Beef, Barley and Pickle Soup (Rassolnik)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
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.
Author: Natasha of
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $8-$10
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


  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.
  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 a.k.a. "zazharka" (step 3).
  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.
  4. 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.

Recipe 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!!