Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

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Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup This soup is a traditional soup that is very common in many European countries. I know this because it is something that is familiar to two of my sisters. In 2006 my family hosted two beautiful little girls from Ukraine during their visit to the states. We knew right away that God had planned for them to be part of our family all along. In 2007 they became my sisters and have been ever since.


It is strange to talk about it now because it seems like so long ago. I never think about the fact that we have only been sisters for half of our lives. You would never know that they were not born into our family if you met them. People tell us all the time that we look so much alike. They are as much gringas as I am.

I’ve never tried making borscht before, but we had all the ingredients so it seemed like the perfect time to try it. It is already a very red soup but instead of green cabbage and white onions I happened to have red cabbage and red onions. It made the soup even darker. You could just call this “A Whole Lot of Red Soup” I can see why it is such a traditional dish in Europe. It is so cheap to make and so healthy.


This recipe may not be as welcome in households with picky eaters. Mostly because of the color. I don’t know about you and your family but in my house there are a lot of visual picky eaters. Meaning that they will only try things that  look good to them, regardless of what it tastes like. My youngest siblings will decide whether or not they like something prior to tasting it. It is so frustrating! I keep saying that I am going to get blindfolds to cover their eyes before they taste things because then they would eat way more things. This soup is really good and I think my entire family would like it but I won’t sugarcoat it and tell you they do. I did, however, get my little sister to try it when I told her about the sour cream that goes on top. You see, she has this thing for sour cream. I think she would eat a bowl of it by itself if we let her. She loved the fact that it turned the soup pink when you stirred it in. She is a very girly 5-year-old. She really liked the soup.

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup


  • 6 cups chicken stock, beef stock, or vegetable stock for vegetarians
  • 3 medium beets, washed well
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • salt and papper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • sour cream for topping (optional) Try making it homemade


  1. Place beets in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover them. Cover pot and boil until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove beets from pot to a plate or cutting board and set aside to cool.
  2. Add broth, carrots,and potatoes to beet water and boil covered for about 15 minutes, then add onions, garlic, cabbage, and diced tomatoes.
  3. Peel and slice the cooked beets and add to pot. Cook until the beets lose their color, about 30 minutes. Add tomato sauce, sugar, dill, salt, and pepper then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve hot topped with sour cream


Many recipes for borscht add sausage or beef. Feel free to add meat of any kind or even beans if you are a vegetarian.

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  1. Sean says

    It lists broth and then doesn’t use it? Also, where did garlic come from? And “cook” for another 30 mins, is kinda vague

  2. Sue says

    This soup was a hit at our gourmet Russian dinner. Most had seconds! I would definitely make it again. I used fresh dill instead of dried dill. I used crushed tomatoes as an alternative to tomato sauce. I used 1 litre of low salt veg stock and 500mls of water instead of 1.5 litres of stock. I also added 3 bay leaves to enrich flavour. It was a wonderful soup. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tori says

      Thank you so much Sue! I am thrilled to know that you made this recipe and it was enjoyed at your dinner. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  3. Joanne says

    I just made this and it is wonderful! I made it as written minus the beet water step as my beets were already peeled and cooked. Have you tried freezing this soup?

    • Tori says

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much Joanne! Such sweet feedback like this always makes my entire day! I’ve never tried freezing this soup but I bet it would freeze fine if well sealed, and what a great idea.

  4. Irina says

    I am Ukrainian. There are many different recipes of this Borshch, but I if you don’t mind I’ll give you some helpful tips.
    First, 3 beets are just too much. 1 beet is enough, maximum 2. And you don’t need to cook them ahead of time.
    Second. You didn’t mention one of the most important ingredient. Can of beans.
    Third. This soup needs something sour in it. That’s where sourcream comes in handy. You can substitute part of fresh fresh cabbage for sauerkraut
    There are many other changes you can make to this recipe. You can add green beans, parsley, mushrooms…. but you got basic soup and you can adjust it to your liking.

    • Tori says

      Hi Irina! Thanks for these awesome tips to make authentic borschch. It’s easy to find recipe ideas for different foods of the word all across the internet, but I feel like you can never get the correct flavors of any traditional food until you talk to someone who’s been there. That’s why I’m really excited to try your tweaks and see what my sisters think! Thanks again!

  5. Shelby says

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Our family adopted 4 kids from Ukraine in September through a hosting program. My sister has been requesting borscht since she came home. This recipe was so easy and a huge hit! Thank you! Such a blessing 🙂

    • Tori says

      Oh my goodness, thank you Shelby! This comment made my whole day. I’m so glad your family liked this recipe and your story sounds amazing. Wow, 4 kids, that’s wonderful. I hope you all have a blessed holiday season and a Merry Christmas!

  6. John Davies says

    Small World
    My wife and I adopted a twelve year old from Ismail
    Ukraine in 2010. He is now 19..Came home from college
    and asked me to make Borcht. Thanks for the recipe.
    Bring back memories of a hot meal on very cold nights
    as we travelled the country to complete the adoption.
    Now it’s on to varanikys!

    • Tori says

      Wow, that is amazing. I’m so glad that you found this recipe then. I know my sisters really enjoy it so I hope your family will too. Thanks, John!

  7. Regan says

    I just tried this tonight. I had a toddler racing around me so there were some steps a bit botched (I peeled and chopped the beets before cooking, oops) which meant the color wasn’t as dark as I expected – but the flavor was wonderful! My two year old even enjoyed it. Who knew this was a toddler-friendly recipe? 🙂 thank you for sharing it, I’m putting it in the rotation.

    • Tori says

      Oh my goodness, thank you so much Regan! I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that, and yes, it’s a great soup for little ones and I always enjoy how nutritious it is for them too! Merry Christmas!

  8. Mark says

    Hi Tori,
    I made this recipe as you have written, with only a few small adjustments. It was delicious and I had the question about what is a good accompaniment for this soup? It is a substantial soup, but I felt like I need something to serve together, such as potatoes or a nice rye bread.

    I have seen in other recipes the addition of bay leaf, garlic, paprika, and I like spicy food so these are probably a good addition.

    The sour cream really adds a lot to the dish; so nice to have a spoonful of hot soup with the cool sour cream and dill, which I love.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Tori says

      I completely agree, this soup is a great dish to serve with something on the side and rye sounds delicious. Thanks so much, Mark. I’m so glad to hear from you!


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