt on both the inside and outside of the chicken, but also put pepper on the outside and marjoram on the inside.
  2. Pour the melted butter all over the chicken and pour the white wine into the pan.
  3. Cover the whole thing with foil and bake it in the oven on light heat, while continually checking to see if it needs more wine.
  4. When the chicken’s meat is baked soft, take it out and cover the chicken with thin bacon slices. Put the whole thing back in the oven and bake it crispy brown.

Paradicsomos-boros sertéscomb (Pork leg with tomato and wine)

h-Paradicsomos-boros sertéscomb (Pork leg with tomato and wine)
Illustration, Photo:

If you want to make a really delicious main dish, try this recipe, but beware as this Carnival roast is not dietetic at all, as you could expect from a real Hungarian Carnival dish.

  • 50 dkg pork leg
  • 2 buns or similar bread
  • 10 dkg mushrooms
  • 25 dkg carrot, parsley root, celeriac mixed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 dl white wine
  • a carton of tomato juice
  • a bundle of parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • allspice, white pepper, salt
  1. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices and fry them in a little oil. Chop and steam the vegetables. Mix the mushrooms and steamed vegetables and add the finely chopped parsley as well.
  2. Soak the buns in white wine and squeeze them thoroughly. Ground the resulting mixture and then add the egg yolk and spices.
  3. Cut the meat into 4-5 larger pieces and thoroughly tenderise them. Put the stuffing on the slices and roll them up. Fry the rolls in a little oil until the meat is red and then add some tomato juice and a little white wine.
  4. The dish is ready when the meat is completely softened. Cut into slices and serve with any garnish you like.

Konyakos kacsas√ľlt (Roast duck with cognac)

Konyakos kacsas√ľlt (Roast duck with cognac)
Illustration, Photo:

This dish is ideal for those who love duck meat with bacon and liver. In addition to the spices, the flavours are brought out by the aromas of red wine and cognac.

  • 1 duck for roasting
  • 10-15 dkg duck liver
  • 10 dkg bacon
  • 2 dl red wine
  • 5 cl cognac
  • 5 dkg flour
  • 5 dkg butter
  • 1dl olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • a bundle of parsley
  • bay leaves, thyme, salt
  1. Glaze the duck liver in a little oil and crush it when done. In a separate pan, mix the other duck trimmings, the coarsely chopped onion and the diced bacon and sear the whole mixture in a little oil.
  2. When the meat is reddish or has a little sear, sprinkle the flour on it and add the red wine and cognac and a little water, so that is mixes easily. Add the spices and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. When done, remove it from heat and strain through a small mesh filter. Add the crushed duck liver to the filtered sauce am mix it in well.
  4. Bake the duck in an oven until it is crispy and when done, stir the fat from the pan of the duck into the sauce. Before serving, cut the duck into slices and serve with the sauce. You can eat it with any side dish.


One of the staple dishes during this period of celebration is the doughnut. For the dessert, you can find our carnival doughnut recipe and the ‚Äúcs√∂r√∂ge‚ÄĚ doughnut recipe by clicking the links.

Featured image:

busójárás festival Mohács Hungary
Read alsoTraditional ways to say Goodbye to Winter: Carnival time in Hungary!


1 comment
  1. Becsin√°lt leves does absolutely nothing for a hangover. In theory it may help to rehydrate the individual but in Hungary, in common with many other local dishes, a lot of salt is used which further dehydrates the hangover sufferer. Truth be known, glasses of water will help, this soup will not.

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