Polish Potato, Kielbasa, and Cabbage Soup (Kapusniak) Recipe

Polish kapusniak, my way. J. Kenji L贸pez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Adding the ingredients to the same pot in stages allows you to build up flavors in a short period of time.
  • Bacon and kielbasa bring a rich, porky, smoky flavor to the soup.

There are hundreds of variations on classic Polish kapusniak (sauerkraut and sausage soup). My version lays no claims to authenticity, but it is simple, delicious, and deeply nourishing. Sauerkraut and fresh cabbage come together for extra flavor in the broth.

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil

  • 6 ounces (175g) slab bacon, cut into 1/4- by 1/2-inch pieces

  • 12 ounces (350g) kielbasa or other smoked Polish sausage, split lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 6 ounces; 175g)

  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 ounces; 120g)

  • 1 small head cabbage, cut into 1/2- to 1/4-inch shreds (about 12 ounces; 350g)

  • 8 ounces sauerkraut with juice (1 cup; 240ml)

  • 8 cups (1.9L)聽homemade聽or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) chopped fresh dill, stems reserved separately

  • 1 large russet potato, peeled, split in quarters lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 10 ounces; 280g)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon (10g) cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons (8g) paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) freshly ground white pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • Fresh crusty bread, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add bacon and kielbasa and cook, stirring, until fat is rendering and bacon and sausage are browning in spots, about 5 minutes. Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, until lightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add sauerkraut with its juice, chicken stock, bay leaves, dill stems, and potato. Season to taste with salt.

  2. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir together cornstarch, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon (15ml) cold water and stir to form a slurry. Pour slurry into the soup and stir until evenly distributed. Return to a boil (soup should thicken very slightly). Season to taste with more salt and white pepper as desired. Stir in chopped dill and serve with bread.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
507 Calories
24g Fat
49g Carbs
24g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 507
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Sodium 2141mg 93%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 32mg 159%
Calcium 115mg 9%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 905mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)