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)
4978 Calories
61g Fat
333g Carbs
790g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 4978
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 61g 78%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 157mg 52%
Sodium 1907mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 333g 121%
Dietary Fiber 66g 237%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 790g
Vitamin C 107mg 536%
Calcium 4872mg 375%
Iron 24mg 133%
Potassium 10280mg 219%
*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 byproduct 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 dried Polish borowiki mushrooms

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  • 10 cups whey, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, or water

  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons Vegeta seasoning

  • Freshly ground black 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.