Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup (Saltibarsciai)

Cold beet soup

 Mariha-kitchen/Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Chill time: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
315 Calories
16g Fat
30g Carbs
15g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 688mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 11mg 57%
Calcium 397mg 31%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 994mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for cold Lithuanian beet soup or šaltibarščiai is made with buttermilk, sour cream, hard-cooked eggs, cucumbers, and dill. It's refreshing on a hot day.

Essentially a cold Lithuanian borscht, šaltibarščiai is a fantastic and iconic soup, especially on warm day. It's very popular in Lithuania. It s sometimes made with kefir instead of yogurt, sour cream, and/or buttermilk. šaltibarščiai is great for digestive health and obviously an excellent "vehicle" in case you have lots of beets and you're not sure what to do with them. Also, the beets are really the only ingredient that's cooked. Serve with potatoes or bread. It can also have a beautiful pink color that is super striking. 

Compare this with Polish cold cucumber-beet soup recipe. There are plenty more beet recipes to try too.


  • 1 pound red beets, peeled and cooked, cooking liquid reserved

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 4 cups buttermilk

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Chopped fresh dill, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. While beets are cooking, chop onions, cucumbers, and egg whites finely.

  3. In a small bowl, mash egg yolks with 1/4 teaspoon salt, combine with sliced green onion, and reserve.

  4. When beets are tender, remove from cooking liquid (reserve cooking liquid) and cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. When cool, grate beets coarsely.

  5. Strain beet cooking liquid and return to the cooking pot. Add sour cream and buttermilk, blending well.

  6. Mix in grated beets, chopped cucumbers, chopped egg whites, and mashed yolk-green onion mixture. Stir until well blended. Adjust seasonings.

  7. Pour into a container and refrigerate until well chilled. Taste for seasonings again and adjust if necessary. Serve in a chilled bowl or glass topped with chopped dill.


  • This recipe easily can be doubled.
  • And a 14-ounce jar of sliced or shredded beets can be substituted for fresh beets.