A bowl of cabbage soup with bread in a bowl.

This cabbage soup, a vegetarian variation of Paul Steindler’s cabbage soup, is one of my favorite recipes to make this time of year, foremost because I always seem to be swimming in cabbage but also, of course, for its texture and flavor: slightly creamy, loaded with vegetables, infused subtly with caraway, whose citrusy notes along with the vinegar pair so well with the cabbage and other vegetables

Dill, too, which I just learned is in the same family as caraway, brightens the stewy flavors just before serving.

Here I use homemade vegetable stock, which is simple: throw some things in a pot, cover with water, simmer. Forty-five minutes later, it’s done. During those 45 minutes of simmering, you can prep the rest of the soup.

This soup does require a fair amount of chopping but the upshot — cabbage soup for days! — makes the effort worth it.

PS: Cabbage Pancakes (Okonomiyaki), Cabbage Pad Thai-ish with Baked TofuRoasted Vegetables with Tahini, Lemon & Za’atar, Simplest Cabbage Slaw

ALL the Cabbage Recipes → Right Here

Soup and stock time:
A board with potatoes, leeks, and a head of cabbage.

Vegetable stock: leeks, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, thyme parsley, salt — use the recipe as a guide.
A pot of vegetable stock on a table next to a few potatoes.

Soup vegetables: carrots, onions, potatoes:
Two quart containers filled with chopped vegetables: carrots, potatoes, and onions.

Sliced cabbage:
A large bowl filled with sliced cabbage.

Sliced cabbage covered in boiling water:
A large bowl filled with sliced cabbage covered in boiling water.

Onions sweating:
An overhead shot of a large pot holding olive oil and onions being sautéed.

Flour added (see recipe notes for an alternative to the flour):
A large pot of onions sautéed in olive oil, with flour added.

Straining the vegetable stock:
A strainer holding cooked vegetables over a bowl of vegetable stock.

Adding the stock to the soup:
An overhead shot of a stovetop holding a large pot of cabbage soup and two bowls of rising bread dough.

Adding the vegetables:
An overhead shot of a stovetop holding a large pot of cabbage soup and two bowls of rising bread dough.

Adding the caraway:
A large pot of vegetarian cabbage soup simmering on the stovetop with caraway added.

Adding the dill and cream:
A large pot of vegetarian cabbage soup with heavy cream and dill added aside two loaves of homemade bread.

Dinner time!
An overhead shot of a large pot of vegetarian cabbage soup aside two loaves of homemade peasant bread.

Soup + bread … is there anything better?
An overhead shot of cabbage soup in a bowl with bread.

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Vegetarian Cabbage Soup

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4.9 from 11 reviews

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Slightly adapted from a Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey recipe. If you wish to make a version closer to the original, which included bacon and chicken stock, see this recipe: Paul Steindler’s Cabbage Soup

I was recently listening to a Milk Street podcast and heard Sara Moulten mention that she never thickens soups with flour, preferring instead to purée a portion of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, this will be easy. Otherwise, you could ladle a few cups of soup into a food processor or blender. I love this idea, especially if gluten intolerance is a concern. Will try it next time, though I have no problem using flour, and don’t find it adds an off taste or texture to the finished soup.

Re stock: When I made this most recently, I found the stock yielded 2 quarts, all of which I used here, along with 2 more cups of water. So, if you don’t have a full 10 cups of vegetables stock, using a mix of stock and water will work just fine.

I’m not sure why the recipe calls for submerging cabbage in boiling water for one minute, but I suspect this step helps rid the cabbage of some of its water content, which can be stinky, and which might therefore cloud the flavor of the broth.

Note: This is a double recipe, and it yields a lot, but it’s so nice to have on hand, especially, if you have company arriving. With a little hunk of fresh bread, it makes the most wonderful lunch, and with a salad, a perfect dinner. 


  • 12 cups shredded cabbage*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup flour, see notes above
  • 10 cups homemade vegetable stock or water, see notes
  • 2 cups finely diced carrots
  • 2 to 3 cups finely diced potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons whole caraway seeds, crushed or pulverized
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill (or more or less to taste)

*If you use one relatively large head, you may get about 14 cups — use it all.


  1. Place cabbage in a large bowl. Bring enough water to a boil — I fill a tea kettle, but you could always fill a large sauce pan — to submerge the cabbage in the bowl. Pour the water over the cabbage; let sit one minute or longer; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, immediately turn the heat down to medium or low, and cook, stirring, until they are soft, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and stir. (Note: If you do not wish to add the flour, see the notes above for an alternative method for thickening the soup.) Add the broth or water, stirring rapidly with a wire whisk. When the mixture simmers, add the cabbage, carrots, potatoes, salt, pepper, caraway seeds, vinegar and sugar.
  3. Simmer, stirring every so often, for about about 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer five minutes. Add the chopped dill to the pot. Taste and adjust as needed with more salt and pepper to taste. I typically add 1 to 2 teaspoons more salt, but I am a salt lover, so adjust as needed. Serve, adding more chopped dill to each bowl if desired.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Eastern European