Polish Beets with Sour Cream Buraczki ze Smietana Recipe

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Ratings (9)
  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
133 Calories
11g Fat
7g Carbs
2g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Polish beets with sour cream, buraczki ze śmietana (boo-RRAHTCH-kee zeh shmyeh-TAH-nah), can be enjoyed hot or cold and its brilliant magenta color is so pretty on the plate.

Because beets are naturally sweet, start with 1 teaspoon sugar for the dressing. If you like a sweeter salad, add more.


  • For the Beets:
  • 4 medium beets (see Note below)
  • For the Dressing:​
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Garnish: fresh dill sprigs (or chopped dill)

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Beets

  1. Wash the beets and pat them dry. Boil or roast them in their jackets until a thin knife tip can be inserted easily into the flesh, but they are still somewhat al dente.

  2. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside until they finish cooling. To use canned beets, see the Note below.

  3. Cut cooled beets into strips or julienne.

Make the Dressing

  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.

  2. Fold julienned beets into the dressing being careful not to break up the beets.

  3. If serving hot, transfer mixture to a saucepan and warm just until you notice small bubbles starting to appear around the edges. You don't want to bring to a boil because the sour cream will break.

  4. If serving cold, cover the bowl you mixed the beets in and refrigerate until thoroughly cold.

  5. Transfer the beet mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with dill sprigs or chopped fresh dill.

Note: You can speed things up by using 2 cups well-drained canned or jarred sliced beets and cutting them into julienne strips.

Sour Cream in Polish Cuisine

Śmietana is the Polish word for "sour cream" and it is used in dishes across the board. You will find it as one of the ingredients for certain doughs including pierogi, in soups, sauces, as a salad dressing, in desserts and as a condiment dolloped on other foods.

But European sour creams are vastly different from the types known in the States. Typical Polish sour cream contains up to 40% butterfat whereas those sold in the U.S. contain 12 to 16% butterfat.

More Polish Dishes Using Sour Cream

  • Creamed Sour Beet Soup RecipeThis is a prime example of Poles' love of soups with a tang. It can be eaten hot or as a refreshing summer quaff.

  • Sour Cream Pierogi Dough Recipe This velvety dough is perfect for making filled Polish dumplings. It's easy to work with and cooks up tender.

  • Cucumbers in Sour Cream RecipeThis national dish of Poland is known as mizeria. It is the perfect accompaniment for roast pork, sausage or any other meat.