Polish Cold Beet Soup {Chłodnik}

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” Pink soup? ” – asked my American husband with a sign of confusion on his face when he sat to a table set for dinner. Its my parent’s house in Poland, and he is home on R&R from Iraq for our daughter’s 1st birthday. He imagined he would spend the two weeks away from war(k) eating lots of roasted meats, pierogi and kapusta which he loved. Instead, its a light and perfectly appropriate hot-summer dish, cold beet soup – chłodnik. He looked at me, then at the soup, and at me again… and said “I’ve eaten some weird food, but I don’t know about this one”. He did eat it… and surprisingly enjoyed it, but I can’t say its his favorite. It is mine thought.

Chłodnik is a mildly salty and tangy, fresh tasting summer soup, with hints of dill and onion, freshness of a cucumber and a slight spiciness of the radishes and sweetness of roasted beets. The egg adds a creamy note. It is a spring garden on a plate. It is what all of our grandmothers collected from the garden that day, and made it into a soup on a hot summer day.

Mix buttermilk with yogurt, salt and sugar.


Polish Cold Beet Soup {Chłodnik}

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Prep Time: 30-60 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min


  • 4 small beets (or 2 large)
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 4 radishes
  • 1-2 pickling cucumbers (or about 1/3 of an english cucumber)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 3 tbs of chopped dill
  • 4 tbs of chives
  • 1 tbs of white vinegar
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash beets and trim off the stems but don't cut into the beet (we don't want the juices to flow out). Roast in a roasting pan with a cover (or covered with tin foil) until soft (small beets about 30 min; large around 1 hour). Take out and cool completely. Once cool, peel and shred on the largest hand shredder. Set aside.

  2. Wash radishes and cut into thin slices. Chop chives and dill. Peel cucumber and dice.

  3. Place all vegetables and herbs into a mixing bowl (or a pot) and add minced garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk and yoghurt and stir. Taste, add more salt, if needed. Soup should be relatively salty.

  4. Chill at least 20-30 minutes before serving.


Serve with a buttered baguette.

I did spoil my husband with a lot of good food that summer. He did get a hefty share of some of his favorites: kapusta zasmażana, rosół and lots smoked sausage and bacon. After all, that’s how we show people we love them, isn’t it????





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  1. Hello,
    My boyfriend is Polish/Russian and he has been hankering for some potato cookies with raisins that his Polish grandmother would make for him and send to him when he was in the army. I have combed the internet for the recipe (he does not remember the name) and can not find anything do you know what it is and the recipe? Any help will be greatly appreciated. The road to Richard’s heart is truly thru his stomach and I try to please him as much as I can…. !

    1. Hi Pati! The road to my heart is through my stomach too 🙂 so I completely understand. I have not heard of cookies made of potatoes… I will ask around my Polish friends and family and see what I can find out. Were they flat cookies, stuffed… any other info would help. Happy cooking/baking. Anna

  2. Cześć Anna, I’m a Polish-American whose maternal grandparents came to America from the Hel Peninsula. I came across your blog and truly enjoying it. Thank you! I have one question for your recipe for Chłodnik. Two cups of buttermilk makes this a very heavy soup. Could I just use 1 cup of buttermilk and then 1 cup of something else? If yes, what do you suggest for the ‘something else?” I love this soup and make it frequently in summer. Thanks in advance, Marybeth

    1. Hi Marybeth! Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad you’re here! I personally like buttermilk a lot and drink it plain. I like it with just buttermilk, but if you think its too heavy I would suggest cutting it with milk (or cold water and milk mixture). Try a few varieties and see how you like it. Good luck and smacznego! Anna

  3. So refreshing, and beautiful! Perfect for a hot summer day. I don’t have access to buttermilk, so I replaced it with 1.5 cup sour cream and 0.5 cup water. I also added extra garlic.

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