Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak)

Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak)

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
301 Calories
19g Fat
21g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 301
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 826mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 22mg 112%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 683mg 15%
*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.)

This recipe for Ukrainian sauerkraut soup or kapusnyak (капусняк in Cyrillic) can be made completely vegetarian or with smoked or fresh pork spareribs as its base.

A special flavor can be achieved by using smoked meat versus unsmoked meat and dried imported mushrooms instead of fresh mushrooms. It's all about depth of flavor.

Be advised, this is just one way of making kapusnyak. Recipes vary with the cook. As you might expect, this soup's flavor only improves with time, so it's even better served the next day.

The Polish version is known as kapuśniak.


  • 1 pound pork spareribs, smoked or fresh

  • 10 cups water

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced, optional

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 6 whole peppercorns

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced

  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, or 1/2 cup fresh sliced mushrooms

  • 2 pounds sauerkraut, drained and rinsed or unrinsed, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • Salt, to taste, optional

  • Dill, or parsley, chopped, for garnish

Steps to Make It

Note: If using dried mushrooms, place them in a heatproof container. Pour over 1 cup boiling water, cover with plastic wrap and let steep while you continue with the recipe.

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak) ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, place spareribs, water, chopped onion, garlic (if using), bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface.

    place spareribs, water, chopped onion, garlic (if using), bay leaf, and peppercorns in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Reduce heat and simmer until the meat is ready to fall off the bones. You may need to add more water.

    meat cooking in a Dutch oven with seasonings and water

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Remove meat and, when cool enough to handle, chop into bite-size pieces. Reserve.

    meat cut into pieces on a wood board

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. To the Dutch oven with boiling liquid, add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms (along with strained soaking liquid if using dried mushrooms), and sauerkraut.

    carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and sauerkraut added to the liquid in the Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sauerkraut is tender, about 30 minutes. Add more water, if necessary.

    soup cooking in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Adjust the seasonings. Fork blend 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Temper this mixture with a few ladles of hot soup. Return the tempered sour cream to soup and whisk until well incorporated and the soup has thickened slightly.

    flour and sour cream in a bowl, soup in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Return the meat to the soup, heat through and serve with fresh parsley or dill sprigs and rye bread on the side.

    Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak) in a Dutch oven

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni