Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

A kitchen table covered with picking jars, lined up evenly like soldiers at morning formation. They are partially filled with pickles. Smell of garlic, dill and freshly picked cucumbers is in the air. Grandma is hustling around the kitchen, preparing the winter stash. This batch will last us through the winter and until the next pickling season. 

Pickling was a normal occurrence in my household. We didn’t pay much attention to the making of them as kids, but we were first to grab jars off the shelfs in the basement cellar, pop the lid and get busy with its contents. When the last jar is taken off the shelf, a new batch is waiting to fill the empty space.

My grandparents mainly pickled cucumbers, but also pumpkins, beets and lots and lots of fruit. Even though you can now buy any of this stuff at the market, it is so deeply ingrained in our soul, and so it just occurs… every year. Like autumn after summer, Poles are pickling summer garden gatherings during and after the season’s end. 

Pickles will be eaten in soups, salads, on sandwiches, in stews and as a snack. I’m making pickle soup today. I’m using pickles made with water and salt solution, with garlic and other spices (will post recipe soon), no vinegar. The cucumbers undergo the fermentation process in the jars and take on sour, salty and “garlicky” character. They stay crunchy, if done right, the brine looks murky and cloudy and is a great probiotic. 

This is just one of the many varieties produced by my grandma Stasia’s skillful hands. I will get into pickling more this summer, when pickling-cucumbers are available, and present a few varieties made in my home. Some vinegar based, some water based (stay tuned)!

Back to the soup!

Polish Pickle Soup {Zupa Ogórkowa}

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min


  • About 1.5 chicken (wings or other parts)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots
  • 6-10 pepper corns
  • 4-6 allspice thingies 🙂
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • One jar of pickles in brine*
  • About 3 tbs of fresh dill
  • 3 tbs of flour + 1 c of cold water


  1. Wash chicken parts and place in a medium pot with about 6-7 cups (1.5 quarts) of water. Add salt, bay leaves, carrots, pepper corns and allspice. Boil on medium to medium-low heat for about 20 min (until chicken falls off the bone).

  2. In the meantime, peel potatoes and cube into medium size cubes. Shred pickles on the medium vegetable shredder, set aside. Cut up fresh dill.

  3. When chicken is done, remove from stock and take off the bone. Also remove carrots and slice.

  4. Add cubed potatoes to the stock and boil for about 10 min, or until soft.

  5. When potatoes are soft, return meat and carrots to the pot. Add shredded pickles.

  6. In a small bowl or cup combine cold water with flour, whisk well and add to the soup to thicken. Bring to boil and turn off.


* Pickles in brine can be found at almost any Polish grocery store in the US. If you can't find those, use your favorite dill pickle or dill deli pickles.

Soup is done! Just add dill fresh dill and stir. Taste one last time. It should taste sour and savory. If you think it needs a little help, add a little bit of the pickle brine. Taste again. Feel free to add a pinch of salt, but be cautious, pickles have plenty of salt in them already, careful not to over-salt.  

Serve with bread. 


Have you made/tasted this before? What did you think? Leave a comment below.


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