A white bowl of beef, barely and pickle soup with bread in the background

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Rassolnik is a strange and classic soup made with barley, beef, pow-taters, carrots, and… pickles? You mean cucumbers, right? Nope, pickles as in dill pickles in a jar. That’s right! I just devoured a large bowl of this pickle soup goodness. It’s hearty and the beef was tender and oh so satisfying. It’s strangely good with the pickles.

Did you know Rassolnik has existed for more than 500 years :-O! And more than a few of you love it since you’ve been hammering me about posting a good rossolnik recipe for the past couple years. I finally caved and I’m glad I did!

Everyone except the little guy enjoyed this, but he also doesn’t like sorrel soup. Something about the sour in soups doesn’t mesh well with him so he ate vareniki instead ;). I tell you what, this pickle soup is definitely a comfort food; my Mom’s favorite.

Ingredients for Rassolnik Pickle Soup:

12 cups water
1 lb lean Beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4  cup barley, rinsed
1/2 Tbsp salt + more to taste
3 medium potatoes, diced
1 carrot thinly sliced into rings
6 baby pickles (about 1 1/2 cups diced)
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot grated
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finel sliced
1 Tbsp tomato paste or Ketchup
2 Tbsp dill, optional, but very nice
2 Bay leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream and extra dill to serve

Rassolnik Pickle Soup

How To Make Rassolnik Pickle Soup:

1. In a large pot, partially cover with lid and cook 12 cups water, beef and barley with 1/2 Tbsp salt (30 min). Skim off any impurities that rise to the top to keep your soup clear.

Rassolnik Pickle Soup-2

2. Sautee pickles with 1 Tbsp oil for a few minutes on medium/high heat. Add pickles, potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot and cook for an additional 10 min while making your Mirepoix “zazharka” in step 3.

Two photos one of diced pickles and one of diced carrots and potatoes

3. Mirepoix/Zazharka: Add 3 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and sauté onion (2 min), then add grated carrot and sliced celery and continue to saute until carrots are soft (5 min). Stir 1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup into the pan and add this mixture to the soup pot.

Three photos of ingredients for beef, barely and pickle soup being sautéed

5. Toss in 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp dill and more salt to taste. Continue to simmer for another 2 minutes or until your potatoes are fully cooked and can be easily pieced with a fork.

Two photos one of beef, barely and pickle soup and of cut dill in a bowl

A bowl of beef, barely and pickle soup garnished with dill

Enjoy! Some people eat it with a dollop of sour cream, but I didn’t think it needed it. I’ve tried both ways and I like the lighter taste without the sour cream. I hope you love it!!

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Beef, Barley and Pickle Soup (Rassolnik)

4.99 from 53 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
A white bowl of beef, barely and pickle soup with bread in the background
Rassolnik is a strange and classic soup made with barley, beef, pow-taters, carrots, and... pickles? You mean cucumbers, right? Nope, pickles as in dill pickles in a jar. That's right! I just devoured a large bowl of this goodness. It's hearty and the beef was tender and oh so satisfying. It's strangely good with the pickles. I tell you what, this pickle soup is definitely a comfort food; my Mom's favorite.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients 

Servings: 12
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 lb lean Beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt + more to taste
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced
  • 6 baby pickles/ 3 adult pickles, or 1 1/2 cups diced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finel sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or Ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp dill, optional, but very nice
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, optional and extra dill to serve

Instructions

  • In a large pot, partially cover with lid and cook 12 cups water, beef and barley with 1/2 Tbsp salt (30 min at a light boil). Skim off any impurities that rise to the top to keep your soup clear.
  • Sautee pickles with 1 Tbsp oil for a few minutes on medium/high heat. Add pickles, potatoes and sliced carrots to the pot and cook for an additional 10 min while making your Mirepoix a.k.a. "zazharka" (step 3).
  • Zazharka: Add 3 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and sauté onion (2 min), then add grated carrot and sliced celery and continue to saute until carrots are soft (5 min). Stir 1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup into the pan and add this mixture to the soup pot.
  • Toss in 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 2 Tbsp dill and more salt to taste (I added another 1/2 Tbsp salt). Continue to simmer for another 2 minutes or until your potatoes are fully cooked and can be easily pieced with a fork.

Notes

Enjoy! Some people eat it with a dollop of sour cream, but I didn't think it needed it. I've tried both ways and I like the lighter taste without the sour cream. I hope you love it!!
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: Beef, Barley and Pickle Soup, Rassolnik
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Pam
    April 21, 2024

    Question: In this recipe you do not brown the beef 1st?
    I am concerned the beef will have an unappealing appearance that will make my family not want to eat this soup.

    PS We have LOVED all your recipes that we have tried to date.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 22, 2024

      Hi Pam, no, there’s no need to brown it for this recipe. I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Mike
    February 24, 2023

    Sweet pickles or dill pickles ?
    Which is better please? I want to know which is preferred before I try this. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 25, 2023

      Hi Mike, we used dill pickles!

      Reply

  • Lila Arena
    January 27, 2023

    Do you have a recipe for pea soup?
    I love your recipes and I would like to make your recipe but I see you don’t have one. If you do, can you please send. Thanks.

    Reply

  • Mike
    January 27, 2023

    I used this recipe for my second time ever making Rassolnik. It was excellent, I only wish I had used more pickles. I’d probably 1.5x or 2x the amount!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 27, 2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Mike!

      Reply

  • Suzanne
    November 28, 2022

    Can this be done in an instant pot? Looking to try out this recipe, may be easier in that.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 28, 2022

      Hi Suzanne, I have not tested this in an instant pot to advise. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Alanna
    October 17, 2022

    Hi Natasha, very curious about this soup but I’m a vegetarian/pescetarian. Do you think a white fish could be substituted for the beef, or would that be too delicate a flavour/texture? Any other suggestions to bring flavour/texture and hardiness to this soup in absence of beef? Thanks!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 17, 2022

      Hi Alanna! I have not tested this recipe with fish to advise on the outcome. It would depend on the type of fish but it seems as if it may be too delicate and break apart easily in the soup. Some of my readers make this with chicken. You’d have to experiment with it. I think the soup will still have great flavor without the beef.

      Reply

  • Natalya
    September 13, 2022

    This recipe came out really well! My husband had asked for borscht and after we tried this soup, it satisfied his craving 🙂

    I did want to say, the best flavor came when I made the zazharka REALLY flavorful 🙂 I add a TON of tomatoe paste (like the whole small, little can size) after the veggies have sauteed, add a tablespoon of sour cream after the tomatoe paste has cooked for a bit, and then season with a bit of salt and sugar before adding it to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. An important person in my life gave me this tip and it works EVERY TIME!!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 13, 2022

      Thanks for sharing, Natalya!

      Reply

  • Gary Windsor
    May 16, 2022

    Hi Natasha, I have just made Rassolnik soup, exactly as your recipe, and it tastes beutiful. I will have a big bowl tonight and freeze the rest for another day.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 16, 2022

      That sounds perfect, great to know that you loved the recipe!

      Reply

  • Sasha
    May 2, 2022

    In a lot of the traditional recipes you also add the pickle juice into the soup. I was wondering if there was a reason this version didn’t have it?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 3, 2022

      Hi Sasha, I guess that’s a great way to use the juice which would get poured down the sink otherwise

      Reply

  • Abe Bayani Berdan
    December 24, 2021

    Im a filipino chef working on a vessel with russian and ukrainian crew and your recipes really helps me alot for me to cook them and they love it very much. Huge thanks to this website and NATASHA!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 24, 2021

      Aww, that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I’m all smiles

      Reply

  • Rene Ho Sing
    July 19, 2021

    Love to cook. You bring out só much beauty in sll you cook. Always learning more each day. I am a chefe cook in Portugal and Belguim. But i love what i do un the kitchen. My family come first and your receipy changed my ingredients for better for my family meals. Thank you.
    Do you have a book on cooking? You should.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 19, 2021

      Wow! That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing that with me, Rene! I don’t have a cookbook out yet, but it’s on my list of life goals, and I recently signed with an agent to get a book out there for you all! Stay tuned!

      Reply

  • Alexa
    April 22, 2021

    Hello Natasha. I have one question, does the barely have to be soaked and rinsed or no? I know some do some don’t.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 22, 2021

      Hi Alexa, yes, like the recipe says, we used “1/4 cup barley, rinsed” I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Oleg P
    March 30, 2021

    Hello Natasha,
    I love your blog.
    I have a question: you said “sautee pickles with 1 Tbsp oil for a few minutes”. What is the purpose of it?
    I cook Rassolnik but never did it.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 2, 2021

      Hi Oleg, I think it takes out some of the tanginess. This is my Mother’s method and I’ve always followed it. I’m not sure how it would affect the flavor without that step.

      Reply

  • Lena
    February 10, 2021

    I made this soup weekly during my pregnancy. My husband, who’s Canadian and didn’t understand the concept of “pickle soup” ended up loving it and even requesting it lol.

    Thank you

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 10, 2021

      So nice to know that you both enjoyed this recipe! Thank you for sharing that with us, Lena.

      Reply

  • Veronika L
    July 18, 2020

    Our whole family loves this soup. I’ve made it countless times. I almost double the recipe, add more barley and pickles and add the brine too. Soooo good! I love making recipes from your site.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 18, 2020

      Awww that’s the best! Thank you so much for sharing that with me! I’m all smiles

      Reply

  • Adrianna Lesiuk
    July 13, 2020

    I don’t know what to went wrong. I followed the recipe to a T, except i added to a bit more meat because my husband loves beef. At the end it tasted like watered down vegetable water. It smelled great while cooking but the end result was a tasteless soup. I added a beef bouillon to add flavor, dill and only with sour cream was it eatable. My husband said all that work, for such a poor result.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      July 14, 2020

      Hi Adrianna, this normally has alot of flavor. Did you substitute any ingredients? Adding more meat should add more flavor so that wouldn’t be the culprit.

      Reply

    • Katy C
      December 15, 2023

      I completely agree! Just made this and it’s watered down veggie water here, too. Followed the directions exactly! So bummed

      Reply

    • Heather
      December 17, 2023

      It sounds like you forgot the salt. If it smelled great but didn’t taste like how it smells, then the general rule of thumb is it needs more salt.

      Reply

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