Kholodets (Холодець) Recipe

Lastest Updated April 22, 2024
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Kholodets is a lovely Ukrainian aspic that is relatively popular with many people in Eastern Europe; the New Year holiday is not perfect without this dish.

This recipe will be a classic version with pork and chicken, one of the most nutritious and healthy options with a minimum amount of fat for health-conscious individuals. Thus, this article will help you know more about Kholodets, including the tools and ingredients, before diving into the cooking steps.


What Is Kholodets (Ukrainian Aspic)?

Kholodets (Холодець in Ukraine) is a hearty aspic dish made from meat broth with pieces of meat thickened to a jelly-like mass by cooling. Also, the Middle East is considered the Kholodets birthplace; about 1000 years ago, a similar dish was prepared from fish.

In Europe, the recipe has been popular since the 15-16th century. Alternatively, Eastern European cuisine serves aspic as a popular cold appetizer. Additionally, each country has its own varieties of meat jelly, featuring all types of meat, fish, spices, and vegetables.

Plus, Kholodets has become a typical item for the New Year since locals didn’t have refrigerators back in the day, usually made in the cold season.

Aspic solidifies due to the collagen from bones and tendons, which turns into natural gelatin. This dish is also considered useful due to the presence of these elements. Plus, the long cooking time allows you to extract many nutrients from the bones and tendons.

What Tools Do You Need To Make Kholodets?

Despite the large size of Kholodets, you only need a few tools to make the dish at home. These are very familiar tools like a knife, skillet, chopping board, and container.

  • Pan: For containing and incorporating the meat with spices thoroughly.
  • Knife: Any cutting knife will do, mainly for slicing up the meat alongside cutting up herbs.
  • Chopping board: Provide a flat surface so you can work with other ingredients using a knife.
  • Container: Use a sizable container to allow the dish to settle in cold temperature.
Kholodets Tools

What Ingredients To Make Kholodets?

To prepare aspic, meat and elements rich in tendons, cartilage, and bones are used, such as pig ears, noses, tails, and hooves. However, I offer a more dietary option with ingredients like pork knuckle, turkey back, and chicken thighs.

  • Water: Use plain clean water.
  • Chicken thighs: Use fresh chicken thighs without excess fat. You can use bone-in chicken breast, but the meat may be dry and not enough gelatin.
  • Pork knuckle: Fresh meat like shanks with and without a hoof will do.
  • Pork tenderloin: Go for fairly lean pork for a good broth and tender meat.
  • Turkey back: The turkey back gives the Kholodets cartilage and some gelatin.
  • Black peppercorns, salt, bay leaves: For seasoning the meat with a simple flavor.
  • Garlic, onion: Add an aromatic profile to the meat.
  • Mustard and horseradish sauce: Many people make these sauces on their own, but any store-bought version will do.
  • Gelatin (optional): Add a little gelatin if you want the jelly to be thicker and firmer.
Kholodets Ingredients

How To Cook Kholodets At Home?

When you get the ingredients ready, now is the time to get to work. Here are the basic steps of making Kholodets, including boiling the meat before cooling the aspic:

Step 1: Boil The Meat

Kholodets Step 1 Boil the Meat

Wash the meat. You can soak it for an hour in cold water.

Pour water into a pan, bring to a boil, add the meat, and cook for a few minutes. Pour out the broth, rinse the meat. This procedure should remove the unpleasant smell of the meat. Although you can safely skip this step.

Then, boil the meat again. Plus, you want to cover the pan with a lid and put on a minimum fire. Boil the jelly for 2-3 hours; avoid strong boiling.

1.5 hours before the end of cooking, add whole onions and a head of garlic (you don’t need to peel it). At this time, add salt, pepper, and bay leaf.

Step 2: Cool The Aspic

As soon as the meat falls off the bones, turn off the heat, and remove the fat that floats on the top (if you want a more dietary dish). Remove the onion and garlic.

Put the meat in a bowl, disassemble it into smaller pieces.

Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic

Spread the chopped garlic in your container. Then, add the shredded meat before straining the broth through cheesecloth or a sieve.

Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic1

Add gelatin to a broth (optional) and pour into molds.

Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic2

Put the Kholodets in a cold place to harden.

What Are Tips And Tricks For Ukrainian Aspic (Kholodets)?


Cooking Kholodets is simple, as all you need is a bit of patience. However, you may also want to pay attention to a few tips and tricks that help you excel in making Kholodets. Here are a few details you should know about some serving suggestions, storage tips, and dishes to try.

  • Using more bones or tendons can help the jelly to be firmer when it cools. Also, adding gelatin is another option.
  • Watch the boiling process closely and maintain the heat at a minimal level.
  • Use your favorite spices, but don’t overdo it, as you may overpower the unique taste of the jelly itself. In the aspic, meat is cooked several times longer than usual to acquire a special taste and aroma.
  • Use your favorite types of meat; the main thing here is not the type of meat but the presence of bones, cartilage, and tendons.
  • In a multicooker, jellied meat will cook under pressure 2-3 times faster.
  • In order to cool the finished broth faster – put the container with it in cold water. But don’t put it in the freezer. It is believed that if the jelly is frozen, both its consistency and taste with aroma will deteriorate.
  • You can use an unpeeled onion or even some onion skins for a golden hue.

What Do You Serve Aspic (Kholodets) With?

Aspic is served with many other dishes and products in different forms. Even a lot of gelatin is added, cut like a sausage and put on a sandwich. However, mustard and horseradish sauce is a must. The sauce usually provides a spicy profile like wasabi.
Aromatic herbs, especially green garlic, onion, and parsley, are also used.

Furthermore, you can use vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, etc. Oftenthe side dish is mashed potatoes, buckwheat, rice, and other cereals.

How To Store Kholodets?

Since Kholodets requires cold temperatures to create the jelly-like texture, your best bet is to store any leftovers inside a fridge. Ideally, you want to cover the container with a food wrapper or seal it using a lid to keep other smells from contaminating the Kholodets.

Commonly, your Kholodets or any leftovers can last for around two days. Anything that goes beyond that time may need further consideration. Should the jelly don’t taste sour or have white marks, then you can still enjoy Kholodets.

What Are Other Ukrainian Dishes To Try?

If you’re still excited about Ukrainian dishes, let me bring you a few more options. Get ready to find out more items from Ukraine that you can make at home:

  • Varenyky: a type of dumpling that is both comforting and versatile. These dough pockets are typically filled with various ingredients, such as potatoes, cheese, cabbage, or fruits, and then boiled or sometimes fried. People often serve Varenyky with sour cream or melted butter.
  • Borshch: a classic Ukrainian soup known for vibrant color and robust flavors. This hearty dish is traditionally made with beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and sometimes meat, creating a rich profile with a dollop of sour cream.
  • Chicken Kyiv: a popular Ukrainian dish with succulent chicken breast stuffed with garlic butter, herbs, and sometimes cheese. The chicken is typically coated in breadcrumbs and then fried until golden and crispy.

Are You Excited To Make Kholodets?


Now everything is ready, and I can enjoy the delicate and piquant taste of cool meat jelly. In addition, this dish is also pleasing to enjoy. You can combine various meat types to create your own version of Kholodets.

I’m very interested to know more about your opinion in the comment section! You can also share this recipe with your friends so they don’t miss out on new delicious recipes! All the best and delicious food!


Lovely Kholodets Or Ukrainian Aspics To Make At Home

This Kholodets is especially suited for meat lovers at the dinner table. The specialty is a very tasty, satisfying creation that uniquely serves chill to enjoy a jelly-like texture aside from the meat.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Calories: 1150kcal


  • 2.1 quarts of water
  • 2 big chicken thighs
  • 1 pork knuckle about 10.5 ounces
  • 10.5 ounces of pork tenderloin
  • 1 turkey back
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tbsp gelatine
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped


  • Wash the meat, you can soak it for an hour in cold water.
  • Boil the meat again with a new batch of water.
  • Maintain the boiling at a minimal level for 2-3 hours.
  • 1.5 hours before the end of the cooking process, add onions and garlic. You can also include salt, pepper, and bay leaf at this stage.
    Kholodets Step 1 Boil the Meat
  • As soon as the meat falls off the bones, turn off the heat. You can remove the fat, onion, and garlic.
  • Put the meat in a bowl, disassemble it into small pieces.
    Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic
  • Spread the chopped garlic in your container before adding the shredded meat. Strain the broth through cheesecloth or a sieve before pouring it into the container.
    Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic1
  • Put the Kholodets in a cold place to harden.
    Kholodets Step 2 Cool the Aspic2



  • Use more bones or tendons or add some gelatin if you want the jelly to be firmer when it cools.
  • The dish should be cooked on a really minimal fire. A big fire can ruin everything.
  • Use your favorite spices, but don’t overdo it. This can overpower the unique taste of the jelly itself.
  • Use your favorite types of meat. The main thing here is not the type of meat, but the presence of bones, cartilage, and tendons.
  • If you use a multicooker, Kholodets will cook 2-3 times faster under pressure.
  • Put the container with the hot aspic in cold water to cool it down. But don’t put it in the freezer.
  • To give the dish a golden hue, you can use an unpeeled onion or even some onion skins.


Calories: 1150kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 143g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 523mg | Sodium: 2918mg | Potassium: 2075mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 7mg
Olena Medvedieva

Olena Medvedieva

Content Writer


Content Writer, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Culinary Storytelling, Food Photographer, Food Stylist, Chef


Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine

  • Program: Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology
  • Focus: Deepening students’ understanding and expertise in languages, literature, and cultural studies.

Introducing Olena, a culinary enthusiast from Ukraine, whose journey from philology studies to the world of food photography and styling is nothing short of inspiring. With a deep-seated love for both cooking and capturing stunning visuals, Olena’s work reflects her passion for culinary arts and her commitment to showcasing the beauty of Ukrainian cuisine. Her expertise extends beyond the kitchen, as she combines her creative talents to produce captivating images that grace numerous online platforms and publications.

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