Polish White Barszcz {Biały Barszcz}

The star of my Easter table, sour rye soup. Barszcz biały is creamy, smoky, garlicy and tiny bit sour in taste. In my home, it’s served as a starter, often garnished with a teaspoon of spicy horseradish. It takes some preparation, as the base of this flavorful favorite is mixed and set to ferment about a week ahead of time {recipe here}. The starter is a rye flour mixture and this recipe makes a very garlicky and fragrant variety.

A milder version can be found in almost any Polish grocery store here in the US, under the name of “Zakwas na Żur” or “Zakwas na Biały Barszcz”, and it comes in 1 liter bottles. 1 liter will make a medium pot (about 6-7 bowls). If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with garlic flavor, skip the garlic in the recipe, or just add to the soup.

Poland is known for this fragrant soup, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s served at almost any Polish restaurant. Often served in a bread bowl, with pieces of Polish fresh sausage, hardboiled egg with a side of horseradish to add slightly sharp and spicy edge became my husband’s favorite as soon as he tried it. It’s hard to walk by a restaurant in Poland that serves it, and not stop in for a quick bite. Highly recommended!

polish white borsch; Polish soup

Polish White Barszcz {Biały Barszcz}


  • 2 cups of rye sour starter
  • 4 oz of good quality smoked bacon
  • 1/2 of smoked Polish sausage (about 6-8 inches) or fresh Polish sausage
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 of a parsnip
  • 1/4 of burnt onion*
  • 6-8 allspice
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbs of salt
  • 1 tbs of marjoram
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs of flour
  • 4 tbs of butter


  1. Place bacon, sausage, carrots, parsnip and onion in a pot (about 4 quarts), cover with water and add salt. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

  2. Remove everything from soup and add sour starter, marjoram and crushed garlic. Bring to boil and simmer on low for a few minutes.

  3. Heat a small pan and make rough by sautéing flour with butter. Add to soup and stir well. Bring to boil and simmer for a couple of minutes.

  4. To serve, slice white sausage fresh Polish sausage {biała kiełbasa} or smoked sausage used for making this soup. Add a boiled egg and a 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish.


*burn onion right on the gas burner or if using electric stove, place in a hot pan and keep heating until it develops burnt edges.

What’s your favorite Easter dish? Leave a comment below. Thanks!