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  • Gluten Free
  • Nut Free

Simple and Classic Red Borscht

The Simple and Classic Red Borscht is a healthy and hearty soup packed with a ton of flavor. This delicious beet soup is known for its vibrant red color which comes from the red beets. A steaming bowl of Ukrainian borscht makes a perfect meal to cozy up to during a cold winter day.


Today is a really big deal. There’s no special occasion or anything. But today, I am sharing with you my absolute favorite soup of all time. And that’s a huge deal because I love a lot of soups. This one takes me back to my childhood. It’s one I make often. For me, it is the ultimate and perfect bowl of soup.

It is Borscht. I have so much to say about this soup, yet I often find myself speechless. Maybe I’ll start by telling you what Borscht is.

What Is Borscht?

Classic red borscht is a traditional Ukrainian dish but is also very popular in Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe. Borscht is a sour soup made with meat stock and boiled vegetables. 

It’s a beet-based soup that can be combined with whatever else you’ve got growing in your garden to create a hearty, healthy meal. If it’s your first time making this great recipe, you’re in for a treat. I love red beets and use them to make a variety of dishes like beet salad or a refreshing beet smoothie

There are different versions of borscht which include

  • Borscht soup with lots of beets, and meat.
  • Vegetarian borscht with lots of beets, and vegetables.
  • Beet soup with lots of beets, meat, and vegetables.

Regardless of whether you make this with the main ingredients of meat or with vegetables, or both there are lots of fresh beets involved in borscht soup. The beets are cooked alongside a variety of veggies and then combined with tender meat – beef or chicken, your choice. 

This version of borscht is a savory, sour, and hearty soup that is packed with beef, beets, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage

While there are many different types of borscht, this classic borscht recipe is my mother’s. And she always made her borscht with both meat and vegetables. It was hearty. It was fulfilling. And boy was it so darn delicious! That’s why it’s a regular on our menu at home.

This traditional Ukrainian borscht recipe works because it’s

Healthy: This beet soup is full of protein and a variety of heart-healthy and immune-boosting essential vitamins and minerals. A bowl of this traditional borscht recipe is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, iron, and protein from all the ingredients. 

Delicious: You’ve got tender meat and vegetables that release their flavors into the soup for a phenomenal taste.

A Symphony Of Textures: My family’s borscht recipe has succulent, tender pieces of meat which are combined with softened beets, carrots, and crunchy red peppers. You really get to enjoy every texture.

Key Ingredients to make the Ukrainian beet soup

red borscht ingredients individually laid out.
  • Medium Beets: The star ingredient of this recipe is fresh beets. They add a subtly sweet flavor and give the vibrant red color to this soup
  • Carrots: Grated carrots add sweetness and texture to the soup.
  • Potatoes: Use russet potatoes or any potatoes you have on hand. Potatoes make the soup more filling. 
  • Medium onion: The yellow onion flavorful makes this traditional recipe more delicious.
  • Red peppers: Adds a naturally mild and sweet taste to the recipe. 
  • Beef or chicken: It’s your choice to use either one in this recipe. Using bone-in cuts for the extra fat and marrow flavoring.

Along with those ingredients, you will need bay leaves, fresh dill, cold water, tomato paste, salt, black pepper, cabbage, and olive oil.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

How to make the Classic Borscht recipe

1: Boil the meat 

  • In a large saucepan or soup pot, boil water with beef, a dry bay leaf, and salt for 30 minutes on medium-high heat.

2: Prep Vegetables

  • Grate the medium beets and carrots, shred cabbages, chop onions, and cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

3: Sauté the vegetables 

  • While the meat is boiling, heat up olive oil in a skillet then add in onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the grated carrots and beet and continue sautéing everything for another 5 minutes.

4: Stir in tomato paste

  • Add in tomato paste then stir together and set aside.

5: Separate the meat 

  • After the meat has been boiling for 30 minutes, take a bowl or a different pot and separate the broth from the meat. Set the meat aside.

6: Boil potatoes and cabbage 

  • Add potatoes to the water from the meat and bring to a boil then add in shredded cabbage and boil until the potatoes are soft.

7: Mix in the veggies 

  • Add sautéed vegetables to the pot with potatoes and cabbage and add in the red bell pepper and a little salt and pepper to taste.

8: Add in meat 

  • Add the meat into the pot (if that’s your personal preference. or leave the meat out completely if you prefer vegetarian borscht.)

9: Sprinkle herbs

  • Sprinkle the fresh dill then bring everything to a boil. 

10: Finish up then serve 

  • Once done, turn off the heat and let the soup sit for 5 to 10 minutes so all of the flavors of the borscht soup can combine. Add the soup to a bowl and serve with rye bread and enjoy! 

How to store leftover Beet-based soup

  • Once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can store the leftover borscht in mason jars or airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove. 
  • You can freeze the borscht in freezer-safe containers for up to two months. Be sure to leave an inch or two for expansion. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the microwave or on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.

Expert Tips 

  • The best way to make borscht is to layer it with each ingredient one at a time. 
  • Having all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go makes this soup super easy to make.
  • Chop the potatoes last and transfer them to a bowl of cold water to keep them from discoloring until you’re ready to use them.
  • Use gloves when handling red beets or your fingertips will stain red for a couple of days.
  • You can use a food processor to grate fresh beets coarsely and with texture. It’s better than a hand grater and this also keeps the counter and your hands clean.
  • For the best borscht, keep the soup over medium heat throughout the cooking process. It prevents overcooking of the ingredients.  

Recipe FAQs 

What are the health benefits of beets?

According to Healthline, beets are a rich and nutritious superfood packed with iron, which may help fight chronic inflammation and lower blood pressure. 

What’s the best way to serve the traditional Ukrainian Borscht recipe?

The perfect way to serve this hearty soup is with a topping of a dollop of sour cream or with rye bread. A dollop of sour cream adds a light and delicate creaminess and the rye bread soaks up the broth better without making the bread go mushy. You can also enjoy this great recipe with real mayo, and sourdough bread, or eat small bites of raw garlic with each bite.

Is Borscht soup better the next day?

Yes, the best borscht is always the one you eat the next day. It continues to develop its flavors as it marinates in the fridge so storing it overnight and enjoying it the next day is always a good move. You can totally eat it on the day you prepare it too. 


More Classic Slavic Soup Recipes:

The Green Herb Soup with Sorrel (Shchavel Borscht) is a light, sour, nutritious green herb soup with sorrel.

The Green Herb Sorrel Soup topped with hard-boiled eggs is a traditional green borscht that is vibrant, delicious, and easy to make. 

This Simple Homemade Fish Soup with Veggies (Ukha) is a quick, versatile soup that is easy to make.

Other Tasty Soups to Try

If you tried this Simple and Classic Red Borscht or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you enjoyed it in the📝 comments below. I love hearing from you!


Simple and Classic Red Borscht

This classic Russian beet soup also is known as Red Borscht uses lots of vegetables. Packed with health benefits with a lot of flavors!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Russian, Soup
Allergy: Gluten Free, Nut Free
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Calories: 453kcal



  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 lb beef, or chicken
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 red beet, grated
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4-5 potatoes, cubed
  • ¼ cabbage head, shredded
  • ¼ red bell pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped


  • In a large pot, boil 4 quarts of water with 1 lb beef, 1 dry bay leaf, and 1 Tablespoon of salt for 30 minutes.
    4 quarts water, 1 lb beef,, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 bay leaf
  • While the meat is boiling, heat up 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.
    2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add in onion. Sauté for 5 minutes.
    1 yellow onion,
  • Add in the grated carrots and beet Continue sautéing everything for another 5 minutes.
    2 small carrots,, 1 red beet,
  • Add in 1 Tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir together and set aside.
    1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • After the meat has been boiling for 30 minutes, take a bowl or a different pot and separate the broth from the meat. Set the meat aside.
  • Add potatoes to the water from the meat. Bring to a boil.
    4-5 potatoes,
  • Add in shredded cabbage. Boil until the potatoes are soft.
    ¼ cabbage head,
  • Add in sautéed vegetables to the pot.
    1 yellow onion,, 2 small carrots,, 1 red beet,
  • Add in the red bell pepper, then salt and pepper to taste.
    ¼ red bell pepper, salt and pepper,
  • If you like the meat in your soup, this is the time to add it back in. (Optional)
  • Sprinkle the fresh chopped dill.
    1 Tbsp fresh dill,
  • Bring everything to a boil. Enjoy!


  • Serve with sour cream (optional)
  • Add salt and pepper to your taste. 
  • Use beef if you don’t like chicken. 


Calories: 453kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1569mg | Potassium: 1249mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 4373IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 4mg
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