The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and tastes way better than you think it will. It’s accidentally healthy but so delicious, you’ll want to make it all year round.

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

What are cabbage soup ingredients?

I learned how to make cabbage soup with vegetable broth or beef broth, but chicken stock works, too. What else? Shredded green cabbage, a crisp green apple, turnip, onion, carrots, celery, and a couple bay leaves. The secret in this simple cabbage soup is a little pickle juice from a jar in the refrigerator (although lemon juice works, too). It brightens up the soup and makes it sparkle.

I throw in lots of fresh dill towards the end, and serve the soup with a dollop or two of sour cream, for a creamy cabbage soup. The sour cream isn’t crucial, but it’s so, so good!

The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and tastes way better than you think it will. It's accidentally healthy but so delicious, you'll want to make it all year round.

Cabbage soup calories:

There are so many people out there who swear by cabbage soup for dieting, or make a giant vat of cabbage soup for weight loss. “Wonder soup” probably works for several reasons.

First of all, broth-based soup is hydrating and filling. It’s also jam-packed with good-for-you vegetables, which translates into vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating more vegetables is always a good idea, no matter who you are.

Of all the miracle soups out there, this recipe for the Best Cabbage Soup is crunchy, savory, and never, ever bland. It’s a perfect post-holiday meal, full of complex flavors and surprising textures, and seriously good for you. And the pickle juice is like magic!

Furthermore, this soup is so low in calories and carbs. Even if all you’re doing is trying to limit your CICO (calories in vs. calories out), a big bowl of cabbage soup instead of that crispy fried chicken sandwich is where it’s at.

For calories in the Best Cabbage Soup, see below the recipe for details. One bowl comes in at about 125 calories, without the sour cream.

Of all the miracle soups out there, this recipe for the Best Cabbage Soup is crunchy, savory, and never, ever bland. It’s a perfect post-holiday meal, full of complex flavors and surprising textures, and seriously good for you. And the pickle juice is like magic!

Cabbage Soup in the Instant Pot:

Technically speaking, you certainly don’t need an Instant Pot to make this soup. Since it cooks really quickly on the stove, a big Dutch oven works fine. Here are pressure cooker instructions, though, just in case.

  1. Add oil to the Instant Pot and turn it on the ‘sauté’ function. Add carrots, celery, and onion and sauté 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add cabbage, apple, turnip, bay leaves and broth, then stir to combine. Set the Instant Pot to ‘soup’ function for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, turn the valve to instant release.
  4. After pressure has released, open and stir. Add in the pickle juice and dill, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

How to make cabbage soup in a slow cooker:

If your crockpot is begging to be put to use, there’s no better time to make this easy cabbage soup:

  1. Add celery, cabbage, carrot, bay leaves, onions, broth, turnip to the crock pot.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for about 7 to 9 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add pickle juice, apple, and dill, then cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Then all you have to do is season to taste with salt and pepper.

Of all the miracle soups out there, this recipe for the Best Cabbage Soup is crunchy, savory, and never, ever bland. It’s a perfect post-holiday meal, full of complex flavors and surprising textures, and seriously good for you. And the pickle juice is like magic!

All the different ways to make my Best Cabbage Soup
your Best Cabbage Soup:

When you like your cabbage soup with meat, here are some ideas to get you going:

  • Cabbage Soup with sausage: Since this recipe is originally from the Ukraine, it’s 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. Serve whole or cut up into bites in the soup.
  • Cabbage Soup with ground beef: Browned ground beef adds flavor and protein to this soup, and turns it into something more like cabbage roll soup.
  • Cabbage Soup with bacon: Add crunchy bits of bacon to the top of this soup, or sauté in some diced bacon with the vegetables
  • Cabbage Soup with pork: Other smoked pork works well in cabbage soup, too, especially with the sweetness of the apple and turnip. Think ham bone, a pork shank or hock, whatever ya got.
  • Cabbage Soup chicken: Cabbage soup with chicken is delicious. Use chicken stock and add poached shredded chicken when you’re feeling under the weather.

Vegetarian and Vegan Cabbage Soup inspirations? Right here:

  • Cabbage Soup with beans: Throw in some pre-cooked beans, or a cup of lentils to cook in with the broth for a healthy vegetarian protein with delicious texture.
  • Cabbage Soup with vegetables: Some cooks like adding some chopped tomatoes or shredded beets to cabbage soup. The more vegetables, the merrier!
  • Cabbage Soup recipe, vegan: If you make this recipe with vegetable stock and omit the sour cream, it’s perfectly, deliciously vegan all on its own, or with a plant-or nut-based sour cream.
  • Cabbage Soup recipe, vegetarian: This soup is already a glorious vegetarian soup when made with vegetable broth.
Cabbage soup in a white bowl with a silver spoon next to it.

The Best Cabbage Soup

The Best Cabbage Soup recipe is packed with unexpected flavors (hello, pickle juice!) and tastes way better than you think it will. It's accidentally healthy but so delicious, you'll want to make it all year round.
5 from 7 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
  • 1 pound green cabbage shredded
  • 1 green apple peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice or lemon juice
  • 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

Vegetable broth can be substituted for beef broth to make the soup vegan and vegetarian.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 5gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1028mgPotassium: 619mgFiber: 6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 5321IUVitamin C: 54mgCalcium: 96mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. I came across your recipe after getting lots of cabbage in my CSA box. The was delicious and so easy! I used veg broth and doubled the pickle juice, used plain greek yogurt as I didn’t have sour cream! I’ve never had cabbage soup but wanted something other than slaw and am glad I found this recipe!

  2. I laughed while making this seeing as though it said “the best Cabbage soup” and I’ve never had any desire to make cabbage soup and wouldn’t be able to compare past cabbage soup recipes… Some friends stopped over and I felt a little embarrassed to offer cabbage soup but ladled them both up a bowl. And held my breath. Success! I was pleasantly surprised! I just ate a bowl for breakfast. Good thing I doubled it. I skepticly trusted your directions (no dill in the house, used lennon and really? Sliced onions and julienned turnips??) Thank you! What a funny story I’ll have with cabbage soup. But now I know we’re fans and will make this often.5 stars

    1. Hi Rebecca! I’m so happy to hear this, what a great story :) Thank you for taking the time to share it with me – Meggan

  3. I have made this soup several times, both exactly as written as well as with substitutions and additions. It has always always always been excellent! Sometimes I use parsip instead of turnip,often I add andouille sausage sliced up. I tend to add more pickle juice than in the recipe (personal taste rules!) but this will always be in my recipe rotation. Thank you so much for the recipe. As a side note, I am also from Wisconsin-and your recipes are some of my favorites for when I want familiar comfort foods made better.5 stars

    1. Hi Paige, my personal opinion is no, it won’t taste as good. Vegetable broth tends to be a little sweeter, at least the ones I’ve had, and I just don’t like it as much (I have made this with vegetable broth so I’m not just guessing). I definitely prefer it with beef. HOWEVER, if you are vegetarian, vegan, focusing on plants, avoiding animal products, you will probably like it just fine. It’s certainly not bad, and you can always add more salt or pickle juice or whatever you want, to counter the sweetness of vegetable broth (if you even agree with my assessment, maybe I’m just crazy). But that’s what I think. If you have any other questions, please let me know! Thank you! -Meggan