Soup in a white bowl

Slovakian Sauerkraut Soup

Magda Born
During our recent family trip, this soup made a culinary impression on us and emerged from my childhood memories. It is a thick, nourishing soup made from fermented cabbage. The sauerkraut is used (including the brine), giving the soup its special flavor. It is probably better suited for colder weather but tastes delicious any time of the year. Try this easy-to-make soup even if you think you are not a sauerkraut fan. This soup may just surprise you!


  • 1 jar Sauerkraut (including the juices)
  • 1 Smoked ham hock or sausage
  • 3-5 Carrots
  • 3 Potatoes
  • 1 c Dried mushrooms
  • 3 Shallots (or 1 large onion) 
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet paprika 
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano
  • Fresh dill to taste


Regional Varieties: 

  • This soup has many regional varieties. Some versions add dry plums; others thicken the soup with roux or cream, which is added at the end of cooking. In Central Slovakia, this used to be a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Catholic families (without the added meat). This soup is usually made in large batches because it tastes even better the following day after all the flavors come together.   


  • Gather ingredients
    ingredients for soup sitting on a counter
  • Wash and clean carrots. To learn more about these red carrots, read here
    Red carrots on a cutting board
  • Wash and cut carrots, potatoes, and garlic and soak dried mushrooms in boiling water. 
    potatoes on a cutting board and mushrooms in a bowl of water
  • Gently brown the onions and garlic and add spices and tomato paste, and sauté for 20-50 seconds until fragrant. 
    tomato paste and other ingredients in a pan
  • Cook the ham hock (if using) in a pressure cooker, remove the bone, cut it into pieces, and set aside while the soup is almost ready. 
    Cooked ham being cut on a cutting board
  • Add water and all other ingredients into the soup and cook slowly, covered for about 50 minutes. 
    Soup being cooked in a pot
  • Take care when adding soaked mushrooms to the soup. Sand from the mushrooms usually settles in the bottom of the bowls. Remove mushrooms gently from the soaking liquid without disturbing them too much, and gently pour the liquid into the soup, leaving the sediment and sand in the bowl. 
    Water with sand left over from mushrooms in a bowl
  • Enjoy and share your food with friends! 


book cover soups

Soups: over 100 internationally inspired soups and stews by Derek Bissonnette

Format: Book

Call Number: 641.813 BISSONNE

Publication Date: 2019

book cover 101 greatest soups

101 greatest soups on the planet: every savory soup, stew, chili and chowder you could ever crave by Erin Renouf Mylroie

Format: Book

Call Number: 641.813 MYLROIE

Publication Date: 2022

book cover food and cooking of eastern europe

The food and cooking of Eastern Europe by Lesley Chamberlain

Format: Book

Call Number: 641.5947 CHAMBERL

Publication Date: 2006

Magda Born

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, Kansas 66101      

913-295-8250 ext 1103