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

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 pound slice of bone-in beef shank with a lot of meat (or 1 pound of stew beef), excess fat trimmed
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 cups beef broth or beef stock, divided 4 cups and 4 cups
  • 4 large beets (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, chopped
  • 4 carrots (1 lb), peeled, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato (.75 lb), 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


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.

borscht-method-1 borscht-method-2

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.


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.

borscht-method-5 borscht-method-6

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.


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.

borscht-method-8 borscht-method-9

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.

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  • Herbert Daly

    Only problem is, it’s not kosher for our Jewish friends, whose scripture forbids meat and dairy being used together. To this non-kosher guy, it looks delish, though.

  • Maureen Reagan

    I can’t stop making this stuff. It’s DELICIOUS!!! I’ve gone from a long life of never eating beets to being addicted. I’m on about my 20th pot since winter. I’m eating a bowl right now. I omit the dill and salt and keep the oil and fat. GREAT RECIPE.


  • Scott

    I lived in Russia for a few years as a young man and love making borsch for my loved ones. Thank you for the recipe.


    Very authentic – thanks

  • Rose

    I’ve made few Borscht recipes this one I liked the least because it was way too sweet


  • Andrea

    I used ground beef because I prefer it and I added 2 TBSP sugar and 2 bay leaves that I saw on another borscht recipe. It was probably the most delicious soup I have ever made. YUM!!!


  • Rashmi

    Truly delicious


  • Anne

    This is delicious!!! I had never had it before, now I’m hooked.


  • Christian

    I’ve been making borscht for 20 years, always amazed at the many veriaties of recipes I come across, yet have never thought to roast the veggies first. Wow! What a great idea it really brings out the flavors. I followed your recipe with only a touch of creamed horseradish added to the meat. So very good thank you!


  • Christina wilkiams

    It’s says better made a day before… How do You recommend We reheat It? Have you ever made with a crockpot?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Christina, I usually just reheat it on the stovetop. I haven’t made it with a slow cooker yet.

  • Susie Schwarz

    Has anyone tried freezing this delicious soup? If so, do the potatoes come out fine, or were they mealy?

    • Bayar

      I don’t think it is a good idea to freeze it, potatoes will be awful. But you can scoop out potatoes and freeze it. When you use it later you can add freshly cooked potatoes ( but make sure you let it stay for a while so it absorbs the taste of the borsh)

    • Sharon

      I freeze soups ALL the time. I make big batches specifically to freeze and have on hand all winter. Potatoes, suspended in a liquid, freeze just as well as anything else. In all of my 40 years of cooking, I’ve never encountered a mealy potato in any of the many varieties of soups I’ve frozen. Not one has ever come out “awful.”

  • Patty

    Thank you for a gorgeous recipe. I enjoyed it very much and couldn’t get enough of the soup!


  • Kat

    I never properly thanked you.
    I’ve been using this recipe for years. It’s simple, authentic, and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.


  • Annabelle

    Made this yesterday. I was abit apprehensive at first because the process seemed so simple, it doesnt have spices or anything. But I made it and it turned out to be very nice.

    It definitely tastes better the next day!


  • Beth Potts

    I’ve tried a couple borscht recipes lately, and this one is hands down the best! My husband isn’t very keen on the idea of “soup for dinner” but this one keeps him coming back for seconds, with continuous compliments to the cook. :) Hearty and tasty! Thank you!


  • Margaret

    The only time I ever had borscht before was in Moscow, and it was so good I decided to try it again with this recipe. This was even better! One of my college age boys had a friend here – he said if I cook like this all the time he’s going to set up a tent in the backyard and live here.


  • Jeni

    We used this recipe as inspiration for our dinner night before last. YUM!! And it’s true– even better the next day!!


  • Jean

    I made this recipe last night, to the raves of my Ukrainian adopted girls. It was the best recipe I have found, as the others were lacking in, well, taste! This is rich, sweet and savory. I have added it to my “most excellent recipes” file!


  • Ms. Glaze

    I clicked over to your site to find a pear recipe and I burst out laughing when I caught sight of this one. Last night my Mom and I got in a heated debate at the dinner table on how to properly make borscht to the extent that we started pulling out every single recipe book in the history of mankind to prove our individual arugments. My Lithuanian Stepfather also has his two cents to add – mainly that he hated eating it growing up. Being Russian jew and having now read over a dozen cookbooks, I can honestly say that there are as many borscht recipes as there are Russians! I can’t wait to print this one out and give it a shot. Looks fabulous. Maybe I’ll surprise my Mom with it tonight (hee, hee!).

  • Sidonie

    Borscht has definitely become one of my favourite soups, also great when you freeze some to eat later. I recently made a bet with a Russian friend (who happens to also be a chef) about who’s borscht would be better. So we had an impartial friend try both. In then end she amalgamated the two recipes, so I guess in a way we both won. My recipe is similar to this but without the beef and without all the skimming and whatnot, and the my friend’s version adds cream and a little grated parsnip.

  • Randy

    I would reserve all of the dill until serving time. High heat destroys the flavor of dill, so it’s best added at the last moment. It’s even better if you add dill after you kill the heat, then let the soup sit in the fridge for a day and allow the dill to infuse the soup with its flavor. That extra day to allow the flavors to meld makes a huge difference with any soup.

    • foggyoldlady

      I thought the same.

  • Pauline Morrison

    I first ate borsch when as a teenager, my family was invited to dinner by a Ukranian family. Back then, I wasn’t yet interested in recipes — but, I’ve never forgotten how wonderful the beet borsch was! However, I seem to remember that their borsch was creamed, but have seen no recipes for creamed. Are there any?

    • Suzanne Muller

      I do believe the sour cream will provide that creaminess (put a dollop in bowl just before serving).

    • Sarah

      There’s also a “white” version of borscht. Both very delicious.

  • Dakota Cookery

    I love seeing so many different borscht recipes. I grew up in the upper Midwest in an area with a lot of Mennonite/Hutterite influence, and our “borscht” doesn’t include beets at all!

    Between the late 1700s and late 1800s, a group of Mennonites (actually of German descent) lived in what is now the modern-day Ukraine. While they largely maintained their German language and traditions, they picked up on various elements of Russian cuisine. In the late 19th century, they moved to the north-central US and central Canada, and they brought their love of hearty, delicious food with them.

    Our borscht is based on a rich, beefy broth from boiling beef bones. It includes cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, and lots and lots of tomatoes. I have actually never had borscht with beets! It can be served many different ways and with many different seasonings. I like serving it with lots of fresh dill and a splash of heavy cream. It’s tasty and nutritious no matter how you prepare it.

  • Johanna

    Can you make this without adding the red wine vinegar or can u use a sub of some sort?

    Try using some other vinegar, such as cider vinegar. ~Elise

  • Mary

    What a great resource. My home grown beetroot is boiling as I type – I decided to look for a recipe AFTER I’d put them on the fire.
    As I suspected from my own experience of arguments among the Lithanians, Latvians, Russians and Ukranians in our Yorkshire street there is no one ‘authentic’ recipe so mine will be as good as anyone else’s :-)
    And what marvellous websites from other readers, although I’m passionate about food I haven’t a food-dedicated website but I’m going to come back to these time and time again. It seems to me that one doesn’t need any other reference for any recipe.
    Thank you.

  • lizzy

    i made this for the first time and it came out fantastic even better than my mother-in-laws! I followed the recipe quite closely. However I used beef neck instead (and marinated it for 1 night), and chicken stock for the second 4 cups of broth. I can’t wait until it cools down so i can top it with cucumber, hard boiled egg, dill, and sour cream.

  • Ruthi Jacobs

    In a magnificent resturant in Russia I had Borscht for the first time. Wow ! good. I have tired recipes but the one that tasted closest to the one I had in Russia had carraway seeds in it. Try that rather than dill, it really goes well with this.

  • Christine

    Just when I was getting ready to cook some borscht, I noticed I had all my ingredients but the cabbage. Is there an alternative to the cabbage? Or can it be left out completely? I’m wondering how much of an impact the cabbage has on the overall flavor of the soup.

    Borscht is a hearty peasant soup that is made in many ways. You can certainly make a borscht without cabbage, including this one. ~Elise

  • Tatyana

    The recipe has the ingredients about right. However, I was dissapointed in their recommended steps to incorporating the beets. Anyone who has ever cooked beets knows that they’re practically impossible to chop until they’re boiled and tender. I definately boiled mine first and then cut them up. I dont even want to think about how long it would have taken me to chop them if I hadn’t. If you end up taking my advice but still want to use the recipe above, make sure you throw in the beets later than you do potato and carrots. I chose to throw in the beets 20 minutes after the other vegetables and they turned out perfect.

    • David Smith

      Use a mandolin on the veggies, even beets stand no chance against a good sharp mandolin.

  • Patricia Ross

    I loved this borscht recipe, the only things I changed was using short ribs that have been braised first and adding a can of diced tomatoes. It turned out most yummy!!

  • Michelle

    Hi!I am actually making Borscht as I type and stumbled across your recipe version to see what differences my recipe may have from others. I make a beef stock using a beef sirloin roast (bone-in)with onions and chives plus 2 cups of beef stock and plenty of water (about 5 cups). When that is done I toss in shredded cabbage and diced potatoes while I prep the rest. Before I combine all the ingredients I sautee onions, beets, carrots, shredded celery (sometimes no celery)and tomatoes in sunflower oil for about 10 minutes. I add tomato paste (2 Tblsp.) and brown or regular sugar(1-2 Tblspn.) and cider vinegar (1 Tblsp). It softens the beets and forces the color into the other vegetables. I add fresh parsley for herbs, pepper, salt and finally garnish with the parsley and the sour cream when serving. Thanks for posting this! It is neat to see all the different ways of making borscht.

  • Arno

    Today I made a spring borscht, all the usual ingredients plus beet tops and apple. If you don’t have the tops, add chard. Lovely.

  • Erica

    I discovered by accident of what was in the fridge that store-bought tzatziki (or homemade if you have it) is a great addition to borscht…cucumber, dill and yogurt sub out very nicely for the sour cream. Yum! My favorite part is stirring the tzatziki (or sour cream) into the soup to give my daughter “pink soup”.

  • sarah

    I elise,

    If you like Borscht, you may want to try dill soup, very simple with potatoes and dill. You can also add pieces of ham, but wash the dill very well! Last time I made it and I ended up with sand at the bottom of the pot!

  • PamC.

    Does it matter if you use green or red cabbage?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pam, I don’t think it matters. Everything in this soup turns red at the end anyway.

  • Olga

    For a richer flavor you can use overgrown dill: the coarse stems, the tiny yellow flowers, the seeds – just about everything except the roots :)

  • Anastasia

    I’ve just cooked a lovely pot of borscht yesterday:) What is a very important thing to do while cooking borscht is to make a “zazharka” – the fry-up. While the broth (or just water as you can make a vegetarian borscht) is heating up you need to saute in corn oil or lard finely chopped carrots and onion; then you mix in tomato paste or chopped fresh tomatoes and saute until the color of the oil is red. Same time: saute in oil or lard finely chopped beetroot; spray it with lemon juice so the color stays bright. Then the ingredients are recommended to be put in broth in the following direction: first – potatoes cut in cubes (30 minutes prior to the end of cooking). Then cabbages cut in stripes (20 minutes prior to end of cooking). Then goes the beetroot (15 minutes before end). Then – the “zazharka” (10 minutes before end). Then 5 minutes before end – several black peppers and a couple of laurel leafs. Then you leave the soup simmer for about 20 minutes. Then – you may eat it seasonned with sourcream and dill.

    But it definitely gets better the day after))

    And there definitely are a thousand ways to cook it:) And everyone will tell that the way he does is the one and only to do)

  • Jessica

    That sounds delicious! Our nanny is from Georgia (Soviet) and gave me her recipe to try a couple weeks ago. Oh so delicious! Some differences between hers and your friend’s recipe is that she grates the carrots and beets and, instead of dill, she likes to use fresh parsley and fresh cilantro. However, she says that in Georgia they LOVE fresh herbs and you could add a bunch of fresh dill, as well. Also, her recipe calls to use stewing beef and to boil the beef until nearly done and then use that broth as the broth for the soup. I’m not convinced on that aspect (tough beef), but regardless… what a soup!

  • Petro

    How to improve Borshch

    1. Simple…. just add a couple of slices of ham… no… not the hormone/preservatives filled kind… try to find a Polish/Ukrainian deli/grocery store… they should sell the real ham smoked using the wood of fruit trees… the juices from ham will balance out the sour taste in Borshch nicely. I’d add the ham about 15 mins before the Borshch is done.

    2. MOST IMPORTANT… the Borshch always tastes best the next day… really! It’s the way it should be served!

    Also, I highly recommend trying the “Green Borshch.” I’m not joking… it’s the name in Ukrainian.

    Here is the recipe…,ukrainian_zelany_borshch.phtml

  • Vix

    Coming from a Polish family, I can’t wait to try this version of borscht! Also, instead of using red-wine vinegar try using some of the juice from a can of pickled beets! It’s what my mother uses and it always comes out delectable.

    • Sandi

      and/or some dill pickle juice! Mmmmmm

  • 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.