Beets and horseradish – Ćwikła

In my family house beets and horseradish – Ćwikła is served during Easter and Christmas, it usually goes with home made cold meats and vegetable salad.

Check more beets’ Polish recipes on:

Beets and horseradish - Ćwikła served on a plate


  • 5 beets
  • 1/2 cup horseradish or one horseradish root grated
  • salt
  • 3 tbs lemon juice

Bake or cook beets.

If you prefer to cook: Place clean whole beets without peeling in a pot, cover with small amount of water, bring to boil and cook on small fire – depending on the beets size – for about an hour.

If you choose to bake, like I usually do: Clean beets, cover each with aluminum foil. Bake in 180 C/ 360 F for about an hour.

Once they’re cool, peel them and grate them on a medium sized grater. Actually in Poland a medium sized whole grater is usually called: beets’ grater:)

Season with salt. Add lemon juice or white vinegar or… my magic ingredient – balsamic vinegar:) I know, it’s not Polish, but if you can accept that fact;), go for it – it makes a difference!

Add grated horseradish. You can add less and check the taste, so that it wasn’t too hot. Keep it in a jar to keep all the flavors inside mixed together.

Each horseradish can have a different level of sharpness – is it a good word to use here? so you can adjust it to your taste. Remember that after a night, beets and horseradish would become less sharp than at the beginning. Flavor would mix and calm. I usually make ćwikła a night before Christmas and keep it closed in a jar. I make few jars for a whole Christmas time. In Poland we have 2 days off for Christmas, so we really need to prepare:)

Serve beets and horseradish – ćwikła to cold cuts. It’s going to stay good for a week. Keep it in a cold.

Preparing for Christmas or Easter

You can make few jars of baked beets in advance, to have it in your pantry and have it for quick use just the moment you feel like having ćwikła. You just take one jar, add horseradish and it’s ready! Perfect tip for Christmas, make few jars at the beginning of December and you would have more time for Christmas.

Once you have beets baked and grated, add salt, balsamic vinegar. My mum adds a pinch of sugar too. Pack the jars with beets. There should be some juice inside. If there isn’t, I add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Close the jar and pasteurize it with a method you prefer. I place jars in a oven and keep it for half an hour in 130 C.

Enjoy! Smacznego! 🙂

If you liked my posts and tried my recipes, you can consider buying me a coffee. Or rather I should say: you can buy me a flour for Pierogi, cabbage for Gołąbki and beets for Barszcz:) This would help me to cook more and publish more delicious recipes for You.

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11 thoughts on “Beets and horseradish – Ćwikła”

  1. Pingback: Surówki- Polish Salads - CookINPolish - Traditional Recipes

  2. Jan Loudenback

    Hello! Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!! I was raised Serbian and Polish. My grandma used to make a recipe similar to this at the holidays, but she used bacon instead of horseradish. Have you heard of this? If so, would you have some sort of recipe? All have passed and I can’t seem to get it right!
    Thank you so much!!

    1. Hi Jan, thank you and the same to you! Merry Christmas! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
      Unfortunately I don’t know your dish. Anyway I would make a warm side dish as your Mum’s: Saute onion and bacon, add baked and grated beets. It must be delicious 🙂

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  4. I have been handed down the prep of this for Easter.Have modernized the prep by using canned beets & their juice/ pick a long horseradish root because it’s easier to peel. Soak radish in cold water before grating. I now use grater first & then blender so it becomes less gritty. I do add vinegar to mine. Put some in small canning jars to give for ham leftovers. My mother would wrap a towel around her nose & mouth & grate by hand outside!

  5. My mother made this for Easter and Christmas every year. She always used freshly grated horseradish never jarred. She hand grated the horseradish and beets. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. It brought back happy memories for me!

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