I love any kind of soup, and this borscht recipe definitely tops my list.

Beets give this soup an earthy sweetness and a vibrant color, while a dash of lemon juice and fresh dill add a hint of freshness!

It’s a deliciously hearty soup perfect for any time of year.

bowls of Borscht

Borscht is a traditional beetroot soup from Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine, Poland, and Russia, to name a few. It most commonly contains beets, shredded cabbage, and a sour ingredient such as wine vinegar or lemon juice.

Beyond that, ingredients for borscht recipes can vary widely with the addition of onions, beans, celery, and tomatoes, among many other ingredients, including beef. I include carrots and potatoes and use vegetable stock (although chicken or beef stock will taste great as well).

ingredients to make Borscht in a pot

How to Make Borscht

Borscht (aka borsch) has a deep ruby-red color which will also stain your hands and/or white cutting boards. Wearing gloves is a great idea when preparing beets, as they need to be peeled.

  1. Peel and chop the beets per the recipe below.
  2. Cook until slightly softened, and then add the broth. Simmer until everything is tender.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and zest and serve hot.

Save the beet tops to make sauteed beet greens!

Swirl in a dollop of sour cream in each bowl. The fat in the cream helps balance the acidity of the soup and provides some richness and body. Serve borscht as an appetizer with dinner or as a light meal with a side of corn muffins, soda bread, parker house rolls, or cheese biscuits.

a pot of Hot Borscht

Serving & Storing Borscht

Add a generous dollop of rich sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill as a topping. Serve it with fresh rye bread or rolls and butter for dunking!

This recipe is easy to store in the refrigerator or in the freezer. The flavor deepens as it sits, so make enough for lots of leftovers. It will keep 4 days in the fridge or up to 4 months in the freezer.

scooping a ladle of Hot Borscht

Savory Soup Recipes

Did your family enjoy this homemade Borscht? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

a serving of Hot Borscht in a bowl with sour cream
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Borscht Recipe (Beet Soup)

Borscht soup gets natural sweetness from the beets, and a bit of lemon juice and zest add a tangy twist to balance the flavors.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

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Ingredients  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 red beets peeled and ½ inch diced (approx 1 ½ pounds)
  • 2 carrots ½ inch diced
  • 1 large russet potato peeled and ½ inch diced
  • ½ small green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 bay leaf
  • kosher salt & black pepper to taste
  • sour cream optional, for serving

Instructions 

  • In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. Cook stirring occasionally until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Pour in the broth and add the bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the beets and carrots are tender.
  • Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the fresh dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and additional fresh dill.

Notes

Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through. 
4.98 from 80 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 157 | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 920mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3817IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Polish, Ukraine
Borscht with fresh dill and a title
taking a spoonfull of Borscht with a title
bowl of Borscht with a title
Borscht in the pot and in a bowl with a title

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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Comments

  1. Hi Holly
    I make my Bortch the same way you do…as it is one of the 12 dishes Ukrainians eat Xmas eve. Simple where the Beet flavour shines through. My mom started adding beef and other veggies to her soup which to me takes away from it being a pure Beet soup. I enjoy all your Slavic recipes.5 stars

  2. Growing up in a Russian influenced, German ancestry Mennonite home in western Canada (how is that for a blend of cultures), it was rare that there wasn’t a borsht pot on the back of the wood stove. The term borsht covered several different types of soup. The most common was kumpst borsht or cabbage soup. Beet borsht was next in line, followed by sweet milk borsht and sour milk borsht. I don’t ever remember the beets and cabbage making it into the same pot. My mothers borsht had a very good reputation and she would can many jars of it. When cousins, etc, would come back for a visit, they would make a point of stopping in for a jar or two of Aunt Suzies Borsht. I mention this because all the beet borsht recipes I come across now have cabbage in them.4 stars

  3. I made this without the cabbage and puréed it as an experiment. Had no bay leaves. It was fabulous! I will do it like this always.5 stars

  4. The prep took a little while, and my husband was very hesitant about the smell of the beets… but WOW. Once we served it up the whole family dove in and it is a HUGE HIT! Even my husband loves this. We will definitely be adding this to our regular meals, 10/10.5 stars

  5. My Babka was Polish. Making Beet Soup was my favorite time of the year. Her version had been spareribs for the meat and I remember grating the canned whole beets and waiting in anticipation for my first bowl. She always flavored it with vinegar so seeing a recipe without vinegar makes me curious of how newer version must taste. She always made her homemade dumplings, which in her Beet soup, made it the best soup ever!!!!

    1. Thank you for sharing Kris! My grandma was from Poland and I have such great memories of her food!

  6. There is a common misconception around the heritage of this dish. It is not Russian, it is national Ukrainian soup, and there are many varieties of it. Naming it a Russian dish is an equivalent of naming pizza margherita a French invention. Please, please consider editing the part regarding the origin of this soup.

    Best regards,
    Eugene.5 stars

  7. Was amazing and even better next day I had frozen shredded cabbage worked perfectly and bought shredded carrots (lazy) was bright purple and when I look at my pic on phone makes me hungry good one holly keeper5 stars

  8. Amazing – or so I am told! I don’t eat beets but my husband’s family is Polish and they all raved about it. I loved making it. Takes some time peeling and cubing etc. but I put on some great music and enjoyed spending time preparing a healthy home cooked soup for the family!
    Will definitely make this again.5 stars

  9. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Now that my Detroit Red Beets are ready for harvest, I used them along with Swiss Chard (instead of cabbage) and chicken broth (I was lacking beef broth) and it came out splendidly. Do not be afraid to improvise! Can’t wait to try this with all the stated ingredients!5 stars

  10. I just harvested some beets from my “covid” garden and was researching beet soup recipes. Found yours and it looks perfect. I’ll give it a try today and see if my boys will eat it. I’ll be fine if they don’t because I know I will. Looking forward to this tasty treat. Thanks.

  11. My Polish grandmother brought a version of this over with her in the 1920’s. We grate the veggies, use beef broth and some beef (soup/stew meat), and also add tomato sauce.

    Although sour cream was always my favorite topping, homemade plain yogurt was often used for economical purposes. Thank you for sharing this recipe; it is a classic I fear will be lost in future generations.5 stars

    1. So happy you enjoyed this recipe Teri. It is honestly one of my favorite recipes! Your grandmother’s additions sound delicious thought, I may have to try that. Thanks for sharing!

  12. My Ukrainian grandmother used to make this for me as a child with some kind of shredded beef.
    This was one of my favorite foods growing up. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

    Thank you Holly, for providing the recipe.

    Jackie Dowbnia

  13. You have both veggie broth and beef broth in the recipe, but only add the veggie. Is it either or, or did I miss read?