Classic Beef Borscht Recipe (video)

close up of classic beef borscht in bowl with sour cream and fresh dill

The most iconic dish of the Ukrainian cuisine – borscht! This Ukrainian beet soup is made with tender chunks of beef tri-tip, potatoes, cabbage, loads of veggies and of course, beets! This delicious, tomato-based soup is hearty, warming and perfect anytime of year! I have enjoyed this incredible borscht recipe since childhood! This traditional recipe has been passed down from my grandparents, to my parents and now I make it at home, too!

It’s also the star dish from my newest cookbook, Beyond Borscht! Now available at all major book retailers. Get order links HERE.

Watch My Borscht Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube borscht video tutorial for step-by-step instructions for making this delicious Ukrainian soup recipe! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!

Ingredients for Making Ukrainian Borscht

Here are some of the main ingredients you’ll need to make this delicious beef and beet soup at home. You can find the full list of ingredients in the printable recipe card below.

  • Beef: I love to use beef tri-tip or beef chuck for my borscht. I let it cook for a long time until it’s super tender!

Note: You can prepare this recipe using chicken, pork or even lamb. Keep the cooking time the same. I recommend going with bone-in chicken thigh or drumsticks. Brown the chicken all over just like the beef and use chicken broth in place of the beef broth. Pork ribs work really well for borscht; use them with veggie or chicken broth. Use beef broth with lamb.

  • Beets: look for large, firm red beets for the best results. If you can get beets with the greens intact, use those in place of the cabbage!
  • Cabbage: regular green cabbage or softer Napa cabbage both work great.
  • Dill & Parsley: fresh herbs will add tons of amazing flavor and aroma!
  • Onion, Carrots & Celery: for making the mirepoix, or soup base.
  • Potatoes: you can use regular potatoes and cube them into bite-sized pieces, or cut small, baby potatoes in half.

What Makes Borscht Red

Traditional Ukrainian borscht has a very rich and vibrant red color to it. I often get asked how I make mine so deep red? You can achieve this beautiful color by using lots of beets, tomato sauce, and allow the borscht cook for longer. I find that the borscht gets more beautiful in color after about an hour of cooking. The beets release more of their color, and combined with the tomatoes, make the borscht super rich! The longer cooking time also gives the soup more flavor!

several bowls of red beet soup on a table with bread

How to Make Classic Beef Borscht

After making this soup for decades, I’ve perfected and simplified the process down to one pot to make this soup effortless and delicious! I like to start with the meat first. This beet soup can be made with beef, chicken, pork or even lamb. If you are using chicken or pork, consider using chicken broth instead of beef broth.

  1. Brown the meat all over and season generously with salt and pepper. Once browned, remove the meat from the pot, and set it aside.
  2. Add in the butter and prepare a simple mirepoix – onions, carrots and celery. Later, add in the garlic and spices – I like to toast the spices briefly to really bring out the aromas!
  3. Next, add the beets, tomato sauce, broth, water and seasonings and let the soup simmer away for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This longer cook time allows the soup to develop a really rich and deep flavor and makes the beef extra tender!
  4. Once the soup has cooked for an hour, add the potatoes and cook for another 15 minutes. I really like to use baby or young potatoes – they are more sweet and the soup tastes so great with them!
  5. Last, add the shredded cabbage or beet greens, dill and parsley. If you can find beet greens, try using them in place of the cabbage for more flavor and more nutrition!

Different Borscht Varieties

While borscht originated from Ukraine, it’s has become a staple dish in many countries, including Russia, Moldova, and Poland to name a few. Each region has adjusted the recipe slightly to fit their needs, resulting in hundreds of different borscht recipes!

Classic beef borscht is my favorite, followed by my other favorite – ‘Green Borscht’ – made without beets with sour sorrel and eggs. Get that recipe in my new cookbook, too!

There are also lighter versions with less beets and more tomatoes; versions with chicken or pork; and even varieties that don’t include any cabbage. My dad really likes to make this recipe and adds canned cannellini or kidney beans at the very end. I would love to hear how you make your soup at home! Leave me a comment below!

two bowls of red beef borscht on a table, with bread

Beyond Borscht Cookbook

This delicious Ukrainian recipe is from my newest cookbook, Beyond Borscht. When I was tasked with coming up with the title to my cookbook, I thought of the most iconic Ukrainian or Russian recipe and borscht instantly come to mind! It’s the one dish that many people have heard of or tried. Also, it’s so delicious and a really great example of how incredible the cuisine really is!

My new book has 75 recipes for appetizers, salads, soups, side dishes, main entrees and even some desserts! The book is available starting March 31st, 2020 at Barnes&Noble, Amazon, Powell’s City of Books, IndieBound and other major book retailers. Order your copy today! Learn more about my book HERE.

Beyond Borscht cookbook with russian beet soup - borscht and rustic bread

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this delicious Ukrainian recipe? Check out the other recipes I have on my website you’re sure to enjoy!

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Classic Beef Borscht video recipe from Beyond Borscht cookbook
close up of classic beef borscht in bowl with sour cream and fresh dill
4.67 from 3 votes

Classic Beef Borscht Recipe (video)

25 minutes prep + 1 hour 30 minutes cook
A traditional Ukrainian recipe for beef borscht, the iconic soup of Easter Europe!


  • 1 1/2 lbs beef tri-tip or roast
  • oil for frying
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 large ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 to 8 cups water; more for thinner soup
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or puree
  • 4 to 5 medium young potatoes, cubed
  • 2 to 4 cups shredded cabbage or beet greens
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice; optional

For Serving:

  • rustic bread, for serving
  • sour cream, for serving


  • Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the beef, season it with salt and increase the heat to high. Cook the meat until it is well browned all over, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  • Into the same pot, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the onion, carrots and celery and toss to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the garlic, then season the mixture with more salt and the black pepper, cumin, coriander and sugar. Add the beets, broth, water and tomato sauce. Add more water for a thinner soup. Return the browned beef back into the pot.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook the soup for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covered, until the beef is tender.
  • Once the beef is tender, add the potatoes and cook the soup for 15 minutes. Add the beet greens or cabbage, lemon juice (optional – add for more sour soup), dill and parsley and cook for an additional couple of minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, cover the pot and let the soup stand for 15 minutes before serving with a dollop of the sour cream and the bread.
  • This soup gets more delicious after it stands overnight in the refrigerator. I love to reheat a few cups at a time on the stovetop when I'm ready to enjoy it!
  • You can prepare this recipe using chicken, pork or even lamb. Keep the cooking time the same. I recommend going with bone-in chicken thigh or drumsticks. Brown the chicken all over just like the beef and use chicken broth in place of the beef broth. Pork ribs work really well for borscht; use them with veggie or chicken broth. Use beef broth with lamb.


Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 1050mg | Potassium: 1153mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4180IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg