Holodnik (Russian cold soup)

My roommate is originally from Belarus, and through her I have been able to enjoy some unique dishes from her motherland.  While I like to tease that all they consume there is vodka and potatoes, Russian cuisine can be quite varied.  One of my favorites is Holodnik (literally “cold soup” in Russian), which Natalya makes with beets, cucumbers, egg, dill, green onions, and sour cream.  This chilled soup is light and flavorful and shockingly pink – perfect for a hot summer’s day!

Sometimes this dish is called “cold borscht” but Natalya says that “borscht” typically refers to a very heavy, hearty soup made of beef and potatoes that is served hot. For details of how she makes it, read the Borsch recipe. While it is not incorrect to call this dish “cold borscht,” it is more commonly known as “Holodnik.”

We take the easy route in preparation by buying a store bought jar of Borscht, usually you can find it in the ethnic food aisle near the kosher stuff.  Not to confuse you further with the definition of “borscht” but that is what the jar says – all it is though is boiled and then shredded beets in water.  However, you can easily make your own by boiling whole beets in water until they become soft.  Cool the beet water and filter it using a sieve.  Peel the beet and shred it.  Combine the shredded beets back with the chilled beet water and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Try serving this soup with Salat (Russian Salad), which is super easy to make at the same time as both use most of the same ingredients.

Holodnik (Russian cold soup)


Yields: 4 servings


  • 2 x 24 fl oz jars of store bought Borscht
  • 3 eggs hard-boiled
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 stalks of green onions
  • Handful of fresh dill
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sour cream
  • Ground black pepper to taste


Dice the hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, green onions, dill into small cubes and mix together in a small bowl.

Take the serving soup bowls and put 1 tbsp of sour cream at the bottom of each bowl.  Spoon some of the chopped mixture into each bowl, enough to cover the bottom. Pour 1.5 C (12 fl oz = half the jar) of borscht into the bowl and stir until the sour cream is mixed thoroughly.

Add 1 tsp of white vinegar to each bowl (only if you use the store jar of borscht which tends to be very sweet) and ground black pepper to taste.

Serve chilled.

2 Responses to “Holodnik (Russian cold soup)”
  1. Looks great, as do all the other posts I looked at.
    I was playing a gig in Moscow recently and had some lovely Borscht.
    From what I could gather, they use a very strong concentrated beef (or mixed meat) stock to get the amazing taste that underlies all the sweetness.
    Anyhow great blog here…

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  1. […] used Gold’s before to make Holodnik, but this was my first foray into a complex, hearty warm soup. I did some research into […]

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