Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup (Saltibarsciai) Recipe

Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup or Saltibarsciai. © 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to, Inc.
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Chill time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings Lithuanian beet soup

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.

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

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


  • 1 pound peeled and cooked red beets (reserve the cooking liquid)
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 peeled hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Garnish: fresh chopped dill

Steps to Make It

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

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

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

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

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

  6. 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.

More Thirst-Quenching Cold Soups

  • Bulgarian Cold Cucumber Soup RecipeKnown as tarator, this soup is made with yogurt, walnuts, cucumbers, and dill. It's a refreshing no-cook summer offering that also can be left thicker and served as a dip.

  • Hungarian Cold Peach Soup RecipeThis can be a sweet meal starter but it is often served as dessert. Except for the sugar syrup, this is a no-cook soup. The wine and brandy give it a nice kick. To save time, use canned peaches.

  • Watermelon Gazpacho Soup Recipe: This no-cook recipe is a great way to get your daily recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables. It's perfect for summertime meals when you don't want to heat up the kitchen.

  • Hungarian Cream of Green Bean Soup RecipeKnown as teifeles zoldbab leves in Hungarian, this soup can be eaten hot or cold. Either way, it's a delightful use of summer's bounty of green beans. You can make it with fresh beans any time of year, but there's something special about summer produce.

  • Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup RecipeThis cold soup is a national dish of Hungary and made with tart dark-red Morello cherries, but any tart pie cherry, like fire-engine-red Montmorency cherries, will work in a pinch, as long as they are fresh or at the very least frozen (don't use canned). And never use a sweet Bing cherry.