Polish Strawberry Kissel Recipe (Kisiel)

Step into the world of Polish desserts with our easy-to-follow recipe for the classic Strawberry Kissel. It’s a simple yet delightful treat you’ll love to make!

Polish strawberry kissel for dessert

Recipe At a Glance

Polish kissel (kisiel) remains a beloved staple among Polish desserts. This recipe guides you through making it from scratch, though you can also opt for a premade kisiel mix that simply needs water and sugar.

Kissel is quite similar to Polish pudding (budyń), which we explore in other recipes:

The key difference lies in the base ingredients: Polish pudding is milk-based, while kissel is water-based and incorporates fruits. Both desserts rely on starch for thickening.

Looking for a quick and delightful dessert? Give kissel a try!

If you’re making Kisiel for the first time, read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re a veteran, feel free to jump to the recipe card.

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

Polish strawberry kissel ingredients
  • Strawberries. I typically use frozen strawberries because they are available year-round, but fresh, in-season strawberries also work great.
  • Sugar. Feel free to use any sugar alternative you like. As long as it sweetens the dessert, it’s a good option.
  • Lemon Juice. Lemon juice is optional, but it nicely balances out the flavors and is highly recommended.
  • Corn Starch. You can substitute it with potato starch in the same amount.

How to Make Polish Strawberry Kissel

  1. Prep. Gather all the ingredients, set aside half a cup of water, then combine the strawberries, remaining water, sugar, and lemon juice in a pot. Stir to mix.
  2. Cook. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 5 minutes.
  1. Blend. After simmering, remove the pot from the heat. Blend the cooked strawberry mixture until smooth using an immersion blender.
Blend to a smooth mixture
Blend to a smooth mixture
  1. Bring Back to a Boil. Return the pot with the blended mixture to the stove and bring it back to a boil.
  2. Prep Starch Slurry. In a separate bowl, mix the starch with the water you set aside earlier, ensuring there are no lumps.
  3. Combine. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add the starch slurry to the strawberry mixture while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens.
Add the starch slurry
Add the starch slurry
  1. Taste Test. Check the flavor and add more sugar or lemon juice if needed.
  2. Serve. Once thickened, remove the pot from the heat and pour the hot kissel into serving dishes. Serve immediately, or let it cool down and serve cold.
Cool down and serve
Cool down and serve

Tips

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind while making kissel:

  • Prevent Surface Crust: To avoid a crust forming on the surface of the kissel as it cools (similar to Polish pudding or lemon curd), place plastic wrap directly on its surface right after pouring it into a serving dish. I don’t mind the crust, but some people do.
  • Adjust Starch Amount. The amount of starch needed depends on the volume of liquid you want to thicken. So, if you’re adding slightly more or fewer strawberries, adjust the starch amount accordingly (assuming you’re blending them). Start with four tablespoons of starch if using fewer strawberries, and mix in more if the mixture doesn’t reach the desired consistency. Always make the starch slurry with a bit of cold water before mixing it in.
Spoonful of Polish strawberry kissel
Spoonful of Polish strawberry kissel

Variations

While this recipe uses strawberries and suggests blending the fruit before thickening, these aren’t the only options. You can also:

  • Use Different Fruits: Consider using a variety of other fruits, such as raspberries or a mix of forest fruits, instead of strawberries. Choose small fruits that blend well (anything in the berry family, for instance) for best results. Adjust the amount of sugar and lemon juice if using different fruits.
  • Keep Fruits Whole if You Prefer: You can skip blending the fruits and leave them whole in the kissel for a different texture and appearance. Many people prefer it this way. If doing so, make sure to reduce the amount of starch to about two and a half tablespoons.
Strawberry kissel with white chocolate
Strawberry kissel with grated white chocolate

How to Serve Kissel

The typical way to serve kissel is warm in a small bowl, with no additional garnish. That’s how it was usually served when I was a kid.

That said, there are other ways to enjoy it:

  • Serve it Cold. Hot kisiel tastes great during cold months, but on warmer days, it’s much better to let it cool down before serving.
  • Garnish with Fresh Fruit. Top it with sliced or cubed fresh fruit. Fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or kiwi all work great.
  • Top it Your Way. Kissel is a bare-bones dessert, so feel free to top it any way you like. There’s nothing stopping you from grating some chocolate on top, adding a dollop of whipped cream, or pouring leftover lemon curd on it. Make it your own.

Storage

Let any leftover kissel cool to room temperature, then cover or seal it tightly and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.

If you want to reheat it, you have a couple of options:

  • On the Stovetop. Pour the kissel into a saucepan, mix in a teaspoon or two of water, then set the stove to low heat and gently warm it up while stirring often. Add more water if it’s too thick, and watch closely to prevent burning.
  • In the Microwave. Transfer the kissel to a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on a low setting in 15- to 20-second bursts, stirring between each interval. Add a bit of water if it’s too thick. Continue until it’s warmed up to your preference.
Polish strawberry kissel for dessert

Polish Strawberry Kissel (Kisiel)

Step into the world of Polish desserts with our easy-to-follow recipe for the classic Strawberry Kissel. It’s a simple yet delightful treat you’ll love to make!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Eastern European, Polish
Keyword: Easy Recipe, Fruit Dessert, Kisiel, Kissel, Polish Cuisine, Quick Dessert
Servings: 4 medium servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz strawberries 1.5-2 cups or ~225g
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons of corn starch

Instructions

  • Preparation: Gather ingredients, reserve ½ cup water, and combine strawberries, remaining water, sugar, and lemon juice in a pot.
  • Cooking: Boil the mixture, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Blending: Off heat, blend the strawberries until smooth.
  • Reheat: Bring the blended mixture to a boil again.
  • Starch Slurry: Mix reserved water with starch, ensuring no lumps.
  • Thickening: On low heat, stir in the starch slurry into the pot until thickened.
  • Flavor Adjust: Taste and adjust with sugar or lemon juice as needed.
  • Serving: Pour into dishes and serve either hot or cooled.
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