28 Traditional Polish Soups (2023)

Polish soups are an essential part of everyday cooking in Poland. Poles believe soups can nourish and heal and they are convinced children especially should eat a bowl of soup every day!

Soups are inexpensive to make, use seasonal vegetables (which many people have historically grown themselves) so even if grocery stores offered empty shelves (a frequent occurrence during decades of communism) you could always make soup!

Which is why there are so many types of soups to choose from in Poland!

28 Traditional Polish Soups (1)

How is soup served in Poland

Traditional Polish dinner, which is usually served around 3pm, consists of 2 courses: soup and main. No matter how filling the main course may be (and cabbage rolls or kotlety with potatoes are very filling!) dinner will usually begin with a bowl of soup (often served with bread, too!). A dinner without soup is considered incomplete and there is a perception it will leave you hungry!

Soup isn’t typically served as a stand-alone meal but is such an integral part of traditional Polish dinner many people continue serving soup daily.

Growing up Sunday dinners in my house always consisted of 2 courses and 90 percent of the time the first one was rosόł - chicken noodle soup.

What do Polish soups have in common

  • Vegetables: Most Polish soups contain onion, carrot, celery root/celeriac, parsley root and leek. These root vegetables even have a special name -‘włoszczyzna’, and are often sold bunched up (without the onion) specifically for using in soups. (See also Polish-inspired root vegetable stew).
  • Herbs and spices: The 2 most popular ones are allspice berries and bay leaf. Frequently used herbs include marjoram, used in tripe soup, for example, caraway seeds, often added to sauerkraut soup, and lovage, which can be added to any soup for more depth of flavour. These herbs are typically used in their dried form.

The most popular fresh herbs used in Polish soup recipes are parsley and dill, usually added towards the end of cooking, often used together. Borscht or dill pickle soup simply wouldn’t be the same without them.

  • Consistency and texture: Creamy soups are not very common and most of the soups contain chunks of vegetables, potatoes and meat (if using). Soups are sometimes thickened with flour, rice or barley.
  • Serving: Many soups in Poland are served with sour cream.

I divided Polish soups into the following categories:

Most popular soups

Because there are so many soup recipes in Poland and because soups are enjoyed daily it is difficult to determine which one is the most popular. This category, however, should include the following two:

1.Polish chicken noodle soup – rosόł.

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Rosόł soup is essentially clear chicken and vegetable broth served with thin vermicelli noodles. It requires few ingredients, no chopping and is super easy to make. Nourishing and warming it’s popular throughout the country (and often served on Sundays). Leftover rosόł is often used to make other soups, including tomato and lane kluski (see below).

Recipe instructions for rosόł

2. Traditional Polish borscht – barszcz czerwony.

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Polish Borschtis another clear soup, made with a handful of ingredients. It is served onChristmas Eve in Poland withmushroom dumplings (uszka), but is also popular throughout the year, served, in a cup, with Polish krokiety (with mushrooms or meat) or croquettes. It's slightly acidic and sweet, earthy, peppery, with a hint of garlic and wild mushrooms. Traditionally it is made using fermented beets ('zakwas'), but pickled beets are fine to use, too.

Recipe for Polish barszcz

Everyday soups

These soups are simple to make, can be served as part of everyday dinners and are not dependent on seasonal offerings. They include:

3. Polish dill pickle soup – zupa ogόrkowa.

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Polish dill pickle soup is made using cucumbers pickled in a seasoned brine (vinegar free). It's simple to put together and can be made with or without meat. It has a distinct sour flavour intensified further by the sour cream it’s served with.

Polish people love to pickle cucumbers (you can also buy good quality dill pickles if you don’t make your own) and love to eat them as snacks, serve with a main meal or add to salads (such as cold beet salad).

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Recipe for Polish pickle soup

4. Tomato rice soup – zupa pomidorowa z ryżem.

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Polish tomato rice soup is a simple dish, easy to make and super versatile. It can be made using different methods, with or without meat, using either leftoverchicken soup or a handful of simple ingredients people usually tend to have in their fridges.Typically served with sour cream.

Recipe for Polish tomato rice soup

5. Tomato soup with pasta – zupa pomidorowa z makaronem.

Tomato soup with pasta is another dish made using leftoverchicken soup. It also contains tomato paste or puree and is served with various types of pasta including vermicelli, shells, or whatever pasta happens to be in the cupboard. My mum often made homemade pasta specifically for this soup and always served it with sour cream.

6. Ukrainian vegetarian borscht – barszcz ukraiński.

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Ukrainian-style sweet and tangy, earthy vegetarian borschtis a hearty, satisfying soup with beets as its star ingredient accompanied by other vegetables and beans (as an option). It's extremely popular in Poland, easy to make, full of goodness, fantastic colour and, most importantly, delicious flavour!

This soup can also be made with beef bones.

Recipe for Ukrainian vegetarian borscht

7. Polish egg drop noodles chicken soup.

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This is essentially chicken soup with added homemade egg drop noodles (‘lane kluski’), which are thick homemade noodles made with eggs, flour and water. The egg drop noodles can be added to thicken other soups, such as tomato, mentioned above.

Recipe for Polish egg drop noodles chicken soup

8. Polish vegetable soup – zupa jarzynowa.

Polish vegetable soup easily adapts to the changing seasons and can be made with a wide range of vegetables. It has a chunky texture (never creamy) and features finely chopped seasonal vegetables, (sometimes) potatoes as well as fresh herbs. It can be vegetarian though it sometimes contains chicken or turkey wings for added flavour.

9. Polish tripe soup – flaczki.

Polish tripe soup has been a part of Polish cuisine for several hundred years. Although it’s not very often made as an everyday dish (it’s a bit more complex than other Polish soups) traditional Polish restaurants will most definitely have it on their menus. There are even ready-made flaczki you can buy in jars.

The ingredients include beef or pork tripe, vegetables, marjoram, nutmeg, paprika, sometimes also tomato puree and even meatballs.

10. Polish chicken meatball soup – zupa z pulpecikami.

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Polish chicken meatball soup is deliciously comforting and surprisingly easy to make. It’s satisfying, nutritious and made using simple root vegetables. Serve with fresh dill and parsley, a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Recipe for Polish chicken meatball soup

Autumn and Winter soups

11. Polish pumpkin soup – zupa z dyni.

Polish pumpkin soup has a creamy consistency, which is a rare feature in Polish soup recipes. There are many different versions of this seasonal soup but traditionally it is a little sweet and made using milk and nutmeg. It can be served with or without pasta, or croutons.

12. Polish wild mushroom soup – zupa grzybowa.

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Polish mushroom soupmade using porcini mushrooms is traditionally served on Christmas Eve in certain parts of Poland (central and northern regions). This soup is always vegetarian and usually served with Polish ‘łazanki’ pasta, with or without sour cream.

Recipe for Polish mushroom soup

13. Polish white mushroom soup – zupa pieczarkowa.

Polish white mushroom soup offers another flavour twist on the classic root vegetable broth. This time the vegetables are combine with white mushrooms and potatoes to create a delicious autumnal dish. My mum also liked to use a bit of vermicelli in this soup which gave it a real comfort feel.

14. Polish sauerkraut soup – kapuśniak.

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Sour soups are extremely popular in Poland and kapuśniak is one of the better-known ones. Making this dish involves cooking sauerkraut along with root vegetables. It can be made with or without meat.

Sauerkraut is an important ingredient in other traditional Polish dishes including bigos, pierogi and salad.

Recipe for Polish sauerkraut soup

15. Polish chicken barley soup – krupnik.

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Polish chicken barley soup is made by cooking chicken and pearl barley along with the all-important root vegetables for a satisfying, healthy meal. I also like to add a few porcini mushrooms for more depth of flavour and serve this soup with fresh herbs and sour cream.

Recipe for Polish chicken barley soup

16. Polish bean soup – zupa fasolowa.

Polish bean soup is a real winter warmer! It is made using white beans, potatoes, basic root vegetables and marjoram as well as, importantly, Polish kiełbasa and/or bacon, which gives this dish a delicious, smoky flavour.

17. Polish potato soup – kartoflanka.

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In this recipe the humble potato is cooked alongside a handful of vegetables as well as meats, including smoked ribs, Polish sausage or bacon for added flavour. Deliciously comforting and filling!

18. Polish pea soup – zupa grochowa.

Polish pea soup is made using yellow split peas, smoked ribs and usually also garlic, in addition to carrots and potatoes. This hearty dish is perfect for feeding a crowd and as a child I remember it being a staple at summer camps!

Spring soups

These soups use seasonal vegetables and tend to be light and refreshing.

19. Beet greens vegetable soup – zupa z botwiny.

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Polish beet greens soup contains root vegetables, potatoes, as well as dill and parsley, in addition to the beet greens/beet tops. It’s tangy, sweet, but also a little earthy thanks to the beet tops. It can be made vegetarian, but can also contain meat, such as beef bones or chicken. It’s sometimes served with hard-boiled eggs and sour cream.

Recipe for Polish beet greens soup

20. Polish kohlrabi soup – zupa z kalarepy.

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Polish kohlrabi soup is another dish that makes the most of seasonal ingredients. The usual root vegetables are accompanied by cubed kohlrabi and potatoes for a nutritious, light soup. Typically served with sour cream (of course!).

Recipe for Polish kohlrabi soup

21. Polish sorrel soup – zupa szczawiowa.

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Sorrel soup combines sour tasting seasonal sorrel leaves with sweet and earthy root vegetables as well as egg (which can either be stirred into the soup or hard-boiled then added to individual servings). Although sorrel is a spring plant you can get jarred sorrel and enjoy this soup anytime!

Recipe for Polish sorrel soup

22. Polish sour rye soup – żurek.

Żurek, also called ‘żur’, is made using a fermented rye flour starter and is very similar to white borscht (barszcz biały), which uses a wheat starter. Żurek is a traditional Easter soup but is also served throughout the year. This sour soup is usually made with ribs or bacon and served with pieces of Polish white kiełbasa and hard-boiled eggs. The main herb is marjoram.

Polish sour rye soup can be served in a hollowed out round, crusty loaf.

Recipe coming soon!

23. Chicken and cabbage soup – zupa z kapusty.

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This hearty soup is a mixture of sweet and sour flavours and is made using a handful of simple herbs. It’s easy to make, satisfying, healthy and delicious. It can be made throughout the year but is especially popular in the spring when cabbage is in season. Like most soups in Poland, it is usually served with sour cream.

(Video) Polish borscht - Vegetarian borscht recipe video

This soup can also be made vegetarian.

Recipe for chicken and cabbage soup

Summer soups

You might think soups should be reserved for the colder months, but that’s not the case in Poland. Summer soups are made using seasonal produce and include chilled soups.

24. Fresh tomato soup.

This type of tomato soup is made by preparing vegetarian stock and combining it with sauteed, sieved fresh tomatoes and herbs. It is typically served with pasta and sour cream.

25. Cold beet soup with yogurt - chłodnik.

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Lithuanian-style cold beet soup (‘chłodnik litewski’) is a delicious, refreshing soup popular in Poland during summer months.It contains both beets as well as beet greens, cucumber, garlic and herbs and is thickened with yogurt. It’s ready in minutes and even more delicious the next day! This soup is served chilled, often with hard-boiled egg.

Recipe for chłodnik

26. Polish fruit soup – zupa owocowa.

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Polish fruit soup is usually made using summer berries/cherries cooked with water and a bit of sugar and served with cream/yogurt and pasta. It can be served warm or chilled.

Other ‘sweet’ dishes served in Poland for dinner include cheese crepes and sweet cheese pierogi.

Recipe for Polish fruit soup

Breakfast soups

So important are soups for Poles that they even serve them for breakfast! These dishes are made with milk and used to be a staple in Polish homes before the era of cornflakes and other cold cereals which started sometime in the 80s.

Milk soups were served in Polish ‘milk bars’ (affordable, mainly vegetarian eateries), school cafeterias and state-run summer camps (personal experience!). They were always served hot (according to the belief that hot food is more nourishing than cold, especially when it comes to children) and, needless to say, not everyone loved them!

27. Rice milk soup – zupa mleczna z ryżem.

Making this soup involves simply cooking rice with milk. This dish has a sweet flavour and runny consistency.

28. Milk soup with pasta – zupa mleczna z makaronem.

This soup was made by cooking pasta, usually thin wheat vermicelli, in milk with added sugar.

Keep in touch!

What’s your favourite Polish soup? Are there soups you know or make that I haven’t listed in this post? Let me know in the comments below, thanks:)

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