Polish Dill Pickle Soup (Zupa Ogórkowa)

published Feb 16, 2024
Polish Dill Pickle Soup Recipe (Zupa Ogórkowa)

Grated dill pickles are the key to a hearty, flavorful vegetable soup.

Serves8 to 10

Makes12 cups

Prep20 minutes

Cook28 minutes

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An overhead view of polish pickle soup in a bowl on a marble surface with rye bread next to it.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Styling: Rachel Perlmutter

One thing about me: I am a pickle girl. I love all types of pickles all the time. My fiancé, however, does not like pickles at all, and normally this is fine (more for me!). So you can imagine my surprise when I made this Polish pickle soup and he didn’t just clear his bowl — he went back for seconds.

I love Polish pickle soup, or zupa ogórkowa, because, at its core, it’s a really delicious and hearty vegetable soup. (And, if you use vegetable broth, it’s vegetarian, although you could always add some meat like shredded chicken or pork.) There’s a lot of great textural variation and flavor — plus, it’s deeply cozy. With a dollop of tangy sour cream and a generous heap of fresh dill on top, this soup has easily earned its place in my rotation. I highly recommend serving rye bread alongside for dunking.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Cooking dill pickles mellows their flavor, making it perfect for pickle lovers and haters alike!
  • It’s a seriously hearty vegetarian soup that doesn’t skimp on flavor. 

Key Ingredients in Polish Dill Pickle Soup

  • Dill pickles. You’ll want salt-brined pickles rather than ones brined in vinegar. Brands like Ricks Picks and Bubbies make good ones. 
  • Aromatics. Carrots, leeks, celery, and onions make this soup flavorful and colorful.
  • Potatoes. Creamy Yukon gold potatoes make the soup hearty and satisfying.
  • Broth. Use a low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth because the pickles and brine are plenty salty.
  • Sour cream. Add sour cream to the soup for a silky, creamy texture and an extra dollop for serving.
  • Dill. Fresh dill sprinkled on top brightens every bite.

Polish Dill Pickle Soup Recipe (Zupa Ogórkowa)

Grated dill pickles are the key to a hearty, flavorful vegetable soup.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 28 minutes

Makes 12 cups

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    large carrots

  • 2

    large celery stalks

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1

    large leek

  • 4 to 6

    whole dill pickles (made with salt and water brine, not vinegar brine)

  • 1 pound

    Yukon gold potatoes (4 to 6 medium)

  • 4 cloves

    garlic

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 (48-ounce) carton

    low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (6 cups)

  • 1 1/4 cups

    dill pickle brine, divided

  • 2

    fresh or dried bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 1 medium bunch

    fresh dill

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream, plus more for serving

  • 2 teaspoons

    distilled white or white wine vinegar

  • Kosher salt

  • Rye bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Peel and grate 2 large carrots on the large holes of a box grater (about 2 cups); dice 2 large celery stalks (about 1 1/4 cups); quarter and thinly slice 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup); trim the root end and the dark green tops from 1 large leek and remove the outer leaves, then halve the leek lengthwise and rinse the cut sides under running water to remove any sediment, and thinly slice crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups).

  2. Grate 4 to 6 whole dill pickles on the large holes of the box grater into a second medium bowl until you have 1 packed cup. Peel 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes if desired, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups), and add to the bowl. Finely grate or mince 4 garlic cloves and add to the bowl.

  3. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrot mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the potato mixture and cook until onions are lightly browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes more.

  4. Add 1 (48-ounce) carton low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, 1 cup of the dill pickle brine, 2 fresh or dried bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pick the fronds from 1 medium bunch fresh dill until you have 2 loosely packed cups.

  5. Transfer 1 cup of broth from the soup to a bowl, add 1/2 cup sour cream, and stir until smooth. Return the sour cream mixture to the soup. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup dill pickle brine and 2 teaspoons distilled white or white wine vinegar, and stir to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt and more black pepper as needed.

  6. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream, black pepper, and a generous sprinkle of fresh dill. Serve with rye bread if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The soup can be made up to 2 days ahead. Let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Rewarm on the stovetop.

Storage: Refrigerate the soup in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or omit the sour cream and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating with more water or broth as needed to thin out to the desired consistency, then add the sour cream.