Borscht Recipe - How to Make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht (2024)

A Borscht recipe is something every home should have, regardless if you’re Ukrainian or not. This traditional Ukrainian borscht combines the earthiness of beets with the freshness of dill and other vegetables. A hearty, healthy and frugal way to use up your garden vegetables and stretch your food budget while filling your family’s bellies this fall!

Borscht Recipe - How to Make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht (1)

This post and recipe is from Anna from The House and Homestead, “I come from good Ukrainian stock. I know this because my mother never lets me forget it. I’m reminded at every family gathering, at every communal meal and pretty much every other chance my mother gets to tell me (or anyone else).

“We are Ukrainian. We come from good stock. We eat well, and we feed people. It’s what we do.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this or some version of this in my family.

Perhaps it was this not-so-subliminal messaging that drove me to pursue a homesteading lifestyle. Regardless, there is some truth to these words. We have always eaten well, even on a tight budget, and we love to make sure others are fed well when they are in our company.

Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
  • Is Borscht originally from Ukraine or from Russia?
  • Is Borscht Healthy?
  • Frugal comfort food for the body and soul
  • What does Borscht mean?
  • Vegetarian Borscht recipe option
  • How to Make Borscht
  • Variations to this Borscht Recipe
  • The best thing about Borscht
  • Can you freeze Borscht?
  • More Articles You May Enjoy
  • Traditional Ukrainian Borscht Recipe
  • Have you ever had Borscht before?

Is Borscht originally from Ukraine or from Russia?

Believe it or not, this is a common question. There are a few staple Eastern European dishes that my proud Ukrainian family has come to be known for. My aunt’s handmade perogies and my mother’s cabbage rolls always make an appearance at holiday dinners in our family alongside bowls of sauerkraut, fermented pickles, pickled beets, kielbasa (sausages), fried onions and a heaping helping of sour cream.

About the debate of whether Borscht is Ukrainian or Russian, it’s believed to originate from the Ukraine, however, Russia now has its own similar version of this traditional dish.

Is Borscht Healthy?

One of my favorite things about Borscht is the deep ruby color that comes from the cabbage and beets! I also love that it’s incredibly healthy and packed with protein (from the broth and optional meat), iron (from the beets), vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6 (from the carrots) plus fiber and vitamin K & C (from the cabbage).

I always feel great about serving this Borscht recipe to my family.

Frugal comfort food for the body and soul

Because we come from a lineage of Ukrainian peasants who had to survive harsh Eastern European winters with nothing more than the few staple food items they had on hand (wheat, potatoes, cabbage and beets mostly), our traditional foods tend to feature these ingredients over and over again in various ways.

One such dish that needs no special occasion to grace the dinner tables in our family is borscht.

What does Borscht mean?

Borscht definition: a beet-based soup that can be combined with whatever else you’ve got growing in your garden to create a hearty, healthy meal that also stretches your food budget and weekly meals just a little bit further.

In the late summer and fall, there is almost always a pot of borscht simmering away on my mother’s stovetop as she makes use of the beets, carrots, potatoes and fresh dill weed that need harvesting from her garden. If it’s green bean season, she’ll throw some chopped green beans in the soup as well. If not, she’ll make do with whatever ingredients she has on hand (this also makes it a great “clean out the fridge” recipe).

Vegetarian Borscht recipe option

Traditionally there are a few different ways to make borscht. One way is to make it with sausage or shredded meat, but of course, not everyone had access to meat in the “old country,” so borscht can be (and has often been) made vegetarian.

My mother has always made vegetarian borscht, but the beauty of this (or any other) soup is that you can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand to make use of fresh ingredients and make your meals really stretch. As long as you’ve got beets, you can make some version of this hearty and beautiful fuchsia pink soup that smells and tastes like a comforting hug from a Ukrainian baba (aka, grandmother).

How to Make Borscht

My mother’s basic borscht recipe begins with a base of chopped onions, cabbage and celery sautéed in butter, fresh-pressed (or grated) garlic, a can of diced tomatoes and a few cups of chicken broth (or beef broth, or even water with a little chicken or beef bouillon added for flavour). To make this a vegetarian borscht recipe, use vegetable broth.

Then she adds some grated carrots, diced potatoes and fresh beets that are first peeled and then diced and grated and added to the broth, giving it a rich earthy flavour and bright pink colour.

Once all the ingredients have been thrown into the pot, they are left to simmer until they have softened just enough and all of the flavours are well-combined. Then she adds a little salt and black pepper to taste. Just before serving, she adds some chopped fresh dill weed.

When ready to serve, the borscht is ladled into a soup bowl and topped with a large dollop of sour cream.

Variations to this Borscht Recipe

You can change up this traditional borscht recipe by adding or substituting fresh diced tomatoes (instead of canned), green beans, peas, beet greens and shredded pork or sausage.

I like my borscht with a side of fresh bread and butter, which I love to dip in the broth. This is one case where I prefer the dense rye bread that Eastern Europeans are known for. Rye bread tends to soak up the broth better without making the bread go mushy. The deep, hearty flavour of the rye bread also compliments the complex earthiness of the beets in borscht.

But a true Ukrainian will make use of whatever bread she has on hand. Waste not want not is a rule of thumb when it comes to Ukrainian food.

The best thing about Borscht

To me, the best thing about borscht is that you can make a few simple garden ingredients go a long way. A few beets, a couple of carrots, an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, a can of tomatoes and a potato or two can be turned into enough soup to fill the bellies of a family of five, and you might still have some leftover.

Can you freeze Borscht?

Borscht also freezes exceptionally well and would make a good candidate for pressure canning too. And it’s a great way to use up all sorts of late summer and fall vegetables out of your garden that you might not think to combine otherwise (like tomatoes, carrots, beets and dill).

To freeze, allow your soup to cool and store it in a glass mason jar. Be sure to leave an inch or two for expansion.

When you’re ready, simply defrost borscht in the refrigerator and heat in a pot.

All in all, if you’re looking for a frugal meal that is also healthy and hearty, and can be made entirely from ingredients out of your own home garden, I can’t think of anything better than this easy borscht recipe to warm the body and soul. And I should know, I am Ukrainian after all.

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Borscht Recipe - How to Make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht (3)

Traditional Ukrainian Borscht Recipe

Anastasia Sakawsky

This traditional Ukrainian borscht combines the earthiness of beets with the freshness of dill and other vegetables. A hearty, healthy and frugal way to use up your garden vegetables and stretch your food budget while filling your family’s bellies this fall!

4.20 from 134 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Course Soup

Cuisine Ukrainian

Servings 6 servings


  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup of chopped cabbage
  • 2 cloves of garlic grated or pressed
  • 1 tbsp of butter for sautéing onions and celery
  • 8 cups water beef broth or chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes home or commercially canned
  • 2 or 3 medium to large sized peeled beets half grated and half diced
  • 1 or 2 medium carrots grated
  • 1 medium potato diced
  • 1/2 cup of fresh dill weed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional ingredients: Bay leaf green beans, peas, beet greens and shredded pork or pork sausage


  • Sauté the onions, celery and cabbage with the butter until soft and translucent.

  • Add the can of diced tomatoes and the garlic, as well as all of the water or broth.

  • Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce to medium heat and let simmer.

  • Peel the beets, carrots and potato.

  • Dice half the beets and grate the other half.

  • Grate all the carrots.

  • Dice the potato.

  • Add the beets, carrots and potato to the broth. If you would like to add any other optional vegetables (ie. beans, peas, beet greens, etc.) do so now.

  • Allow soup to simmer on medium until diced beets and potatoes are soft (test them with a fork or by biting into them!), about 15 minutes. Remove soup from heat.

  • Stir in chopped fresh dill weed and salt and black pepper.

  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and a slice of bread and butter (rye bread is best!)

Keyword Beet, Borscht, Gluten Free, Russian/Ukrainian, Soup, Ukrainian Recipe

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Borscht Recipe - How to Make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht (4)

There you have it, a traditional Borscht recipe.

Have you ever had Borscht before?

Borscht Recipe - How to Make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht (2024)


What is the difference between Russian borscht and Ukrainian borscht? ›

It's standard for Ukrainian cooks to use pork in their Borscht and top it off with sour cream, whereas Russian cooks are more likely to use beef. Furthermore, Ukrainians will offer buns with their bortsch, and Russians will offer a native bread known as “black bread.”

What is traditional borscht made of? ›

Traditional red beetroot borscht is typically made from meat or bone stock, sautéed vegetables, and beet sour (i.e., fermented beetroot juice). Depending on the recipe, some of these components may be omitted or substituted.

What is Ukrainian borscht? ›

Although borscht is important in Russian and Polish cuisines, Ukraine is frequently cited as its place of origin. Its name is thought to be derived from the Slavic word for the cow parsnip, or common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), or from a fermented beverage derived from that plant.

What is borscht made of in Russia? ›

Yes, borscht is a popular soup in Russia, and it is typically made with beets, meat (usually beef or pork), and other vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. It is often served with sour cream, which helps to balance the flavors.

Which soup is considered the most traditional in Ukraine? ›

Borshch (sometimes written as borsch, borsht, bortsch, or borshch) is a sour soup with distinctive red colour. Usually, the ingredients are meat, beetroots, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. It can be served either hot or cold, and it can also be white or green, depending on the ingredients.

What does Ukrainian borscht taste like? ›

Borscht is a beet soup that's warm, sweet, and sour all in one bowl. It has the umami and complexity of a well-developed chicken soup but the beets add a whole different flavor profile. Its sweetness comes from the beets, onions, and cabbage, and its tartness from tomatoes and vinegar.

Why is my borscht not red? ›

Cooking Time and Temperature: Beets can lose their vibrant red color if they are overcooked or cooked at high temperatures for too long. If you cooked the beets for an extended period or at a high temperature, it could cause them to lose some of their color intensity, resulting in a more orange appearance.

How healthy is beet borscht? ›

Red beets: These are crucial for both color and nutrition, a good source of Vitamin C. Pork butt: This adds meaty depth and texture. Potato, cabbage, and lima beans: These veggies add heft and balance. They provide Vitamin B9, which is essential for overall cell health, and potassium to help maintain blood pressure.

What to serve with Ukrainian borscht? ›

You can serve borscht with sides like Pumpernickel or rye bread, garlic toast, meat, salads, dairy, pickled foods, pierogi, grains, potato pancakes, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs seasoned with paprika or dill, gluten-free options, and accompany it with fermented Slavic beverages and Santa Carolina ...

How long does borscht last in the fridge? ›

Cooled borscht can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, pack into containers leaving 1-inch (2.5 cm) headspace. For the best results and to save energy, let frozen soup thaw in the refrigerator compartment on the day you plan to use it.

Do they eat borscht in Ukraine? ›

Borscht is one of the most well-known Ukrainian meals – a traditional, hearty soup with multiple layers of ingredients held together by a savory beet broth.

Why is borscht so good? ›

Beets are also high in vitamins A, C and the minerals iron and magnesium. Looking at the amazing nutrients in this traditional soup, plus the tasty additions of fresh dill, parsley and sour cream, it's no wonder it serves as a staple.

Do Russians put sour cream in borscht? ›

No, not always. Borsch is a traditional Russian soup that can be eaten with or without sour cream. In fact, the way in which people eat borsch varies greatly across different regions of Russia. Some will add sour cream to their borsch for added flavor and texture, while others might omit it altogether.

What's the difference between beet soup and borscht? ›

The Polish word barszcz means borscht, but this soup is slightly different. Whereas traditional borscht is an opaque purple and commonly includes meat, tomatoes, and cabbage, barszcz is more of a basic beet broth that is somewhat translucent, whether red or white in color.

Are there different types of borscht? ›

This Ukraine's rich cultural heritage is reflected in the different versions, such as white borscht vs red borscht, which are popular in different regions. In this article, we shall explore the differences between two popular types of borscht: white borscht and red borscht.

What is the national dish of Ukraine? ›

The national dish of Ukraine is red borscht, a well-known beet soup, of which many varieties exist. However, varenyky (boiled dumplings similar to pierogi) and a type of cabbage roll known as holubtsi are also national favourites, and are a common meal in traditional Ukrainian restaurants.

What is the difference between borscht and barszcz? ›

The Polish word barszcz means borscht, but this soup is slightly different. Whereas traditional borscht is an opaque purple and commonly includes meat, tomatoes, and cabbage, barszcz is more of a basic beet broth that is somewhat translucent, whether red or white in color.


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