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Ukrainian Borscht

Ukrainian Borscht

Traditional Ukrainian Borscht Recipe Beet Soup

This is a recipe for Ukrainian Borscht. This recipe is from one of the Ukrainian refugees presently living in our home.

Yulia made this recently and it was sooooo good we decided to add this to the list of international recipes on my site. We have made it again since I took the first photographs as it was so tasty!

Ukrainians take great pride in their national dish and continue to pass down family recipes from generation to generation. So we have to thank Yulia’s mother for this!


ukrainian borscht


What is Borscht?

Borscht, which is also known as borsch, is a hearty soup that originated in Eastern Europe. People now enjoy borscht all over the world.


onions peppers and carrots
Sauteeing the onions peppers and carrots

This dish is typically made with beets (beetroot) which give the soup its characteristic deep red colour. It also has other vegetables such as carrots, onions, and potatoes.

This version of the recipe does not actually use that much beetroot compared to other recipes, so the result is maybe not as red as you may expect. But we found the combination of flavours was excellent and the taste and texture were perfect. It is a hearty and tasteful meal. Real comfort food.

beetroot and tomato sauce
Grated beetroot with tomato sauce

The soup is seasoned with a combination of herbs and spices, such as garlic and bay leaves, and is often served with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt. Sometimes people use dill, but we did not in this recipe.

Ukrainian Borscht

Some people even add other ingredients, such as beans or mushrooms, to make the soup heartier. This recipe does include kidney beans and cabbage, for example.

There are many variations of borscht and this one includes some pork meat. Other recipes may include beef. Use whatever you prefer. The meat is slow-cooked so that it is tender and falls off the bone.

Vegetarian Borscht

Vegetarians and vegans can enjoy a vegetarian Ukrainian borscht by omitting the meat and avoiding the yoghurt if they wish. 

In addition to its delicious taste, borscht is also a nutritious meal. Beets are a good source of fibre and are high in antioxidants, whilst the other vegetables and herbs provide a variety of vitamins and minerals.

ukrainian borscht


Borscht origins

People have enjoyed borscht for centuries in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Hence, the history of Borscht is long and it is considered to be a staple of Eastern European cuisine. Recently the culture of cooking Ukrainian Borscht has been inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding by Unesco.

Serve it up warm on a cold winter day to warm the body and soul.

The soup has also become popular in other parts of the world, and is now a beloved dish in many countries.

One of the great things about Borscht is its versatility. The basic recipe can be easily adapted to suit different tastes and preferences. Apparently, every Ukrainian mum has their own version that are all different.

And of course, you will find that Borscht always tastes better the days after it is made. The sauce thickens up overnight in the fridge.

Regional Variations

Just like any traditional recipe, there are different versions of borscht depending on where you are in Ukraine.

In Western Ukraine, it’s common to add mushrooms or sour cherries to the soup.  In Eastern Ukraine, they prefer their borscht without beets but with plenty of meat instead.


cold borscht
Cold Borscht on day 2. Ready to heat in the microwave


Spicy Borscht

Some of us who prefer a spicier soup can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli. The Borscht in the photos was slightly spicy which I thought made it perfect. 

You can serve up with sour cream or yoghurt which adds a healthy dose of probiotics, which can help support digestion.

Ukrainian Borscht
Ukrainian Borscht

Overall, I think you will find that borscht is a delicious and nutritious soup. 

Its versatility and adaptability make it a great dish to experiment with and customize to your own tastes.

Finally, Borscht is a great choice whether you are looking for a hearty meal on a cold day or a nutritious and flavourful soup any time of year.

How to make Traditional Ukrainian Borscht

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Ukrainian Borscht

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

This recipe for Ukrainian borscht is an authentic recipe that we had to include on this site. Absolutely delicious with a touch of spice.


  • 2 Onions
  • 1 x 400g tin of Kidney beans, drained and washed
  • 500g bacon loin rib
  • 680g Boneless pork Loin Chops
  • 1,250g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cabbage
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 300g cooked beetroot
  • 250g tomato passata
  • 1 bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
  • 1 Handful Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 dried chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Youghurt or sour cream


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cut the meat into pieces (cut the rib between the bones and the chops into 2cm size pieces). The bones go into the pan.
  3. Put the meat in a large casserole pot (I used my large Le Creuset casserole for this) into the oven for 60 minutes.
  4. In the meantime prepare the rest of the ingredients: grate the carrots and beetroot, chop the pepper into small pieces, finely chop the onions and tomatoes, and peel and chop the potatoes into 2cm pieces. Chop the cabbage laterally very thinly.
  5. Then fry the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes. (I use a wok for this). Then add the grated carrots to the onion and fry for 3 minutes. Add the chopped pepper to the pan and fry for a further 3 minutes before removing from the heat.
  6. In the meantime mix the tomato passata with the beetroot in another pan and add some water to dilute the mixture. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer, adding the tomatoes to this pan, stirring all the time. Then remove from the heat.
  7. When the meat in the oven has cooked for 60 minutes, remove from the oven. Then add the contents of the other pans plus about 1 litre of water to the casserole dish and mix well.
  8. Then simmer on the hob covered for another hour.
  9. Then add the potatoes, beans and the cabbage to the mix. Add the chopped garlic, bay leaves, chopped parsley, paprika, dried parsley and chilli and cover the pot.
  10. Bring to a boil and simmer on the hob until the potatoes are cooked, but do not let them dissolve (say 20 minutes).
  11. Finally, taste and season to suit.


Serve in a soup bowl with a glob of yogurt or sour cream to take the heat off the spice.

Eat with some garlic bread or buttered sourdough to mop up the juices.

You can keep this for a few days in the fridge and reheat in the microwave oven.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 550Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1039mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 40g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

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