Traditional Russian Cabbage Soup (Shchi) Recipe

Russian cabbage soup
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  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
218 Calories
6g Fat
33g Carbs
11g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 218
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 753mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Protein 11g
Calcium 141mg 11%
*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.)

Fresh cabbage soup or shchi is one of the national dishes of Russia. When the soup is made with sauerkraut, it is known as sour shchi or kislye shchi, and when it is made with sorrel, spinach, and other greens, it's known as green shchi or zelyoniye shchi.

As with most dishes, the recipes vary from cook to cook and from region to region. This cabbage soup recipe is meatless and contains no sauerkraut. See below, after the recipe directions, for a link to more traditional Russian soup recipes.


  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 large head cabbage cut into shreds
  • 1 large peeled and coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 chopped celery rib
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black peppercorns to taste
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 2 large peeled and coarsely chopped russet potatoes
  • 2 large peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes or 1 (14-ounce) can undrained diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh dill for garnish
  • Sour cream for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté onion in butter until translucent.

  2. Add shredded cabbage, coarsely grated carrot and chopped celery and sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  3. Add bay leaf, black peppercorns to taste and 8 cups water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.

  4. Add peeled and coarsely chopped potatoes to soup and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes or undrained canned tomatoes and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Remove bay leaf and peppercorns from the pot. Some cooks leave the peppercorns in. Serve soup in warm bowls with dill and sour cream as garnish. Accompany with rye bread, if desired.

Traditional Russian Soup Recipes

A typical Russian meal starts with zakuski (appetizers), moves on to a hearty bowl of soup, proceeds to an equally hearty main course, and finishes with a not-too-sweet dessert. Soup is, or traditionally used to be, consumed on a daily basis in Russia, explaining the seemingly endless varieties.

Along with shchi, the most popular, and most traditional, soups include  rassolnik (kidney-pickle soup),  borshch (beet soup), botvinia (fish soup with green vegetables), solyanka (hangover soup), kharcho (Georgian lamb and rice soup),  ukha (fish soup),  sukhoi gribnoi (mushroom soup),  okroshka (cold vegetable soup with meat), and  schav (sorrel soup).