A plate of Ukrainian aspic, kholodets

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Want to impress your parents with the Ukrainian Aspic recipe? LOL

My husband made this aspic or holodets recipe; mostly because I wouldn’t go near pigs feat with a 10 foot pole. That’s what Ukrainian people use to make the gelatin firm; pigs feet. I fought him hard on this recipe, but he insisted. He secretly purchased the ingredients and I rolled my eyes when I saw them in the freezer. He wasn’t going to let me stop him.

Before you turn up your nose and run off, here are some fun facts I learned about Aspics (kholodets) from Wikipedia:

* Meat Aspics came before Jello (I guess that means we owe aspics a debt of gratitude)
* Cooks used to show off their creativity and skills with inventive aspics (you can too!) lol
* Aspics became popular in the US and were a dinner staple in the 1950’s (now on the verge of extinction in the US, but not in Ukraine).
* Ukrainian people refer to Aspic as Holodets.

You know, in the end, I’m glad my husband made this. It preserves the recipe and helps us remember our roots. (I wasn’t kidding when I said Ukrainian food can be bizarre). This tasted exactly like the one my Mom made years ago. We brought this to my parents house on Sunday and they were so impressed; even my sister ate it and had seconds! Thanks honey for being persistent. I’m just floored that you actually made Holodets. That’s right ladies; my man made holodets. And, he works out. 😉

Ingredients for Aspic/Holodets:

2 lb pork legs, soaked in cold water and refrigerated 3 hours to overnight
5-8 large chicken drumsticks (or any meat with the bone in)
2 medium onions
1 large carrot
1 stick of celery
2 bay leaves
5-10 peppercorns
2 tsp salt + more to taste
Red Horseradish sause/Hren or Russian mustard to serve

Kholodets (1)

How to make Aspic – Kholodets:

1. Make sure you soak the pork legs in cold water (we put them in the fridge overnight which is also a good way to thaw them if you want to make it the next day).

2. In a large pot, Add pork legs, and chicken drum sticks. Add enough water to cover all of the meat. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, remove from heat and drain off the water.

Kholodets (2)

Rinse the meat, refill with fresh water (enough water to cover all of the meat, plus an extra 1/2-inch over the meat); Don’t add too much water or it won’t be “gelatiney” enough later.

Kholodets (3)

Cover and bring to a boil again.Reduce heat to a light boil/simmer and set a timer for 5 hours :-O. (I have a much greater appreciation for my mom’s efforts in making holodets after watching my husband make this).

Kholodets (4)

3. After cooking for 5 hours, Add 1 large carrot, 2 medium onions (both ends removed), 1 celery stick, 2 bay leaves, 5-8 peppercorns and 2 tsp salt into the pot and continue boiling  on low heat 1 more hour. It should start to look like a nice chicken broth. Now it’s important that you keep the broth (do not discard the broth!) and do not add more water.

Kholodets (5)

4. Remove the drumsticks and carrot from the broth and let them cool. Discard pork legs, onion and bay leaves. Use a fine mesh sieve with 3 bounty paper towels in the colander and filter the broth through the paper towels. You will be left with a clean broth.

Two photos one of cooked carrots and chicken legs and one of a liquid being strained

5. Peel and press 4 garlic cloves into the broth and do a taste test to see if more salt is needed.

Two photos one of pressed garlic in a bowl and one of it added to a pot

6. Once the meat has cooled, use a fork to separate meat from the bones. Keep the good meat; discard the rest. Thinly slice the carrot. You can make one big holodets in a rectangular pyrex dish or you can make smaller bowls.

A plate with sliced carrots and a bowl of shredded chicken

7. Start by placing carrots on the bottom and top with some dill if you wish. Next add the meat in an even layer and pour broth over the meat. You need enough broth to cover the meat and add a little extra over the top. Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight or until firm. Serve with red horseradish/hren or Russian mustard. Once it’s set, set the bowl in hot water for a few seconds, then use a slim spatula to release the gelatin from the dish.

Three photos of the process to make Ukrainian aspic, kholodets

Ukrainian aspic, kholodets, on a white plate

Note:

If using varying types or amounts of meat/bones, reader Lena shared a great tip: “An easy way to find out if your liquid is going to freeze or if you need to add gelatin, is to put a table spoon of it into a bowl and put it in the fridge. If it stiffens then you’re safe, but if not, then to add gelatin.”

Ukrainian Aspic Recipe (Kholodets)

4.69 from 44 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 -12
  • 2 lb pork legs, soaked in cold water and refrigerated 3 hours to overnight
  • 5-8 large chicken drumsticks, or any meat with the bone in
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-10 peppercorns
  • 2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • Red horseradish/hren sause or mustard to serve

Instructions

  • Make sure you soak the pork legs in cold wate (3 hours to overnight - it's also a good way to thaw the pork)
  • In a large pot, add pork legs, and chicken drum sticks. Add enough water to cover all of the meat. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, remove from heat and drain off the water. Rinse the meat, refill with fresh water (enough water to cover all of the meat, plus an extra 1/2-inch over the meat); Don't add too much water or it won't be "gelatiney" enough later. Cover and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to a light boil/simmer and set a timer for 5 hours.
  • After cooking for 5 hours, Add 1 large carrot, 2 medium onions (both ends removed), 1 celery stick, 2 bay leaves, 5-8 peppercorns and 2 tsp salt into the pot and continue boiling on low heat 1 more hour. It should look like a nice chicken broth. Now it's important that you do not discard the broth and do not add more water to the pot!
  • Remove the drumsticks and carrot from the broth and let them cool. Discard pork legs, onion and bay leaves. Use a fine mesh sieve with 3 bounty paper towels over the sieve and filter the broth through the paper towels. You will be left with a clean broth.
  • Peel and press 4 garlic cloves into the broth and do a taste test to see if more salt is needed.
  • Once the meat has cooled, use a fork to separate meat from the bones. Keep the good meat; discard the bones. Thinly slice the carrot. You can make one big holodets in a rectangular pyrex dish or you can make smaller serving bowls.
  • Start by placing carrots on the bottom and top with some dill if you wish. Next add the meat in an even layer and pour broth over the meat; enough to cover the meat and a little extra over the top. Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight, or until firm. Serve with red horseradish/hren (recipe on NatashasKitchen.com) or Russian mustard. Once it's set, set the bowl in hot water for a few seconds, then use a slim spatula to release the gelatin from the dish. Or you can just serve it out of the dish and save yourself a step.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: Kholodets, Ukrainian Aspic
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

 

If you are still reading this, do you do anything fancy with your aspics (holodets)? Do you even make aspics??

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Stefanie
    February 14, 2024

    Hi! I aam using this recipe for a project in culinary school, how many fluid ounces does this recipe make? Thanks!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 14, 2024

      Hi Stefanie! I’m sorry, I don’t have a precise measurement like that for you.

      Reply

  • Melissa Hemmen
    November 14, 2023

    Do you not use any gelatin powder at all? How exactly is it supposed to become jellied if you’re not adding any gelatin powder?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 14, 2023

      Since it’s cooked from meat with bones, it should be able to thicken and solidify without additional gelatin. Be sure to read through the whole written blog for other tips and important information.

      Reply

  • Glory
    October 2, 2023

    Hi I want to cook with chicken feet instead of pig feet. How many pounds should I get and how long should I cook it for?

    Thank you

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      October 3, 2023

      Hi Glory. You can replace the pig feet with the same amount of drumsticks. You would still need to cook them for the same amount of time to release the gelatin which thickens the aspic.

      Reply

  • Emma
    September 12, 2023

    Hi Natasha. If I use only chicken drumsticks, do I cook them just until they’re done or I still have to cook them for 5h? I’d like to omit the pork legs.
    Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      September 19, 2023

      Hi Emma, you would still need to cook them for the same amount of time to release the gelatin which thickens the aspic.

      Reply

  • George
    April 7, 2023

    I don’t usually leave comments on this site. Natasha’s recipes are usually spot on. However…I’ve been making kholodetz (we call it studenetz) for years, using my grandmothers recipe. I’m 70 years old, so the recipe must
    have come from before she immigrated to Canada when she was in her 20’s.
    Definitely add vinegar (just like making bone broth – 1/2 tablespoon/litre of water). It will help to draw the calcium out of the bones and make a richer broth.
    It’s anybody’s guess why one would use chicken drumsticks instead of fresh pork hocks. Ukrainians had loads of less desirable cuts of pork, like feet and hocks, not so much for chicken pieces. Just discard the fat from the hocks and shred the meat.
    Just my two cents. the recipe as written is OK, but not traditional.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      April 10, 2023

      Hi George, this is my Mother’s recipe and I always appreciated the option to use a substitute (easier to source) while also getting a terrific tasting aspic. The vinegar idea is a good one. I do the same in my chicken stock recipe. I haven’t tried it here but good idea!

      Reply

  • Inna
    August 6, 2022

    Like the recipe. I am from Kiev, and now in US for the last 40 year. Was looking if anybody heard adding vingegar to kolodets after its cooked. I cannot ask my mother, she is long gone. And now i make it in instapot, everything cooks in 2 hours and i use natuaral relase

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 6, 2022

      Hi Inna, I bet that could work, but I haven’t tested that myself to advise. Here’s what one of my readers wrote about that: ” I like to eat it by dipping into white vinegar, gives a nice flavor☺️” I hope that helps!

      Reply

  • Ksenya Zavarin
    May 9, 2022

    Hi there. recently found your site. So funny – i love my family’s kholodets and they always used pigs feet … as well as ears for a little crunch, and some chopped tongue – yikes. Could you clear up difference between the terms Kholodets, Studen and Zalivnoye. i’m US born – no idea whether it’s a regional thing or ingredients are somehow different. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 9, 2022

      Hi Ksenya, I haven’t heard the second two namings so they must be regional namings.

      Reply

      • Natasha
        October 24, 2022

        Kholodets and studen’ are the same thing. Studen’ is a derivative from a word meaning “chilled”, and kholodets has the same root as the word “cold”. Zalivnoye is also similar (derivative from “to pour over”, in this case pour broth over chunks of white fish and chill to make it firm), but it is made with pieces of white fish in chilled, firm, gelatinous broth. It also has small pieces of lemon slices, parts of parsley leaves, carrots for taste and beauty. They all are absolutely delicious! Fish zalivnoye I would eat as an appetiser the way it is. Studen’ or kholodets I would eat with khren:) or over hot freshly made mashed potatoes. It starts to melt, but still hold the shape… meat with potatoes!

        Reply

  • paul
    April 13, 2022

    to avoid a colored broth after soaking bring to a boil discard liquid wash the hocks repeat once again that is two washes the liquid will then be clear. rest is same as your recipe

    Reply

  • Kristi Oiring
    January 2, 2022

    My husband is Russian, he just arrived in Canada in October. When ever I try to find a recipe for a Russian dish I always end up at your site. I made this recipe for the first time today because we had a call with his parents for New Years and he seemed really homesick when he saw them eating Holodetz. It’s in the fridge now, we’ll see how it turns out in the morning…

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 3, 2022

      Sounds good, I hope he loves it! Please update us too on how it turns out.

      Reply

  • VIKA
    December 23, 2021

    Yep… but if you have problem with pig feet… get chicken feet from Asian store… I think broth will more clear…sometimes I like to shock my Americans friends with talk about chicken feet🤣🤣🤣…but not Asian..

    Reply

  • Grin_bea
    December 17, 2021

    So this is the mother of modern gelatin, healthier version, this recipe is the best source of collagen. Best for joints and leaky guts, a very healthy food. In our country we boil the pork trotters with very similar recipes, and add potatoes and cabbages, eat them as soup, so yummy 😋😋. Anyway, thanks for sharing

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 17, 2021

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe!

      Reply

  • MARCIA ENTZEL
    November 23, 2020

    Exactly like my recipe. One warning, however. Just make sure that everything is fresh, fresh, FRESH! If not, your gelatin will be an ugly grayish color instead of the crystal clear it’s supposed to be. I too had to get over the “ick” factor when I was a young bride. German/Russian foods are terrific, for the most part.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 23, 2020

      Thanks for your good feedback and for giving us some tips, Marcia. Definitely so helpful!

      Reply

    • Sasha From Dallas
      May 23, 2021

      Beef over pork always.

      Reply

  • roulette
    November 23, 2020

    Best view i have ever seen !

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 23, 2020

      I hope you try this recipe soon!

      Reply

  • Luke Teran
    August 3, 2020

    Fantastic written Mate!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 3, 2020

      Thank you Luke! I hope you give our recipes a try!

      Reply

  • jessie
    July 14, 2020

    Hi Natasha again. I just had a thought when cooking the pork feet or whatever, always add some chicken feet, so full of gelatin adds extra flavour and very gelatinous no need for gelatin. 2 or 3 feet would be enough. Always keep them in freezer for stock.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 14, 2020

      Great tip! Thank you so much for sharing that with me Jessie!

      Reply

    • Inna
      August 6, 2022

      Studen is Russian name and not used in Ukraine. Kholodets is a very Ukranian word

      Reply

  • jessie
    July 14, 2020

    Hi Natasha I’m from Polish and Russian origins and yes my mum used make this regularly and we all loved it, whether pork or chicken it was always so tasty. She continued making upon to age 94. Then things got a bit hard. We do miss so thank you for the recipe or your hubby for being so persistent. Will make.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 14, 2020

      I’m so inspired reading this! Thank you for sharing that with me Jessie!

      Reply

    • roman bondaruk
      May 23, 2021

      Hi Jessie…dare I suggest that she, at the very least, made it to 94…due to taking in the best health food ever!

      cheers Roman

      Reply

  • Betsy
    July 1, 2020

    So….my mom used to make something similar. But it was considered a kosher Polish dish of two names…Gallah-which sounds a lot like jelly, and Patcha. And since it was kosher, no pigs feet!! It was known as calf’s foot jelly. And since my mom didn’t like cookin with calves feet, she used chicken feet. We ate it with lemon juice or vinegar. My husband can’t even tolerate the thought of it, so I haven’t had it for over 25 years! I made it once and hid it in the fridge, but he spotted it. Anyway, that was the last time I had it. I was just watching NCIS LA and the Russian agent mentioned Kholodat. I had a sneaky suspicion and googles it and come up on you site!! Thanks so much for the great memories!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 1, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us Betsy! I’m glad this brought back great memories!

      Reply

  • Dina
    April 11, 2020

    Natasha, thank you for the recipes. You’re my go to person for great recipes I love pork feet, how weird it might sound, but there is also a great recipe to make it with chicken feet. And since cooking it for 5 hours is too long for me, I thought, what if we could cook it in pressure cooker? Do you think you’d like to experiment with that?
    Thanks. Dina

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 13, 2020

      Hi Dina, great question! I have not tested that but here is what one of our readers wrote “I also made this dish in the Instant pot several times now and it came out great! So here is my variation: After initial cook in the pot, transfer meat to an instant pot, add remaining ingredients, set set it to soup and let it cook for 2 hours. Let the pressure release naturally, abou 30 minutes. Transfer stock to a stock pot. Add minces garlic, about 2 cloves (I’m a garlic junkies so I add about 6). As soon as you bring the stock up to boil on your stove top, turn it off and take it off you hot burner to cool down.” I hope you find this helpful!

      Reply

  • Rachel Aizic
    August 2, 2019

    Dear Natasha
    You remind me my mother(CERNOWITZ BUCOVINA/UKRAINE).
    She was preparing aspic with beef bones instead pork legs and I was crazy about it.
    Have a nice weekend

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 3, 2019

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Lera
    April 24, 2019

    Hi Natasha,
    Have you tried this recipe in the instapot by any chance? I’ve really been wanting to try it but unsure of if the pressure time.

    Thanks,
    Lera

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 25, 2019

      Hi Lera, great question! I have not tested that but here is what one of our readers wrote “I also made this dish in the Instant pot several times now and it came out great! So here is my variation: After initial cook in the pot, transfer meat to an instant pot, add remaining ingredients, set set it to soup and let it cook for 2 hours. Let the pressure release naturally, abou 30 minutes. Transfer stock to a stock pot. Add minces garlic, about 2 cloves (I’m a garlic junkies so I add about 6). As soon as you bring the stock up to boil on your stove top, turn it off and take it off you hot burner to cool down.” I hope you find this helpful!

      Reply

As Featured On

Never Go "Hangry" Again!

Get weekly updates on new recipes, exclusive giveaways plus behind the scenes photos.