Delicious borscht soup made with fresh red beets, beef shank, onions, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, dill, and sour cream.

Elise Bauer

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.

Elise Bauer

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.


Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

The soup is best made a day ahead, giving the flavors time to meld.


  • Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil

  • 1 (1 1/4 pound) slice bone-in beef shank with a lot of meat, or 1 pound beef stew meat, excess fat trimmed

  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 8 cups beef broth or beef stock, divided

  • 4 large beets (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and chopped

  • 4 carrots (1 pound), peeled and chopped

  • 1 large russet potato (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Brown the beef, add onions:

    Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Add the shank slice or stew beef. Let the beef brown lightly on one side, then turn over.

    Add the chopped onions to the pot. Let the onions cook and soften, about 5 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  2. Add 4 cups broth, cook until beef is tender:

    Pour 4 cups of beef broth over the beef and onions in the pot. 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.

    Elise Bauer
  3. While the beef is cooking, prep and roast the beets, carrots, and potato:

    Peel and chop the beets, carrots, and potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss the beets and carrots with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a foil lined roasting pan. Roast in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    Toss the potatoes with olive oil and make room for them in the roasting pan, and roast everything an additional 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the meat from the pot:

    Once the beef has cooked through until tender in step 2, remove from the pot, and take the pot off the heat. If you are using a beef shank, remove and discard any bone, connective tissue, and excess fat. Chop the meat into bite sized pieces.

    Elise Bauer
  5. Skim off excess fat from the liquid in the pot
  6. Finish cooking the soup:

    Return the pot to the stove and add the remaining broth, the carrots, beets, and the diced potato. Add the chopped meat to the pot, the sliced cabbage, and a half cup of the fresh dill. Bring to a simmer, and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the cabbage is cooked through.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I use about 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper, but the amount you use will depend on how salty your beef broth is to begin with.

    The soup is best made a day ahead. (The longer the soup sits by the way, the more it will all turn the deep red color of beets.)

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


Refreshing borscht from Bea of La Tartine Gourmande

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
361 Calories
12g Fat
30g Carbs
33g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 361
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 675mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 25mg 123%
Calcium 133mg 10%
Iron 5mg 27%
Potassium 1532mg 33%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.