Dinner/ polish/ soups

Dill pickle soup (Zupa ogórkowa / Polish cucumber soup)

23 March 2020 | Last Updated: 25 March 2020

Tangy and rich dill pickle soup is a traditional Polish soup made with fermented cucumbers and potatoes. It’s one of my favorite Polish soups! It may sound weird to you – soup made with pickled cucumbers but trust me, you will love it, its taste is truly addicting!

This is an authentic Polish recipe, just how it’s made in Poland! If you make this recipe you will try the real-deal dill pickle soup!

For more Polish recipes, check out this page: Polish cuisine.

Dill pickle soup in a white bowl with blue flowers, fermented cucumbers on the side

Ingredients – what you’ll need:

dill pickle soup ingredients

What are cucumbers in brine?

This is a traditional Polish product (called ogórki kiszone in Polish). These are cucumbers that are naturally fermented in salted water and there is no vinegar added to the brine. Cucumbers in brine taste so much better than cucumbers pickled with vinegar. They’re a little softer and its taste is truly addicting. They’re also extremely healthy. Vinegar dill pickles are more crunchy and taste vinegary instead of kind of naturally and pleasantly sour (and maybe a little bit sweet).

Ogórki kiszone are one of the staples of Polish cuisine and one of the few fermented goods that Polish people love, like sauerkraut.

This recipe was not tested with dill pickles with vinegar, I think if you substitute them the recipe would still work, but the taste would be surely inferior. You can find cucumbers in brine in Polish, Jewish, Ukrainian or Russian deli or order them on the internet.

This recipe has more pickles in it in comparison to other recipes simply because:

  1. These are the ‘real’ pickled cucumbers, which means they’re pleasantly sour and not sharp/vinegary-sour. The soup tastes distinctively like pickled cucumbers and this is how it should taste!
  2. We’re cooking the cucumbers in butter, which mellows their sour taste and enriches their taste.

I made this recipe with homemade pickled cucumbers made by my grandmother. I haven’t tried to make homemade pickled cucumbers myself, simply because I’m sure it would not taste as good as my grandmas and I would be just disappointed 😉

If you have any fermented cucumbers left, you can make this herring salad with cucumbers in brine, eggs, and apples.

homemade dill pickles (fermented cucumbers)

What kind of broth to use:

Polish soups are almost always made from scratch. Polish people don’t really buy store-bought broths simply because they’re not really available and the cooking culture in Poland is that you make a lot of things from scratch!
Dill pickle soup is most often with a chicken or spareribs-based broth. I prefer it with made with chicken broth – it’s naturally sweeter which balances the cucumbers’ sweetness.

If you use store-bought chicken broth (low-sodium), the soup will also be very delicious, I’m often making it this way.

How to make dill pickle soup step by step:

how to make homemade broth:

This step is optional. You can use store-bought broth and omit this section completely. But if you wish to make the soup from scratch, like it’s made in Poland, you need to:

You can use other chicken parts to make the broth but I like to use chicken wings or back and neck of a chicken, since they have lots of bone and cartilage and not much meat. I prefer to use more meaty parts of chicken like thighs and breasts for other dishes when the meat doesn’t have to be cooked. You can add more chicken wings for a richer broth, but I think this amount is just enough.

Peel 2-3 large carrots, a piece of parsley root, and piece of celeriac. Cut into 2-3 bigger pieces. Cut 1/3 of a leek in half and wash it thoroughly.

Add about 8 chicken wings into a big pot and pour in 8 cups of cold water. Heat over medium heat until the water is cooking, but it shouldn’t come to a rolling boil, it should simmer (you should see a couple of small bubbles on the surface of the water). When the water is simmering you should see light grey masses/lumps on the surface. Skim them off with a slotted spoon or with a small mesh strainer to get a clear soup (this is optional).

You can use frozen meat to make the broth. You don’t have to defrost it, you can add frozen meat directly into the pot (this is why the meat looks a little weird in the pot, it’s just frozen).

When the water with meat is simmering add all the vegetables and spices (3 bay leaves, 3 allspice berries, 10 black peppercorns), season very lightly with salt. Bring again to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over low heat (the soup should only simmer) for about 1-1.5 hours.

Strain the broth. You can discard all the vegetables (you can leave 1 carrot for the soup if you wish). When the meat is cold enough to handle, separate it from the bones and skin and discard them (you can keep the meat and add it later to the soup).

The broth for this soup is very often made with spareribs in Poland. I’m not a fan of this soup made with spareribs, I prefer chicken, but if you wish to make it with spareribs: use 1 lb (450g) lean spareribs and cut them into smaller pieces. Everything else stays the same.

how to make the soup:

squeezing out water from cucumbers, chopped ingredients for the soup

STEP 1: Grate 1 lb (450g) cucumbers in brine on the big holes of a box grater. Squeeze the grated cucumbers with your hands, reserve the liquid (add it to the brine from the cucumbers, you should have 1 cup of juice total). After you squeezed out the water you should have about 1 2/3 cups grated cucumbers.

STEP 2: Grate 1 medium carrot on the small holes of a box grater, cut 1 lb (450g) potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2-inch / 1.5 cm), finely chop 1 medium onion.

sauteed onion, carrot and fermented cucumbers

STEP 3: Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a big pot, add the onion and carrot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

STEP 4: Heat 2 Tbsp of butter in a medium pan and add the cucumbers, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add them to the pot.

broth and potatoes are being added to a pot with soup

STEP 5: Add 6 cups of broth to the pot.

STEP 6: Add the potatoes to the pot.

sauteed dill pickles and pickle juice are being added to the soup

STEP 7: Add the sauteed cucumbers to the pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

STEP 8: Add about 1 cup of cucumber’s brine/juice (this is about 1/2 cup juice that you’ve squeezed out of the cucumbers + about 1/2 cup brine from the jar). Add it gradually and taste the soup making sure it’s not too sour/not enough sour for you. Take the soup off the heat.

tempered cream and chopped dill are being added to the soup

STEP 9: Temper the cream: pour 1/3 cup (80ml) of heavy cream into a cup, add a couple of tablespoons of soup, stirring after every added tablespoon, then add the tempered cream into the pot.

STEP 10: Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 2 Tbsp of chopped dill.

Enjoy!

Storing and freezing tips:

You can store this soup in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it very gently, it should not come to a full boil otherwise the cream can curdle. For this same reason, this soup can not be frozen. If you try to thaw it the soup it will be curdled. You can freeze it before adding the cream.

two bowl with dill pickle soup

Dill pickle soup (Zupa ogórkowa / Polish cucumber soup)

Sour and rich Polish dill pickle soup. It’s one of the best Polish soups – taste the real deal!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
cooking the broth (optional) 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 small servings
Calories 184kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the soup:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb (450g) cucumbers in brine (fermented cucumbers)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken/vegetable broth, or make your own brown (recipe below)
  • 1 lb (450g) potatoes, 5 medium potatoes
  • 1/2-1 cup cucumbers brine (pickle juice), from the jar with cucumbers
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 80ml
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill

from-scratch broth (optional):

  • 8 chicken wings or back and neck of a chicken + a couple of wings
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1/3 leek
  • 1/2 parsley root
  • a couple sprigs parsley leaves
  • a piece of celeriac
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups water 2 liter

Instructions

make the homemade broth (optional):

  • This step is optional. You can use store-bought broth and omit this section completely. But if you wish to make the soup from scratch, like it’s made in Poland, you need to:
  • Add the chicken wings into a big pot and pour in 8 cups of cold water. Heat over medium heat until the water is cooking, but it shouldn’t come to a rolling boil, it should simmer (you should see a couple of small bubbles on the surface of the water). When the water is simmering you should see light grey masses/lumps on the surface. Skim them off with a slotted spoon or with a small mesh strainer to get a clear soup (this is optional).
  • While the water in the pot is warming up clean the vegetables. Peel the carrots, parsley root and celeriac. Cut into 2-3 bigger pieces. Cut the leek in half and wash it thoroughly.
  • When the water with meat is simmering add all the vegetables and spices, season very lightly with salt. Bring again to a simmer. Cover partially and cook over low heat (the soup should only simmer) for about 1-1.5 hours.
  • Strain the broth. You can discard all the vegetables (you can leave 1 carrot for the soup if you wish). When the meat is cold enough to handle, separate it from the bones and skin and discard them (you can keep the meat and add it later to the soup).

make the soup:

  • Grate the cucumbers on the big holes of a box grater. Squeeze the grated cucumbers with your hands, reserve the liquid (add it to the brine from the cucumbers, you should have 1 cup of juice total). After you squeezed out the water you should have about 1 2/3 cups grated cucumbers.
  • Grate the carrot on the small holes of a box grater, cut the potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2-inch / 1.5 cm), finely chop the onion.
  • Heat the butter in a medium pan and add the cucumbers, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add them to the pot with broth
  • Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan, add the onion and carrot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the content of the pan to the pot with broth and cucumbers.
  • Add potatoes to the pot, bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
  • Add the cucumber’s brine (juice), add it gradually and taste the soup making sure it’s not too sour/not enough sour for you.
  • Take the soup off the heat.
  • Temper the cream: pour the cream into a cup, add a couple tablespoons of soup, stirring after every added tablespoon, then add the tempered cream into the pot.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Stir in chopped dill.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • For this recipe you need to find cucumbers in brine which are naturally fermented (not quickly pickled with vinegar). The ingredients list should only include cucumbers, water, spices and NO vinegar.
  • 1 cup of cucumber’s brine/juice – this is about 1/2 cup juice that you’ve squeezed out of the cucumbers + about 1/2 cup brine from the jar with cucumbers. You can use less! Make sure to add it gradually and taste the soup as you go!
  • The broth for this soup is very often made with spareribs in Poland. I’m not fan of this soup made with spareribs, I prefer chicken, but if you wish to make it with spareribs: use 1 lb (450g) lean spareribs and cut them into smaller pieces. Everything else stays the same.
  • You can use frozen meat to make the broth. You don’t have to defrost it, you can add frozen meat directly into the pot.
  • You can use other chicken parts to make the broth but I like to use chicken wings or back and neck of a chicken, since they have lots of bone and cartilage and not much meat. I prefer to use more meaty parts of chicken like thighs and breasts for other dishes when the meat doesn’t have to be cooked.
  • Storing and freezing tips: You can store this soup in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it very gently, it should not come to a full boil otherwise the cream can curdle. For this same reason this soup can not be frozen. If you try to thaw it the soup it will be curdled. You can freeze it before adding the cream.
  • Calories count = 1/6 of the recipe (1 small serving). This is only an estimate!
Course Soup
Cuisine polish
Keyword cucumber soup, dill pickle soup, polish cucumber soup

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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