My first memorable encounter with borscht was at a pot-luck party I had in San Francisco, in which my friend Elisabeth brought a huge, must have been 12 or 16-quart, pot of drop-dead delicious, deep purply red soup filled with beets. Elisabeth’s grandparents were Ukrainian, and I think borscht was one of her favorite soups to make. Every time I make or eat borscht I think of my friend and the discovery of how good a soup made primarily of beets can be.

The wind is howling outside, if any leaves remain on the trees they are sure to come down today. Here is a wonderfully satisfying beet borscht, perfect for a cold weather day.


Borscht Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.


  • 8 cups beef broth or beef stock*
  • 1 pound slice of bone-in beef shank with a lot of meat
  • 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
  • 4 large beets, peeled, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*Use gluten-free broth if you are cooking gluten-free


1 Put 4 cups of the beef broth, shank, and quartered onion in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

2 Remove the meat from the pot. Remove any bone, connective tissue, and excess fat. Chop up the meat, place in a bowl, and chill in the refrigerator. Let the broth cool at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator and let chill until cold—4 hours to up to a day.

3 When the broth is chilled, any fat will have risen to the top and solidified. Remove and discard this fat. Return the pot to the stove and add the remaining broth, the carrots, beets, and the diced potato. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

4 Add the chopped meat to the pot, the sliced cabbage, and a half cup of the fresh dill. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the cabbage is cooked through. Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve ladled into bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.

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Recipe adapted from one in Bon Appetit Magazine.


Fresh beet gazpacho from Fresh Approach Cooking
Refreshing borscht from Bea of La Tartine Gourmande
Beet-less Cabbage Borscht by the Blog That Ate Manhattan
Finnish Borscht from Alanna of Kitchen Parade
Simple vegetarian borscht by CookThink


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Showing 4 of 55 Comments

  • beckiwithani

    When I was in Russia in college, my host mom used to make “xolodny borshch” – cold borscht – because it was summer. It was amazing with a big dollop of sour cream and tons of fresh dill. This recipe looks great. Thanks!

  • Pille

    I love borscht – it’s a very common soup here in Estonia! I made borscht last Monday, and again yesterday. I prefer mine meatless – beetroot soups have so much flavour on their own, I think.. I’ve already blogged about beetroot soups (borscht and otherwise) on my blog a few times, so I need to think twice from now on before posting another beet soup recipe :)

  • Ellie

    Having only this weekend become a beetroot convert and finally discovering how delicious it can be, I’m eager to try new ways of enjoying it – I’ll have to add this to the list of beet recipes that I’ve been collecting over the past few days :D

  • Alycia

    My family’s been debating over borscht recipes this whole past year. My grandmother’s recipe uses pork bones with lemon juice to sour it up. My aunt’s recipe uses beef and vinegar. (I’ve even read some recipes that use beet kvaas – a fermented sour beet drink.) Either way, it’s always appreciated when someone brings over a pot. Serve with lots of sour cream and fresh pepper – instant happy.

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