Zelňačka (Sauerkraut Soup)

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Zelňačka (Sauerkraut Soup)

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Adjust Servings:
16 oz sauerkraut
3 potatoes
7 oz klobása Czech smoked sausage, or Polish kielbasa
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 cups chicken broth
3 onions
3 tbsp lard
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp ground sweet paprika
2 Bay Leaves
Salt & pepper
  • 40 min
  • Serves 4
  • Medium




Both kyselice and zelňačka are traditional Czech soups featuring sauerkraut as the main ingredient and are very often used interchangeably. Zelňačka is the generic term, while kyselice is often used for the Wallachian variant of this soup.

The soup’s color can be used as the decisive factor here, as kyselice ia usually brighter (almost white) due to added cream, while zelňačka is often of a reddish color due to the added paprika.

In fact, there is no single recipe for kyselice or zelňačka, and every Czech family has its own. But you can rest assured that if you order one of these, it will be loaded with fermented cabbage (aka sauerkraut), potatoes and Czech smoked sausage (or other smoked meat). The sour taste of the sauerkraut often has to be neutralized by adding sugar and/or cream, which makes the resulting soup very rich both in flavor and nutrients!


  • Peel the onions and chop them roughly.
  • Put the lard in a large pot with a thick bottom, heat it, add the onion, and fry until lightly golden.
  • Dust with sweet paprika, add the crushed caraway seeds and flour, fry for a minute while continuously stirring.
  • Add in a little broth and mix so that the roux dissolves. Stir and add in the broth gradually. Stir it with a spoon or whisk it so that no lumps form.
  • Add the cut sauerkraut, bay leaves, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and dice the potatoes and cook them in a separate pot in salted water.
  • Dice the sausages and fry them in the lard in a separate pan.
  • Add the potatoes and sausages to the soup, take out the bay leaves, and add sugar.
  • Mix, flavor with salt and pepper to your liking, and serve with some fresh dill.

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