Sharing my grandma’s Borscht Recipe I grew up eating in Ukraine. This iconic red beet soup is made with beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, garlic and dill, and then served with a dollop of sour cream and rye bread.

Love Ukrainian food? During summer, we often make green borscht. And in winter, it’s a lot about Instant Pot borscht and grandma’s unstuffed cabbage rolls.

Ukrainian Borscht recipe served in white bowl with sour cream.

Our Family’s Recipe and Beets Nutrition

This is my grandma’s authentic recipe for borsch I grew up with in Ukraine. She made it every week and I still have it in a regular rotation. It’s simply the best borscht recipe!

It is also super healthy and nutritious. According to Healthline, beets are packed with iron, may help fight chronic inflammation and lower blood pressure. Then we add cabbage (vitamins, fiber and cancer fighting properties), potatoes (vitamin C and potassium), carrots (carotene) and optional protein (meat and beans).

Another way to enjoy more beets is this Instant Pot beets recipe.

Everyone in our house loves borscht and I hope you will too!

What Is Borscht?

If you don’t know what is borscht, it is vibrant red color soup with cabbage, beets, potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic, and possibly beef and beans. Then served with sour cream and dill.

Essentially, this borscht is a superfood and a meal in itself.

“Borscht”, “bortsch”, “borsh” or “борщ” is a true classic soup every Ukrainian or Russian grew up eating almost weekly. It can be vegan or vegetarian borscht, as well as made with beef, pork or chicken.

It truly depends what’s in your fridge that day. That’s how beet soup came about – out of necessity and hunger.

Is Borscht Ukrainian or Russian?

According to Wikipedia, Borscht is Ukrainian dish that has a history of centuries. Borsch is traditional beet soup cooked in every household of any former republic that belonged to USSR – Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belorussia etc. Not to mention all over Eastern Europe.

There are as many variations of traditional Ukrainian borscht recipe as there are regions and families. Everyone makes it differently, even within the same household.

Fun fact. All girls in my family, mom, grandma, sister, aunt and me, had their own borscht recipe. We all cooked in the same kitchen we used to share and yet everyone’s version of borscht was unique. Even my sister-in-law and mother-in-law cook theirs differently.

Borscht in white pot with ladle and white blue towel on a counter.

What Does Borscht Soup Taste Like?

Traditional borscht recipe definitely tastes like beets, sweet and tangy. Earthy flavors of beets truly shine through in this dish.

It is also kind of sweet and sour soup. We add vinegar and a little bit of sugar to compliment natural sweetness of root vegetables.

And lots of fresh dill and garlic after this delicious Ukrainian beetroot soup is cooked. As much as you like to personal preference, and us, Ukrainians, like to add a lot!

Ingredients You Will Need

Cabbage, beets, onion, carrots, broth, spices, oil, tomato paste, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic.

Borscht ingredients are very simple and greatly vary on one’s fridge contents and region of Ukraine. Here are the main ingredients you could always find in my grandma’s recipe:

  • Red beets
  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Dill
  • Tomato paste
  • White vinegar and sugar
  • Bay leaves
  • Water or beef broth, vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

Recipe Tip

Meat or beans are optional. If you choose to add meat, short ribs, pork ribs, soup bones or any cut of meat with a bit of fat is the best. As for beans, any large-sized beans like cannellini beans, red kidney beans (I love to make Instant Pot kidney beans) or pinto beans will hold the shape and add volume to the dish.

How to Make Borscht

Ukrainian borscht recipe is actually very easy to make and anyone can do it. I like my borsch with variety of vegetables, with thin flavorful broth, lots of fresh garlic and dill.

Here is a quick rundown of how to make borscht. Also there is a video below.

Sliced and diced beets, onions, carrots and potatoes.

Prep veggies: You want to start with cabbage first because it takes the longest time to cook. While it is cooking, you can prep other vegetables.

Shredded cabbage in pot with broth.

Cook cabbage in broth with bay leaves and peppercorns for 20 minutes after bringing to a boil. Chop beets, potatoes, carrots and onion in the meanwhile.

Chopped onion and carrots in white skillet.

Saute onion and carrots in a bit of olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. This makes onion flavorful making entire borscht recipe more delicious. Do not skip.

Sliced beets and chopped onion and carrots in a skillet.

Then add beets and a bit more oil, cook for another 5 minutes.

Potatoes, beets, tomato paste and veggies in a pot.

Transfer sauteed veggies to the pot along with potatoes, tomato paste and salt. Cook covered for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prep garlic, dill and other seasonings.

Chopped dill, garlic, vinegar, pepper and maple syrup.

Season borscht with white vinegar, garlic, sugar and pepper. You can also use red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Traditional choice is white vinegar though.

Stir, turn off heat and let borscht soup stand for 10 minutes covered to allow flavors to “marry” each other. Add dill and your borscht is ready to serve.

Ukrainian borscht in white pot with ladle.

How to Peel and Cut Beets and Other Veggies

  • Beets: Peel beets with a regular vegetable peeler and cut into thick matchsticks. You can also grate beets on a boxed grater or in a food processor. If you have fresh beets, you can also chop some beet greens and add to the soup. Beetroot stains your hands and cutting board however I do not appreciate the waste of disposable gloves. Instead, rub your hands and cutting board with a slice of lemon. Amazing!
  • Cabbage: Thinly uniformly shredded cabbage using a mandoline is my favorite for a borscht recipe. But my grandma always shredded it with a knife and I prefer it that way for Russian shchi. It doesn’t matter if you use red or green cabbage, beets will turn it into red borscht anyways.
  • Potatoes: Cube potatoes into small pieces to soak up more of the soup flavor. Cover them in a bowl with cold water to prevent from browning while they are waiting their turn.
  • Onion and carrots: Dice the onion like for frying, a mirepoix size. And carrots into small rounds and wider part into half moons.

What Type of Stock to Use?

  • Store bought or homemade beef or chicken broth: You can use regular broth or stock from a carton. It adds good flavor and I quite like it. I highly recommend to buy organic and low sodium. What I don’t like is a lot of packaging and price but hopefully you recycle. That’s why I often make batches of homemade chicken broth or Instant Pot chicken broth and freeze for later.
  • Water: I make water based borscht more often than not because it’s easy. In this case, I make sure to add a can of low sodium beans to up the protein, a bit more olive oil and maybe an organic bouillon cube, if I have it.
  • Beef bones (my fave): If you choose to add meat, make broth with ribs, soup bones or any cut of meat with a bit of fat first. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, skimming foam occasionally. After beef borscht is ready, remove meat, separate from bones and discard bones, finely chop and return meat to the pot.
  • Bone broth (my other fave): This time I was ready, stopped by my local beef farm, got soup bones and made Instant pot beef bone broth. So proud today! So much health right here in this pot. It came out so rich, I diluted half of it with water and used for borscht. And cooked the other half with more water and same bones for more bone stock. Ukrainian in me will never die. 🙂
Broth and meat in Instant Pot with ladle.

What to Serve Borsht Soup With?

My favorite part of the whole entire borscht recipe cooking process is what to serve borscht with?! That’s when I go all out!

Ukrainians like to serve it warm, with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of fresh dill in bowl, slices of home cured pork belly (salo), pampushky or rye bread and fresh garlic on a side. But on a hot summer day, cold borscht is just as delicious.

Sour cream or yogurt: Sour cream is traditional choice. We use plain yogurt with more than 2% fat because it is lighter than sour cream.

Last week I tried local buffalo yogurt which is apparently even more healthy than cow’s. Some people also love mayo in their soup but it’s not for me.

Rye bread: Rye bread is dense dark colored bread. I find mine in a bread section seal wrapped for freshness. It is often German.

Sourdough bread would be great for serving with borscht as well! I toast it to resemble freshly baked Ukrainian bread. Nothing compares to pampushky traditionally served with borscht though.

Yogurt and rye bread on a countertop.

More garlic: Many Ukrainians eat borscht while biting on a clove of garlic in between the spoonfuls. The key is to eat garlic together with your husband and don’t leave the house that night.:)

More dill: I add dill to the pot and then to individual bowls. There is no such thing as too much garlic and dill, almost never. I’m such Ukrainian at heart.

This is how I enjoyed grandma’s Ukrainian borscht as a kid – rub garlic on a slice of rye bread, spread it with sour cream and sprinkle with salt.

By the way, my Canadian born kids love it! Try on yours and see. Would love to hear how it goes. 🙂

Borscht served in a bowl with yogurt, dill, garlic and rye bread on a plate.

How to Store and Freeze

The best borscht is like a good bottle of wine, it gets better with time. Therefore, I always make a very large pot and we eat it for days or freeze.

Refrigerate leftovers in a large pot you cooked soup in for up to 5 days. Reheat by simmering on low in small pot only amount you are planning to consume. Freeze in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months. Then thaw on a counter overnight and reheat.

This is how we cook borscht. Have you ever tried it? Would love to hear your experience. I promise traditional Ukrainian borscht recipe would be one of the most delicious and healthiest soups you have ever tried. Enjoy!

More Soup Recipes to Try

Borscht in white pot garnished with dill.
ukrainian borscht recipe

Ukrainian Borscht Recipe (Beet Soup)

Sharing my grandma's Borscht Recipe I grew up on in Ukraine. This iconic beet soup is served with a dollop of sour cream and rye bread.
5 from 223 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 174
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 12 cups beef or vegetable broth or stock low sodium
  • 5 cups green or red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large beets peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 large potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 6 oz can tomato paste low sodium
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar or maple syrup
  • 3 large garlic cloves grated
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dill or parsley finely chopped
  • Yogurt sour cream and rye bread, for serving


  • In a large pot (I use 6 quart Dutch oven), add broth, bay leaves and bring to a boil. In the meanwhile, wash, peel and cut vegetables.
  • Once broth is boiling, add cabbage, cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile, preheat large skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add onion, carrots and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add beets, remaining 1 tbsp of oil and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer sauteed veggies to a pot along with potatoes, tomato paste and salt. Cover, bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat. Add vinegar, sugar, garlic and pepper. Stir and let borscht sit for 10 minutes to allow flavours to marry each other. Add dill, stir and adjust any seasonings to taste.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, bread and garlic clove on the side (this is not for everyone).



  • Store: Refrigerate borscht in a large pot you cooked it in for up to 5 days. Reheat by simmering on low in small pot only amount you are planning to consume.
  • Freeze: Freeze in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months. Then thaw on a counter overnight and reheat.
  • Store bought stock: You can use regular stock from a carton. Preferably organic and low sodium, if you can.
  • Beef bones: If you choose to add meat, cook broth with ribs, soup bones or any cut with a bit of fat first. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, skimming foam occasionally. After borscht is ready, remove meat, separate from bones and discard bones, finely chop and return meat to the pot.
  • Bone broth: This time I made Instant pot bone broth and used half of it diluted with water as a soup base.
  • Vegetarian: I make water based borscht more often than not because it’s easy. In this case, I make sure to add a can of low sodium beans to up the protein, a bit more olive oil and maybe an organic bouillon cube, if I have it.
  • Beans: If not using meat, you can add a can of drained beans. Any large white, red kidney or pinto beans.
  • Sauerkraut: If you replace 2 cups of cabbage with 2 cups of sauerkraut, borscht will have even more umph.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 647mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

5 Secrets to Easy Healthy Dinners

Plus sign up for weekly emails with recipes to make your cooking stress free, delicious and healthy.

About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

Pin this recipe now to save it for later

Pin Recipe

You may also like


  1. 5 stars
    Well, this is the 4th time I’ve made borscht, and it without a doubt this is THE BEST, and one that has made my recipe collection and will be made time and time again!

    The real test of this recipe? My half-Ukrainian husband LOVES it! (Though let’s see what my Zakarpattian father-in-law thinks about it…!)

    I tried it with beef, which I first fried and simmered in the stock (having added a little more water) for a good hour before adding everything else.

    The only changes I made were to use lard instead of olive oil and omitted the cabbage, purely down to personal preference.

    Thank you for posting, Olena!

    1. It’s my absolute pleasure to hear you enjoyed this recipe so much! Your comment made my day! Glad to hear your husband loved it and hope it passes the FIL test.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow I followed the recipe to a T and it is incredible! My first time making Borscht and I will definitely be making it again using this recipe. Thank you for the amazing recipe!!!

  3. 5 stars
    I know that Ukrainian borscht has many healthy ingredients because I have lived on it for a month and the next day I would feel good psychologically and well as energetic. Can someone please tell me it’s Iron, or potassium or something I do not now about. The recipe is online I am just looking for the health benefit of this borscht. Could it be

  4. Made your recipe lots of prep but was fun and was delicious just like I remember growing up on the farm. Looking forward to my wife trying it as she has never had borscht before.

    1. I know! I made it so many times by now, it’s kinda fun and goes quick. But so healthy because so many veggies! For me making borscht is like therapy because I grew up with it. So many memories… Please let me know what your wife thinks.:) Enjoy!

  5. Husband made this soup was good but needed more dill and I added couple tablespoons of pickled beet juice gave the tang I remember.And didn’t add all the meat.But also only made half recipe or so .I remember the taste when young and lived in Nelson ,BC where I was born.Friends of our family the Doukabour family made it for me loved and was quite little.

    1. Sure, you make it your own. In Ukraine we never pickled beets, we stored them over winter in cold room. We pickled summer veggies and fruit like cucumber and tomatoes, ones we couldn’t store. Dill is personal preference as well. Glad you enjoyed it.:)

  6. 5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe! We will be keeping this in our rotation of dinner meals. I did add more cabbage which made it a bit more hearty. I will be sending this to all of my family and friends.

  7. Hello!
    Looking forward to this, but reading the recipe I’m not sure where to add the potatoes. Step 5 says add the potatoes to a pot…Is it to the broth/ cabbage pot ? Thanks!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious and very easy to follow. I am trying to learn to make dishes native to my husband’s Ukraine and this is the first one I’ve tried. And to think, I hated beets before making this recipe. I use ribeye steak chopped up to add meat to it but I found it was better to sauté the meat as we need it and add it to each bowl so it remains tender.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.