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Polish City Chicken: A Dish You Won’t Find in Poland

A dish that originated during the Great Depression, Polish City Chicken never contains any chicken! This skewered meat dish is a good comfort food choice and also works great as an appetizer!

I had NEVER even heard of city chicken until I went on a food tour in NYC. I was introduced to this “traditional Polish dish” in the USA and quite frankly as a native Pole my first reaction was: “What on earth is this thing?!”

Polish City Chicken is not a dish you’ll ever get to taste in Poland. Polish people in Poland won’t even know what is it, as it’s 100% an American invention, supposedly invented by creative Polish immigrants.

chicken city

What is Polish City Chicken?

This dish is also known as ‘fake chicken’ or ‘mock chicken legs‘ as it doesn’t contain any chicken. During the Great Depression chicken was more expensive than other meats. So the Poles of Pittsburgh decided to put veal or pork on skewers, and bread and fry them, so it would resemble chicken legs which they couldn’t afford.

If you have a Polish grandma or other relatives that are second or third-generation Americans from Poland they’ll surely know the city chicken.

One could also say that it’s a different, non-flat version of traditional Kotlet Schabowy from Poland.

City Chicken Recipe Pointers

  • The best city chicken is made of 2 cubes of each pork and veal on one skewer.
  • Cubes should be about 1.5-2 inches long.
  • Pork tenderloins are the tastiest option.
  • If you don’t like or want to fry the skewers you could also bake them in the oven.
  • Do not use olive oil for frying, but use any vegetable oil that keeps well at higher temperatures.
  • Serve the city chicken with gravy and a traditional Polish cucumber salad called Mizeria.
Polish city chicken

FAQs about City Chicken

What dips should I serve the city chicken with?

City chicken does not require any dip to go with it. But if you want to, you can serve the city chicken with ranch dressing, mayo, or any barbecue sauces.

What do I serve with the city chicken?

City chicken is often served with gravy and slices of bread. It also goes well with this traditional Polish dish called Mizeria (Polish cucumber salad). If you want to try something totally different, you can also serve it with a nice creamy pasta or these kopytka dumplings.

What temperature do I fry or bake the city chicken at?

To cook the city chicken, fry it in the oil or heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do I have to use both veal and pork in the city chicken recipe?

The traditional Polish-American recipe contains about 50% veal and 50% pork. But if you want, you can use only boneless veal or only boneless pork pieces.

Can I make this recipe gluten free?

To make the Polish city chicken gluten-free, use almond meal, cornflour, or rice flour instead of bread crumbs.

What are the other names of Polish City Chicken?

Polish City Chicken is also called City Chicken, Polish Chicken, Fake Chicken, or Mock Chicken.

city chicken

Polish City Chicken Recipe

Polish City Chicken Recipe

A dish that originated during the Great Depression, Polish City Chicken never contains any chicken! This skewered meat dish is a good comfort food choice and also works great as an appetizer!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pound pork shoulder meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pound veal stew meat
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 12 to 15 wooden skewer sticks
  • Oil for cooking


    1. Place the pieces of pork and veal on the wooden skewers.
    2. Dip the skewers in egg and then seasoned bread crumbs. (some recipes also call for dipping in flour before dipping in egg.
    3. Then brown them in a cast-iron skillet for a few minutes, then take off gas.
    4. Pour the 1/2 cup water or chicken broth into the dish. Cover tightly with foil.
    5. Bake them until they are fully cooked - 325F for 25 min, uncovered for 5 min at the end.


If you don't like fried things, you can skip frying and bake it straight away. Make sure the dish is fully covered, otherwise breadcrumbs will burn.

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  1. You spelled Pittsburgh incorrectly. . Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is spelled with an H on the end. Another great gluten-free options is to run Pork rinds through a food processor until they’re the consistency of Panko bread crumbs.

  2. We’ve enjoyed mock chicken legs in Chicago all my life – a family favorite! Who knew it was Polish even though I am 100%? But, with the price of veal today, they are not cheap to make. Sprinkle a little paprika on them too with the s&p before breading them. So delicious! You definitely will not be disappointed. Thanks.

  3. No need to soak wooden skewers for use in a 325 degree oven. They will not catch fire. You never want to soak a skewer for use in a fryer. Adding water to hot oil is very dangerous. I do recommend soaking a wooden skewer for use on the grill, but you would not grill City Chicken or any other food that is coated with breading.

  4. Chopped celery, onion and garlic are added to the meat for flavor, and the meat mixture is then marinated in the refrigerator over night which helps the cold meat mixture to form more easily on the stick. Each city chicken is then rolled in a flour, salt, pepper mix then dipped into beaten eggs and then rolled in cracker meal to which you can add some paprika. Fry lightly then place in a large baking pan @ 325 for about an hour. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to avoid rapid browning. It is best to place a rack in the pan first to avoid the city chicken sticking to the pan. I’m Eastern European American–Lemko/Carpatho-Rusyn and have enjoyed these especially for special occasions.made by my Baba, Mother and myself, and by the ladies of our church.

  5. Love city chicken just made some last week. There’s a market in Canton Mi. that you can buy them on the stick already breaded I buy the ones without breading because I like my own.

  6. Mock chicken legs were something different in my house. We had both on our dinner table regularly. City Chicken is as you describe above whereas Mock Chicken Legs were a ground meat mixture molded to resemble a chicken leg on a skewer. I remember loving both and also never heard them referred to as Polish.

  7. I am Czech Slovak Lithuanian. my grandfather was adopted by his polish uncle by marriage and his aunt on his mother’s side I never heard of fake chicken I am 55 years old

  8. I love City Chicken. My favorite meal growing up. I brown it in skillet then bake them in gravy. They become tender. I then serve with side of mashed potatoes.

  9. I grew up on City chicken since my hometown was a steel town in Ohio with many European ethnic folks and I love European food. But my recipe is from a particular 1965 better Home and gardens cookbook with the red and white cover, and my book is literally falling apart, duct tape together. and on page 256 there was a recipe for city chicken that I always used to make when my husband was alive. But I’m going to start making it for me now it does use a teaspoon of paprika also three quarters of a teaspoon of poultry seasoning which makes it so delicious. After it’s browned in a frying pan in vegetable oil, put it in a baking bowl mix one bouillon cube with 3/4 cup of hot water poured over the meat and it makes the most phenomenal juice, not a lot of it but the most phenomenal juice to pour over your City chicken. Just reading this blog has made me hungry for City chicken. I always mixed the veal and pork but will buy pork I think this time since I don’t eat red meat anymore. Bake in the oven at 350 for 1 hour

  10. My great-grandparents were from Poland and my grandma was born in Detroit. I grew up loving pieroges and city chickens and have passed the hand written recipes down to my girls, who are the 5th generation to love these. Somewhere along the way, my grandma or mom started to sprinkle a package of Lipton onion soup mix over the skewered meat before putting them in the oven. They are beyond delicious and the ultimate comfort food!

  11. Oh my, as a retired caterer, I’ve made several thousands of those delicious little gems. Every one of the (extra add ins) work to make people salivate at the mention of having family and friends enjoy some good old fashioned hunkey food. Thanks for the delicious memories. And thank ALL of the baba’s that are still with us for passing this western pennsylvania treat on us to serve today

  12. I am polish we always had city Chicken. When I lived in Michigan they sold it already made up on screws. Loved it that’s the hardest part. You can’t find veal everywhere. They didnt have any in Florida. Now we live in Georgia, they sell veal here. I just showed my daughter who is 51 how to make it. I love it mouth is watering now. Try this recipe it is so good. I usually make so many that the first day we have it just baked out of the oven the second day i make gravy to have with it. Yes I make at least 20.

  13. Flour first before dipping in egg keeps the egg from saturating the meat – if that’s a problem of course. Works well with pan fried cod too. Also, I’m 2nd/3rd generation Polish. Never heard of city or mock chicken. Grandparents emigrated from Kraków in 1910. Still miss my babka’s cooking.

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