Classic Hungarian Lecsó – Paprika Stew

Lecso Hungarian Paprika Stew

Lecsó (pronounced lecho or LEH-choh) is not really photogenic, but it is very delicious, simple, cheap, and a traditional Hungarian summer dish. It’s a thick vegetable stew with three basic ingredients, onion, paprika and tomato. Hungarian paprika powder is the top secret ingredient. I’m joking, but also very serious about this although a very good quality paprika powder will also do.

The French ratatouille is the more well-known family member in the stewed vegetables family line. It is also considered to be a traditional dish in Czech, Slovak, Croatian cuisine and it is also very common in Poland, Austria, Germany and Israel, of course they are not the same, but they are very close to each other like relatives or distant cousins.

In Hungarian we say so many houses, so many customs, which is very much applicable to this dish. Every household has their own version with slight variations. My mom substitutes the eggs with rice, others add more tomatoes to it, or add garlic, something I never use in this recipe, but the base is same everywhere.

This dish is very popular in Hungary, and even has its own festivals with a competition where all participants want to show their version is the best. More than 600 people make lecsó in the middle of kilometers long closed streets amid a gathering crowd. It’s definitely an experience and something to put on your to-do list if you happen to be in Hungary in August or September, it’s fun! But do not forget to praise all the dishes you taste because all of them are very proud of their food and it’s a tragedy if you do not like it.

The main ingredient is the yellow Hungarian wax paprika. I know it’s not easy, some places it is even impossible to buy it, but try to see if you can find it, because that gives the typical flavor. During the summer my grandma used to make a very big portion of the cooked paprika, which is the base for ‘lecsó’, and put it into jars. We then opened them at wintertime, and we reheated and finished the recipe.

Classic Hungarian Lecsó – Paprika Stew

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Andrea


  • 1,8 kg paprika Hungarian yellow wax, cut into rings
  • 1 big onion cut finely
  • 1 tomato deseeded, cut half
  • 150 gram bacon diced finely
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • tbsp paprika powder Hungarian
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper freshly ground
  • 200 gram sausage Hungarian Mangalitsa or Spanish Chorizo
  • 6 large eggs beaten


  • Remove the seeds and membranes from the paprika and cut into rings.
  • Heat olive oil in a bigger pan and put diced bacon into it, simmer for 2 minutes then add finely cut onion, simmer together for 3-4 minutes until onion is translucent. Don’t burn it!
  • Add paprika powder and marjoram, stir immediately and quickly, otherwise it will be bitter if paprika powder is burning.
  • Add sliced paprika, tomato, salt and pepper, stir and cook on medium high heat for 14-16 minutes until the paprika is almost soft but still a bit crunchy. Do not cover, because excess water must evaporate, stir frequently.
  • Add sliced sausage to paprika, stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add beaten eggs, cook until look like scrambled eggs, stir gently and constantly.
  • Serve with pickled or fermented cucumbers, and bread to dip into the sauce.