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Kulajda is a thick and creamy Czech mushroom soup with potatoes and dill. It has a well-balanced sweet and sour flavor profile similar to Borscht. And it’s quick and easy to make in just 30 minutes!

hands holding bowl of kulajda

I first had Kulajda Polévka in Prague a couple years ago. It was a cool late-July day and I ate it at an outdoor café. I enjoyed every moment, especially being surrounded by such lovely, unique architecture!

(If you’re interested, you can check out beautiful Prague in this post, and see more Czech food in this post.)

This classic Czech soup originates in the highly forested areas of south Bohemia where mushrooms grow in abundance. Mushrooms and potatoes are the main vegetables in this dish, and dill adds fresh brightness at the end. This soup has a sweet/sour flavor thanks to a blend of vinegar and sugar, which you’ll love if you enjoy Borscht.

kulajda recipe

Like a lot of regional specialties, there are many variations of this dish.

I’ve seen darker versions that use beef broth and dried mushrooms. And there are lighter versions that use chicken broth and fresh mushrooms. Sometimes this soup is pureed until velvety smooth, and other times it has a chunky texture. I’ve also had this soup when it was silky smooth except for mushroom pieces. There is a lot of leeway for you to interpret this recipe how you want, and to truly customize it to make it your own.

When I had this soup in Prague, it had a poached egg on top. This adds protein to make it more of a filling meal, as there typically isn’t meat in the soup. Also, the runny yolk adds another layer of flavor and texture to the dish.

If you’re looking for a unique soup to try, bookmark this recipe!

mushroom potato soup in shallow white bowl

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Rich, creamy texture and balanced flavor profile. This thick soup packs a ton of savory, sweet, and tangy flavors.
  • Quick and easy. You’re only 30 minutes away from a delicious meal! (And it has minimal cleanup too.)
  • Travel the globe without leaving your kitchen. This traditional soup is an important part of Czech cuisine, and it brings me back to my time in Prague. If you want to travel, start by doing it in your kitchen.
kulajda graphic

The Best Kulajda Polévka Recipe

Ingredients

kulajda ingredients
  • Unsalted butter
  • Onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Flour
  • Chicken stock, vegetable stock, or beef stock
  • Potatoes
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Allspice
  • Bay leaf
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • White wine vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Fresh dill
  • Poached or soft-boiled eggs

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Add the butter to a 5-quart pot over medium to medium-high heat. Once it’s starting to melt, stir in the onion and mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the flour. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom. Stir in the potatoes, salt, black pepper, allspice, and bay leaf. Bring up to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down slightly so it doesn’t boil over, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (During this time I like to make the poached eggs.)
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill. Serve each bowl of soup topped with a poached egg and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh dill sprinkled on top.
ladling mushroom soup into bowl

Mushrooms in the Czech Republic

Foraging for mushrooms is a common practice and almost a hobby in the Czech Republic.

They have some incredibly beautiful forests, which are home to many different kinds of fungi, both edible non-edible. Mushrooms are so beloved that very Czech family picks over 8 kilograms (over 17 pounds) of mushrooms per year!

A few common types of edible mushrooms found in the Bohemian Forest along the border of Germany and Czechia include: Boletus edulis, which are also known asporcini, cep, penny bun mushrooms, or Steinpilz, as well as chanterelle mushrooms and parasol mushrooms.

One way of preserving all their beautiful mushrooms is to dry them. And dried mushrooms make a lovely Kulajda!

You can read more about mushroom foraging in Czech Republic on Czech American TV, Prague GO, and Prague TV.  

What Type of Fresh Mushrooms to Use for Kuladja

For this soup, you can use a mix of whatever type of fresh mushrooms you have available locally. I used a combination of shiitake mushrooms and cremini mushrooms.

close up overhead view of bowl of kulajda with poached egg

How to Use Dried Mushrooms Instead of Fresh in Soup

Dried mushrooms are frequently used to make traditional Czech Kulajda. They work very well and yield a rich-colored, mushroom-flavored stock.

To use dried mushrooms in this dish:

  1. Omit the fresh mushrooms. You will need 1 ounce of dried mushrooms (such as porcini) instead of 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms.
  2. Rehydrate the dried mushrooms. You can do this in 1 of 2 different ways: 1) add the dried mushrooms and 2 cups of boiling water to a bowl large bowl and soak for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours), or 2) add the dried mushrooms and 2 cups of boiling water to a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover the saucepan and turn the heat down a little so it doesn’t boil over, and boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Use the mushroom soaking liquid in the soup. For deep mushroom flavor, you can use the 2 cups of mushroom soaking liquid to make the soup and reduce the amount of chicken stock by 2 cups.
czech mushroom soup recipe

What Type of Potatoes to Use for Czech Mushroom and Potato Soup

Really, any type of potatoes will work for Kulajda. I prefer not to use russet potatoes or other starchy potatoes here because they will disintegrate and fall apart in the soup. (There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just a matter of personal preference.)

Instead, I like to use white potatoes, which have white flesh and light tan-colored skin. These are considered an all-purpose potato. They’re great for mashing and also hold their shape well, which makes white potatoes a good choice for soups and potato gratins.

If white potatoes aren’t available, I like to use waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold. This type of potato also holds its shape well in soups.

How to Make Poached Eggs

  1. First, fill a shallow saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Next, add 1/2 tablespoon distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and turn the heat down to medium to medium-low so it’s simmering.
  3. Then crack each egg into a small bowl 1 at a time, and gently slip the egg into the water.
  4. Finally, cook until the eggs reach your desired level of runniness, about 3 minutes.
  5. Lastly, remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, patting the bottom with paper towels to absorb the liquid.
top view of spread of kulajda with bread

More Delicious Soups You May Have Never Heard Of

bowls of mushroom soup topped with egg with runny yolk

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Kulajda (Czech Mushroom Soup Recipe)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time12 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Kulajda is a thick and creamy Czech mushroom soup with potatoes and dill. It has a well-balanced sweet and sour flavor profile similar to Borscht. And it’s quick and easy to make in just 30 minutes!

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Ingredients
 

Soup:

Topping:

  • 5 poached eggs or soft-boiled eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill

Instructions
 

  • Add the butter to a 5-quart pot over medium to medium-high heat. Once it’s starting to melt, stir in the onion and mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Turn the heat down to medium and stir in the flour. Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken stock and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom.
  • Stir in the potatoes, salt, black pepper, allspice, and bay leaf. Bring up to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down slightly so it doesn’t boil over, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (During this time I like to make the poached eggs.)
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, vinegar, sugar, and dill.
  • Serve each bowl of soup topped with a poached egg and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh dill sprinkled on top.

Notes

  • What Type of Fresh Mushrooms to Use: You can use a mix of whatever type of fresh mushrooms you have available locally. I used a combination of shiitake mushrooms and cremini mushrooms. (Read the article above for information on what mushrooms are traditionally used in Czechia.)
  • What Type of Potatoes to Use: I like to use white potatoes, which have white flesh and light tan-colored skin. These are considered an all-purpose potato. They’re great for mashing and also hold their shape well, which makes white potatoes a good choice for soups. If white potatoes aren’t available, I like to use waxy potatoes, such as Yukon gold. This type of potato also holds its shape well in soups.
  • Vegetarian Version: Use vegetable stock (or water) instead of chicken stock.

 

How to Use Dried Mushrooms Instead of Fresh

  1. Omit the fresh mushrooms. You will need 1 ounce of dried mushrooms (such as porcini) instead of 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms.
  2. Rehydrate the dried mushrooms. You can do this in 1 of 2 different ways: 1) add the dried mushrooms and 2 cups of boiling water to a bowl large bowl and soak for 1 hour (or up to 12 hours), or 2) add the dried mushrooms and 2 cups of boiling water to a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover the saucepan and turn the heat down a little so it doesn’t boil over, and boil for 15 minutes.
  3. Use the mushroom soaking liquid in the soup. For deep mushroom flavor, you can use the 2 cups of mushroom soaking liquid to make the soup and reduce the amount of chicken stock by 2 cups.

 

How to Make Poached Eggs

  1. Fill a shallow saucepan with 2 to 3 inches of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add 1/2 tablespoon distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and turn the heat down to medium to medium-low so it’s simmering.
  3. Crack each egg into a small bowl 1 at a time, and gently slip the egg into the water.
  4. Cook until the eggs reach your desired level of runniness, about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, patting the bottom with paper towels to absorb the liquid.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 267mg | Sodium: 909mg | Potassium: 881mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1240IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Czech
Keyword: Czech Mushroom Soup, Kulajda, Kulajda Polévka, Kulajda Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    just returned from Prague where I had this soup twice — at The Deer and The Imperial Cafe. Your recipe is delicious, fast and rivals the two I had in Prague! I used a gluten free all purpose flour and it worked great, also used a combo of shitake and cremini mushrooms. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. 5 stars
    My kids had a hankering for Kulajda today and I’m glad I ran across this recipe. It was a hit and the Czech Mrs. gives her stamp of approval. Thanks for the recipe, Faith!

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