Pickle Soup

To be perfectly clear, there is a big difference between the terms pickles and cucumbers in brine. Most commonly in English, however, we just say pickles to cover both. “Pickles” are those that are marinated in vinegar with sugar added. “Cucumbers in Brine” are naturally fermented with salt, and are easy to recognize by their cloudy brine. They are sour, salty and have an intense taste. 

Again, the best preserves are homemade, but it’s also possible to find good Polish brands at regular grocery stores. Definitely European delis always sell cucumbers in brine. Check the refrigerator too for them to be sold in bulk by weight from big buckets.  

I imagine a pickle soup might not sound appetizing for some people. It’s probably because of this misunderstanding. Believe me, a cucumber soup is one of the most common in Polish cuisine. It’s simply delicious.
We’ll agree to say pickles, but we’re only talking about the “cucumbers in brine” style, not the vinegary type. Trust me, well prepared pickle soup will knock your socks off, it’s that yummy:). Just open your mind and enjoy.   

Ingredients / 3-4 servings  

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
6 cups good quality chicken or vegetable broth, homemade would be the best
1 lb potatoes, cut in small cubes
¾ lb “cucumbers in brine”, peeled and grated using regular grater
½ cup brine
2 tbsp sour cream, optional
Fresh dill, chopped


  • Using butter and oil, sauté the onion and carrot for about 10 minutes. Keep stirring frequently so the onion doesn’t burn. 

  • Add the broth. Partially cover the pot and boil on low for 5 minutes.
  • I used homemade turkey broth which is very handy to have in the freezer. It’s useful and much better than store bought, worth the effort.  
  • Add potatoes. Continue boiling for the next 10-15 minutes. After that, smash some of the vegetables using a potato masher. It’ll add thickness to the soup.  
  • Leave the skin on the small cucumbers, but cut away the skin from the largest one. There is a trick. Cut a cucumber lengthwise and press firmly when grating.  


  • Add grated cucumbers and ½ cup of brine. Cook for 10 minutes.   
  • Now it’s time to taste the soup. Adjust the salt, and add sour cream if you think your soup needs more ‘body’ / depth or intensity of flavor. Just remember to follow the rule of mixing cream with hot soup on the side to avoid creating curdle. Keep warm without boiling after that.
  • My broth was very flavorful and had a good amount of rich turkey fat. I decided not to add sour cream this time.   
  • Sprinkle every portion with fresh dill. Smacznego! 

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