Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapustnyak)

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly | natashaskitchen.com

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. It’s also the perfect example of how the farmers and common folks of Ukraine made delicious foods with simple basic ingredients. My husband’s grandparents stored sauerkraut in barrels for winter. The sauerkraut was one of their primary vegetable sources during the cold months, so they got creative with it and made Kapustnyak (sauerkraut soup).

Can you even imagine not being able to go to the grocery store and buy broccoli or lettuce in the winter? We are truly blessed to live in the US! #sothankful ?

Back to this soup, the sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing and the bacon provides a subtle smokiness. ?Excellent with fresh crusty bread. It’s hearty, filling and will warm your belly. My husband and I enjoyed leftovers for several days.

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This recipe was inspired by one of my readers, Oksana, who shared her recipe for sauerkraut soup and bean soup with me. It was also inspired by Rachel Ray’s Ham, Bean and Bacon Soup. Thank you ladies for generously sharing your delicious recipes! 🙂

Ingredients for Sauerkraut Soup:

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz bacon, chopped
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
3 medium (1 lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/3″ thick pieces
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed, optional 
2-3 cups sauerkraut, triple rinsed & drained (we use 3 cups or about 2 lbs)
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water, or to taste
1 (15 oz can) white beans (click to learn how to cook your own beans)
Salt, Pepper and Mrs. Dash seasoning, to taste

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly | natashaskitchen.com

How to Make Sauerkraut Soup (Kapustnyak):

1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven (here’s the one I use). Add chopped bacon and sautee until browned then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Sauerkraut Soup Recipe-7

2. Add finely chopped celery and onion. Saute until softened and golden (5 min).

Sauerkraut Soup Recipe-8

3. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, 1/4 cup quinoa (if using), 8 cups broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 15 min.

Sauerkraut Soup Recipe-2

4. Add 2-3 cups of well rinsed and drained sauerkraut and half of cooked bacon (I keep some for garnish), white beans with their juice, and 1 bay leaf and continue to cook until potatoes are tender (about 10 min). Season soup to taste (I added 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash). Serve with fresh crusty bread.

Sauerkraut Soup Recipe-3

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly | natashaskitchen.com

Sauerkraut Soup Recipe (Kapustnyak)

4.95 from 19 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing and the bacon provides a subtle smokiness. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $12-$15
Servings: 8 large bowls of soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz bacon chopped
  • 1 stick celery finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots thinly sliced
  • 3 medium 1 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/3" thick pieces
  • 1/4 cup quinoa rinsed, optional
  • 2-3 cups sauerkraut triple rinsed & drained (we use 3 cups or about 2 lbs)
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water or to taste
  • 1 15 oz can white beans (click to learn how to cook your own beans)
  • Salt Pepper and Mrs. Dash seasoning, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add chopped bacon and sautee until browned then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Add finely chopped celery and onion. Saute until softened and golden (5 min).
  3. Add sliced carrots, potatoes, 1/4 cup quinoa (if using), 8 cups broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 15 min.
  4. Add 2-3 cups of well rinsed and drained sauerkraut and half of cooked bacon (I keep some for garnish), white beans with their juice, and 1 bay leaf and continue to cook until potatoes are tender (about 10 min). Season soup to taste (I added 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash). Serve with fresh crusty bread.

 

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly | natashaskitchen.com

All that coziness in a bowl ?. What’s your favorite “weird” soup? Maybe you fancy yourself a bowl of pickle soup or green borsch?

This sauerkraut soup is a most unusual and delicious soup. The sauerkraut gives it a lovely texture and zing. It's hearty, filling and will warm your belly | natashaskitchen.com

natashaskitchen

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 recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Miranda
    May 24, 2018

    Thank you for this recipe! Do you have suggestions on how to turn this into a slow-cooked meal? I’d love to use my crock pot Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 24, 2018

      You’re welcome Miranda! I haven’t tried it in a slow cooker because it doesn’t require a very long cook time. If you experiment, let me know how it goes! Reply

  • Mace
    May 2, 2018

    It is very nice you have replied to questions for years! I made some sauerkraut and I am so excited to try this after looking around. I like how you made it with bacon and beans instead of sausage. Have a great day! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 3, 2018

      It’s my pleasure Mace! I hope you enjoy the recipe, please let me know what you think! Reply

      • Mace
        May 4, 2018

        It was awesome! Thank you for your recipe! I only have black and great northern beans on hand and figured they would overpower so I cooked chickpeas and also added frozen corn for a sweet addition. I have never bought Mrs.Dash before so I found a recipe and mixed it up for this. Here’s the link if you want to try it. https://housewifehowtos.com/cook/recipe-make-your-own-mrs-dash-season-salt-and-old-bay/
        Have a great day 😀 Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          May 4, 2018

          My pleasure Mace, I’m glad you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing your helpful review with other readers!!! Reply

  • Tanya
    April 20, 2018

    Hi Natasha, this recipe sounds FANTASTIC!!! My grandma always makes me a jar of Ukrainian квашеная капуста, can I use that?? :))) Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 20, 2018

      Hi Tanya, yes that is essentially homemade sauerkraut and should work well. Reply

  • Karmen
    April 17, 2018

    Being vegan I will leave out the bacon. I might double the white beans. Thank you. This sounds truly good. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 17, 2018

      You’re welcome Karmen, please let me know what you think! Reply

  • Tracey
    April 3, 2018

    I just made this and it’s delish! I only rinsed the sauerkraut once as I wanted it a little sour. If I make it again I might do white and sweet potatoes 50/50 to add a slight sweetness. I didn’t have white beans so I used chick peas and they worked well as a substitute. I could have put more quinoa in as well but I wasn’t sure my family would like it that way. This is a fabulous soup! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 3, 2018

      I’m glad to hear the recipe was a great success! Thanks for sharing your great review Tracey! Reply

  • Jeff Meier
    March 7, 2018

    Added some Caraway seed and a diced up apple upon the second time of using the kielbasa instead of bacon. I think the added sweetness helps. Try it. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 7, 2018

      Great suggestion Jeff, thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Jacqueline
    March 2, 2018

    Can I use a jar (in there juice) of sauerkraut? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 2, 2018

      Hi Jacqueline, if using jarred sauerkraut, I would still do “triple rinsed & drained” or it might overwhelm the flavors of the soup. Reply

  • Pasha
    February 23, 2018

    Hi Natasha!

    This recipe reminds me of Shchi in a small way… but do you have any recipes you can share for Shchi?

    I made today what I can only describe as Shchi iz Kapusta with meat, but I’m told it can also be made with Sauerkraut. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 24, 2018

      Hi Pasha, I don’t have a recipe like that but it sure looks good after a quick google search! If I come up with something great, I will be sure to share it. 🙂 Reply

  • Kate Pigula
    February 15, 2018

    I’m going to try tour soup. It sounds tasty.I want to ask a couple of questions.Do you have a recipe for pork shoulder and sauerkraut? Thank You in advance. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 15, 2018

      Hi Kate, I don’t have a recipe like that – I have some braised cabbage recipes that might be similar to what you are serving for. Reply

  • Debbie
    February 11, 2018

    Love your soup!by any chance do you know the calories? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 11, 2018

      Hi Debbie, I don’t typically include calorie counts because of the time constraint that I have. I really need to hire some help to do that for me! When I need a quick answer though; I have used Caloriecount.com (their recipe analyzer is free). We are also working on site redesign and calorie count is on the list as well so stay tuned 😀 Reply

  • Lilia Arnest
    January 9, 2018

    I love this soup! Natasha, your recipes are AMAZING! I tried so many of them and they all turn out great. You are a great cook. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 9, 2018

      I’m happy to hear how much you’re enjoying the recipes Lilia! Thanks for following and sharing your review! Reply

  • Teresa
    December 23, 2017

    My family loves, loves, loves this soup. I wasn’t sure of making it, but it sounded good. After talking my brood into trying it we didn’t have enough….Will make double the next time. Thank you for this recipe. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 23, 2017

      You’re welcome Teresa! I’m glad to hear how much everyone loves the recipe. Thanks for sharing your fantastic review! Reply

  • Katalin
    December 3, 2017

    I added sausage with bacon and fresh cabbage Delish Reply

  • Janet
    October 29, 2017

    Delicious!. I didn’t see the part about rinsing the sour kraut so my soup was a little sour. I fixed it with a pinch of baking soda and sugar. Thank you for a great recipe. Perfect for a chili day. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 30, 2017

      You’re welcome Janet! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing! Reply

  • Nina Park
    May 23, 2017

    I didn’t have any bacon so I cubed a fair amount of smoked ham, and followed your recipe to the tee……so delicious !
    My Mom is looking down from heaven and smiling. Thanks a bunch 😘😘👏🤗 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 23, 2017

      Ahhh! My pleasure Nina! I’m so happy to hear you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing 😀 Reply

  • Christopher Onzo
    March 25, 2017

    Absolutely love this… I changed the bacon for smoked kielbasa and I added a pinch of white pepper instead of the black. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 25, 2017

      I’m happy you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing 😀 Reply

  • Natashia
    January 22, 2017

    Could I use the homemade sauerkraut from your recipes?
    And if I did would I have to rinse it?

    I am also Ukrainian and I am loving your site. I have recently went back to my roots in the kitchen

    Thanks,
    Natashia Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 22, 2017

      Hi Natashia, yes, you would still want to rinse, otherwise it will be too sour. I hope you love it! 🙂 Reply

  • Jane
    January 10, 2017

    Any particular reason for rinsing the sauerkraut? I made my own and it’s too salty which is why I want to use it for soup, but thinking rinsing may get rid of some of that sour fermentation? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 10, 2017

      Hi Jane, rinsing the sauerkraut allows you to use more of it in the soup without making it overly sour or salty. Reply

  • Connie
    December 18, 2016

    We serve this soup Christmas Eve. We add mushroom and no beans. We also put a spoonful of mashed potatoes on each serving. Yum, can’t wait. It is so good. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 19, 2016

      That sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your review Connie! Reply

  • Lizzie
    December 12, 2016

    Have some kraut left from Reuben Sandwiches, so making this tonight! My Mom was Lithuanian and I (vaguely) remember something like this from years ago. We live in Meridian, ID (close to Boise). What part of ID do you live in? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 12, 2016

      That’s awesome! We are practically neighbors! 😉 Reply

  • November 15, 2016

    This sounds delicious! I’ll definitely have to make it soon. Sounds like the perfect comfort food soup. I always have a jar of Bubbies sauerkraut in the fridge, so that makes it even easier! Yay! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 15, 2016

      Oh I haven’t tried that brand but yes sauerkraut is such a healthy food! I hope you love the soup! Reply

  • Jaimie C
    June 23, 2016

    Have you tried this in a slow cooker? It’s hot here in Californua, but we live soup!! I have everything on hand to make it!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      June 23, 2016

      I haven’t tried it in a slow cooker because it doesn’t require a very long cook time. If you experiment, let me know how it goes! Reply

  • Anna Clark
    May 18, 2016

    I’m happy to find this recipe. My Latvian grandmother made it with barley instead of potatoes, but the rest looks similar. It looks wonderful. Looking forward to trying it? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 18, 2016

      Barley would really be delicious and the soup! Thank you for sharing that tip! Reply

  • Maryana
    April 13, 2016

    Made many times. Even now it’s in the making. Can’t wait to enjoy it. Thank you so much! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 13, 2016

      Now I’m wishing I had this simmering away on the stove! Sounds so nice with the rainy weather we’re having. Reply

  • Michelle Givotkoff
    April 4, 2016

    both my family and my husband’s family have been making some version of this for generations. My mother-in-law put cream of wheat in hers I am thinking it would be similar to the use of quinoa in yours Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 4, 2016

      Thank you for sharing! I love how different families take different spins on this classic soup. 🙂 Reply

      • Andrew Kusat
        April 6, 2016

        How do you prep the raw white beans? The “click to learn” hyperlink isn’t available. This recipe looks awesome Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          April 6, 2016

          Andrew, thanks for pointing that out. I fixed the hyperlink and you can click here to see the tutorial. Reply

  • Irene
    April 2, 2016

    Recently made your soup & thought it was delicious! Since your recipe made a large amount, I gave my sister some. Her comment, “DELICIOUS!!!!” At first she wasn’t sure what the small circles were but after telling her, she had initially thought that it was quinoa. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 2, 2016

      Irene, thank you for such a nice review, I’m glad you both liked it 😀. Reply

  • January 24, 2016

    I have just started eating sauerkraut as I have heard that is supposed to be good for gut health. I was at a loss of how to eat it…I knew it was good with sausages, but I was curious about other things. I found your recipe for sauerkraut soup and made it today and can I tell you that it is DELICIOUS! Unexpectedly delicious. Wow. I am bowled over (no pun intended!) I’ll be perusing your website for me great recipes. Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 25, 2016

      I’m so happy you loved it! Thank you so much for sharing that with me. “Bowled over” – ha ha I love it! Reply

  • Nicolette
    January 12, 2016

    I wanted to make something “different” with sauerkraut (not just bake with sausages…) and had not heard of sauerkraut soup, but kapustnyak is absolutely delicious! I altered the recipe in several subtle ways: country ham instead of bacon; garbanzo beans instead of white beans; added 1/2 lb ground venison & 2 cups chopped kale [both of which were in the refrigerator and needed to be used in something!]; seasoned with 1 tsp each of paprika & tumeric instead of Mrs Dash. Excellent!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 12, 2016

      Thank you so much for sharing your awesome review and modifications with me 🙂 Reply

  • January 11, 2016

    Had a saurekraut soup in a small bakery and it was awesome so I am going to try this recipe I hope it’s as good will let you know Elaine Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 11, 2016

      I hope you love it! 🙂 Reply

  • Olga
    December 7, 2015

    its so interesting how everyones version of “kapusnyak” is different from Ukraine! in our region its made from fresh cabbage & with tomato paste. will have to try this version! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 7, 2015

      It sounds similar to how I make borscht. I love how much variety there is from one recipe to another. Reply

  • Margarita
    November 25, 2015

    I made a large pot of this soup and my fiancé absolutely loved it, and told me to only make this soup from now on. Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 25, 2015

      I hope you loved it too because it sounds like there will be alot of sauerkraut soup in your future. 😉 Reply

  • Al Fabrizio
    November 19, 2015

    OMG! Sauerkraut soup. I can’t wait to make this. I’ve never been any good at cooking with sauerkraut (though I have tried). This is going to be great. Thanks! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 19, 2015

      I would love to hear how it turned out 😀 . Reply

      • Al F
        January 23, 2016

        Ok, so I finally got around to making this soup and it is absolutely fantastic. A couple of cooking notes: I used uncured bacon (to avoid the nitrites and all that stuff), and find that it renders fat really well – better than regular bacon. It also keeps a nicer texture, to my thinking.
        I added 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar at the end. I thought the soup would be tangy-er than it was (maybe it’s my sauerkraut, dunno. But I did want for just a teensy bit more tang). All natural cider vinegar and sauerkraut, seems to me there’s a real health-bomb in that, too.
        It’s still sitting on the hob, but when I bowl it up, going to put some soured cream on the table (I think crème fraiche would be better, though I don’t find it in my markets around here).
        Great soup. Thanks. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          January 23, 2016

          Thank you so much for the awesome review and for sharing your cooking notes! 🙂 I’m so happy you enjoyed the soup. Reply

  • Oksana
    November 3, 2015

    I’m glad to have inspired you for this recipe. And you even made it into a one pot meal. (It took me 3 pots and a skillet if you remember my version). I will give this a try, as soon as I can make more of your homemade sauerkraut, we’ve been eating lots of sauerkraut salad. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 3, 2015

      Oh hello!!! Yes I absolutely remember! 🙂 I love me some sauerkraut salad! How do you make yours? Do you add in anything unusual to the salad? Reply

      • Oksana
        November 6, 2015

        I make the most simple salad there is from the sauerkraut, and it never fails, i think many people do it this way. We just squeeze any juice out of it, (rinse if too sour), then add pinch of salt (optional, we don’t always do this step), pinch of sugar (or more if you’re making for a crowd), sliced onion (red or yellow), and a very high quality sunflower oil from European stores. So we love this salad because basically the only thing we need to cut is the onion. Add the oil. Mix and the salad is ready to serve.
        My husband will sometimes add canned mushrooms if he wants it as a snack/meal to go with some dark rye bread. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          November 6, 2015

          That is very similar to how we make it too. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂 Reply

          • Lorraine
            November 12, 2015

            What if I have made my own homeade sauerkraut? It was my first time and the cabbage is still a bit crunchy but I think it would do well in this dish. What do you think?

          • Natasha
            natashaskitchen
            November 12, 2015

            Generally homemade sauerkraut works fine.

  • Victoria
    November 2, 2015

    Made this tonight and it turned out super delicious! Thank you so much Natasha!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 2, 2015

      That’s awesome!! Thank you so much for sharing your great review 🙂 Reply

  • November 2, 2015

    This sounds interestingly delicious! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 2, 2015

      It really is; weird, but good. 🙂 Thanks Leigh! Reply

  • Jessica
    November 1, 2015

    This was great! We love your soups. I’m ready for your Cooking Channel show, Natasha! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 2, 2015

      You’re so sweet. Thank you Jessica! 🙂 And thanks for the great review! Reply

  • October 30, 2015

    Bright, delicious, nutritious.
    This one I have to make tonight! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 30, 2015

      Thanks Coco :). I hope you enjoy it! Reply

  • October 29, 2015

    I’ve never heard of kapustnyak but these photos are enough to make ANYONE want this today. It’s beautiful! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 29, 2015

      Thank you Maureen 🙂 Reply

  • Luda
    October 29, 2015

    Great take on a traditional kapustyak! With quinoa and beans it becomes a wholesome dish that can be eaten on its own. Will make for dinner tonight.
    Thank you for the recipe! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 29, 2015

      You’re welcome Luda :). I hope you enjoy it! Reply

  • October 29, 2015

    Soup with SALO, that’s how Ukrainians roll 🙂 lol.. Love it Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 29, 2015

      I know right, we recently roasted some salo over at my parent’s fire pit. It was a treat 🙂 . But I think we like bacon more 😀 . Reply

  • Emily
    October 29, 2015

    Looks absolutely delicious. What would you suggest for a vegetarian, subbing a bunch of butter for the bacon? Maybe caramelized onions? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 29, 2015

      Emily, caramelized onions sounds great 🙂 . Reply

  • October 28, 2015

    Hi! Looks so good! Would it be just as good from homemade sauerkraut? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 28, 2015

      Yes, that would work well for this soup :). Reply

  • Lexie
    October 28, 2015

    Oh this is so perfect! I just made it and my husband loves it. It snowed today in Minnesota so it was perfect for the weather. Thanks so much for sharing Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 28, 2015

      Thank you for such a nice review Lexie and you are welcome 😀 . Reply

  • Christy
    October 28, 2015

    I will be making this soup as soon as we eat all the leftovers in my fridge. Looks amazing!! Will have to be on the look out for a barrel cured sauerkraut. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 28, 2015

      I found it at Fred Meyer in the refrigerator section 🙂 Reply

  • October 28, 2015

    I can’t wait to try this! I love anything with sauerkraut. My favorite unusual soup is a curried cauliflower soup with Swiss cheese and sweet potatoes. Also pickle soup. Yum! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 28, 2015

      Oh wow that sounds delicious!! Do you have a recipe for it posted n your blog? Reply

      • October 28, 2015

        Not yet. They’re on the (long) list of things to post. Soon I hope! Reply

  • October 28, 2015

    This used to be my favorite soup as I was growing up! Oh, sweet memories…

    I really love your recipe, Natasha!
    I’ve never had it with bacon and now I am really excited to try it! Perfect soup for the cold, rainy day!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 28, 2015

      The bacon is a nice treat in this soup. I especially love it sprinkled over the top. Mmmm. 🙂 Reply

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