Ukrainian cabbage soup kapusniak recipes

Kapusniak is a traditional Ukrainian soup that takes the second place by popularity after borscht. This dish was named after its basic ingredient, sauerkraut, which is pronounced as “капуста” (kapusta) in Ukrainian. This pickled vegetable adds special flavor and sour taste to Ukrainian cabbage soup.

Kapusniak is especially popular in winter time for its density, high nutritional value and rich taste. Due to such simple and available ingredients as broth, cabbage and cereals you can cook this dish all year round.

History of kapusniak

Kapusniak was very popular with our ancestors for its simple and affordable recipe. Farmers used to cook it with chicken meat, as there was a great amount of hens in every yard. This soup was especially popular on weddings and funerals.

Each hostess had her own secrets of kapusniak cooking, so it was hard to find two identical kapusta soups in one village.

Kapusniak in different countries


Kapusniak or kapusnytsia is considered to be the national dish of Ukrainian, Slovak and Polish cuisines. There is also similar soup in Russia, but it`s called “schi”. Nevertheless there are some differences in the technology and composition of these dishes:

  • Polish kapusniak is cooked without cereals and tomatoes;
  • Russian schi are allowed to be cooked without sauerkraut, adding white cabbage, spinach or nettle;
  • in China and Western Siberia this dish is cooked with rice and white cabbage.

Ukrainian cabbage soup ingredients

As there is a great variety of kapusniak recipes, the ingredients may also vary. However they can be divided into several groups:

  • Broth basis. Broth can be made of meat, fat or greaves and even fish.
  • Cabbage. It may be added to the broth with brine or not. Fresh cabbage is used sometimes, but in that case the taste will not be so saturated and bright.
  • Potatoes are usually used as the basic filling. It may be added by various cereals like rice, buckwheat, millet, pearl barley etc.
  • Herbs and condiment. They make the soup taste more unique.

Secrets of cooking the perfect kapusniak


Experienced cooks have their own secrets how to make cabbage soup with sauerkraut more delicious and savory.

First of all you should start with cooking the broth. Simmer meat on low heat until tender. It can be pork, chicken meat or fish, but the tastiest broth is made of mixing two types of meat – pork and beef. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and parsley roots to the broth.

Take out meat or fish and chop it. Add it by the end of cooking.

Put potatoes and millet groats to the boiling broth. It is important: first you should rinse millet in the flowing cold water until it becomes clear. It will help to get rid of bitterness and unpleasant taste.

Choose special potato variety that is good for mashing.

Add parsley and dill immediately before serving kapusniak.

The consistency of good cabbage soup must be dense and rich.

Types of kapusniak

Traditional Ukrainian sour cabbage soup varies depending on set of products it is made of. There are such types of this soup:

  • meat kapusniak;
  • fish (Lenten) kapusniak;
  • vegetarian kapusniak.

Ukrainian sauerkraut soup with pork recipe

Traditionally kapusniak is cooked with pork. Here is the most popular recipe for it.


  • pork– 300 g;
  • water – 3 l;
  • sauerkraut – 400 g;
  • potatoes – 400 g;
  • onion – 2;
  • carrot – 1;
  • vegetable oil – 30-50 ml;
  • tomato paste – 2 tbsp.;
  • millet groats – 2 tbsp.;
  • dill, parsley;
  • salt, pepper.

Cook the pork broth.  When the meat is ready take it out of water. Prepare vegetables: chop onion, grate carrots and cut potatoes. Preheat vegetable oil on the hot frying pan, add onion and carrots and fry them until soft.

Add potatoes, salt and pepper to the broth and 10-15 minutes later pour rinsed millet. In 5-7 minutes add sauerkraut, fried vegetables and tomato paste. Keep on boiling for 5 minutes and then switch the fire off.  Add chopped herbs. Traditional Ukrainian kapustniak is ready.

Kapusnyak recipe
Kapusnyak recipe

Ukrainian cabbage soup with fish recipe

If you don’t eat meat, you can use fish as the basic ingredient. We propose you this Ukrainian kapusniak (kapusta soup) recipe with fish as the alternative to the traditional recipe.


  • fresh or tinned fish – 200 g;
  • potatoes – 3-4;
  • carrot – 1;
  • onion – 1;
  • fresh cabbage – 200 g;
  • millet groats – 100 g;
  • vegetable oil – 2 tbsp.;
  • tomato paste – 3 tbsp.;
  • parsley;
  • salt, pepper.

Cook the fish broth. Preferably it is better to choose boneless types of fish. When the fish is cooked, take it out, remove all the bones and grind it. If you use tinned fish, add it by the end of cooking.

Peel potatoes, cut them and add to the boiling water. 10 minutes later pour rinsed millet groats. Grind carrot, onion and fresh cabbage in blender and then stew them on the oil for 15 minutes to make them taste more intense. When the millet is ready, add stewed vegetables and tomato paste. In 5 minutes add chopped fish, salt, pepper and parsley.

Vegetarian kapusniak with mushrooms recipe

This Ukrainian sour cabbage soup recipe is suitable for the Lenten diet as it doesn’t include fish or meat.


  • fresh (dried) mushrooms – 500 (250) g;
  • potatoes – 3-4;
  • onion – 1;
  • carrot – 1;
  • sauerkraut – 200g;
  • vegetable oil – 3 tbsp.;
  • millet groats – 2 tbsp.
  • dill, parsley
  • salt, pepper.

Peel potatoes, cut them and add to the boiling water. If you decide to use dried mushrooms, rinse them and add to potatoes. 10 minutes later pour rinsed millet groats to the broth. Chop onion and carrot and fry them on vegetable oil. If you use fresh mushrooms, peel and chop them, then add to fried vegetables.

Add fried vegetables and sauerkraut to the broth. Let it boil for 7-10 minutes and switch it off. Season kapusniak with salt, pepper and herbs. Cover with a lid and leave for half an hour.

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