Solyanka (Russian: соля́нка, initially селя́нка; [sɐˈlʲankə]) is a thick and sour soup of Russian origin.[4] It is a common dish in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states,[5] and other post-Soviet states and other parts of the former Eastern Bloc. It was one of the most reliably available dishes in the former East Germany (German: Soljanka).[3]

Alternative namesSelyanka
Place of originRussia
Associated cuisineRussian, Ukrainian, Latvian,[1] Georgian,[2] East German[3]
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsMeat, fish, or mushrooms, pickled cucumbers, cabbage, smetana, dill



The original name "selyanka" can be translated to "settler's soup" in English. There are many theories about the origin of the name, but a common one is that the soup was often eaten after the wedding before the newlyweds "settled down" and started their new life together.[6] Other translations of "selyanka" include "food of the villager" or "villager’s stew". Later the name transformed to "solyanka" using the word "sol" (salt) as a reference to the soup's saltiness.[7]

Due to its astringent sour taste that is believed to relieve a hangover solyanka has also earned the nickname "hangover soup".[8]



There are three basic types of solyanka, with the main ingredient being either meat, fish, or mushrooms. Meat solyanka is the most popular. All three types of solyanka contain pickled mushrooms or cucumbers, cabbage, smetana and dill.[9]

Fish solyanka
  • For meat solyanka, ingredients like beef, veal, ham, sausages, liver, chicken breast together with pickled mushrooms or cucumbers, onions, potatoes, tomato paste, pitted olives, allspice, cardamom, bay leaf, parsley, and fresh dill are all cut fine and mixed in a pot of broth.[9]
  • Fish solyanka is prepared similarly, but salt-cured and smoked fish, such as salmon or trout, is used instead of meat.[7]
  • For mushroom solyanka, cut cabbage is heated in butter together with vinegar, tomatoes, cucumber pickles, and a little brine. Separately, mushrooms and onions are heated, and grated lemon zest is added. Cabbage and mushrooms are added in layers, breadcrumbs and butter are added, and the soup is briefly baked.[10]


Solyanka with sour cream, lemon and baguette at the Waldhaus Köhlerhütte in Waltershausen

Solyanka is also popular in the former East Germany (the current German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, along with the eastern half of Berlin), where it is commonly found in restaurants and available in canned form in grocery stores. (The German transliteration is Soljanka.) This practice stems from the era when the Soviet Army was stationed in the GDR, and Soljanka was found on the menu at many East German restaurants. The former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was raised in East Germany, is fond of solyanka.[11]

See also



  1. ^ From Peasant to Pleasant. The Cuisine of Latvia (PDF). The Latvian Institute. 2014. p. 9. ISBN 978-9-98-473651-8. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  2. ^ Goldstein, Darra (2013). The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia. University of California Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-52-027591-1. Solyanka is another piquant beef stew. Russians consider it Georgian because it has a bite, but actually solyanka is a Georgian adaptation of an originally Russian stew (the dill pickles give it away).
  3. ^ a b Heinzelmann, Ursula (2014). Beyond Bratwurst: A History of Food in Germany. Reaktion Books. p. 321. ISBN 978-1-78-023302-4. In many personal recollections East German gastronomy is described as limited and unpredictable, with only Soljanka and Letscho available with some reliability. Soljanka originated as a Russian or Ukrainian soup made with pickled mushrooms, cucumbers or vegetables, tomato, lemon and sour cream.
  4. ^ Похлёбкин, Вильям (1983). Национальные кухни наших народов. p. 9.
  5. ^ Zak, Zuza (2021). Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey. Interlink Books. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-62-371900-5. Originating in Russia, solyanka gets its name from its saltiness. With the Baltic States having been part of the Soviet Union for so long, there is a clear overlap in terms of cuisine and culture.
  6. ^ Grierson, Ian (2022). World Foods with Strange Names. AuthorHouse UK. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-78-023302-4.
  7. ^ a b Malinka, Vasilisa (17 May 2019). "How to cook solyanka: A villager's soup, and cure for a hangover". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  8. ^ Grierson, Ian (2022). World Foods with Strange Names. AuthorHouse UK. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-78-023302-4.
  9. ^ a b Stefanov, Yury; Daria, Donina (19 February 2014). "Delicious Russia: Solyanka, thick and spicy soup for the cold winter". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  10. ^ Грибная солянка с капустой/ Mushroom solyanka with cabbage(rus.)
  11. ^ Connolly, Kate (28 September 2010), "Angela Merkel reveals her East German food stockpiling habit", The Guardian, Berlin, retrieved 2014-07-17, I'm particularly fond of solyanka (a meat and pickled vegetable soup), letcho (a Hungarian vegetable stew) and shashlik (a spicy kebab)