Šaltibarščiai/Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup Recipe

Saltibarciai - Cold Beet soup

Slowly but surely it’s warming up out there, and we’re starting to unfold the lawn chairs and dust off the barbecues. Instead of opting for warming and filling dishes we’ve taken comfort in all winter, it’s time for some lighter options.

Saltibarščiai, the traditional Lithuanian cold beet soup, is a favorite summer recipe. It’s a quick and easy meal for hot days when you don’t feel like cooking. You can prepare it in advance and keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use.

It goes well with sandwiches, roast pork, barbecue, Lithuanian sausage or just about anything else.


  • 2-3 medium to large red beets (about 1 pound)
  • water
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 2 scallions or chives
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups buttermilk (alternatively, use „kefir” or „huslanka” instead of buttermilk/sour cream, available in Eastern European delis.)
  • fresh dill
  • salt


Clean, trim and peel beets, cover with water and boil until tender.

While the beets are boiling:

  1. peel cucumbers and dice;
  2. peel hard-boiled eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Chop the whites very finely.
  3. Chop the scallions and mash with egg yolks and 1/4 teaspoon salt to release the onion flavor.
  4. Chop fresh dill, to taste

When the beets have finished boiling, remove them from the water and reserve the liquid.

Cool the boiled beets under cold running water (or pop them into the refrigerator to cool for about an hour).

When beets have cooled, grate them coarsely.

In large mixing bowl, add buttermilk to the beet water and blend in sour cream; then add beets, cucumbers, egg whites, egg yolks and onions. Stir until well blended.

Place in refrigerator to chill. Serve with chopped dill as garnish.

 Edited by A.Benotas