Main dish

Sour cabbage soup – Ukrainian kapusniak

Kapusniak is a popular Ukrainian sour cabbage soup that takes the second place by popularity after borsch (beetroot soup).

This dish was named after its main ingredient, sour cabbage, which is pronounced in Ukrainian as “кисла капуста” (kysla kapusta) and thus derives kapusniak. The pickled vegetable gives a special flavor and zing to the soup.

Sauerkraut was very popular with Ukrainian ancestors for its easy and affordable recipe. It’s also the perfect example of how common Ukrainians cooked delicious foods using simple basic ingredients.

Traditionally, sauerkraut was finely chopped, poured with boiling water and then cooked with potatoes, carrots, and millet. The onion fried on melted salt (pork fat) was added to the cooked soup and boiled thoroughly one more time.

In spring and summer, when the stocks of sauerkraut were running out, kapusniak was boiled using fresh cabbage, adding fermented-bread kvass to impart sour taste.

Today we are going to cook lent kapusniak. Though this soup doesn’t have meat, it is nourishing and comforting thanks to the added mushrooms and millet.


  • 100 g (3,5 oz) dried mushrooms=
  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh mushrooms
  • 150 g (5 oz) sour cabbage (sauerkraut)
  • 4 potatoes
  • 100 g (3,5 oz) millet
  • 2 bulb onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 4-5 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 fresh parsley twigs
  • salt – to taste


You can use any dried or fresh mushrooms you prefer. There are many recipes for a cabbage soup with ceps but today we are going to use dried girolles.

Put mushrooms in a pan and pour cold water above. Leave for 20 minutes.

Pour 3000 ml of water in a pan. Put the mushrooms. Add the whole peeled bulb onion. Boil the ingredients for 30 minutes over medium heat.

Put sauerkraut in a bowl and pour 300 ml of boiling water above. In 10 minutes, pour off the water and squeeze cabbage with your hands to remove excess water. Put the cooked mushrooms in a colander. Filter the mushroom broth through 2 layers of gauze fabric. Cut the girolles finely.

Peel and dice potatoes. Add them to the pan with the mushroom broth. Put black peppercorns in the pan. Cook the potato until soft over medium heat.

Wash millet many times under running water until the water becomes fully translucent. Scald millet and pour off water.

Peel a carrot and bulb onion. Dice the onion finely and grate the carrot. Preheat vegetable oil or dairy butter (whatever you prefer more) on a frying pan. Put the veggies and sauté them until golden brown.

Add the mushrooms. Stir everything thoroughly. Continue to fry for 5 minutes more.

Add the millet to the pan.

Take 5 pieces of potato out of the pan, put them on a plate and mash with a fork. Add the potato back to the pan.

Add the fried vegetable to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the sour cabbage. Cook for 10 minutes.

Season your sauerkraut soup with salt (be careful since the sour cabbage is already salty). Stir everything carefully and cook for 5 minutes more.

Turn off the fire and leave the soup for 20 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Wash and chop fresh parsley. Ladle kapusniak into serving bowls and garnish it with the parsley. Serve hot.

Enjoy your meal!

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