Polish Dill Pickle Soup (Zupa Ogórkowa)

April 20, 2023
8 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

​​Welcome to Plus One, a column by Food Editor Emily Ziemski where those small-but-mighty additions that instantly upgrade whatever’s on the table—ingredients, sauces, toppings—are the star of the show. Today, a zesty soup for changing seasons.

My Polish family loves pickles. Dill pickles, kosher spears, bread and butter chips, pickled beets; you pickle it, we eat it. Generally speaking, Polish pickles tend to be more spiced and dill-heavy than non-Polish pickles. Briny upon first bite, the crunchy snap fades into a pleasant sourness that works as a palate cleanser for pierogi or between courses of golumpki (stuffed cabbage).

The pickle represents endless possibilities. A classic side pickle, wrapped in a segment of parchment, is the perfect finish to a deli sandwich. A slice of pickle, sandwiched between bun and meat, is the ultimate tangy, refreshing foil to a burger. A pickle wrapped in cheese, filmed for a TikTok, is pure internet chaos. Today’s recipe certainly isn’t a viral internet sensation, but it’s sensational in its own way. Warm, slightly creamy, and super herbaceous, Polish Dill Pickle Soup is the ideal between-season food.

As a New England kid living in New York City, I miss the prolonged spring slowly melting into summer, and for me, this soup captures that. Creamy, but not overwhelmingly rich; filling, but not too heavy. The leeks and pickles capture the bright promise that spring has in store, and the potatoes and carrots give us the heft we need to push through the last few cold days. Blending half of the soup until smooth provides a silky base for the remaining whole bits. Serve this warm with hunks of crispy bread, or cold as a funky little soup starter.

Note: I use dairy-free sour cream for my version of this; feel free to do the same!Emily Ziemski

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, small diced
  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 small celery stalk, grated
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (fresh or from a jar)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 5 medium waxy potatoes, diced
  • 7 sour dill pickles, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pickle brine
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped, for garnish
  1. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the carrots, celery, leek, horseradish, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and browned. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the potatoes and pickles. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes and vegetables are fork-tender.
  3. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the sour cream, flour, and 1 cup of warmed broth (from the pot), whisking to combine so the sour cream doesn't curdle from the heat when added to the soup.
  4. Transfer half of the vegetables and 1 cup of broth (from the pot) to a blender; blend until smooth. Return blended mixture to the Dutch oven or pot along with the sour cream mixture. Add the brine, then stir to combine. Serve the soup warm and garnish with dill and more sour cream, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Emily Ziemski

Recipe by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52

6 Reviews

Rose F. February 12, 2024
Pickles come in all sizes. Would you be able to give an estimate of the number of cups you used? Thank you!
Melissa Y. June 27, 2023
Because Polish flavors aren't a typical flavor profile in our household, we loved how this added something new to the mix! Definitely will become a regular swap in! A lot of times with soup, I have to add ingredients to give it depth or that extra something to keep it interesting. I didn't add a thing!
brushjl June 25, 2023
Fabulous! Great pickles are a must. Great texture and fantastic mixture of flavors. Easy on the eyes too!
Suz May 1, 2023
I tried this recipe as not only did it look great & read well, but I thought I'd have some fun creating a dish from my late father's homeland. I'll definitely do it again and again; it's a flavor bomb. Wow! Thank you Emily Ziemski for sharing it.
Mike F. April 24, 2023
Quick easy dinner on a cool night.
Have three children who enjoyed seconds.
Will definitely be making this one again.
Emily Z. April 24, 2023
This was also one of my favorites when I was a kid :)