Hungarian Ratatouille recipe - "Lecsó"

ratatouille recipe

 🍴  Servings: 8

🥣 Category: Stew

💪 Difficulty Level: 3/5 

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“Lecsó”, the Hungarian version of Ratatouille recipe is one of the traditional, famous Hungarian food classics of the 20th century. Although Lecsó is a dish with Balkan roots, today it is considered one of the cornerstones of Hungarian gastronomy.

But what exactly is "Lecsó"?

In its basic form, this vegetable stew consists of yellow peppers, tomatoes and onions. The onion is fried in fat, then the vegetables are cooked until soft and seasoned. If it is prepared with the right amount of fat, vegetarians and vegans can also eat it. On the other hand, if you are one of the carnivores, you can spice up the dish with sausage, bacon or even pieces of meat. The possibilities are almost endless with this dish.

The story of the Hungarian Ratatouille recipe

Hungary received New World tomatoes and peppers through Turkish intermediaries. Although it would allow us to view the Turkish “Goti” and the “Menemen” that evolved from it as its predecessors, this is unlikely given the vast amount of time that passed between the Turkish occupation of Hungary and the emergence of Lecsó. A very similar dish was made by the Bulgarian gardeners who settled in Hungary starting in the 1870s using ripe peppers, tomatoes, or other vegetables.

The early canned version and the Slavic connection

A cookbook titled “The 7 Cookbook” was published by the magazine “The week” in 1902. A recipe titled “Rácz Omácska” is included. Omácska is a word for sauce or gravy in some Slavic languages. In the recipe, chunky sauce is made by cooking peppers and tomatoes together. Interesting fact: In 1924, the First Hungarian Cannery, established by Manfréd Weiss and Bertold Weiss in 1895, was already exporting Lecsó under the brand name Globus, which he had registered. This was before the official description of the Hungarian Ratatouille recipe.

The first official Hungarian Ratatouille recipe

Lecsó is the name of a recipe that was not popular until the first decade of the 1930s. His first recipes were released simultaneously in two locations in 1931. The recipe for “Lecsó for the winter” is described in the “Új Idők Receptkönyve” (New Times Recipe Book) , and the Lecsó from Bácska is described in the magazine “Magyar Szakács” (Hungarian Cook).

Lecsó In other countries' kitchens

The most well-known version – Ratatouille recipe – comes from France and is prepared with olive oil, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, though mushrooms can also be added. The final step usually involves baking the food in the oven.
The Greek version is prepared in a baking dish and includes vegetables, red wine, mint, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and capers in addition to the other ingredients.
Additionally, the Turkish and Arabic versions frequently include fried eggs, various spices, garlic, and thyme.

Lecsó in cauldron

We should definitely try cooking in a cauldron outside if we have the chance. In the case of Lecsó, it is absolutely true that the food has an enhanced flavor and aroma due to the smoke from wood burning. Additionally, cooking is more enjoyable, and it can turn into a true social activity. We also preferred cooking in the cauldron in our video (see below). The outcome was outstanding! We hope your Lecsó cooking is successful!

Ingredients of Hungarian Ratatouille recipe:

  • 400 g sausage
  • 500 g onion
  • 2 kg yellow wax pepper
  • 500 g tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 200 g smoked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of lard or oil
  • 2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of ground caraway
  • 3 tablespoons of paprika powder
  • salt and chili to taste
  • sour cream for serving


  1. Heat the lard and fry the bacon cut into strips until crisp.
  2. Add sliced sausages and fry until brown as well. Remove fried bacon and sausages with a sieve spoon and set aside.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the remaining fat, salt a little and fry for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped yellow peppers, ground black pepper and ground cumin. Cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, sliced garlic and paprika powder.
  6. Season with salt and add back the fried bacon and sausages.
  7. Cook until the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes).
  8. Serve with sour cream and fresh sourdough bread.

Watch our video about this Ratatouille recipe: