Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup – A Culinary Delight

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Amid the patchwork of European cuisines, a vibrant ruby elixir emerges, celebrated as much for its rich heritage as for its robust flavor. The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup, a harmonious meld of beets, vegetables, and spices, tells a tale of tradition and togetherness.

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Originating from the heart of Ukraine, each spoonful captures the country’s history, evoking memories of babushkas preparing the soup for family gatherings. 

But the charm of this iconic dish extends beyond its roots; its bold, tangy flavors and inviting crimson hue make it universally beloved. For the uninitiated, diving into a bowl of borscht is an exploration – a delightful blend of earthy, sweet, and sour sensations. 

What Is Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup?

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup is a vibrant, hearty dish emblematic of Eastern European cuisine. Its signature deep red hue comes from beets, which are simmered alongside an array of vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. 

Often flavored with a touch of garlic, bay leaves, and sometimes meat, the soup achieves a harmonious balance of sweet, sour, and savory notes. 

History Of Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup 

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup has roots that reach deep into Slavic history. This iconic dish, believed to have originated more than a millennium ago, has become synonymous with Ukrainian culture and identity. Its name, “borscht,” is derived from the Slavic word for “beet,” the soup’s primary ingredient. 

Throughout the centuries, as political boundaries shifted and cultures mingled, variations of borscht emerged across Eastern Europe. 

Interesting Facts About The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup 

  • Cultural Significance: In Ukraine, Red Borscht isn’t just a meal; it’s a symbol of national identity. It’s often a dish that welcomes guests and is a staple during festive celebrations.
  • Variations Galore: Depending on the region or even the family, recipes can vary. Some add beans, apples, or even prunes for a unique twist!
  • Served Cold Too: While most people think of it as a warm dish, a chilled version called “holodnik” is popular in the summertime.
  • Borscht Belt: The term “Borscht Belt” refers to a region in New York, but it’s named after the soup because of the large Eastern European Jewish population that once vacationed there.
  • Vegan-Friendly: Traditional borscht recipes are easily adaptable for vegans, omitting meat without sacrificing its rich flavor.
  • Medicinal Properties: Beets, the primary ingredient, are known for their health benefits, including detoxification support, reducing blood pressure, and boosting stamina.

What Makes The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup Special?

  • Rich Heritage: Borscht is deeply rooted in Ukrainian culture, reflecting centuries of traditions and familial bonding.
  • Vibrant Hue: The soup’s unique ruby-red color, derived from beets, makes it instantly recognizable and visually striking.
  • Complex Flavors: A harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and savory notes offers a multi-dimensional taste experience.
  • Versatility: With countless regional and family variations, borscht can be adapted to suit different palates, ranging from meat-heavy versions to vegan delights.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Packed with vegetables like beets, carrots, and cabbage, borscht offers a range of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Culinary Ritual: The process of making borscht is often a cherished ritual, passed down through generations, with many families having their own guarded recipes.
Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Ingredient List 

Pork sausage1 (16 ounce) package
Beets (peeled and shredded)3 medium
Carrots (peeled and shredded)3 medium
Baking potatoes (peeled & cubed)3 medium
Vegetable oil1 tablespoon
Onion (chopped)1 medium
Tomato paste1 (6 ounce) can
Water3/4 cup
Cabbage (cored and shredded)1/2 medium head
Diced tomatoes (drained)1 (8 ounce) can
Garlic (minced)3 cloves
Salt and pepperto taste
White sugar1 teaspoon (or to taste)
Sour cream (for topping)1/2 cup
Fresh parsley (for garnish)1 tablespoon (chopped)

Ingredient Tips

  • Pork Sausage: Opt for fresh, high-quality sausages. If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider turkey or chicken sausage.
  • Beets: Choose beets that are firm with smooth skin. The smaller, younger beets tend to be sweeter and more tender.
  • Carrots: Fresh, bright orange carrots with smooth skin are the best. Avoid ones with cracks or that feel soft.
  • Baking Potatoes: Russet potatoes are a good choice for their starchy content, contributing to the soup’s thickness. Make sure they’re free of green spots.
  • Vegetable Oil: If you want a richer flavor, consider substituting it with butter or a mixture of both.
  • Onion: Yellow or white onions are versatile and ideal for this soup. However, if you prefer a milder flavor, consider using sweet onions.
  • Tomato Paste: Ensure it’s from a fresh can or tube. For a deeper flavor, consider sautéing the paste briefly before adding water.
  • Cabbage: Use fresh cabbage with crisp leaves. If you want a different texture, consider using Savoy cabbage which is more tender.
  • Diced Tomatoes: While canned is convenient, fresh tomatoes, when in season, can elevate the soup’s freshness. If using canned, consider options without added salt or seasonings.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are preferable. However, jarred minced garlic can work in a pinch if you’re short on time.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?


  • Replace potatoes with radishes or turnips, which have a lower carb count.
  • Ensure the tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes are sugar-free or low-carb.
  • Omit sugar completely.
  • Increase the amount of pork sausage or consider adding other meats like beef for higher fat content.


  • Omit white sugar and use natural sweeteners like honey.
  • Ensure your pork sausage doesn’t contain any additives or grains.
  • Use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones to ensure no additives.


  • The basic borscht recipe is inherently gluten-free. Just ensure all processed ingredients, like sausages and tomato paste, don’t contain any gluten or have been processed in a facility with gluten products.


  • Replace white sugar with approved sweeteners or omit completely.
  • Ensure pork sausage, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes are compliant without any additives or sugars.
  • Avoid dairy, so skip the sour cream or replace with Whole30 compliant alternatives.


  • Omit the pork sausage.
  • Add more veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini for added depth.
  • For a protein boost, consider adding legumes like white beans (though this makes it non-traditional).


  • Follow the vegetarian alterations.
  • Replace sour cream with vegan alternatives like cashew cream or coconut cream.
Ingredients of soup

Recipe Directions 

  • Preparation Steps: Start by peeling and shredding beets and carrots, cubing the potatoes, and coring and shredding the cabbage. Set these vegetables aside.
  • Cooking Steps: In a skillet, crumble and brown the sausage on medium-high heat until fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
    Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Introduce the cooked sausage. Once boiling, add the beets, allowing them to cook until they lose color.
    Stir in carrots and potatoes, cooking until tender, roughly 15 minutes. Incorporate cabbage and diced tomatoes.
  • Blending Flavors: Separately, heat oil in a skillet. Sauté onions until tender. Mix in tomato paste and water, ensuring a smooth blend. Combine this with the soup pot.
  • Final Touches: Introduce raw minced garlic to the pot, covering and removing it from heat. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes before seasoning with salt, pepper, and sugar as per taste.
  • Serving: Serve the soup hot, garnishing each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.
making of soup

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings


  • Meat Choices: Swap pork sausage for beef, chicken, or even fish for a different flavor profile.
  • Vegetarian Version: Omit meats and enhance with mushrooms, bell peppers, or lentils.
  • Vegan Twist: Use plant-based sausages and top with vegan sour cream.


  • Legumes: Incorporate white beans or chickpeas for added protein.
  • Greens: Stir in spinach or kale for a nutrient boost.
  • Grains: Add barley or quinoa for a heartier texture.
  • Spices: Introduce a bay leaf, dill, or caraway seeds for more depth in flavor.
  • Heat: Add a dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.


  • Dairy: Apart from sour cream, consider Greek yogurt or crème fraîche.
  • Herbs: Fresh dill, chives, or cilantro can offer a refreshing touch.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Sprinkle pumpkin seeds or walnuts for a crunchy contrast.
  • Condiments: Offer mustard or horseradish on the side for an extra zing.
  • Breads: Serve with rye bread, garlic croutons, or a slice of pumpernickel.

Scaling The Recipe 

Ingredient Quantities

  • Mathematics: The most straightforward approach is simple multiplication or division. If you want to double the recipe, multiply each ingredient quantity by 2. To halve it, divide by 2.
  • Liquid Levels: When increasing quantities, ensure there’s enough liquid to cover the solid ingredients to maintain soup consistency. Conversely, when reducing, be cautious not to drown the ingredients.

Cooking Time

  • Scaling Up: Doubling the ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean you double the cooking time. While you might need additional time, monitor closely. Ingredients like vegetables might take slightly longer to cook in larger quantities.
  • Scaling Down: Conversely, less volume often cooks faster. Reduce the recommended cooking time and check for doneness sooner.


  • Adjust Gradually: When you scale up, be cautious with seasonings, especially salt, pepper, and spices. It’s safer to add gradually, taste, and adjust.
  • Flavor Concentration: When reducing, remember that flavors can become more concentrated. So, be judicious with potent ingredients.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

  • Herbs: Fresh herbs are a classic choice.
  • Parsley: Often chopped finely or used as whole leaves.
  • Dill: A favorite for many Eastern European dishes.
  • Cilantro or Coriander: Offers a fresh, citrusy touch.
  • Chives: Provides a mild onion flavor.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop can add creaminess and a tangy flavor.
  • Yogurt: A lighter alternative to sour cream.
  • Crème Fraîche: Richer and less tangy than sour cream.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Offers a crunchy texture.
  • Walnuts: Add a slightly bitter, earthy touch.
  • Sesame Seeds: Small but can provide a delicate crunch.
  • Lemon or Lime Zest: Brightens up the dish with a burst of citrus.
  • Lemon or Lime Wedges: Served on the side for diners to squeeze as desired.
  • Paprika: A sprinkle can add color and a smoky or sweet flavor.
Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Can I Make Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker

  • Browning: In a separate skillet, crumble and brown the sausage. You can also sauté onions in vegetable oil until translucent.
  • Layering: Transfer the browned sausage and onions to the slow cooker. Add beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.
  • Cooking: Cover and set the slow cooker on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours. This slow cooking melds the flavors wonderfully.
  • Finishing: About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serving: Once done, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley.

Instant Pot

  • Sauté Mode: Using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, crumble and brown the sausage. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  • Adding Ingredients: Turn off the sauté function. Add beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Ensure you don’t exceed the pot’s maximum fill line.
  • Pressure Cooking: Seal the Instant Pot lid and set it to Manual or Pressure Cook on HIGH for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Natural Release: Once done, allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10-15 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
  • Finishing: Stir in the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serving: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley.

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

Store-bought Broth

  • Convenience: It’s quick and easy, especially if you’re in a hurry or don’t have the ingredients to make your own.
  • Consistency: Store-bought broths usually have a consistent flavor.
  • Variety: They come in various options – beef, chicken, vegetable, low-sodium, organic, bone broth, and more.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor: Homemade broth often has a richer, deeper flavor, especially if you roast the bones or veggies beforehand.
  • Control: You have complete control over the ingredients, allowing for customization based on dietary needs or flavor preferences.
  • Nutrition: Making your own, especially bone broth, can result in a broth rich in nutrients and collagen.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?


  • Beef: Beef chunks or short ribs can be used. They’ll impart a rich flavor, especially if browned before adding.
  • Chicken: Bone-in pieces like drumsticks or thighs can add depth of flavor.
  • Lamb: Less traditional, but lamb can offer a unique richness.
  • Smoked Meat: Smoked pork or beef can introduce a smokey note.


  • White Fish: Flaky white fish like cod or haddock can be added towards the end of cooking.
  • Salmon: Its strong flavor can alter the soup’s profile, but can be a delightful twist for fish lovers.


  • Egg Noodles: Add cooked noodles just before serving to maintain their texture.
  • Orzo or Rice: These can be cooked directly in the soup or separately and added later.


  • Bell Peppers: Can introduce a sweet note.
  • Mushrooms: Add an earthy flavor and meaty texture.
  • Spinach or Kale: Incorporate them towards the end of cooking for added nutrition and color.
  • Green Beans: Cut into bite-sized pieces for added texture.
  • Zucchini: Dice and add midway through cooking to ensure they don’t become overly soft.
  • Celery: Can be added with carrots for an additional layer of flavor.
Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For Making The Recipe 

Making a flavorful and comforting soup is both an art and a science. Here are some general tips and tricks to enhance your soup-making experience:

Prepping Tips

  • Fresh Ingredients: The fresher the ingredients, the better the flavor. If possible, use garden-fresh vegetables or high-quality meats.
  • Uniformity: When chopping vegetables, aim for consistent sizes to ensure even cooking.
  • Mise en Place: Have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking. This French term means “everything in its place” and helps ensure smooth cooking.
  • Pre-Cooking: For meats or hardy vegetables, consider browning or sautéing them first. This can enhance the depth of flavor.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Low and Slow: A slow simmer is more beneficial than a vigorous boil for most soups. It helps flavors meld together without breaking down the ingredients too much.
  • Tenderness Check: Use a fork to check the tenderness of meat or vegetables. This will help you gauge if the soup is ready.
  • Layering Flavors: Add ingredients in stages. Start with ingredients that take longer to cook, like certain meats or root vegetables, and then add quicker-cooking items later.
  • Taste as You Go: Always taste your soup at different stages and adjust seasonings as necessary. Adding more salt or spices gradually is easier than correcting an overly seasoned soup.
healthy Soup

Nutritional Values 

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup isn’t just a feast for the eyes; it’s nutritionally rich too. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals from root vegetables, this dish offers a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. 

What Are Total Calories In The Soup?

Considering the mentioned ingredients and their typical quantities, a rough estimate might range from 400-600 calories per serving. For an accurate calorie count, you’d need to utilize nutrition calculation tools or software, inputting the exact amount of each ingredient.

Dietary Restrictions For The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

  • Meat: The inclusion of pork sausage means this soup is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those following certain religious dietary laws, such as Halal or Kosher (unless specifically using meats processed according to these rules).
  • Dairy: With sour cream as a garnish, the soup is unsuitable for vegans or lactose intolerant. However, the soup can be made dairy-free by omitting sour cream or substituting it with a non-dairy alternative.
  • Gluten: The ingredients list doesn’t include any sources of gluten, so the soup appears to be gluten-free. However, one should always check labels on store-bought items like sausage or tomato paste, as they might contain gluten-based fillers or be processed in facilities with gluten-containing items.
  • Nightshades: This soup includes tomatoes and potatoes, which are nightshades. Some individuals with specific health conditions or sensitivities might need to avoid nightshades.
  • Sugar: There’s a small amount of sugar in the recipe, which might be a consideration for those watching their sugar intake or following strict keto diets.

Health Benefits Of The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Beets, the main ingredient, are a potent source of antioxidants, particularly betalains, which can help combat oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Boost: Vegetables like beets, carrots, and cabbage supply a mix of essential vitamins and minerals. For instance, beets are high in folate and manganese, while carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene (vitamin A precursor).
  • Digestive Health: The fiber from the various vegetables promotes healthy digestion and can aid in regular bowel movements.
  • Immune Support: The garlic and onion in the soup contain allicin and quercetin, respectively, which have known antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties.
  • Heart Health: Beets have compounds that can help lower blood pressure and have been linked to improved heart health due to their nitrate content, which can improve blood vessel function.

Nutrition Table 

nutrition table

How Can I Make Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup Lower In Sodium?

  • Choose Low-Sodium Sausage: Opt for sausages labeled “low-sodium” or “reduced-sodium.” Alternatively, you can use fresh meat instead of processed sausage.
  • Limit Added Salt: Adjust the salt added to taste. Start with a small amount and only add more if necessary after tasting.
  • Low-Sodium Broth: If you decide to add broth to the soup for added flavor, ensure you choose a low-sodium or unsalted variant.
  • Fresh or Low-Sodium Canned Tomatoes: If using canned tomatoes, look for brands that are labeled “no salt added” or “low sodium.”
  • Rinse Canned Goods: Rinsing thoroughly under cold water can help remove some of the sodium if you use canned ingredients. This is especially effective for items like canned beans or vegetables.
  • Tomato Paste: Opt for no-salt-added tomato paste if available.

How Can I Make Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup Lower In Sugar?

  • Skip Added Sugar: Omit the sugar from the recipe. The natural sweetness of beets and carrots often provides enough sweetness to balance the flavors in the soup.
  • Choose Fresh Tomatoes: Opt for fresh tomatoes over canned ones, as some canned tomatoes can have added sugars. If using canned tomatoes, select a “no-sugar-added” variety.
  • Watch the Sausage: Some sausages can contain added sugars or fillers that increase the sugar content. Choose sausages with no added sugars, or substitute with fresh meat.
  • Tomato Paste: Opt for a tomato paste with no added sugars. Always check the ingredients list when shopping.
  • Check Store-bought Broth: If you decide to use store-bought broth or stock, ensure it doesn’t contain added sugars.
Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

How To Serve Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup In The Best Way?

  • Serve Hot: Borscht is typically served hot, especially during cold months. Ensure it’s heated thoroughly before serving.
  • Dollop of Sour Cream: A traditional and popular way to serve borscht is with a dollop of sour cream on top. The creaminess contrasts beautifully with the tangy and earthy flavors of the soup.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs, especially chopped parsley or dill, to enhance the soup’s color and add a burst of fresh flavor.
  • Vinegar or Lemon Juice: Offer vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for those who prefer a tangier flavor.
  • Additional Garnishes: Some people like to add chopped scallions, radishes, or even sliced cucumbers as garnishes.
  • Serving Bowls: Use deep bowls to showcase the rich color of the soup. White or light-colored bowls accentuate the vibrant red hue of the borscht.
  • Pairing: You can pair borscht with traditional Ukrainian dishes like varenyky (dumplings) or a simple salad for a complete meal.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

  • Rye Bread or Pampushky: A slice of hearty rye bread or Ukrainian garlic bread (pampushky) is a classic pairing. The bread can soak up the soup, adding a delightful texture contrast.
  • Varenyky (Pierogi): These Ukrainian dumplings, filled with ingredients like potato, cheese, mushrooms, or meats, are an excellent side dish, providing a hearty complement to the soup.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Traditional Eastern European pickles, such as pickled cucumbers or pickled tomatoes, add a tangy contrast to the borscht’s earthy flavors.
  • Kotlety (Meat Patties): These are pan-fried ground meat patties that can be made with beef, chicken, or pork and seasoned with onions and spices.
  • Cabbage Salad: A fresh cabbage salad with cucumbers, dill, and a light vinegar dressing can offer a refreshing contrast to the warm soup.
  • Holubtsi (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls): Cabbage leaves filled with a mix of rice and meat, then baked in a tomato sauce, are a hearty side that can complement borscht.
healthy soup

How Long Can We Store The Soup?


  • Cool First: Before refrigerating, allow the soup to come to room temperature. This helps in preventing bacterial growth and also conserves energy in your fridge.
  • Store in Airtight Containers: Once cooled, transfer the soup to airtight containers. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent it from absorbing other flavors from the fridge.
  • Duration: Properly stored, borscht can last in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.


  • Cool First: As with refrigeration, allow the soup to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags.
  • Leave Some Space: When storing in containers, leave about an inch of space at the top to allow the soup to expand as it freezes.
  • Label and Date: Clearly label the contents and write the freezing date on your container or bag.
  • Duration: Borscht can be frozen for up to 3 months. Beyond this, while it may still be safe to eat, the quality in terms of flavor and texture might diminish.


  • Refrigerated Soup: Heat in a pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches the desired temperature. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every couple of minutes.
  • Frozen Soup: It’s best to thaw frozen borscht in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. If in a hurry, you can reheat directly from frozen, but ensure it’s heated slowly and thoroughly stirred to ensure even warming.

Can I Make Soup In Advance?

  • Flavor Development: Soups often taste better the next day after the flavors meld together. Borscht, in particular, can benefit from this resting period, with its medley of ingredients getting a chance to harmonize.
  • Cooling: After cooking, allow the soup to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. This prevents condensation in the storage container and reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
  • Storage: Store the soup in airtight containers. This preserves the flavor and prevents the soup from absorbing other odors from the fridge.
  • Reheating: When ready to serve, gently reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Make sure it reaches a boil to ensure any potential bacteria are killed.
  • Freezing: If you’re making soup well in advance, consider freezing it. This works especially well for borscht, which retains its flavor and texture quite well after thawing. Remember to leave some space at the top of your storage container to allow the soup to expand as it freezes.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

  • Chilled Appetizer: Serve it cold, garnished with fresh dill and a sour cream dollop for a refreshing starter.
  • Borscht Stew: Reduce it over medium heat to thicken, and serve with crusty bread.
  • Pasta Sauce Base: Blend to a smoother consistency and use as a base for pasta sauces.
  • Pie Filling: Incorporate leftovers into a savory pie or pastry filling.
  • Rice Mix-in: Stir into cooked rice for a flavorful side dish.
  • Borscht Tacos: Use as a filling for tacos, topped with fresh herbs.
Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Special Tools And Equipment Needed 

  • Large Soup Pot: Essential for making a batch of soup. Choose a heavy-bottomed pot to ensure even heating and prevent burning.
  • Skillet: Useful for sautéing onions, garlic, and other ingredients before they go into the soup pot.
  • Sharp Knife: For efficiently chopping and dicing vegetables.
  • Cutting Board: Preferably one with a groove to catch any juices from the beets and prevent staining.
  • Grater: Handy for shredding beets and carrots. Some prefer a box grater, while others might use a food processor with a grating attachment.
  • Peeler: Essential for peeling beets, carrots, and potatoes.
  • Wooden Spoon: Useful for stirring the soup and ensuring ingredients don’t stick to the bottom.
  • Ladle: For serving the soup.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing leftovers or if you’re making the soup in advance.
  • Colander: Useful if you need to drain the sausage or rinse vegetables.
  • Blender or Immersion Blender: If you prefer a smoother borscht, these tools can help you achieve the desired consistency.
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups: For precise measurements, especially if you’re new to making the soup.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Canned Beets Instead Of Fresh Ones?

Yes, you can use canned beets. They can save time as they’re already cooked and peeled. However, the flavor and texture of fresh beets are generally superior. If using canned, make sure to drain them well and consider reducing the added salt elsewhere in the recipe due to the sodium content in the canning liquid.

Is Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup Spicy?

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht isn’t spicy-hot, but it has a deep, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor profile. If you prefer some heat, you can always add a bit of chili or spicy paprika.

I Don’t Eat Pork; Can I Substitute Another Meat In The Soup?

Absolutely! While pork sausage adds a specific flavor, you can replace it with beef, chicken, turkey, or even meat alternatives for a vegetarian version. The key is to ensure that the replacement complements the overall taste of the soup.

Is It Necessary To Add Sugar To The Soup?

The small amount of sugar in the recipe helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and the earthiness of the beets. However, it’s optional and can be adjusted according to personal taste or omitted altogether.

My Borscht Turned Out Too Sour/Thick/Thin, How Can I Fix It?

If your borscht is too sour, you can balance it with a pinch of sugar or honey. If it’s too thick, add a bit of broth or water to thin it out. Conversely, if it’s too thin, let it simmer uncovered for a while longer to reduce and thicken.

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup - A Culinary Delight

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup – A Culinary Delight

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Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


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Delve into the heart of Ukrainian cuisine with this authentic Red Borscht Soup. This vibrant concoction combines the earthiness of beets, the heartiness of potatoes and sausage, and a tang from tomatoes. Finished with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley, it’s a symphony of flavors in every spoonful.


  • 16 ounce 16 Pork sausage

  • 3 3 Beets (peeled and shredded)

  • 3 3 Carrots (peeled and shredded)

  • 3 3 Baking potatoes (peeled & cubed)

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Vegetable oil

  • 1 1 Onion (chopped)

  • 6 ounce 6 Tomato paste

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 Water

  • 1/2 1/2 Cabbage (cored and shredded)

  • 8 ounce 8 Diced tomatoes (drained)

  • 3 cloves 3 Garlic (minced)

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon 1 White sugar

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Sour cream (for topping)

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Start by peeling your beets and carrots.
    Shred the beets and carrots finely.
    Cube the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
    Core the cabbage and shred it. Keep all these prepared vegetables aside.
    Cooking the Sausage
    Grab a skillet and place it over medium-high heat.
    Crumble the sausage into the skillet.
    Stir consistently; ensuring the sausage cooks evenly and doesn’t stick.
  • Soup Base
    Take a large pot and fill it halfway with water (roughly 2 quarts).
    Bring the water to a rolling boil.
    Carefully add the browned sausage to the boiling water. Cover the pot.
    When the water returns to a boil, introduce the shredded beets.
    Let the beets cook until they’ve lost their distinct color.
  • Adding Vegetables
    Into the pot, add your shredded carrots and cubed potatoes.
    Allow them to simmer and become tender, which should take around 15 minutes.
    Following this, stir in the shredded cabbage and pour in the can of diced tomatoes.
  • Serving
    Pour the hot borscht into individual serving bowls.
    Garnish each with a generous dollop of sour cream.
    Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on top for added freshness and flavor. Enjoy!

Recipe Video


  • The color of your borscht may vary based on the age and type of beets used.
  • Fresh dill can be added for a more aromatic flavor.
  • For a richer broth, consider using bone-in cuts of meat or adding some beef or chicken bones while cooking.
  • Remember, borscht’s flavor deepens and improves after a day, making it perfect for leftovers.
  • If avoiding dairy, consider using dairy-free sour cream or omitting it altogether.
  • Traditionally, borscht is served with a side of rye bread or pampushky (Ukrainian garlic bread).

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