Traditional Russian Cabbage Soup (Shchi)

Russian cabbage soup with potato chunks, topped with sour cream and dill

The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
247 Calories
7g Fat
43g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 247
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 1081mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 99mg 494%
Calcium 154mg 12%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 1269mg 27%
*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 Russia's national dishes, and as with most dishes like this, the recipes vary from cook to cook and from region to region. This cabbage soup recipe is meatless and contains no sauerkraut. It's a mild but hearty vegetarian soup with fresh cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes.

For a richer flavor, use vegetable broth instead of water, and top the soup with fresh dill and sour cream. Serve with rye bread for a filling lunch or dinner or offer as the first course of a winter menu.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large head cabbage, shredded

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

  • 1 stalk celery, chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Black peppercorns, to taste

  • 8 cups vegetable stock, or water

  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or a 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Sour cream, for garnish

  • Fresh dill, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Russian cabbage soup recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Add the butter to a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.

    Onions and butter in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Add the shredded cabbage, grated carrot, and chopped celery. Sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Cabbage, carrots, and celery added to onions and stirred with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Add the bay leaf and black peppercorns. Pour in the water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

    Vegetables covered with water and stock in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Add the potatoes to the soup and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

    Potatoes added to the cabbage soup in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add the chopped fresh tomatoes (or undrained canned tomatoes) and bring the soup back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Tomatoes added to cabbage soup in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Remove the bay leaf and peppercorns from the pot (some cooks leave the peppercorns in).

    Bay leaf and peppercorns being removed from soup with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Serve bowls of the soup topped with fresh sour cream and fresh dill and enjoy.


  • 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.
  • 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 traditional Russian soups include rassolnik (kidney-pickle soup), borscht (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).