Russian Borscht Soup Recipe (Rich, Tangy Flavor)

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Indulge in a culinary journey to the heart of Eastern Europe with a classic Russian Borscht recipe. Savor the warm, aromatic blend of hearty root vegetables and tender beef simmering in a rich tomato-based broth. 

Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

This timeless dish entices with its radiant ruby hue, a testament to the fresh beets that bestow their delightful sweet flavor and distinctive color brimming with essential nutrients. 

As a bonus, this age-old recipe infuses your kitchen with an irresistible, comforting aroma. Borscht is an emblem of Russian hospitality, perfect for winter evenings but equally delicious year-round. Master this recipe at home, and bring the warmth and complexity of Russian cuisine to your table. 

Inspiring and nourishing, this Borscht offers an authentic taste adventure for discerning palates. Embrace the spirit of communal dining, share this bowl of heritage, and celebrate the rich tapestry of flavors uniting families around dinner tables for centuries.

What Is Russian Borscht?

Russian Borscht is a hearty soup made primarily from beets, cabbage, and potatoes, imbued with a vibrant ruby color from the beets. It typically features chunks of tender beef, though vegetarian versions are also popular. 

Its flavor profile blends the sweet earthiness of beets with the savory depth of meat and vegetables, brightened by a splash of vinegar. Often served with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with fresh dill or parsley, Borscht is a comfort-food classic in Russian cuisine.

Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

The beauty of Borscht is its adaptability. Here are variations to cater to specific dietary needs:

  • Keto/Paleo Borscht is a relatively low-carb soup, but you could reduce the carb count further by replacing potatoes with turnips or radishes for a keto or paleo version.
  • Gluten-Free Borscht is naturally gluten-free as long as you ensure any broth or stock is also gluten-free.
  • Whole30 To make a Whole30-compliant Borscht, avoid using legumes, grains, dairy, or added sugars. You can use ghee or other approved fats instead of butter, and top with a dollop of Whole30-compliant mayo instead of sour cream.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Omit the meat, and use a rich vegetable broth instead of beef broth. To give it a protein boost, consider adding beans or lentils. For a vegan version, skip the traditional sour cream garnish or use a plant-based alternative.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Recipe Directions

  1. Combine the first six ingredients in a large kettle or Dutch oven, boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until beef is tender (~1.5 hours).
  2. Sauté beets in oil, add vinegar and set aside.
  3. Remove beef, cool, and chop into chunks.
  4. Strain broth, discard solids, skim fat, add water, and return to the kettle.
  5. Add vegetables, and bring to a boil.
  6. Sauté onion, blend with flour, whisk into soup, cover, and simmer until tender (~30 minutes).
  7. Add tomatoes, blend the soup in batches, pour into pan, add beef, and heat through.
  8. Garnish with sour cream before serving.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

  • Variations: Experiment with different meats like pork or chicken, or make it vegetarian by using a robust vegetable broth and adding beans for protein.
  • Seasonal Vegetables: Adapt the recipe to the season by adding different vegetables like bell peppers in summer or squash in autumn.
  • Spices and Herbs: Elevate the flavor with coriander, caraway, or smoked paprika. Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro also add depth.
  • Grains: Add grains like barley or rice to fill the soup.
  • Add-ons: A spoonful of capers or chopped pickles can lend a surprising tangy twist.
  • Toppings: Besides sour cream, consider topping with fresh dill, parsley, or crushed garlic. For a vegan twist, use a dollop of coconut cream.
  • Accompaniment: Serve Borscht with dark rye bread or pampushky (Ukrainian garlic bread) for a traditional touch.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Can I Make Russian Borscht In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

You can make Borscht in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Here’s a brief outline of how you can adapt the process:

Slow Cooker

  • Brown the meat in a skillet, then transfer it to the slow cooker.
  • Add chopped vegetables, beets, and herbs, then pour in the broth.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove the meat, shred it, then return it to the pot.
  • Add any additional ingredients (like sautéed onions or tomatoes), let it heat through, then serve with your chosen garnish.

Instant Pot

  • Use the sauté function to brown your meat directly in the pot.
  • Add the vegetables, beets, and broth, seal the Instant Pot, and set it to manual high pressure for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release for about 15 minutes naturally, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
  • Remove the meat, shred it, then return it to the pot.
  • Stir in any additional ingredients, allow them to heat using the sauté function, then serve with your chosen garnish.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

While homemade broth offers a richer, more nuanced flavor, storing-bought broth is acceptable, especially when time or resources are limited. Opt for a high-quality, low-sodium variety to control your Borscht’s saltiness.

However, if you have the time and ingredients, making your broth can enhance the overall taste of your soup. Homemade broth allows you to customize the flavors to your liking, and it’s a great way to use vegetable scraps or leftover bones. 

Plus, homemade broths often have a lower sodium content and no preservatives than their store-bought counterparts.

Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

How To Serve?

Serving Borscht soup involves more than just ladling it into a bowl. Here are some tips to elevate your soup serving game:

  • Temperature: Borscht is versatile and can be served hot or cold, depending on personal preference and the weather.
  • Garnish: Traditionally, Borscht is served with a dollop of sour cream on top and a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley. These add a creamy, tangy contrast to the soup’s savory and slightly sweet flavor.
  • Accompaniments: Borscht is often served with a side of hearty rye bread or pampushki (Ukrainian garlic bread), which is perfect for dipping. It can also be paired with a light salad for a complete meal.
  • Presentation: Consider the bowl you serve your soup in. A brightly colored bowl can contrast nicely with the deep red of the soup, making it visually appealing.
  • Resting Time: Borscht’s flavor often improves after a day or two as the ingredients meld together, so consider making it in advance.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Perfect Side Dishes

  • Rye Bread: Traditional dark rye bread is an excellent choice. It can be served warm with a spread of butter or cream cheese.
  • Pampushki: These are Ukrainian garlic bread rolls often served with Borscht. Their garlicky flavor and soft texture perfectly match the hearty soup.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Pickles, sauerkraut, or other pickled vegetables can provide a nice tangy contrast to the rich flavors of the Borscht.
  • Salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette or a tomato and cucumber salad can add a refreshing touch to balance the hearty soup.
  • Potato Pancakes: Often known as latkes, these crisp, savory pancakes can be a delightful pairing with Borscht.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, or potatoes can complement the earthy flavors in the soup.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Store leftover Borscht in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The flavors meld together, enhancing the taste over time.
  • Freezing: Borscht can be frozen for longer storage. Freeze in portioned containers, excluding ingredients like potatoes, which may change texture upon thawing. It can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the borscht base a day ahead, allowing the flavors to develop. Refrigerate the soup without adding potatoes. Reheat and add the potatoes just before serving to maintain their texture.
  • Garnishes Separately: Keep garnishes like sour cream and fresh dill separate until serving to maintain their freshness and vibrancy.
  • Flavor Enhancement: Like many soups, Borscht benefits from resting in the refrigerator, allowing the ingredients to harmonize, resulting in a more robust flavor upon reheating.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover Borscht offers a wealth of opportunities to get creative in the kitchen:

  • Revamp into a stew: Add some cooked grains like rice or quinoa and additional protein like leftover chicken or tofu to transform your Borscht into a hearty stew.
  • Borscht pasta: Toss leftover soup with cooked pasta for a quick and flavorful meal. Top with Parmesan or fresh herbs.
  • Reheat and eat: The flavors deepen, making Borscht even better the next day. Just reheat and serve.
  • Use as a base: Use the Borscht as a flavorful base for cooking grains or legumes.
  • Freeze for later: Portion leftovers into freezer-safe containers for quick future meals.
  • Borscht wraps: Mix leftover Borscht with cooked rice or quinoa and wrap in a tortilla or lettuce leaf.
  • Stir-fry enhancer: Add leftover Borscht to your next stir-fry for an extra punch of flavor and nutrition.


  • Beet Brilliance: Elevate your Russian Borscht by selecting vibrant, fresh beets for a rich, deep color and robust flavor.
  • Citrus Surprise: Add a unique twist by incorporating a splash of orange juice, infusing your borscht with a subtle citrusy brightness.
  • Dill Delight: Garnish generously with fresh dill just before serving, enhancing the soup with its aromatic and herbaceous notes.
  • Potato Perfection: Include diced potatoes for a hearty texture, creating a more satisfying and filling bowl of borscht.
  • Pickle Power: Introduce pickled vegetables for a tangy kick, balancing the sweetness of the beets with a delightful acidity.
  • Sour Cream Swirl: Serve with a dollop of sour cream to add a creamy richness that complements the bold flavors of the borscht.
  • Rye Bread Croutons: Elevate the crunch factor by topping your borscht with homemade rye bread croutons for a delightful contrast in textures.
  • Garlic Infusion: Enhance the aromatic profile by infusing the broth with minced garlic, creating a robust and flavorful base.
  • Beef Broth Boost: Substitute water with beef broth for an extra layer of savory depth, elevating the overall umami experience.
  • Chill Factor: Allow the borscht to chill for a few hours before serving for a refreshing cold version, perfect for warmer weather.
Russian Borscht Soup Recipe (Rich, Tangy Flavor)

Russian Borscht Soup Recipe (Rich, Tangy Flavor)

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Course: Soup Recipe


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Delve into the rich cultural flavors of Russia with our authentic borscht recipe. A symphony of beetroot, vegetables, and soul.


  • 8 cups 8 Water

  • 1 lb 1 Beef shanks

  • 5 5 Peppercorns (whole)

  • 2 2 Bay leaves

  • 1 tsp. 1 Salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Dill weed

  • 3 3 Beets (medium, shredded)

  • 2 tbsps 2 Vegetable oil (divided)

  • 2 tsps 2 White vinegar

  • 2 2 Potatoes (medium, cubed)

  • 2 2 Carrots (medium, sliced)

  • 1 cup 1 Cabbage (shredded)

  • 2 tbsps 2 Fresh parsley (minced)

  • 1 1 Onion (medium, chopped)

  • 1 tbsp 1 All-purpose flour

  • 2 2 Tomatoes (medium, chopped)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Sour cream

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Combine the first six ingredients in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer. Cook until the beef becomes tender, which should take about 1.5 hours.
  • While the soup is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the beets and sauté them for 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and then remove from heat. Set this aside for later.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the soup and let it cool down. Once cool, separate the meat from the bones and chop it into chunks. Discard the bones.
  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, discarding the bay leaves and peppercorns. Skim off any excess fat that floats to the top.
  • Add 6 cups of water to the strained broth and return it to the kettle.
  • Add the sautéed beets, parsley, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to the kettle. Bring the mixture back to a boil over high heat.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil over medium heat in the same skillet used for the beets. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions, stir until well blended.
  • Whisk this onion-flour mixture into the soup. Reduce the heat to low, cover the kettle, and let it simmer until the vegetables are tender for about 30 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes to the kettle. Then, in small batches, process the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Make sure to be careful as the soup will be hot.
  • Pour the blended soup into a large saucepan. Add the chopped beef back into the soup and heat through over medium heat.
  • Serve the soup hot, and garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy this hearty, classic Russian dish.
  • Large Soup Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Fine-Mesh Strainer
  • Skillet
  • Blender or Food Processor


  • Beef Variation: You can use beef stew meat or other cuts instead of beef shanks for a meatier version. Ensure to cook the beef thoroughly before adding vegetables.
  • Vegetarian Option: Make it vegetarian by omitting beef and using vegetable broth. You can add extra vegetables or substitute beef with mushrooms for added richness.
  • Shredded Beets: Shredding the beets gives a traditional texture to the soup. Alternatively, you can chop them if you prefer a chunkier consistency.
  • Adjusting Seasoning: Taste the soup as it cooks and adjusts salt, pepper, and dill according to your preference.
  • Cabbage Crunch: To retain a bit of crunch in the cabbage, add it towards the end of cooking. For softer cabbage, add it earlier in the process.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with fresh parsley for an authentic touch.
  • Reheating: Borscht tastes even better the next day as flavors develop. Reheat gently on the stovetop, adding extra broth if needed.

Nutrition Table 

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