Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (2024)

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If you’re looking for a soup this fall or winter that’s comforting, filling, and slightly tangy, then give this Polish sauerkraut soup a try. Traditionally known as Kapusniak, it’s a tasty combination of tender pork ribs simmered in a rich broth, combined with the tangy sauerkraut and hearty potatoes.

Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (1)

Kapusniak is a staple in Polish cuisine; you can think of it as the chicken noodle soup from Poland. But instead of chicken and noodles, you get a hearty combination of tender pork or sausage with the tangy flavor of sauerkraut.

This recipe is absolutely authentic and will give you the classic flavor of Polish sauerkraut soup in the comfort of your own home. Plus, it’s incredibly simple to make with pantry staple ingredients. And if you love this soup, you need to try out my dill pickle soup (Polish Zuppa Ogórkowa).

Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious Polish sauerkraut soup recipe today!

Jump to:
  • What is Polish Sauerkraut Soup?
  • Why This Is The Best Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe
  • What You Need to Make Polish Sauerkraut Soup At Home
  • How to Make Polish Sauerkraut Soup Step by Step
  • Tips For Making the Best Polish Sauerkraut Soup
  • Serving Suggestions
  • Recipe Variation Ideas for Kapusniak
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • How to Store Leftover Kapusniak
  • Try These Comforting Soups
  • Recipe
Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (2)

What is Polish Sauerkraut Soup?

Polish sauerkraut soup is a traditional soup from Poland that features the tangy flavors of sauerkraut with some delicious pork or sausage. If you know anything about Eastern Europeans, then you know how much we love our pickles. Beet Salad With Pickles, anyone?

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Similarly, this soup has that tangy flavor but in a hearty, comforting form. The traditional name for this soup is ‘Kapusniak’ (pronounced Kah-Pus-Knee-Ack) and it was originally a vegetarian soup that was often served during Lent. Kapusniak comes from ‘Kapusta’ which means cabbage.

It’s, by far, one of the most characteristic Polish soups, and interestingly, the origin can be traced back not only to Poland but also to Ukraine. Traditionally, it was also prepared with fresh cabbage instead of sauerkraut, though the latter is more common.

These days, it is made with a variety of proteins, but most commonly pork or Polish sausage (Polska kielbasa). My recipe is an authentic version of Polish sauerkraut soup that will fill you up and keep you warm during the winter months.

Back in the day, this soup was typically made in the fall and winter months when sauerkraut had properly fermented. There is just nothing like a bowl of Kapusniak on a cold, rainy day with a bit of rye bread.

Try this recipe and experience the delicious taste of traditional Polish cuisine in the comfort of your own home.

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Why This Is The Best Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe

  • Easy to Make: This Polish sauerkraut soup, also known as kapusniak, is easy to make with simple, straightforward steps. From boiling the pork ribs to sautéing the onions and carrots, every stage of the recipe is manageable and hassle-free.
  • Family Favorite: The combination of pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut with a blend of spices makes this soup a hit with both adults and kids. It’s a dish that's sure to be requested over and over again at family meals.
  • Versatile: This soup is highly adaptable. Feel free to add in other vegetables, switch the pork for chicken, or adjust the spices to your liking.
  • Delicious: The taste of this Polish sauerkraut soup is truly remarkable. The savory pork ribs, tangy sauerkraut, and robust spices meld together beautifully to create a soup that's bursting with flavor.
  • Crowd Pleaser: This recipe serves a good number of people, making it perfect for gatherings. Plus, the option to top with a dollop of sour cream adds a delightful, creamy finish that's sure to impress your guests.

What You Need to Make Polish Sauerkraut Soup At Home

All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious Polish sauerkraut soup recipe at home.

Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.

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  • Water: It forms the basic broth for the soup, helping to combine all the flavors together.
  • Pork Ribs: They will add a rich, meaty flavor to the soup. The rib meat is known for its tenderness which will be a delight in every spoonful.
  • Avocado Oil: A healthier substitute for traditional cooking oils, it will be used to sauté the vegetables, enhancing their natural flavors.
  • Onion: A staple in many recipes, it will add a savory depth to the soup.
  • Carrot: Grated carrot will subtly sweeten the soup and add a vibrant color.
  • Potatoes: They will provide a hearty element to the soup, making it more filling.
  • Bay Leaf: This will infuse the soup with a subtle herbal aroma, enhancing the overall flavor.
  • Sauerkraut and its Juices: The star ingredient of this soup, it will give the soup its distinctive tangy flavor and make it truly Polish.
  • Cumin: This spice will add a warm and earthy flavor to the soup.
  • Italian Seasoning: A blend of various herbs, it will add a layer of complexity to the soup's flavor profile.
  • Smoked Paprika: This will give the soup a hint of smoky flavor, adding to its overall richness.
  • Salt and Pepper: These are essential for seasoning the soup, bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Sour Cream: Optional for serving, it can be dolloped on top of the soup to add a creamy tang, further enhancing the soup's taste.

How to Make Polish Sauerkraut Soup Step by Step

Making this incredible Polish sauerkraut soup recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:

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  1. Prepping the Pork Ribs: Add water to a large cooking pot along with the pork ribs and allow them to cook for approximately an hour. Once cooked, remove the meat and place it on a plate. Using two forks, shred the meat and set it aside. The broth that was used to cook the pork ribs should be strained through a fine mesh sieve for later use.
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  1. Sautéing the vegetables: In a medium skillet, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and stir frequently, allowing it to cook until it becomes translucent. This should take around five to seven minutes. Next, add the carrot to the skillet and let it cook for an additional five minutes.
  1. Combining Ingredients: In the pot that contains the strained broth, add potatoes, bay leaf, and sauerkraut. Allow these ingredients to cook for approximately fifteen minutes.
  2. After this, add the shredded meat, cumin, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, and the sautéed onion and carrot to the pot. Let everything cook together for another five minutes, or until the potatoes become soft.
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  1. Serving the Soup: Once everything is cooked, remove the Polish sauerkraut soup from the heat. Ladle the soup into bowls, and if desired, top with a dollop of sour cream. Serve the soup immediately for the best taste and enjoy!

Tips For Making the Best Polish Sauerkraut Soup

  • Choose Quality Pork Ribs: For the best taste and tenderness, use good-quality pork ribs. The flavor of the ribs will significantly influence the overall taste of your soup.
  • Take Time to Saute the Veggies: Don't rush the process of sautéing the onion and carrot. Cooking them slowly until they're soft and golden enhances their flavor, which adds depth to your soup.
  • Use Fresh Sauerkraut: Fresh sauerkraut with its juices brings a tangy taste to the soup that canned versions can't match.
  • Season Generously: Don't be shy with your cumin, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. These spices give kapusniak soup recipe its distinctive flavor.
  • Shred the Pork Properly: Once the pork ribs are cooked, shred them using two forks. This method guarantees an even distribution of meat in every spoonful of soup.
  • Serve with a Dollop of Sour Cream: Polish sauerkraut soup is traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream. It adds a creamy texture and balances the tanginess of the sauerkraut.
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Serving Suggestions

  • This Polish sauerkraut soup, also known as kapusniak, pairs wonderfully with a thick slice of rye bread. The earthy flavor of the rye bread complements the tangy taste of the soup, creating a hearty meal that's perfect for chilly days.
  • For a bit of added protein and flavor, consider topping your kapusniak with a few slices of polish sausage. The smoky taste of the sausage perfectly balances the tangy sauerkraut, offering a delightful contrast in every spoonful.
  • To add a bit of freshness to this hearty soup, sprinkle some fresh dill on top just before serving. The dill not only adds a pop of color but also enhances the overall flavor of the soup.
  • If you're a fan of creamy soups, serve your kapusniak with a dollop of sour cream. It adds a creamy texture and a slight tang that blends beautifully with the other ingredients.
  • For a complete meal, serve your Polish sauerkraut soup alongside a crisp, green salad. The freshness of the vegetables provides a nice contrast to the rich, hearty flavors of the soup.

Recipe Variation Ideas for Kapusniak

This delicious Polish sauerkraut soup recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:

  • Go for a Meaty Twist: If you're a fan of meat, try adding some smoked Polish sausage or bacon to the soup. These ingredients will add a smoky flavor and extra protein. Simply dice the bacon or sausage and add it to the sautéed onion and carrot.
  • Make it Chicken: For a different meat option, substitute the pork ribs with chicken. Boil the chicken in the pot until it reaches full tenderness, then shred it in the same way as the pork. This variation gives a lighter taste to the soup, perfect for those who prefer chicken over pork.
  • Spice it up with caraway seeds: If you're a fan of spices, consider adding a teaspoon of caraway seeds to the soup. These seeds will infuse the soup with a warm, sweet, and slightly peppery flavor that pairs perfectly with the sauerkraut.
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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of pork is best to use for this Polish Sauerkraut Soup recipe?

For this recipe, pork ribs are used due to their rich flavor and tenderness. They impart a delicious taste to the soup and the meat easily shreds after simmering in the pot.

What is the role of sauerkraut in this soup?

Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is a key ingredient in this soup, known as Kapusniak in Poland. It gives the soup a unique, tangy flavor and also adds a variety of nutrients to the dish.

Can I use other vegetables in this soup?

Yes, you can add other vegetables to the soup. However, the traditional recipe includes onions, carrots, potatoes, and sauerkraut. Additional vegetables might alter the authentic flavor of this Polish soup, but it will still taste great.

What if I don't have a bay leaf?

If you don't have a bay leaf, you can skip it. Bay leaves add a subtle depth of flavor to soups, but the soup will still taste delicious without it.

How to Store Leftover Kapusniak

Storing leftover Polish sauerkraut soup, or kapusniak, is easy and it is a great way to enjoy this hearty dish over a few days. Here are some simple instructions to help you keep it fresh and delicious.

  • Refrigerating: After allowing the soup to cool, transfer it into an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Before serving, give it a good stir to mix all the ingredients evenly.
  • Freezing: Polish sauerkraut soup can also be frozen for longer storage. Make sure it is completely cooled before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
  • Thawing and Reheating: To thaw the soup, move it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Once it is thawed, it can be reheated in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir frequently, and add a bit of water or chicken broth if needed.

Try These Comforting Soups

  • Dill Pickle Soup (Polish Zuppa Ogórkowa)
  • Dutch Split Pea Soup (Snert)
  • Shchi (Russian Cabbage Soup Recipe)
  • Solyanka Recipe (Russian Meat Soup)

If you make this recipe, please leave me a comment below and rate it. I always appreciate the feedback. Also, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Recipe

Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (17)

Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak)

If you’re looking for a soup this fall or winter that’s comforting, filling, and slightly tangy, then give this Polish sauerkraut soup a try. Traditionally known as Kapusniak, it’s a tasty combination of tender pork ribs simmered in a rich broth, combined with the tangy sauerkraut and hearty potatoes.

5 from 1 vote

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Course: Soup

Cuisine: Polish

Diet: Gluten Free

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour 20 minutes minutes

Total Time: 1 hour hour 35 minutes minutes

Servings: 4

Calories: 441kcal

Author: Iryna Bychkiv

Ingredients

  • 6 c water
  • 1 lb pork ribs
  • 2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • 1 medium carrot grated on large holes of box grater
  • 3 medium potatoes cubed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 c sauerkraut with its juices
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt, pepper
  • sour cream optional for serving

Instructions

  • Add water to a large cooking pot along with the pork ribs and cook for 1 hour.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (18)

  • Remove meat to a plate and shred it using two forks. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve.

  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet and over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until translucent.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (19)

  • Stir in carrot and cook for five more minutes.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (20)

  • In a pot with strained broth, add potatoes, bay leaf, and sauerkraut and cook for 15 minutes.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (21)

  • Stir in shredded meat, cumin, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, and sauteed onion and carrot, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (22)

  • Remove Sauerkraut Soup from the heat. Ladle it into the bowls, top with sour cream if desired, and serve immediately.

    Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (23)

Notes

Pork:For a different meat option, substitute the pork ribs with chicken. Boil the chicken in the pot until it reaches full tenderness, then shred it in the same way as the pork. This variation gives a lighter taste to the soup, perfect for those who prefer chicken over pork.

Take Time to Saute the Veggies: Don't rush the process of sautéing the onion and carrot. Cooking them slowly until they're soft and golden enhances their flavor, which adds depth to your soup.

Go for a Meaty Twist: If you're a fan of meat, try adding some Polish sausage or bacon to the soup. These ingredients will add a smoky flavor and extra protein. Simply dice the bacon or sausage and add it to the sautéed onion and carrot.

Sour Cream: Adding sour cream is an optional step; however, if you're a fan of creamy soups, serve your kapusniak with a dollop of sour cream. It adds a creamy texture and a slight tang that blends beautifully with the other ingredients.

Refrigerating: Transfer the soup into an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Before serving, give it a good stir to mix all the ingredients evenly

Freezing: Make sure the soup is completely cooled before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.

Thawing and Reheating: To thaw the soup, move it to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Once it is thawed, it can be reheated in a pot on the stove over medium heat. Stir frequently, and add a bit of water or chicken broth if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 1079mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2693IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg

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Iryna Bychkiv

Website

Iryna Bychkiv is the founder and writer of the culinary website Lavender & Macarons, where she shares clean, European-inspired recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, and made with wholesome ingredients. Iryna loves creating meals that are simple yet healthy and unique, including vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Iryna is also a freelance writer for MSN and Associated Press Wire.

Authentic Polish Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapusniak) (2024)

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