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Russian Borscht Soup

Borscht soup has as many variations as Minestrone, mine has Russian leanings and features a beef broth and loads of vegetables and of course, beetroot.

Portrait overhead image of a Russian Borscht Soup served in a white bowl with sour cream and dill

Borscht Soup is More than Beetroot!

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 Ukraine were definitely clouded by my dislike of beetroot.

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

It can easily make anything it is put in taste of nothing but beetroot.

So I have always looked at those lurid pink iterations of borsch through a face like a slapped arse.

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!

This borscht recipe has a Russian leanings and joins my Beef and mushroom stroganoff recipe as one that aims rather than claims to be “authentically” Russian. 

Portrait image of a Russian Borscht Soup served in a white bowl with sour cream and dill

Recipe Base.

When trying to recreate this beet soup recipe I did loads of research and the common theme is the broth base. 

It should come as no surprise really! The liquid that forms the base of a soup whether it be a classic minestrone or indeed a chowder is vitally important!

I tried to make this recipe with a store bought stock but it really did not work.

This simple, if slightly time-consuming, beef stock was perfect and even better than a bone-based stock.

It also provides the beef that goes back into the soup!

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, that uses everything from sorrel to dandelion leaves through 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.

Portrait close up image of a Russian Borscht Soup served in a white bowl with sour cream and dill

Serving Sizes and Suggestions.

This borscht recipe will serve 4 as a main course soup if you add some nice rustic rye bread.

If you want to serve it for lunch you will probably get 6-8 portions out of it.

It will also store in the fridge for 3-4 days without any problems. Just pop it into an airtight container or cover with cling film.

You can also freeze this soup, it will last for up to a month in the freezer and still be at its best. Although it will still remain safe to eat long after that!

I serve mine with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh dill if I have some.

If not I add snipped chives, that onion flavour works wonderfully!

Square overhead image of a Russian Borscht Soup served in a white bowl with sour cream and dill
Yield: 4 Servings

Beef & Beetroot Borscht Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 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 Water
  • 2 (250-300g total) Medium Onion
  • 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
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place the water in a pan with a whole onion, bay leaf and beef shin.
  2. Season generously with salt.
  3. Bring to a simmer and then cook over a low heat for an hour skimming off any residue periodically.
  4. Peel and cut the beetroot into fine matchsticks and the potato into 1.5cm 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 and return to the stock.
  7. Add in the shredded beetroot and potatoes and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Finely dice the second onion, finely shred the cabbage and grate the carrot and tomato.
  9. 15 minutes before the beets and potatoes have gone into the stock add a frying pan to a medium high heat.
  10. Add the oil to a frying pan and fry the carrot and onion and fry for 10 minutes.
  11. Add the carrot and onion to the soup along with the shredded cabbage and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
  12. 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!


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!


Monday 21st of October 2019

I love Borscht! Looks so delicious and perfect for Fall ♥

Brian Jones

Thursday 24th of October 2019

Thanks Natalie

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