Holodnik / svekolnik: recipe for popular Slavic cold beet soup

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Light, refreshing and so delicious – svekolnik is one of the most popular Slavic summer soups. A combination of crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs and cold beet broth provides a culinary cooling on a hot day. But holodnik also visually enchants everyone at the dining table with its raspberry color. Here I show you how to make the cold beet soup yourself. You can find a detailed holodnik recipe with exact quantities and step-by-step instructions here at the very bottom.

Holodnik / svekolnik: recipe for popular Slavic cold beet soup

What is holodnik?

Holodnik (also svekolnik) is a Slavic beet soup served cold and similar in consistency to a stew. It is widespread mainly in Russia, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, where it is one of the popular summer soups. There are many different holodnik recipes. However, the main ingredient remains the same in every recipe – that is beet. The striking raspberry color is the trademark of the cold summer soup.


One soup – many names

Svekolnik, holodnik, cold borscht, okroshka with beet – so many names refer to one and the same soup. Svekolnik comes from the word “svekla” and translated from Russian means “beet”. This name of the soup is probably clear, because its main ingredient is beet. Holodnik comes from the word “holodnyj”, which translates as “cold”. It is, after all, a cold soup, hence the name. The soup is more colloquially referred to as cold borscht. Just like the classic borscht, svekolnik is made with beet, but served cold. In terms of ingredients and consistency, holodnik reminds one a bit of okroshka – except that it additionally consists of beet. The name “okroshka with beet” has also been clarified.

Holodnik – ideal cold summer soup

When it’s hot outside, you don’t want to have ordinary soups on the dining table anymore. Something light and fresh is needed. Holodnik is just the right thing! On a warm summer day, cold beet soup provides a delicious refreshment on your plate, and fills you up to boot. Fresh cucumbers, aromatic dill and ice-cold beet broth, possibly with some tart kefir – doesn’t it sound like a delicious way to cool down?! That’s exactly what holodnik is made of, so it passes for the perfect summer soup. Once you try it, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with both its taste and appearance.

Summer soup with beet

Cold beet soup with kefir, sour cream, kvass and co.

There are many different ways to dilute the solid ingredients for cold beet soup. The classic svekolnik tastes sweet and sour. You can achieve this combination of sweetness and sourness with different ingredients. Here I’ll list you some ways of preparing holodnik, which serve to dilute the rest of the ingredients.

Svekolnik with beet broth and sour cream

The classic variant is probably to make holodnik with the water in which beet was boiled. The chopped vegetables, eggs and herbs are mixed with the beet broth. Then a generous portion of sour cream is added to the soup. A little vinegar or lemon juice is added to the broth for acidity. Beet and possibly some sugar, which can also be added to the broth, give the soup a sweet note.

Holodnik with kefir and beet broth

Many make the cold beet soup with kefir. For this, about half of the beet broth is replaced with kefir, which provides the sour taste. You can adjust the proportions of beet broth and kefir as you like. Depending on your taste, use a little more kefir and less beet broth, or vice versa.

Cold beet soup with kefir and water

If you use already cooked beet from the supermarket for the cold summer soup, you can also dilute it only with kefir and water or mineral water. You can determine the proportions yourself, depending on how creamy or how sour you like svekolnik.

Holodnik with kvass

Just like okroshka, you can also make holodnik with kvass. In this case, substitute kvass for some of the beet broth. Or if you have already bought cooked beet for the soup, dilute it only with the bread drink. Then add some sour cream to the soup. If you buy ready-made kvass from the supermarket, pay attention to the sugar content, so that the beet soup does not taste too sweet. You can also make kvass for svekolnik yourself. In the article Kvass – the best recipe for the refreshing Russian bread drink, I’ll show you how.

Cold beet soup

Raspberry eye-catcher on the plate

With its raspberry color holodnik enchants everyone not only with its taste, but also with its appearance. After all, who does not notice this color on the dining table and does not encourage to eat?! This look svekolnik owes to the combination of the dark red beet and the white sour cream or kefir.

Cold beet soup in a hurry

If you are in a hurry and you don’t have time to peel, chop and cook beet yourself, you can use pre-cooked beet from the supermarket for svekolnik. You only need to cut it into small pieces or grate it coarsely. Then dilute the cold beet soup not with beet broth, but with kefir, water with sour cream or kvass. I think home-cooked beet tastes better than store-bought. Also, you can cook them to the consistency you want and thus not as soft as ones from the supermarket. Another option would be to buy raw beet and bake or steam it together with the peel in the oven. After that you can make holodnik out of it. So, if you have already cooked beet and eggs in advance, the making of svekolnik will be lightning fast.

How to serve and store cold beet soup

Svekolnik is served fresh and really cold as a main dish for lunch or dinner. For this, you need to let the beet broth cool thoroughly after cooking – first at room temperature and then in the refrigerator. Kefir also needs to be cold when you make the beet soup with it. You can cook beet and thus also the broth for the summer soup a day in advance, also in stock and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. Eggs can also be hard-boiled in advance. Before serving, cut the vegetables, herbs and eggs into small pieces and dilute the soup to your taste with the broth, kefir and other ingredients.

Holodnik is served with boiled potatoes. Cook whole potatoes and sprinkle them with fresh, finely chopped dill. Alternatively, you can serve fresh bread with the cold beet soup. For spiciness, you can add some finely chopped garlic to the soup.


This svekolnik is

  • vegetarian,
  • refreshing,
  • light,
  • healthy,
  • filling,
  • fresh,
  • incredibly delicious,
  • with crunchy vegetables,
  • with aromatic herbs,
  • with its raspberry color an eye-catcher on the dining table,
  • easy and quick to make from common ingredients,
  • ideal cold summer soup,
  • classic of Slavic cuisine.

Holodnik recipe

The exact quantities and step-by-step instructions, according to which you can make the cold beet soup yourself, can be found below in the box recipe.

If you have already cooked beet and eggs, the making of summer soup with beet is lightning fast. For the holodnik recipe you need

  • beet,
  • cucumbers,
  • hard-boiled eggs,
  • spring onions,
  • dill,
  • some vinegar
  • and salt.

To serve, add sour cream.

Ho to make svekolnik yourself: this is how it works

  1. Peel beet, cut into small cubes and boil in water with a little vinegar and salt until cooked. Let the broth cool well together with beet.
  2. Cut cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs into cubes, chop herbs. Mix everything together.
  3. Divide the beet broth among soup plates, add the herb-cucumber-egg mixture and add sour cream. Done!

Slavic cold beet soup

How to make svekolnik yourself: tips and tricks

  • Instead of dicing cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs, you can grate them coarsely.
  • Besides cucumbers, you can add other fresh vegetables to the soup. For example, radishes are a good choice.
  • The classic holodnik is made with dill and spring onions. You can also add other fresh herbs to the cold beet soup.
  • When cooking the beet, you can add some sugar to the broth in addition to salt. I have omitted sugar in my recipe.
  • You can adjust the amount of vinegar to taste, depending on how tart you like the cold beet soup.
  • Instead of vinegar, you can use lemon juice or cucumber water from pickles. Then add it to taste only when serving the soup.
  • Beet is added to hot water to boil, so that it can better give its color to the broth.
  • Instead of cutting beet into small cubes, you can grate it coarsely. This way it will cook faster.

Have you made svekolnik yourself according to this recipe? I’m looking forward to your result, your star rating and your comment on the recipe below, how the holodnik turned out and tasted to you.

Fancy some more light dishes for those hot summer days? Try also:

Svekolnik / holodnik / cold beet soup

Svekolnik / holodnik / cold beet soup

Light, refreshing and so delicious – svekolnik is one of the most popular Slavic summer soups. A combination of crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs and cold beet broth provides a culinary cooling on a hot day. But holodnik also visually enchants everyone at the dining table with its raspberry color. According to this easy recipe you can make the cold beet soup yourself.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Belarusian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian
Servings 4


  • 500 g beet (raw)
  • 230 g cucumber (cold)
  • 2 eggs (hard boiled and well cooled)
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 bunch of dill
  • 750 ml water
  • 10 ml vinegar
  • salt

to serve

  • sour cream
  • garlic finely chopped (alternative)


  • Peel beet and cut it into small cubes.
  • Put water in a saucepan and heat it. Add vinegar, 1 tsp salt and diced beet to the hot water and boil until beet is cooked. This will take about 40 minutes. (Cooking time depends a lot on how small you cut the beet and how soft you like it). Let the broth cool at room temperature along with beet, then put it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  • Cut cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs into small cubes, chop onions and dill. Put everything in a mixing bowl and mix together.
  • Put a couple of ladles of beet broth per soup plate together with beet, put some of the mixture of cucumbers, eggs and herbs in each plate, then put about 1 tbsp of sour cream per plate and possibly a small amount of garlic. Mix everything together before eating and salt the soup to taste if necessary. Alternatively, you can add the finely chopped vegetables, herbs and eggs directly to the broth with beet in the saucepan, also add sour cream to taste, mix and then divide the soup among plates. In this case, the whole soup from the saucepan must be eaten right away.


  • For svekolnik with kefir, simply replace about half of the beet broth with kefir.
  • You can coarsely grate cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs instead of cutting them into cubes.
  • Other vegetables, for example radishes, and other fresh herbs can be added to the soup.
  • When cooking the beet, you can add some sugar to the broth in addition to salt.
  • The amount of vinegar can be adjusted to taste.
  • Instead of vinegar goes lemon juice or cucumber water from pickles. It is added only when serving the soup.
  • Instead of cutting beet into small cubes, you can grate it coarsely and cook it that way.
  • The cooking time of beet and eggs is not included in the preparation time.
  • Note the detailed tips and tricks for making cold beet soup at the top of the post.
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