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Homemade Borscht Beef and Beetroot Soup

Borscht soup is a dish that has as many variations as it does cooks, my version is Russian in influence & features beetroot, beef & cabbage.

It is a dish that takes a while to cook (around 2 hours), but it is all very easy and low maintenance.

Overhead homemade borscht soup with beetroot, beef and cabbage served with sour cream.

Russian Beef and Beetroot Borscht

I have to confess that I am as guilty of pre-judging food as any and my thoughts on this classic beetroot soup recipe from Central and Eastern Europe were definitely clouded by my dislike of beetroot.

Ok, dislike is a strong word! I don’t dislike beetroot, I find it incredibly overpowering.

So I have always looked at those lurid pink iterations of borscht through a face like a slapped bottom!

This recipe is different, it is inspired by probably my favourite restaurant find in the last 10 years! A Russian restaurant with seats for just 16 in Szolnok called Balaika if you find yourself in that neck of the woods check it out. You know, as you do!

Of course, the main ingredient of borscht is beetroot, well not always apparently.

There are a whole smorgasbord of variants out there. Ranging from green borscht, which uses everything from sorrel to dandelion leaves to Gerogrian Borscht which uses green peppers and often chilli!

But this recipe is definitely a beetroot version and the soup tastes that way. But the beef, tomato and carrots all add a great deal and the soup is not as good without them.

Homemade borscht soup with beetroot, beef and cabbage served with sour cream and dill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use beef stock instead of boiling the beef?

That was my first approach when developing this recipe and it was an abject failure, I would advise you not to do this!

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, it will store in the fridge for 2-3 days without any problems, just pop it into an airtight container.

You can also freeze this soup, it will last for up to 3 months in the freezer and still be at its best.

How many people does this soup serve?

This borscht recipe will serve 4 as a main course soup, if you want to serve it for lunch you will get 6-8 portions out of it.

I usually serve 2 large portions then have the rest for lunch over the next couple of days.

Is beef in borscht really traditional?

Yes absolutely, as I have mentioned above there are as many variants of borscht as there are cooks, and some of them don’t even use beetroot.

My version is based on the best borscht I have ever eaten, it came from a small Russian restaurant and the owner swears by the addition of beef!

Overhead close-up homemade borscht soup with beetroot, beef and cabbage served with sour cream.

Serving Suggestions

Like most soup recipes, this beef and beetroot borscht needs very little on the side to make it a satisfying meal.

I have added sour cream and dill but apart from that it pretty much stands on its own. If I can’t find dill I will add snipped chives instead.

Bread is always a nice option with soup and I will often add some on the side of this dish.

I usually pick up some form of rye bread from a shop because I rarely bake bread at home. But if I were to bake some bread I would probably make a soda bread mainly because it is stupidly simple!

Close-up homemade borscht soup with beetroot, beef and cabbage served with sour cream.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 28cm or 11″ frying pan.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Grater.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
  • Fine mesh sieve.
  • Stirring spoon, serving spoons and forks to shred the beef.
Russian influenced beef and beetroot borscht soup with sour cream and dill.
Yield: 4-8 Servings

Beef & Beetroot Borscht Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A traditional borscht soup comes from Ukraine, my version is inspired by a Russian variant from a local Russian restaurant!


  • 300g (10oz) Beef Shin
  • 1½ Litres (1½-1⅔ Quarts) Water
  • 2 (300-350g total) Medium Onions
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 300g (1½-2 Cups) Beetroot
  • 200g (1⅓ Cup) Potato
  • 100g (¾-1) Cabbage
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Carrot
  • 1 (100g) Medium Tomato
  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1½ Tsp Salt


  1. Place the water in a 20cm or 8" saucepan with a whole onion (don't bother peeling it but remove the stringy bits of the root), bay leaf, beef shin and salt.
  2. Bring the pan to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cook over a low heat for an hour skimming off any residue/foam periodically.
  3. Peel and cut the beetroot into fine matchsticks
  4. Peel the potato and cut it into 1.5cm (½") bite-sized pieces.
  5. After an hour strain the beef stock and discard the bay leaf and onion.
  6. Shred the beef with two forks, discard and fat and sinew, and return the meat to the stock it to the stock.
  7. Add in the shredded beetroot and potatoes and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Finely dice the second onion.
  9. Shred the cabbage as finely as you can.
  10. Grate the carrot and tomato.
  11. 15 minutes after the shredded beets and potatoes have gone into the stock add a frying pan to a medium high heat.
  12. Add the oil to a 28cm or 11" frying pan, then fry the carrot and onion and fry for 10 minutes.
  13. Add the carrot and onion to the soup along with the shredded cabbage and tomato and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  14. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 288mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Sunday 7th of April 2024


Not happy about that

I love the recipe as it's very similar to what I grew up with, I just didn't like all the spam & extral commercials etc...

Brian Jones

Sunday 21st of April 2024

Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

Spam has a very specific definition and I do not engage in that behaviour, for those that subscribe to my mailing list I send 1 email every week and it only contains a link to recipes that I have made or reedited the previous week. However, like much of the internet my site is funded by advertising, I make no apologies for this, it is the only way that I can maintain the quality of what I produce and extensively test recipes before I publish them, yet alone pay the bills associated with hosting a website, and purchasing and maintaining the equipment I use to film and shoot recipes.

Advertising will not go away and if it were to go away the quality of the information on the web would reduce too!

I hope that shines a little light.

All the best.



Thursday 14th of March 2024

yes, that's almost the same version I use, i'm afraid Borscht isn't the same if it has no dill, the version i grew up with had chunks of beef, potato's, julienned carrots & lots of shredded cabbage, i usually chopped up some polski orgorki as a garnish & finely chopped dill, and served with smetanya (sour cream) & of course crusty continental bread. I also used to add some pickle juice at the end.

Brian Jones

Sunday 17th of March 2024

There are so many borscht dishes across central and eastern Europe, but my relative dislike of beetroot meant it never made it into my cooking rotation until I was persuaded to try some in a small Russian restaurant in Szolnok in Hungary (of all places)... it blew my mind and I picked the brains of the waiter and eventually the chef to create my own version :)


Monday 16th of January 2023

This was delicious and has now been added to my portfolio of regular favourites. One thing though; you didn't say when the tomato should be added, so I presumed it went in with the fried carrot and onion.

Brian Jones

Friday 20th of January 2023

Thanks for pointing that out Janine, I re wrote my methodology a few weeks ago as it was really old and clunky and missed the tomato out!

So glad you enjoyed this, it is delicious :D


Wednesday 25th of March 2020

Borscht soup is an excellent soup. I love that it uses produce that lasts a long time in the pantry. This is definitely a useful recipe for these challenging times.

Brian Jones

Sunday 29th of March 2020

Thanks Dahn!

Sue R

Monday 28th of October 2019

My mum is Ukrainian and this sounds just how she makes hers. Love it. One trick she'd sometimes use is to use part of the beetroot from a can and use the vinegar it's in for a little tartness.

Brian Jones

Monday 28th of October 2019

Gald to know I am in the right ballpark... I have an English language Ukranian cookbook called Mamushka that does something similar in one of it soups but with the vinegar from pickled cucumber, I'll definitely give it a go sometime!

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