Ukrainian Borscht Recipe

This is a nostalgic recipe for me: borscht, a soup from the former Soviet Union. Probably the reason why there are still fights who can call it a national dish. Whereas Russia has declared the dumplings called pelmeni its national dish, Ukraine claimed borscht, the soup with red beet, a national treasure. However, quite a few of the former states of the union serve a variety of this famous soup. The main ingredients are usually red beet and cabbage. In the Ukraine typically it will be served with sour cream, dill, and vinegar. Since I got used to the version from my grandma, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, it probably comes as no surprise that I will introduce the Ukrainian version here.

Yes, my grandma cooked this recipe for us a lot when I was a teenager. However, I never was too excited when I realized she had made it for us again. Reason for this being that she would only serve the below version on day 1. On day 2 you would suddenly find additional ingredients, I remember seeing tortellini and thinking why an Italian ingredient made it into this Ukrainian dish. Another time she served it with rice floating in the soup. So I didn’t eat this soup in a long time, I just didn’t think much of it, it felt like a soup you would throw in anything you found and wanted to use. Until I finally had the chance to try it again recently. Last year we went on  a trip to Dresden visiting relatives of mine. My uncle served borscht. My hubby had never eaten borscht and got very excited. I took notes while my uncle prepared the soup and got quite nostalgic. I had to admit, if served just the supposed ingredients and some homemade twoiback (brioche-like buns), this borscht is a divine and hearty meal. I really enjoyed it and I hope you do, too.

Ukrainian Borscht Soup

Serves: For about 6 people
Prep Time: 2hr Cooking Time: 1hr 40min

Ukrainian borscht soup consists of red beet and cabbage as the main ingredients. This vegetable soup may be served in summer as well as in winter and may be made vegan.


  • About 700-800 grams of soup meat with bones, you can add extra bones for flavor, if you want to do a vegan version, replace with three liters of vegetable broth
  • 1 garlic clove, bay leaves, peppercorns
  • Half a white cabbage (I had a red one, you may use as well)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium-size carrots
  • 3 medium-size red beets (fresh ones)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of tomatoe paste
  • 4 medium-size potatoes (I had 8 small ones)
  • Salt, pepper, dill, vinegar
  • (Vegan) sour cream, bread for serving



Bring a large pot with 3 liters of water to a boil, add the meat, peeled and chopped garlic, 3 bay leaves and a dash of peppercorns. I like to add a tablespoon of soy sauce. Let simmer for about an hour. Then take meat off bones and cut into small pieces. Set the meat aside. Filter the broth and put back into the pot. If you are doing the vegan version, fill pot with three liters of vegetable broth and continue as below.


Thinnly slice the cabbage and add to the broth, let simmer for about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile peel and cut the onion and carrots. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and let the onion and carrots cook on medium heat for five minutes, stir occasionally. While they are cooking, peel the red beet and cut into cubes, also peel garlic and smash, then add both to the mix and let simmer for about 5 more minutes, lastly add the tomatoe paste and simmer for about another minute. Continue by peeling and cubing the potatoes. Now add the ingredients of the frying pan to the broth and also put in potatoes cubes and meat. You may add a few bay leaves again. Let everything cook for about 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, dill, and vinegar to your liking. My grandma liked to serve borscht with a dash of sour cream and more fresh dill. We would usually have twoiback with it. Borscht is usually served with bread on the side. It freezes beautifully and can be reheated several days if chilled in the fridge.

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  • Reply
    Friday February 9th, 2024 at 08:58 AM

    Liebe Jenny, dieser Borscht ist wirklich lecker und eine Bereicherung. Vielen Dank für das authentische Rezept, das einfach sehr gut zu Zorra’s Blogevent zum Thema Eintopf passt.
    Herzliche Grüße


  • Reply
    zorra vom kochtopf
    Sunday March 10th, 2024 at 01:39 PM

    Ich habe doch tatsächliche noch nie Borscht gegessen. Das kann ich ja jetzt mit deinem Rezept ändern…

    • Reply
      Sunday March 10th, 2024 at 02:23 PM

      What? Musst du unbedingt bald mal probieren!

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