What Exactly Is Polonaise Sauce?

‘À la Polonaise’ (Polonaise Sauce) is an internationally recognised French culinary term for serving dishes – mostly cooked vegetables – with a crispy, buttery breadcrumb garnish.

What is Polonaise sauce made of?

It consists of breadcrumbs sautéed in melted butter; alongside finely diced eggs, chopped herbs, a generous sprinkle of salt and, on occasion, also a squeeze of lemon juice.

Here’s the exact definition from Larousse Gastronomique, the French encyclopaedia of gastronomy:

Definition of Polonaise sauce from Larousse Gastronomique

The original entry mentions ‘fines herbes’, which is a French herb blend of chopped parsley, chives, tarragon and chervil. In Poland, the most commonly used herbs include parsley, chives and dill.

Is Polonaise Sauce actually Polish?

Some online sources claim that the Polonaise Sauce is a French technique, only vaguely inspired by the Polish influences.

And while everything sounds fancier in French, this way of serving dishes is very typical of the Polish cuisine. 

In the old Polish cookbooks, Polonaise Sauce was called simply ‘zrumieniona bułka’ (Polish for: browned breadcrumbs) or ‘okrasa z masła i bułki tartej’ (literally: fatty topping of butter and breadcrumbs).

Polish recipe from 1926 for Polonaise Sauce

After Maria Ochorowicz-Monatowa:

Browning breadcrumbs: pour breadcrumbs into a saucepan, add a little butter – or, even better, lard – stirring frequently and browning them until golden brown.

When serving the breadcrumbs topping, add (more of) the necessary amount of melted butter, if you do it too early, the breadcrumbs will absorb (too much of) the butter, it will turn too greasy, and there will be nothing left to pour over the dish. Browned breadcrumbs are used for topping cauliflower, asparagus, tripe (soup), pierogi, kluski, knedle, and the like.

“Uniwersalna książka kucharska” (“Polish Cookery: The Universal Cookbook”), published in Lwów (Lviv), 1926

As you can see in the recipe above, Polonaise sauce is a great serving suggestion not only for vegetables, but also for pierogi and various kluski (knedle, kopytka and many more).


À la Polonaise (Polish-style, “in the Polish manner”) – French term for a vegetarian garnish consisting of breadcrumbs sautéed in melted butter, and a sprinkle of diced eggs and chopped herbs.

Beurre à la Polonaise (French for: “Polish-style butter”) – a simplified version of Polonaise sauce; a garnish made of breadcrumbs sautéed in butter.

Omasta (also known as Okrasa) – Polish term for a variety of fatty toppings, including – but not limited to – breadcrumbs browned in butter.

Polish-styled garnish – see Polonaise Sauce

Polonaise Sauce – English term for À la Polonaise

recipes with POLONAISE SAUCE

The most popular veggies prepared that way include:

Kopytka - Polish potato dumplings, served 'À la Polonaise'
Kopytka with Butter and Breadcrumbs
Cauliflower à la Polonaise
Cauliflower à la Polonaise