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Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew is a dish made with peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

This dish is a summer delight that is made with bell peppers, especially red sweet ones, onions, garlic and tomatoes. The sweet paprika is added to the sauce for a rich flavor.

If there are no red peppers, other sweet peppers can be used, green, yellow or orange ones are perfect. 

My favorite peppers are the red ones and this is what I used today.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew -vegetables

 A few words about paprika:

What you need to remember about the Hungarian cuisine is that what truly defines this delicious cuisine is the skillful use of seasoning.

Hungarian cooks believe that seasoning is very important and requires a delicate touch.

Any Hungarian cuisine will contain a wide variety of spices. Caraway seeds, cinnamon, dill, poppy seeds are frequently used. 

However, the Hungarian national spice is paprika. Paprika is what makes Hungarian cooking different than any other cuisine.

Paprika is available in three strengths: sweet, semisweet and hot. If you are familiar with Hungarian paprika, you already know which strength you like. If you are not familiar with it, I suggest you start with the sweet one.

If you like it, then you can go further and use semisweet or even hot in your Hungarian recipes. Start small if you never used paprika in your recipes until now.

Being the most popular condiment used in the Hungarian cuisine, of course that this Lecso dish will have paprika in it. 

You know what else carries good amounts of paprika? Goulash! If you never made this dish, you should try it. It is very comforting and satisfying on chilly days.

Lecsó, this Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew can also carry smoked bacon, sausages or even pork. In other words, it could be vegetarian/vegan or not.

If you choose to not add any meat to it, then it can be a delicious side dish that can complement any grilled, roasted or fried meats. You can try it with my favorite Chicken Schnitzel.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Traditionally, this dish is made with lard, but not many people out there use lard in their cooking anymore, so I used oil.

The recipe is ready in under an hour, the peppers will have a little bite to it, but the flavors together with the onions and garlic are divine.

Even if it doesn’t take a lot of time to make it, do not make it in a hurry, stewed it slowly over a low fire until the various tastes and flavors create a marvelous blend.

You can also eat it cold or warm, on a good piece of crusty bread, for a quick snack, as a dip or as an accompaniment for omelets or meats.


Start by slicing the onions.

chopped onion

Place them in a pan with the vegetable oil. You can use regular or red onion, as you like, or based on the availability. There are no rules.

chopped onions

Cook the onions slowly until they become translucent. 

Cooked onion

While the onions are cooking, wash the peppers, 

Red Pepper

clean them inside by removing the core and the seeds.

Red Pepper

Cut the peppers in quarters, 

Red Pepper

then in thin slices, about half inch thick.

Red Peppers

It will take about 10 minutes for the onions to cook down and become translucent. Make sure you stir them once in a while, because you want the onions to cook, not to fry.

Add the chopped peppers and toss them together with the onions.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Chop the garlic.


Add it to the pan.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Also, add paprika, salt, and pepper.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

After 5 minutes of cooking everything together, add the canned diced tomatoes, or the fresh chopped tomatoes you bought from the Farmers Market.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Remember, you can make this dish in the winter too, with ingredients you get at your local grocery store.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Keep cooking on low-medium heat for 10 minutes or until the peppers get softer.

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew

Serve warm or cold, as a side dish next to your favorite meats.

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Lecso Hungarian Pepper Tomato Stew 2

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Yield: 6 servings

Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew


Lecsó- Hungarian Pepper-Tomato Stew is a summer dish where the star of the recipe is the red sweet pepper. This dish is made with bell peppers, onions, garlic and tomatoes. The sweet paprika is added to the sauce for a rich flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil(I used sunflower oil, but olive oil is good too)
  • 3 large onions (regular or red) chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh red, yellow and orange peppers stemmed, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • 4-5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika or to taste
  • 3-4 big tomatoes chopped small or canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1-2 sausages, smoked bacon etc.


  1. Heat the oil in a fairly large pan and saute the chopped onion until translucent.
  2. Add the chopped peppers and toss them together with the onions for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, then paprika, salt and pepper. Mix and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes of the canned diced tomatoes.Cook until the sauce reduces and the peppers are soft and cooked.
  5. Serve as a side dish with your favorite meats.
  6. Optional: If you add bacon or sausages, start by cooking the bacon and sausages first, then continue with the recipe the same way.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 222Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 659mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g

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Mike Johnson

Monday 1st of July 2019

Hello Gabriela!

Thought I would ask you if you know of any nicknames for the Lecso meal that would have been in use around WWI? I do historical presentations on WWI for local schools and organizations, and Lecso is the meal I chose to put in my Austro-Hungarian Army mess tin for the Hungarian soldier fake food meal I have. All armies in WWI had nicknames for the food they were served. My Austrian meal is "pinkle" (little fingers), small sausages on rice. I would love to know what lecso was called, so that I stay with the nickname theme. I have done school presentations for over 35 years now, and I have found the kids really enjoy the food part of my talks. After I am done with my presentation the kids get to come up and try on the helmets, toot the bugles and poke the fake food to see if it is real. Lately, the food part has been the most popular. A gal in Arizona makes most of my food items, and she does a great job! May I hear from you at your convenience?

Best wishes,

Mike J.

The Bossy Kitchen

Monday 1st of July 2019

Hi Mike,

Your story is very interesting! I never heard of "pinkle" before, and I honestly have no idea if this dish had a name besides Lecso, which is also known in German as Letscho. The dish is popular in Hungary but it is also popular in Transylvania. I was trying to do some research in my Eastern European cooking books and history, hoping to find some information but I could not find anything. I am sorry I cannot help. So, you are saying that the food is actually "fake"? It would be fun to actually make the food with them or for them, so they can get a taste of how the food was like. Some dishes are really awesome! If you find out the nickname for Lecso, please let me know. I would be interested to know about that too. Thank you for visiting.

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