Polish Pickle Soup

Each Polish cook has a aviation on this soup, but the key component — sour dill pickles — is always present. Here, the pickles are grated and gently cooked with garlic and bay leaves, then added along with their brine to a hearty blend of root vegetables in broth. Serve with some good crusty bread and feel free to add shredded chicken or even kielbasa if you’d like.

Polish Pickle Soup

Servings: 6-8


  • 6 to 8 cups / vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 large / carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3 large / russet potatoes
  • 1 small / celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium / parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 7 8-9oz / sour dill pickles with 1 1/2 cups brine from the jar (see Tip)
  • 3 Tbsp / unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves / Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 dried / bay leaves
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup / sour cream, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large pot, combine 6 cups stock with the carrots, potatoes, celery root and parsnip. The vegetables should be covered with stock, so add more as needed. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Rapidly simmer until all of the vegetables are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, coarsely grate the pickles. You should have about 1 cup densely packed grated pickles. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Stir in the garlic and bay leaves, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the grated pickles and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring once, until the pickles become softer, 8 to 12 minutes.
  3. Add the pickle mixture to the pot with the vegetables, along with 1 cup pickle brine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. The soup should already be salty from the broth, pickles and their brine, so add salt carefully. Add up to ½ cup more brine if you want a more sour taste. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. If using sour cream, temper the cream so it doesn’t curdle: In a cup, mix the sour cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cold water, stirring well after each addition, then repeat with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the soup. Add the tempered cream to the pot. Bring to a simmer and heat through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Top with chopped dill and black pepper.

  6. Woody's Way: Tip:When shopping for Polish pickles, be sure to buy ogórki kiszone (cucumbers in brine), such as those sold by the Polonaise brand. Do not buy Polish dill pickles!