Authentic Šaltibarščiai Recipe - Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup


Šaltibarščiai, pronounced "shahl-tee-barsh-chay," is a beloved Lithuanian dish that perfectly encapsulates the flavors of summer. This vibrant and refreshing cold beet soup is not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious. Packed with beets, cucumbers, and dill, Šaltibarščiai is a delightful blend of earthy and tangy flavors. Follow this detailed recipe to create your own bowl of this traditional Lithuanian delicacy.

Šaltibarščiai - Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup


  • 4 medium-sized beets
  • 4 cups kefir (traditional fermented milk drink)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cucumbers, finely chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sour cream (optional, for garnish)
  • Additional dill sprigs (for garnish)
  • Rye bread (optional, for serving)


  1. Prepare the Beets:

    • Wash the beets thoroughly, removing any dirt or debris. Trim the stems, leaving about an inch attached to the beets. This will prevent excessive bleeding of color during cooking.
    • Place the beets in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for about 45-60 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Check doneness by inserting a knife into the beet; it should slide in easily.
    • Once cooked, remove the beets from the water and let them cool. Once cooled, peel the skin off using your hands or a knife. Cut the beets into small cubes and set aside.
  2. Prepare the Base:

    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the kefir and buttermilk. Whisk them together until well incorporated. This will form the creamy base of the soup.
  3. Combine the Ingredients:

    • Add the chopped cucumbers, diced hard-boiled eggs, and minced garlic to the kefir and buttermilk mixture. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Incorporate the Beets:

    • Add the cubed beets to the mixture. Be cautious while stirring, as the beets can bleed and color the entire soup.
  5. Season and Refrigerate:

    • Season the soup with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remember, it's better to under-season initially and adjust later.
    • Refrigerate the soup for at least 2-3 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. This allows the flavors to meld together.
  6. Garnish and Serve:

    • Before serving, stir in the freshly chopped dill and sliced green onions. These herbs add a burst of fresh flavor to the dish.
    • Ladle the Šaltibarščiai into bowls. Optionally, add a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of dill on top for an extra touch of richness and garnish.
    • Serve with slices of rye bread for a traditional accompaniment.


Šaltibarščiai is a delightful, nutrient-packed dish that captures the essence of Lithuanian cuisine. This cold beet soup is perfect for warm summer days, offering a refreshing and satisfying culinary experience. Share this traditional recipe with friends and family to spread the joy of Lithuanian cuisine around your table. Skanaus! (Bon Appétit in Lithuanian)