Dill pickle soup is a popular comfort food in Poland and for good reason. It's tangy, salty and creamy; full of texture and tastes fantastic.
This soup is a great way to use up leftover spiral ham from Easter or Thanksgiving.
In America, pickle soup recipes have two versions: Polish and American.
For the Polish version, start by making your own broth from pork ribs, then add your vegetables. The dill pickles are grated and sauteed separately in butter for 5 minutes, then are covered in water and simmered for 15 minutes. The pickles are added after the vegetables are tender, no additional meat is added, and it is left chunky.
For the American version, start with sautéing the onions, then add the chicken stock and pickle juice. The dill pickles are chopped and are added to the broth with the chopped potatoes and grated carrot.
Some American versions blend 2 cups of the soup. Many American versions add sour cream or heavy cream near the end to make it creamy. Adding cubed ham is optional, but it makes it very tasty and filling.
Where did it originate?
Variations of pickle soup can be found in Poland and Russia. In Poland, it is known as Zupa Ogorkowa, and is one of the most favorite soups in that country. Since it's so popular in Poland, each household makes it a bit different, putting their own spin on the basic recipe.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Watching your sodium intake? Use reduced sodium pickles instead of regular pickles, and omit the ham.
- Want this to be vegetarian? Use vegetable broth and omit the ham.
- Want this to be dairy free? Use olive oil instead of butter and coconut milk instead of sour cream.
- Want this to be gluten free? Use heavy cream instead of the sour cream flour mixture and use gluten free chicken stock.
- Want this to be keto friendly? Use avocado oil, grated cauliflower florets, and 2 egg yolks whisked into 1 cup hot broth.
- Want to add more vegetables? Try celery, leeks, parsnips, and garlic.
- Want other spices? Try bay leaves, parsley sprigs, cayenne, marjoram, or thyme.
- Need a short cut? Try using hash browns instead of cubed potatoes and roughly chopped matchstick carrots instead of grated.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. Chop the dill pickles, potatoes, and ham. Slice the onion and grate a carrot.
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven, then sauté the sliced onion over medium low heat until it is starting to be caramelized.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring in ¼ cup of white wine and using a wooden turner to scrape off any browned bits from the bottom. Pour in the unsalted chicken broth.
3. Add the pickle brine and the diced potatoes. Dump in the chopped dill pickles.
4. If you want, add 3 ½ cups of cubed ham to make it more hearty. Also add the grated carrot.
Stir all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. Cover the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are done.
5. To help thicken it, gradually add ½ cup of flour to the 1 cup of sour cream. To temper the sour cream mixture, gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth.
6. You'll know that the potatoes are cooked when you can poke them with a fork. For this recipe, you don't want to overcook the potatoes.
7. Add the tempered sour cream to the soup. Taste it, and then add your spices. Here I have sugar to balance the acidity, along with black pepper and salt. You might feel the extra salt is unnecessary. Stir the spices in and let it simmer 5 minutes.
8. Your dill pickle soup is now ready for a few garnishes. Add some fresh dill, a drizzle of sour cream, a few pickle coins, or a good sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
If you love dill pickles and potatoes, you will love this soup. I encourage you to give it a try. It will definitely be a good conversation starter with your co-workers and friends when you tell them you made a big pot of dill pickle soup.
It is a complex soup with many layers of flavor. It's savory and tangy with a nice balance of acidity from the pickle juice and creaminess from the sour cream. The American version can be described as a creamy potato chowder. If you love dill pickles in your potato salad, you'll be able to see the similarities.
One cup has 148 calories, so feel free to have seconds if you don't have to watch your sodium intake. This soup is low in fat and carbs and is high in vitamin C. For more nutritional information, scroll to the end of the recipe card.
Yes, you can. Follow these simplified instructions.
Sauté the onion in a small skillet in butter until caramelized. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Pour the chicken stock and dill pickle juice into a large crockpot. Add the caramelized onion, chopped dill pickles, potatoes, ham, and grated carrot. Stir and cover. Cook on low for 4 to 8 hours or on high for 2 hours. During the last 30 minutes, add 1 cup of heavy cream. Garnish with fresh dill, black pepper, or slices of pickles.
Leftovers: This soup can last for up to 5 days, as long as it is kept in an airtight container in the fridge.
Freezing: If you plan on freezing some of it, set aside the part you want to freeze before adding the sour cream. Sour cream separates when it thaws and becomes watery.
Allow the soup to fully cool, then place it in an airtight container or freezer zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrosting: When ready to use, thaw it in the fridge overnight, then heat it up in a pot on the stove over medium low heat. Add heavy cream near the end and allow it to heat through.
If you're looking for other hearty, comforting soup recipes, you'll definitely want to try our recipes for split pea soup, ham and bean soup, beer cheese soup, cheese and potato soup, and creamy wild rice soup.
- Want the best texture? Cut up the potatoes, ham, and dill pickles, so they are roughly the same size.
- Want a bread recommendation? The Polish pair this with rye bread, but any crusty, hearty bread will be wonderful.
More Soup Recipes
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Dill Pickle Soup
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced
- ¼ cup white wine
- 6 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 4 cups reduced sodium dill pickles, chopped
- 1 cup dill pickle juice
- 5 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 ½ cups country ham, diced, optional
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven until bubbly, then cook the onions over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized, roughly 15 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan by pouring in ¼ cup white wine and stirring constantly for two minutes to scrape up the golden-brown fond from the pan.
- Pour in the chicken stock and pickle juice, then add the pickles, carrots, potatoes and ham to the broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Measure out 1 cup of sour cream into a medium-sized bowl and slowly add the flour. Stir well to combine.
- Temper the sour cream by adding ½ cup of the hot soup to the sour cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add another ½ cup and whisk until the mixture is well blended and all the same temperature, then add it to the big pot. This technique helps prevent the sour cream from curdling when it's added a hot liquid.
- Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the pepper and sugar. Taste it then add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings as desired. Cook on medium low for another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with a garnish of fresh dill, a crack of black pepper, pickle coins, and a drizzle of sour cream.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Follow steps 1 and 2.
- Add the chicken stock, pickle juice, caramelized onion, diced ham, diced potatoes and grated carrot into a large crock pot.
- Stir and cover. Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 to 8 hours.
- During the last ½ hour of cooking, stir in 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Cut up the potatoes, ham, and dill pickles, so they are roughly the same size for the best texture.
- The Polish pair this dish with rye bread, but honestly any crusty, hearty bread will be wonderful if you are looking for a carb to serve with it.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.