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Classic Borscht Soup Recipe 

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Our classic Borscht soup is loaded with hearty beef, root vegetables and red beets which gives it an earthy, savory flavor and vibrant, ruby-red color. Inspired by a traditional Ukrainian Borscht recipe, this soup begins with a homemade beef broth which gives it an extra flavorful base. It’s a warming, nutritious soup that makes a healthy meal any time of year. 

A soup bowl of borscht garnished with sour cream and a sprig of dill.

Borscht, a traditional beet soup that originates from Ukraine, is one of our favorite soup recipes.

Packed with veggies and plenty of red beets Borscht is as nutritious as it is tasty. Our borscht recipe starts with a flavorful beefy broth made from scratch. If you want to simplify the recipe and skip the homemade broth, you can do that as well. 

Similar to our Roasted Red Beetroot Soup (which is like a vegetarian borscht) and our Vegetable and Lamb Soup, this hearty dish makes a great stand alone meal, but you can also serve small bowls of it as a starter, too. 

Why This Borscht Recipe Works

Borscht is a delicious soup that can be served hot or cold, with or without meat, but we prefer it with tender beef and a flavorful base of homemade broth. In our opinion, it’s one of the key elements to making the best Borscht!

The homemade broth adds that “extra,” thanks to collagen-rich marrow bones and the meaty beef that falls off during the simmer time. It all comes together to create the most flavor-rich broth for the borscht recipe. 

This hearty soup is:

  • Healthy, nutritious and naturally gluten free! 
  • A comforting, homestyle soup recipe that is filling and sure to warm you up. 
  • Inspired by a traditional Borscht recipe, the ease of this delicious recipe will surprise you!
  • Loaded with tender beef, veggies, and so much flavor.
  • A great recipe for a main course soup, whether you’re serving it for lunch or dinner.

Borscht (Beet Soup) Ingredients

A soup bowl of borscht garnished with sour cream and a sprig of dill. A soup spoon and napkin in the background.

Here’s a look at the main ingredients required to make the recipe for this beet-based soup. 

For the broth recipe:

  • Beef on the bone. Use hearty soup bones with bits of beef on them. You can also add one pound of beef stew meat, if desired. 
  • Water. The base to creating the beefy flavorful broth. 
  • Veggies. The soup calls for a mix of carrot, parsnip, celery stalk, fennel, and onion. All of these create a rich and savory broth. 
  • Seasonings. Bay leaves, peppercorns, sea salt and fresh pepper help add flavor to the soup. 

If you want to skip the homemade broth, you can add canned broth and leftover roast beef. But you will get sooo much more flavor in the soup if you take the time to make the stock. It isn’t difficult; it just takes some time but you will want to add it to your recipe collection for all your soup recipes. 

Ingredients for Borscht recipe.

​For the Ukrainian beet soup:

  • Fresh beets. Make sure to use fresh, raw beets that have been scrubbed of any residual soil and peeled. This is what gives red Borscht its beautiful color.  
  • Vegetables. We like Borsht soup with carrots, shredded cabbage, white potatoes and chopped onion. 
  • Tomato paste. Gives the recipe an extra kick of umami flavor!
  • Sugar. A small amount of sugar helps bring out the natural sweetness of the beets. 
  • Chopped dill. Adds a contrasting, herbaceous flavor that pairs well with sweet beets and savory aromatics. 
  • Garnishes. You can adjust the toppings to your personal preference, but we recommend sour cream, fresh dill fronds and lemon wedges. The fresh lemon juice gives the borscht a slight sour taste that balances out all the flavors and brings this recipe home! 
Vegetable ingredients to make Borscht.

Our Borscht Soup Recipe

Here’s a look at the steps required to make our recipe for Borscht but be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card with all of the details. 

Pouring water into a soup pot filled with beef and vegetables.

​First, make the stock (this is the step that adds a ton of flavor to the borscht recipe). In a large pot over high heat, add the beef and bones, water, veggies, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and pepper.

Removing beef and bones from a soup pot with vegetables and broth.

Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer in the pot for two hours.

​Transfer the meat and bones to a cutting board and let it cool long enough to handle. Remove any beef from the bones and dice or chop it into pieces. 

A wooden cutting board, knife and chopped beef. Beef bones in the upper right corner.
Four red beets and bay leaves in a soup pot.

Add the beets to the broth and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then transfer the beets to a plate. 

A soup pot with cabbage and vegetables.

Add the carrots, cabbage, potatoes and onions to the stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. 

Grated beets on a cutting board with a box grater. A plate with a whole beet in the upper right corner.

Grate the cooled beets with a box grater or food processor. 

Adding chopped cooked beef to a pot os beet soup.

When the veggies are fork-tender, add the beets and chopped meat to the pot along with the tomato paste, sugar and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes.

 Stir in the chopped dill and simmer another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. 

Serve the Borscht in shallow bowls, topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.  

Soup pot with beet soup adding fresh dill sprigs.

Tips for the Best Results

Perfecting your borscht recipe is an art that extends beyond simply following the steps. It’s about knowing the little tricks that elevate the flavors and textures to create a truly memorable meal.

  • The beets are done simmering after about 20 minutes in the broth. You can test them by poking them with a sharp knife. It should easily slide into the beet with just a little bit of resistance. 
  • Feel free to add a pound of stew meat or even sausage to the broth, along with the bones. 
  • You can make the stock ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. When chilled, fat will accumulate to the surface and you can scrape it off the top and discard it. 
  • Simmer the stock at a low temperature for at least two hours to extract the maximum flavor from the bones and give the borscht a rich flavor. 
  • Wear gloves when you peel the beets to avoid staining your hands.
  • If you want a thicker soup, mash some of the potatoes in the pot. And for a thinner soup, add a bit more broth.

Storage and Reheating

  • Store any leftover Borscht in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The soup will keep well for 5-6 days. 
  • To freeze Borscht, transfer portions into freezer-safe containers or large freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to two months. 
  • To reheat, warm up the cold Borscht in the microwave or in a saucepan over the stovetop on medium heat. If using the microwave, make sure to cover portions to prevent any splashing of the vibrant red soup which can make a mess and potentially stain. 
A soup pot filled with borscht and a ladle lifting a scoop of soup.

Serving Suggestions

Classic Borscht is hearty enough to be enjoyed on its own, but you can always up the deliciousness with a few tasty sides! Here are some suggestions if you’re looking for recipe pairings that go well with Borscht. 

  • A slice of our No-Knead Rye Bread is perfect for dunking into Borscht, and has a deep flavor, moist crumb and crisp crust. 
  • You can never go wrong with a fresh homemade Caesar and our Little Gem Caesar Salad is flavor-packed and easy to make. 
  • Whipped Ricotta Dip is a wonderful appetizer that works with nearly any meal. You can make it with just a few ingredients and serve it with your favorite little dunkers and dippers. 
  • For a full meal, serve this Ukraininan borscht with paprika chicken and a tossed green salad.

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A soup bowl of borscht garnished with sour cream and a sprig of dill.


This classic Borscht recipe is the national dish of Ukraine. Beef and root vegetables are included in this savory soup, but it gets its vibrant rub red color from the main ingredient of red beets.
5 from 12 votes
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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


To make the stock:

  • 2-½ pounds of beef on the bone
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 fennel bulb quartered
  • 1 onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-6 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 pounds fresh beets scrubbed of soil and peeled
  • 2 cups cubed carrots about 3 carrots
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage 12 oz.
  • 2 cups cubed white potatoes
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill


  • Sour cream
  • Fresh dill fronds
  • 2 lemons quartered


To make the stock:

  • To a large stock pot add beef and bones, the water, carrots, parsnip, celery, fennel, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt and pepper.
    Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for two hours. Remove and discard the vegetables, reserving the broth.
  • Transfer the meat and bones to a cutting board and allow to cool enough to handle then remove any meat from the bones and dice or chop the meat into pieces. Discard the bones.

To make the soup:

  • Add the beets to the reserved broth, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until the tip of a sharp knife slides into the beets with some resistance. Remove the beets from the soup pot and transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Add the carrots, cabbage, potatoes and onions to the stock, bring back to a boil; then reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are cooking grate the cooled beets using either a box grater or a food processor with the large grate attachment.
    When the vegetables are fork-tender, add the beets and chopped meat to the stock with the tomato puree, sugar and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped dill and continue to simmer another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • To serve, pour soup into shallow bowls, top with 1 tablespoon sour cream and a sprig of the dill. Accompany each serving with a lemon wedge to squeeze over their serving.


  • 1 pound of stew meat can be used along with a few marrow bones. The marrow bones are collagen-rich and add a delicious flavor to the broth.
  • The soup broth can be made earlier and refrigerated to allow any accumulated fat to surface, harden and be removed.
This recipe has been adapted from the Foods and Cooking of Russia and Poland by, Elena Makhonko and Ewa Michalik.


Serving: 2cup | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 296mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Monday 24th of February 2014

Thanks, Barbara, it was just as good as looks, I hope you try it!

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