Shchi in the Instant Pot – Russian Cabbage and Sauerkraut Soup

Shchi is a hearty cabbage and sauerkraut Russian soup or stew, with potatoes, onions, carrots and dry mushrooms. Making it in the Instant Pot makes the process much faster.

What is Shchi?

Shchi is one of the most popular soups in Russia that has been enjoyed by Slavic cultures for hundreds of years. Made with just a few humble ingredients – cabbage, sauerkraut, onions, carrots and potatoes, it is so delicious and satisfying. Adding dry mushrooms adds an even deeper and more delicious flavor to the soup and for me, it’s the most important ingredient, after the cabbage, of course.

Shchi was the very first recipe I tried when I first bought my Instant Pot a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite appliances. I love this rich and flavorful soup. The sauerkraut gives it a tangy flavor, but the fresh cabbage tones it down a bit as well as adding the fresh flavor to it. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no problem. I have a stovetop recipe for this delicious soup as well. Stovetop Shchi Recipe


Ingredients For Instant Pot Shchi
Not pictured: chicken broth

Chicken Broth: I usually have chicken broth in my freezer, so I use that. You can use store bought chicken or vegetable broth as well.

Aromatic Vegetables: Onion, Carrot (you can also add celery and garlic for extra flavor.

Potatoes: You can use any type of potatoes for Shchi. My favorite are gold potatoes or baking/Russet potatoes.

Cabbage and Sauerkraut: I use more fresh cabbage than sauerkraut so the soup isn’t as tart, but you can certainly make it with only sauerkraut, or adjust the ratio of cabbage:sauerkraut to suit your taste preference. Traditionally, regular green cabbage is used for Shchi, but you can also use savoy cabbage or even Napa cabbage, although it’s softer and will cook faster than the other cabbages.

Dry Mushrooms: I absolutely LOVE dry mushrooms in this soup. I almost always use dry porcini mushrooms that you can buy in the grocery store or online. Other great dry mushroom options are dry chanterelle mushrooms, wild mushroom mix, or dry white mushrooms.

Dry mushrooms have a really rich and concentrated mushroom flavor and they give the soup a really great taste. If you don’t like mushrooms, you can certainly omit them. You can also use fresh mushrooms, in which case sauté them with the other aromatic vegetables, but their flavor will be much more mild.

Sour cream, fresh herbs: To garnish the soup, I add generous amount of fresh herbs – parsley, dill and green onions. Sour cream is also a must for Shchi.

Cooking the Soup in the Instant Pot:

Instant Pot Shchi Tutorial
  • Dry mushrooms need to be rehydrated in boiling water first, before cooking them, so before you start cooking the soup, place the mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, enough to completely cover the mushrooms. Let them stand for at least 5 minutes. Wash the mushrooms well and save the mushroom liquid to add to the soup later.
  • Meanwhile, turn on the Sauté mode on the Instant Pot, heat up the inner chamber, adding the oil or butter. Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
  • Add the washed and rehydrated dry mushrooms, then use a fine mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or a paper towel to strain the mushroom liquid and add it to the vegetables. Pour in the broth, season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Switch the Instant Pot to Manual Mode, High Pressure. (Some Instant Pots have a “Manual” button, others “Pressure Level”. Make sure the sealing valve is set to “Sealing”. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Release the pressure manually, then add the cabbage, sauerkraut and potatoes. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Release the pressure manually or let it release naturally – it doesn’t matter for this recipe.
  • Some dry mushrooms cook longer than others. Different types of cabbage and sauerkraut also cook differently, so at the end of the cooking time, try the soup and if these ingredients are still too crunchy, cook the soup a bit longer.

Which Instant Pot Should You Use?

I have a 6 qt Instant Pot*. You can also use an 8 quart Instant Pot or other brands of pressure cookers for this recipe.

Serving the Shchi and How To Store It:

A bowl of Russian Shchi in the Instant Pot with dry mushrooms

Garnish the soup with fresh herbs and sour cream when serving. I also really like it with Black Bread or with Crusty No Knead Bread.

Shchi is amazing as a leftover, so I always make a large batch whenever I cook it so we can enjoy it for several meals. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. I usually pour the leftovers out of the Instant Pot and into a storage container or a smaller pot. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Closeup shot of a bowl of Cabbage and Sauerkraut Soup with mushrooms, Russian Shchi

Shchi in the Instant Pot – Russian Cabbage and Sauerkraut Soup

Shchi is a hearty cabbage and sauerkraut Russian soup or stew, with potatoes, onions, carrots and dry mushrooms. Making it in the Instant Pot makes the process much faster.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 810 1x



1 Tablespoon butter or oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1/31/2 cup dry mushrooms (any that you like, my favorite are porcini)

1 cup boiling water

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

3 potatoes, peeled and chopped

4 cups shredded green cabbage

2 cups sauerkraut

salt, ground black pepper, to taste

12 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (dill, green onion, parsley)

sour cream, to garnish


Place the dry mushrooms in a bowl and pour in 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside so that the mushrooms rehydrate. 

Meanwhile, turn on the “Saute” mode on the Instant Pot. Heat butter or oil and then add the chopped onion and grated carrot. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables have softened. 

While the vegetables are cooking, wash the rehydrated mushrooms, reserving the mushroom liquid, and then add them to the vegetables in the Instant Pot. Using a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel or a coffee filter, strain the mushroom liquid and add it to the soup. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

Turn on the Instant Pot to Manual mode, High Pressure and set the time for 15 minutes. Cover with the lid and make sure the valve is set to “Sealing”. 

Release the pressure manually. Add the potatoes, cabbage and sauerkraut to the soup. Close the lid once again, set the valve to “Sealing” and cook for another 15 minutes. Release the pressure manually or allow it to release naturally. (If the mushrooms, cabbage and potatoes are not as tender as you like, cook a bit longer.)

Serve the soup with fresh herbs and sour cream. 

Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to a week. (I transfer the soup out of the Instant Pot and into a storage container or a smaller pot.) Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

Keywords: cabbage and sauerkraut soup, russian Shchi, Russian schi soup, cabbage and sauerkraut soup with mushrooms, dry mushroom soup, Russian soup

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  • Oksana

    This looks amazing. I am really hoping to find some sauerkraut in my pantry now (ran out of homemade). It is chilly this week here in WA. I love sauerkraut soup (its cozy, and familiar) I make using my mom’s recipe, and that uses white beans too (soaked, then cooked separately, before adding to the soup, since it takes a while to cook beans). Also, to make it even more filling, we add about a handful of yellow millet.
    I love that you made it an instant pot recipe, all the better.
    Gotta go raid my pantry for those mushrooms and sauerkraut. Thanks Olga

  • Oksana

    Just another note, I printed out the recipe and it doesn’t have potatoes in the ingredient section of the printable recipe. Its written in the blog post though. For those following a printed only recipe, might be important to have. I’ve started this soup already. Can’t wait until lunch 🙂

  • Vicki Kechekian

    Dear Olga, I am almost ready to make the stovetop schchi but now maybe I should make the Instant Pot version. Which one should I make?

  • Inna

    You mentioned ordering dried mushrooms. Is there a place you like to order from? I have never used dried mushrooms, but I LOVE them, so I would love to try it!

    • olgak7

      Hi Inna. I used to order them online, but the last few times that I ordered them, I wasn’t happy with the quality and had to throw them out, unfortunately. The first time, I thought it was just a bad batch, it happens. The next few times were exactly the same, so I can’t recommend this website anymore. I have been buying the dry porcini mushrooms in regular grocery stores, in international grocery stores, like Polish or Russian stores and sometimes Costco has packages of wild mushrooms that have porcini part of the mix too. If I find a great online option, I will definitely share.

  • Zakhar

    Is it needed to cook the onions and carrots for 15 minutes and then the other veggies for 15 minutes on top of that? Could I just do everything at once?

    • olgak7

      Hi Zakhar.
      It’s important to use this method. 15 minutes for the mushrooms to cook. They will need lots of time to get soft, the 15 minutes, plus the additional time with the rest of the ingredients. If you put in everything at once and then cook for only 15 minutes, the mushrooms won’t be cooked through. If you put in everything at once and cook for 30 minutes, the potatoes and cabbage will be really overcooked.

  • Nik

    This recipe is fantastic—easy and delicious. I’ve tried your stovetop recipe too (also great), and this one is even quicker.

    I didn’t even like shchi before I tried this recipe, but this is my go-to soup recipe now. I make it all the time! Easy, healthy comfort food.

  • Zaria

    Hi, I tried this recipe today and my potatoes did not cook all the way, like they did inside but outside of them was hard. I never had that before. So strange. Should I have cut them in smaller pieces or do you think it could have been the potatoes? They also left a startchy raw taste in my broth 🙁 I also used Yellow potatoes.

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