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Okroshka is a healthy cold Russian soup that’s full of crunchy radishes and cucumbers, flavorful with dill, and refreshing with a creamy, tangy yogurt-like base.

top view of spread of okroshka with fresh vegetables and kefir

One of my most vivid childhood memories of my grandmother on my mom’s side is about radishes.

She asked me to hand her a bunch of radishes, and I loved helping, even as a little girl.

I especially enjoyed helping in the kitchen. Watching someone (usually my mom) whirl around, managing two or three pots at a time while chopping, seasoning, stirring, and orchestrating everything to conjure up a delicious meal from what was just simple ingredients an hour before was pure magic. But the real magic happened in the fact that those beautiful meals brought together our whole family for at least an hour each and every single day.

I walked over to the counter, which was about as high as I was tall, and brought the radishes to my grandmother.

“Nana,” I asked, “Do you like the taste of radishes?”

She giggled and replied, “I do. Do you like the taste of radishes?”

I shook my head “no” vehemently. “They taste like spicy dirt.”

At that, my grandmother laughed outright and nodded her agreement. “To me too, but I don’t mind the taste of spicy dirt.”

close up top view of okroshka

As a child of not more than five years old, my mind was blown.

My dad has always loved radishes too, so with radish-lovers on both sides of the family I guess it was my destiny to eventually see the light. I think my taste buds made the switch after spending a summer in Europe and eating radishes the French way, topped with rich, creamy butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bliss.

Radish, an integral component of Okroshka, gives this summer soup a peppery bite that pairs well with sweet cucumber, fresh dill, and tangy kefir.

front view of chilled russian soup in handmade bowl

Okroshka Recipe

If you’re new to Okroshka, it’s a Russian cold soup that’s served during the summer. It’s full of crunchy textures with radish and cucumber, and has tons of flavor thanks to fresh dill and scallion.

The liquid for this refreshing chilled soup is creamy and tangy, with a flavor similar to yogurt. I use a base of kefir and mineral water, but you could use buttermilk instead. Additionally, I give instructions on how to use kvass and sour cream or yogurt in place of kefir if that’s your preference.

If you like chilled soups in the summer that are as delicious and refreshing as they are nutrient-rich and satisfying, then you might also like my recipe for Polish Cold Beet Soup (Chłodnik).

Ingredients

In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.

okroshka ingredients
  • Persian cucumbers – these are small, narrow cucumbers with a thin skin and very few seeds; if you can’t find them, you can substitute with an English (hothouse) cucumber
  • Radishes – use any type of radish you have
  • Waxy potatoes – such as Yukon Gold potatoes; starchy potatoes (such as Russet) will also work here, but I prefer the flavor and texture of yellow potatoes for this chilled soup
  • Hard-boiled eggs – this adds flavor and protein
  • Scallion – this adds a mild onion flavor; chives would also work well here
  • Dill – fresh dill wakes up the flavor of this refreshing summer soup
  • Flaky sea salt – use less salt if you’re using regular fine-grain table salt
  • Kefir – this is a drink made from fermented milk with a tangy flavor similar to yogurt; its texture is like a thin, pourable yogurt
  • Mineral water – this adds refreshing bubbles to this cold soup
  • Ice cubes – these are optional, and help to keep Okroshka cold while you’re eating it

Instructions

chopped vegetables for cold okroshka soup

Boil, cool, peel, and dice the potatoes and eggs. Chop the cucumbers, radishes, scallion, and dill.

pouring kefir and mineral water mixture into okroshka

Divide the cucumber, radish, potato, egg, scallion, and dill between each of 4 shallow soup bowls. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of flaky sea salt on the vegetables in each bowl.

Gently stir together the kefir and mineral water in a pitcher. (Don’t over-mix or you’ll lose all the bubbles.)

Pour 1 cup of the kefir mixture into each bowl, and add 1 ice cube to each.

Instead of Building 4 Bowls

an edible mosaic stamp logo 1200 square

You can add all the chopped ingredients to a large bowl, add the liquid, and gently stir to combine.

Storage

Once everything is chopped and ready, you can store the prepped ingredients in separate containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then assemble the soup and add the liquid when you want to eat it.

Variations

  • Low Carb and Keto Okroshka: Simply omit the potato. You can add double the amount of cucumbers or radishes if you like.
  • Okroshka with Meat: Add cooked and diced chicken, ham, hot dogs, sausages, etc.
  • Flavor Variations: Mix 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish in with the kefir.

How to Boil Whole Potatoes

  1. Rinse the potatoes and add them to a saucepan.
  2. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 3 inches.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to a slow boil and cook until a sharp paring knife easily slides in and out of the potatoes. This takes about 30 minutes give or take, depending on the size of your potatoes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and let them cool. You can peel and eat them now, or keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

How to Hard Boil Eggs

I used to struggle with hard-boiled eggs. They tasted fine, but often came out with that gross-looking green ring around the yolk! I did some experimenting and came up with a foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs so the unsightly green ring is a thing of the past!

This is how I make hard-boiled eggs for perfect results every time:

  1. Add up to 1 dozen eggs to a 3-quart saucepan.
  2. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 3 inches.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Immediately reduce the heat to a slow boil and set a timer for 9 minutes 30 seconds.
  5. Once the timer goes off, drain the eggs and add them to a large bowl of ice water (I fill a large bowl with ice and add enough cold water to come up to the top of the ice).
  6. Let the eggs chill in the ice bath for 10 minutes. You can peel and eat them now, or keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week.
russian okroshka soup

Okroshka FAQs

What Can I Use Instead of Kefir?

Instead of kefir, you can use full-fat buttermilk. I recommend using the mineral water along with kefir or buttermilk.

If you want to use kvass instead, you can use 4 cups of kvass and 6 tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream, and omit the kefir and mineral water. (Kvass is a fermented grain drink with a low alcoholic content that contains probiotics and has a sweet and sour flavor similar to kombucha.)

What Meat Can I Add to Okroshka?

I like how light and refreshing the vegetarian version of this soup is. However, there are a ton of different meats you can add to bump up the protein. You can either mix diced meat in with the other ingredients, or add it as a garnish after you add the liquid.

Here are a few types of meat that work well in Okroshka:

  • Poached chicken
  • Canned chicken
  • Ham (or turkey ham, which you can buy at the deli)
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausages
cold russian soup with radishes and kefir

How Can I Make This Cold Soup Ahead of Time?

The best way to make Okroshka ahead of time is to prepare the different components, and then wait to add everything together until right before serving.

  • You can make the hard-boiled eggs up to 1 week ahead. Once they’re cool, store them in the fridge and wait to peel them until right before you’re eating them.
  • Boil the whole potatoes up to 4 days ahead. Like hard-boiled eggs, after they cool, store whole boiled potatoes in the fridge and peel them right before you want to eat them.
  • Prep all the vegetables, and once they’re chopped, store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

More Russian Recipes to Try

front view of bowl of cold russian vegetable soup with fresh dill

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Okroshka (Russian Cold Soup)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Okroshka is a healthy cold Russian soup that’s full of crunchy radishes and cucumbers, flavorful with dill, and refreshing with a creamy, tangy yogurt-like base.

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Ingredients
 

  • 4 Persian cucumbers chopped (or 1 English cucumber)
  • 1 bunch radishes ends trimmed and chopped small (about 6 to 8 radishes; see Notes)
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes cooked, cooled, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 340 to 450 grams of potatoes before cooking; see Notes)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs finely chopped
  • 3 scallions green and white parts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 3 cups kefir chilled
  • 1 cup mineral water chilled
  • 4 ice cubes to keep the soup chilled (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Divide the cucumber, radish, potato, egg, scallion, and dill between each of 4 shallow soup bowls. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of flaky sea salt on the vegetables in each bowl.
  • Gently stir together the kefir and mineral water in a pitcher. (Don’t over-mix or you’ll lose all the bubbles.)
  • Pour 1 cup of the kefir mixture into each bowl, and add 1 ice cube to each.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Radishes: I like to save 1 radish to thinly slice and use as garnish.
  • Kefir Substitute: You can use 3 cups of buttermilk instead of kefir.
  • Okroshka with Kvass: You can use a mixture of 4 cups of kvass + 6 tablespoons of yogurt or sour cream instead of the kefir + mineral water.
  • Meat Options: To bump up the protein, feel free to add diced poached chicken, canned chicken, ham (or turkey ham, which you can buy at the deli), hot dogs, or sausages.

How to Make Okroshka Ahead:

  1. You can make the hard-boiled eggs up to 1 week ahead. Once they’re cool, store them in the fridge and wait to peel them until right before you’re eating them.
  2. Boil the whole potatoes up to 4 days ahead. Like hard-boiled eggs, after they cool, store whole boiled potatoes in the fridge and peel them right before you want to eat them.
  3. Prep all the vegetables, and once they’re chopped, store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How to Boil Whole Potatoes:

  1. Rinse the potatoes and add them to a saucepan.
  2. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 3 inches.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to a slow boil and cook until a sharp paring knife easily slides in and out of the potatoes. This takes about 30 minutes give or take, depending on the size of your potatoes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and let them cool. You can peel and eat them now, or keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

How to Hard Boil Eggs:

  1. Add up to 1 dozen eggs to a 3-quart saucepan.
  2. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 3 inches.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Immediately reduce the heat to a slow boil and set a timer for 9 minutes 30 seconds.
  5. Once the timer goes off, drain the eggs and add them to a large bowl of ice water (I fill a large bowl with ice and add enough cold water to come up to the top of the ice).
  6. Let the eggs chill in the ice bath for 10 minutes. You can peel and eat them now, or keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 748mg | Potassium: 552mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1006IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 2mg

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

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: Cold Russian Soup, Okroshka, Okroshka Recipe, Russian Cold Soup

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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




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite dishes for the summer! I’ve been making it since I was about 15 years old. I like to fry the diced potatoes rather than boil them, but otherwise, my recipe is the same!

    If I am serving it to people who don’t like the aggressive flavor of radishes or kefir, I actually mix the dry and wet ingredients together about 1 day in advance. Once all the flavors mix together in the fridge overnight, it’s much more preferable to an americanized palette. The cooked egg yolk will dissolve and it ends up adding to the flavor of the broth.

  2. Hey, I’m unable to rate this recipe because I haven’t yet prepared it. My interest in it is the radishes and dill and potatoes. I grew up on a dairy farm, so the eggs are a definite no go but the other ingredients seem deeeelishious. I’m still finding radishes at the local farmers market.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. 5 stars
    Faith, I noticed a bunch of radishes in Nana’s fridge today, and I mentioned to her that you had made a recent blog post on Okroshka soup, which is a cold Russian soup that has radishes in it. She said “Oh, will you make that for me this week?! I told I would, and when I read the story of your conversation with her about radishes, she was overjoyed that she made it onto one of your blogs!

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