The Best Cabbage Soup

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The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and will keep you coming back for bowl after bowl. This healthy soup recipe is the ultimate cozy winter dinner idea.

Cabbage soup in a white bowl with a silver spoon next to it.

My first long-term boyfriend was a Ukrainian I met in college. I took classes in Russian, visited his family in Ukraine, and learned some of his best secrets in the kitchen.

While the relationship eventually ended, his recipe for The Best Cabbage Soup lives on.

Yes, I know some of the ingredients like pickle juice sound odd, but trust me; this easy soup recipe is mind-blowingly good.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for cabbage soup.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Beef broth: Or opt for vegetable broth to make The Best Cabbage Soup a fully vegan recipe.
  • Green apple: A crunchy variety like Granny Smith or Crispin will hold up nicely as this soup simmers.
  • Pickle juice: The acidity this lends is what makes this soup recipe so addictive and well-balanced. A splash of fresh lemon juice can also work in a pinch.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add turnip, carrot, onion, and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
Vegetables cooking in a pan for cabbage soup.
  1. Add broth, cabbage, apple, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon dill. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Vegetables cooking in a pan for cabbage soup.
  1. Remove bay leaves and stir in pickle or lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.) Garnish with sour cream and more fresh dill if desired.
Cabbage soup in a white bowl with a silver spoon next to it.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes four main dish-sized servings of vegetable soup. Pair it with a side salad and crusty bread to make The Best Cabbage Soup a full, hearty meal.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: This soup can be made up to 3 days in advance. Or, get a jump-start on prep by peeling and chopping all the vegetables and store covered in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: Transfer to freezer-safe containers (I love glass mason jars), leaving 1/2-inch headspace, and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Make it meaty: Since this recipe is originally from the Ukraine, it would be completely appropriate to make cabbage soup with kielbasa or Polish sausage. Simply brown the sausages in advance, then add the links to the soup to simmer with the vegetables. Remove the whole sausages just before serving to slice and add back into the soup. Other tasty protein options: browned ground beef (for a cabbage roll-inspired rendition), cooked bacon, ham hock or ham bone, or shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken.

Recipe FAQs

What is cabbage soup good for?

Cabbage soup is an easy, delicious way to eat more vegetables. A bowl of hot hearty cabbage soup is perfectly contrasted by garnishes of cold sour cream and sour pickle juice. It’s perfection.

How to Cut Cabbage

An easy how-to for an often overlooked vegetable; here’s how to cut cabbage and add delightful crunch and loads of nutrition to all your favorite recipes.

3 minutes
View Recipe

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Cabbage Soup in two white bowls on a wooden cutting board.

The Best Cabbage Soup

The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and will keep you coming back for bowl after bowl. This healthy soup recipe is the ultimate cozy winter dinner idea.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 34 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Russian
Calories 198

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small turnip peeled and julienned
  • 2 carrots peeled and julienned
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 celery ribs sliced
  • 4 cups beef broth or vegetable broth (see note 1)
  • 1 pound green cabbage shredded
  • 1 green apple peeled, cored, and diced (see note 2)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice or lemon juice (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add turnip, carrot, onion, and celery, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add broth, cabbage, apple, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon dill. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves and stir in pickle or lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I like 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.) Garnish with sour cream and more fresh dill if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Beef broth: Or opt for vegetable broth to make The Best Cabbage Soup a fully vegan recipe.
  2. Green apple: A crunchy variety like Granny Smith or Crispin will hold up nicely as this soup simmers.
  3. Pickle juice: The acidity this lends is what makes this soup recipe so addictive and well-balanced. A splash of fresh lemon juice can also work in a pinch.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes four main dish-sized servings of vegetable soup. Pair it with a side salad and crusty bread to make The Best Cabbage Soup a full, hearty meal.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1028mgPotassium: 619mgFiber: 6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 5321IUVitamin C: 54mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

    1. Hi Irma, I haven’t tested this soup in an Instant Pot, yet! I would use the sautΓ© function for step one, cooking until the vegetables are softened. After adding the broth, cabbage, apple, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon dill, close and secure the lid. I would then cook on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes, then allow the pot to naturally release. I would then season with salt to taste. I hope this helps! – Meggan

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