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Polish Kwasnica Soup Recipe

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Kwasnica is ready!
Kwasnica is ready!

Kwasnica soup recipe is a traditional Polish dish originating in the Tatra Mountains of Poland. The deliciousness of the slow-cooked pork or mutton combined with the tanginess of the sauerkraut in the soup make it absolutely worth it!

Kwasnica is a traditional dish originating in the Tatra Mountains in the Podhale region of Poland. It’s the Podhalanie people’s version of the Polish cabbage soup that originated in 9th-century Byzantium. 

The Podhale people were highlanders whose diet only included foods that were unprocessed and easily available on farms. Ingredients like potatoes, cabbage, meats, and others.

This highlander dish, kwasnica is quite similar to the kapusniak soup that’s also made of sauerkraut. But while kapusniak was traditionally made with pork meat, the kwasnica soup recipe is traditionally made with mutton. Nowadays, the recipe also features pork. 

Authentic kwasnica should always have just sauerkraut, potatoes, and meat, and sometimes onion; you may add other veggies (for example carrots) to kapusniak

It’s believed that the more times you reheat this kwasnica soup, the better it tastes. So it’s best to serve it one day after cooking, not on the same day.

See also my full list of Polish sour soups.

How Is Kwasnica Soup Made?

First, the pork ribs or mutton meat is slow-cooked with spices for 1 to 2 hours. While that’s happening, onions are fried with lard and finely chopped sauerkraut.

Diced onions being fried in lard.
Fry the diced onions with lard
Sauerkraut and veggies for the kwasnica.
Ingredients: Sauerkraut and veggies

When the pork ribs are soft, they’re removed and the clear stock is strained into another pot.

pork ribs being removed from stock.
Pork ribs being removed from stock
Kwasnica is ready!
Kwasnica is ready!

Diced potatoes are cooked in the stock till soft. At the same time, diced smoked bacon is fried in another pan till it caramelizes, and the cooled meat from the pork ribs is cut into smaller bits.

Lastly, all the ingredients are added back to the stock, and it’s seasoned with salt and pepper. And serve!

What Is The Difference Between The Kwasnica and Kapusniak Recipes?

Both the Kwasnica and the Kapusniak are made with a base of sauerkraut. But there are noticeable differences between the soup that make them easy to distinguish between. 

  • Kwasnica is typical to the Polish Tatra mountains, while Kapusniak is cooked all over Poland.
  • Traditional kwasnica is traditionally cooked using mutton (sheep meat) broth, while kapusniak uses pork meat.
  • Kwasnica soup is fatter and sourer than the kapusniak soup.
  • Kwasnica is made with only sauerkraut, potatoes, and meat; while kapusniak can also include other veggies such as carrots.
  • You also add sauerkraut juice to kwasnica, and not to kapusniak.

See also my vegetarian kapuśniak recipe.

Tips For Making The Best Polish Kwasnica Soup Recipe

  • You may add other veggies to the soup – carrot, parsley root, celery root, etc.
  • You can replace the pork lard with any oil of your choice.
  • For the best-tasting kwasnica, make it at least a day earlier.
  • You can use pork, beef, or mutton. 
  • This soup is hearty, warming and filling, so it’s perfect after a long day at work or outdoors!
  • The kwasnica soup can also be served with prażoki or bread.
Kwasnica in a bowl and prazoki.
Serve the kwasnica with prazoki!

FAQs About This Polish Kwasnica Recipe

How To Pronounce Kwasnica?

Kwasnica is pronounced khwash-nee-cah.

Where In The Tatra Mountains Did The Kwasnica Recipe Originate?

The Kwasnica originated in the Tatra Mountains. There are many towns here – Zakopane, Bukowina Tatrzańska, Białka, Kościelisko, Poronin, Biały Dunajec, Murzasichle, Małe Ciche, Ząb, Jurgów, Brzegi;
but in which town exactly the dish originated is a mystery we still haven’t unearthed.

There’s also a version of kwasnica made with fish heads that comes from the town of Żywiec. 

Who Are The Podhalanie People That Created The Kwasnica?

The Podhalanie people are an ethnographic group of highlanders living in the Podhale area of the Tatra mountains. 

What Other Dishes Are Made Using Sauerkraut?

Some other tasty Polish dishes that use sauerkraut are as follows:

How Long Can I Store The Kwasnica Soup?

Store the kwasnica soup in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 to 4 months. Reheat before serving!

Polish Kwasnica Soup Recipe

Yield: 8

Polish Kwasnica Soup Recipe

Kwasnica is ready!

This Kwasnica soup recipe is a traditional Polish dish from the Tatra Mountains of Poland. The deliciousness of the slow-cooked pork or mutton contrasting with the tanginess of the sauerkraut is mouth-watering!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 2.2 lbs (1kg) of smoked pork ribs
  • 11 oz (300g) of smoked bacon
  • 3 ½ cups of sauerkraut
  • 2 cups of sauerkraut juice
  • 1 onion
  • 6 tbsps of pork lard
  • 2 potatoes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsps of dried marjoram
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 7 crushed black pepper grains
  • salt, pepper
  • 12 cups of water


  1. Cover the smoked pork ribs with 12 cups of water.
  2. Add crushed black pepper grains, marjoram, allspice berries, and bay leaves.
  3. Cook slowly for about 1-2 hours until the ribs are soft.
  4. In the meantime, peel and dice an onion.
  5. Fry it on lard.
  6. While the onion is frying, finely chop the sauerkraut.
  7. Add it to onion after it has changed color to brownish.
  8. Fry together for another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Peel and dice the potatoes.
  10. When the ribs are soft, cool them off and remove the bones.
  11. Strain the stock until it's clear.
  12. Add diced potatoes to the clear stock and cook slowly until soft.
  13. In the meantime, dice the smoked bacon and fry it for about 10 minutes.
  14. Cut the ribs' meat into smaller pieces.
  15. Mix all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. You may replace pork lard with oil.
  2. The soup tastes best one day after cooking.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 1252mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 13g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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