Borscht is one of the most traditional and identify classics of the Ukrainian cuisine. This hearty and delicious beef and beet soup is made with loads of fresh beets, cabbage, potatoes, veggies and a tomato base. Once the beef is tender, the soup is finished with a generous about of cabbage and fresh herbs. Enjoy this Ukrainian soup with sour cream and toasted bread. For more Ukrainian recipes, make sure to check out my newly released cookbook, Beyond Borscht!
Watch My Video!
Make sure to watch my video tutorial with step-by-step instructions! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Varieties of Borscht
Borscht recipes vary slightly depending on the different regions of Ukraine and Russia – my mother was raised in central Ukraine and taught me this recipe. I have slightly changed the recipe over the years but this version is absolutely delicious! My family and friends always request I make borscht when they come over! There are many different versions of borscht, including varieties with chicken or pork or even vegetarian versions without meat. I also really enjoy ‘green’ borscht, made with sorrel leaves and eggs. It’s a great option of summertime. Find my Green Borscht recipe in my cookbook, Beyond Borscht.
How to Make Borscht
This incredible borscht recipe starts with the beef, of course! Preheat a large soup pot, add a drizzle of cooking oil and the chopped beef. Brown the beef all over and season it generously with salt. Next, it’s time for the beef to braise. I like my beef chunks to be extra tender, so I usually cook the beef for over an hour. About half way through the braising process, add in the chopped beets. They take a little longer to cook than the rest of the veggies. Once the meat is nice and soft, add in the mire poix (onions, celery, carrots), potatoes and prepare the tomato sauce.
The tomato sauce, or ‘zasharka’ as my mom calls it, adds so much great flavor! First, saute an onion until it’s soft and tender, then add tomato sauce, ketchup and seasonings. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, then add to the soup. Once the potatoes are done and tender, add in the last few ingredients: cabbage, parsley and dill. Cook the soup for a few minutes more, then remove it from the heat. The cabbage will continue to soften as the soup stands.
Enjoy this delicious Ukrainian borscht recipe the traditional way! It’s typically served with a side of toasted baguette or dark, rye bread. Top the borscht off with a heaping spoonful of sour cream or even a bit of mayonnaise for a richer flavor. Stir the sour cream into the soup, creating a creamy borscht. You can also enjoy the borscht with a side of fresh green onions or even a clove of raw garlic. The garlic is dipped in a bit a of salt and enjoyed in small, little bits along with the soup!
Enjoyed this traditional, Ukrainian recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Beef Borscht – check out my new and updated recipe for this iconic soup! This recipe is in my new cookbook!
- Ukrainian Stewed Beef & Potatoes – you’ll love this hearty and delicious potato dish with chunks of tender beef!
- Easy Chicken Plov – fluffy rice pilaf with juicy chicken! This easy recipe is a family favorite!
- Meatballs with Gravy – another classic Eastern European recipe! Juicy meatballs with a creamy mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes!
Ukrainian Beef Borscht (video)
- 1 pound beef chuck, trimmed and cubed
- 1 teaspoon each: dried basil, ground black pepper, smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 small carrots, diced
- 1 celery stick, diced
- 2 large beets, diced
- 2 large potatoes, cubed
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 green scallions, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup tomato sauce/puree
- 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper
- sour cream or mayonnaise
- Prepare the meat first: preheat large soup pot to medium/high heat and add a splash of oil. Sear the meat all over for 7 to 8 minutes until well-browned, seasoning with salt and black pepper. Next, add in the beef broth, all the herbs and spices. Stir the soup together with a large spoon, cover and reduce heat the to low. Braise the meat for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until tender. Add the beets approximately 30 minutes into braising the meat. They take a little longer to cook.
- Meanwhile, prepare the mirepoix - sauté carrots, onion, and celery in large sauté pan with oil until golden brown and translucent. Add the mirepoix to soup pot once meat has cooked for 1 hour. Add potatoes and set timer for 15 minutes once soup returns to a simmer. Cook uncovered over medium heat.
- Prepare the tomato sauce next. Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat until golden brown. Add in the tomato puree, ketchup, water and season lightly with black pepper and salt. Simmer the sauce on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, then add into the soup.
- After adding the tomato sauce, continue to cook the soup uncovered until the potatoes are done, then add the cabbage, parsley, scallions and fresh dill. Continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes; the cabbage will continue to soften as the soup stands. Remove the soup from the heat and cover. Let stand at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving. Serve with ½ tablespoon of mayonnaise or 1 tablespoon sour cream, sprinkle of green onion and fresh toasted bread.
- Note: soup can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. The flavors will develop more overnight, resulting in a more savory soup. Simply reheat pot over medium heat.