Polish Pickle Soup recipe history

Zupa ogorkowa is a simple, inexpensive, and very tasty pickle-based soup.

Zupa Ogorkowa: Traditional Polish Pickle Soup

Published: July 20, 2018

Polish pickle soup is similar to pickle-based soups that can be found across the Slavic world. In Russia, for instance, soups like solyanka and rassolnik are popular. Solyanka, however, prides itself on stuffing as much and as many kinds of meat into the soup as possible. Rassolnik is much more similar to Polish pickle soup with the main difference being that rassolnik will almost always contain barley as an ingredient while Polish pickle soup does not. Thus, the Polish version can be confidently said to be one of the simplest variants of the Slavic pickle soup family.

Why is it called that?

(Dlaczego są tak nazwane?)

“Zupa ogorkowa” [pronounced zoopa ogurkova], or cucumber soup, is a traditional and popular Polish soup. “Zupa” means soup in Polish, and “ogorkowa” is the adjectival form of “ogórek,” which means “cucumber.” The soup is named after the soup’s main ingredient: “kiszone ogorki,” or pickled cucumbers.

When Do Poles Eat Pickle Soup?

(Kiedy Polacy jedzą zupę ogorkową?)

Traditional Polish meals always begin with a starter, soup being one of the most common. So, pickle soup would be served before the main course of the meal.

This is a “leftovers” soup for when hard and pickled goods need to be used up in the house: the broth is traditionally made from left-over meat bones, and the other ingredients — potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, pickled cucumbers and dill — can be stored to last quite some time.

Like many Slavic soups, pickle soup is usually served with a side of sour cream, kefir, or plain yogurt that can be added to the soup to make it richer and creamer (as is also typical with barszcz czerwony – red borscht).

How Do You Properly Cook Pickle Soup?

(Jak odpowiednio ugotować zupę ogorkową?)

As long as you follow the directions, this is a really easy and quick soup to cook. If making it with meat bones, make sure to boil the meat bones to create a base broth (I am sure a vegetable broth would work well too). If no old meat bones are to be had, just use some fried bacon or, really, any other type of meat to create a base broth.

Let’s Cook!


See below for a free recipe for “paczki.” See also the free videos online. If you are interested in cooking from Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, and other places in Eurasia, make sure to see see our other resources! You might also be interested in the following specialized cookbooks we’ve enjoyed:

51M7OxYdMNL 51EOQWvYmfL._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_ 51gf+bAbAzL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ 41Y8R0wcVBL


Zupa Ogorkowa Polish Pickle Soup
  • Kości z mięsem
  • Słoik ogórków kiszonych
  • Dwie duże marchewki ( albo 3-4 małe)
  • Duża koperka
  • Jedna cebula
  • 4-5 ząbków czosnku
  • 4-6 średniej wielkości ziemniaków
  • Sól, pieprz
  • Dwa liście laurowe
  • 2 łyżki siekaniej natki pietruszki
  • śmietana


  1. Zagotuj wodę wraz z kośćmi lub skwarkami 20 – 30 minut. Usuń kości. Zetrzyj ogórki kiszone, pokrój ziemniaki, cebulę, czosnek, koperek i natkę pietruszki. Wyciągnij kości z garnka. Dodaj ziemniaki i marchew i liście laurowe, pogotuj pogotuj przez 15 minut, następnie dodaj resztę składników. Dusić przez 10 minut na wolnym ogniu. Podawać z odrobiną śmietany.
  • Meat bones
  • Jar of pickled cucumbers
  • Two big carrots
  • Lots of dill
  • One onion
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 4-6 medium-sized potatoes
  • Salt, pepper
  • Two bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Sour cream


  1. Boil the meat bones to create a broth. Remove bones. Grate the pickles and chop the potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, dill, and parsley. Add the potatoes, carrots, and bay leaves to the boiling broth and let cook for a few minutes. Then, add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Serve with a side of cream.

Our Favorite Polish Pickle Soup Videos

This video, in English by a Polish woman, shows step-by-step how to make pickle soup.


This video, in fairly slow, clear Polish, also shows and names each ingredient and step in the process.


This video shows two poles making the soup together and conversing in Polish while they do so.

You Might Also Like

Medovukha Honey Drink Russia Maslenitsa

Medovukha: The King of Slavic Honey Drinks

Medovukha (медовуха) is a Slavic honey-based alcoholic beverage. It is one of the most recent and perhaps the best known iteration of a long evolutionary tree of Russian honey-based beverages that can be traced all the way back to the Old Slavs. In Russia today, some argue that a return to these honey drinks, which […]

Polish Holidays

Polish Holidays 2021: A Complete Guide

Polish holidays are heavily steeped in Catholic tradtion. They all have a distinctly Polish flair to them, however, in their foods, colors, and celebrations. Note that in Poland nearly everything closes for public holidays! Everyone will be celebrating! Find out more about Polish holidays, their history, cultural significance, and related days off below. Days Off […]


Wianki: Polish Midsummer: Student Observations

Wianki (or, in English, Wreaths) is a Polish holiday event that takes its roots in the pre-Christian tradition of celebrating summer solstice as a day of fire, water, fertility, love and joy. Wianki is celebrated each year in June and is a Midsummer festival marking the summer solstice. While it has analogues throughout Europe, in […]


Christmas Mass Celebrations, Poland

The Christmas holiday is the second largest holiday celebrated nationally in Poland, behind Easter. Lights strung up in the Old Town, carols humming in the stores, and Christmas trees dotting the streets: these were the festive sights I experienced throughout Warsaw while on study abroad during Christmas time. Personally, as a Catholic, going to Christmas […]

borsch recipe history culture origin

Borsch: The Slavic Signature Soup

Borsch (Борщ) is one of the most popular soups in Central and Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is sweet and sour, healthy and can be eaten at any time of year. It has a complicated and very long history, with the soup changing over time within various geographic regions. Today, the broadly recognized “standard” borsch […]


About the author

Rebekah Switala

Rebekah Switala is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is working on her Master’s degree in Central and East European Studies with specialization in women and gender. She received her BA from Western Michigan University in 2011, graduating magna cum laude, after which time she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a women’s rights organization in North Moldova. She is studying Polish in Warsaw and is undertaking an internship at Political Critique there. She intends on pursuing a Ph.D. after completing her Master’s.

Program attended: Challenge Grants

View all posts by: Rebekah Switala