Polish Barley Soup (Krupnik)

Directly Above Shot Of Barley Broth Soup
Francesco Perre / EyeEm / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 90 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
160 Calories
5g Fat
25g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 742mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Protein 6g
Calcium 57mg 4%
*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.)

Polish barley soup, krupnik (KRROOP-neek), is one of the most popular soups in the cuisine. It is made in seemingly unlimited varieties. Jewish versions are often vegetarian, as in this recipe, and others are based on beef or chicken stock and include bacon or spare ribs for added flavor. The common denominator is the use of barley or buckwheat groats, but the vegetables can range from cabbage to celeriac to leeks.

What we have done here is to use the whey, which is the liquid by-product of twaróg cheesemaking, instead of stock. Twaróg is a fresh, unaged dry curd cheese like farmer's cheese and quark.

Krupnik soup is not to be confused with krupnik the drink, a potent concoction made from a caramel or simple syrup with spices which can include cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns, and aniseed. The cooled caramel or simple syrup is reheated with honey and vodka or eau de vie. It can be served warm or cold. Here is a recipe for the honey-spiced vodka known as krupnik.


  • 1 ounce Polish borowiki mushrooms (dried)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 10 cups whey (or chicken, beef or vegetable broth or water)
  • 1 cup rinsed pearl barley
  • 4 peeled medium carrots (sliced into 1/2-inch rounds)
  • 4 peeled medium potatoes (diced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Vegeta seasoning
  • Pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Place dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour 2 cups boiling water over. Let soak while you continue with the rest of the recipe.

  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add parsley, whey or broth, drained barley, carrots, potatoes, bay leaf, Vegeta, and pepper. Lift mushrooms from soaking liquid being careful not to pick up the grit with the mushrooms. Slice mushrooms and add to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour or until barley is tender.

  3. If desired, the carefully strained mushroom-soaking liquid can be added to the soup. Otherwise save it to make a delicious mushroom sauce, adding fresh, sautéed mushrooms. Serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream if you like and a hearty bread of choice.