Borscht (Beet Soup)

Enjoy the rich tapestry of flavors with a bowl of traditional Borscht! A symphony of garden-fresh ingredients: vibrant beets, hearty potatoes, aromatic onions, crunchy cabbage, sweet carrots, and a hint of garlic.

This hearty soup, with its mesmerizing ruby hue, not only captivates the eyes but also warms the soul. Whether enjoyed piping hot or chilled, it’s a timeless dish that never fails to delight.

Homemade Borscht in two bowls.

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What Makes This Warm Borscht the Perfect Soup for Fall and Winter? 

Everyone has heard of Borscht, but most people haven’t tried it. It’s time to remedy that with this warm traditional borscht recipe. Borscht has a lot going for it as a cold-weather soup.

Its main ingredients, beets, carrots, onions, and cabbage, are all hearty enough to grow into the late fall, so you know you won’t be eating vegetables that have been sitting around for months. Fresher ingredients mean better taste and more nutrition.

And it is tough to beat Borscht for keeping colds at bay. Delicious, warm, fresh, and healthy; what more could you want when it is cold outside? 

Why You Should Try This Recipe 

There are so many versions of Borscht out there, and you may want to try them all, but this recipe is a great place to start. The ingredients are inexpensive, and cooking the soup couldn’t be any easier besides the prep work.

Getting someone to try a beet-based soup is challenging enough, but cold beet soup is probably a deal-breaker. This warm version makes it a little easier to convince a reluctant diner to taste it! As a bonus, this traditional borscht recipe is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, meaning everyone can enjoy it. 

What is the difference between Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian Borscht?

Ukrainian Borscht is a hearty soup with beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and tomatoes at its core. Often, a piece of meat, pork, is used to prepare the broth. It is usually served with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill or parsley. Some variations might include beans or bell peppers, and the flavor profile can be slightly sweet-sour due to adding sugar and vinegar or lemon juice.

Russian Borscht shares many foundational ingredients with its Ukrainian counterpart, such as beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and onions. However, it might use tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes and sometimes incorporate bell peppers and celery. The soup is typically served with sour cream and may accompany black bread or pirozhki. It might be slightly less tangy than the Ukrainian version, and there’s also a green variant that uses sorrel instead of beets.

Polish Borscht, often referred to as “barszcz” stands out with its clearer broth and often lacks vegetables like potatoes or cabbage in the final dish. Beets are the star ingredient, complemented by onions and garlic. The soup is typically served with sour cream or clear, accompanied by “uszka” (tiny mushroom-filled dumplings), particularly during Christmas Eve dinner. Barszcz in Poland can be more tangy than its counterparts and cold or hot. Another Polish variation is the “white borscht,” based on fermented rye flour with sausage and hard-boiled eggs.

Warm Red Borscht Soup Ingredients

For this Borscht recipe, you’ll need:

  • Fresh Beets
  • White onions
  • Potatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Medium Carrots
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil 
  • White wine vinegar
Borscht ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

High-starch potatoes like Russets will thicken the soup nicely. For a thinner consistency, try Yukon Gold potatoes.

You can substitute vegetable oil with light olive oil.

You can substitute all or part of the water with vegetable, chicken, or beef broth.

You can substitute white wine vinegar with lemon juice.

Add 1 or 2 bay leaves for extra savory flavor.

Recipe Tip: Red beets will stain your hand and other surfaces. Wear gloves and use a cutting board that you don’t mind it getting stained.

How to Make Vegetarian Borscht

To prep the borscht soup recipe:

  1. Peel and slice the white onions into thin strips and set them aside. 
  2. Peel and dice the potatoes into medium bite-sized pieces and place them into a water bowl to prevent browning.
  3. Rough chop the parsley and reserve. 
  4. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and chop into large pieces.
  5. Peel the beets and carrots and shred both vegetables into a bowl. 
  6. Mash the garlic and keep it for later. 

To cook the borscht soup:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Simmer the diced potatoes with the chopped parsley in the water until the potatoes are fork-tender. 
Potatoes, fresh parsley, and water in a pot.
  1. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the sliced onions in oil until translucent. 
  2. Add the shredded beets and carrots to the skillet.
  3. Stir in the white wine vinegar and heat through. 
Shredded beets and vegetables in a pot.
  1. Transfer the vegetable mixture in the skillet to the pot with the tender potatoes.
Borscht cooking in a large pot.
  1. Turn off the heat, add the mashed garlic, and stir well. 
  2. Serve warm in a bowl. 
A bowl of homemade Borscht soup.

What To Top Borscht With

In addition to the almost mandatory dollop of sour cream (you can also use vegan sour cream), there are a few traditional toppings that can take vegetarian Borscht to the next level:

  • Chopped fresh dill. The herb brightens the soup with its distinct aroma and unique flavor. 
  • Sliced green onions. The mild onion flavor and the crunch of green onions make it a favorite topping. 
  • Freshly grated horseradish. For its aromatic spice and head-clearing ability, horseradish is a welcome addition when the weather is cold. 
  • Hard-boiled eggs. Cut in half and floated in a bowl of Borscht, hard-boiled eggs bring a lot of protein to the dish. 
  • Croutons. Croutons made from stale rye or black bread add a crunch that contrasts well with the soft ingredients and make the soup more filling. 

What to Serve With Borscht

Borscht works as a light lunch or a starter for roasts. You can also pair this vegetarian Borscht recipe with side dishes to prepare a full meal. Here are some classic and modern suggestions:

  • Pampushky is a type of Ukrainian garlic bread that is easy to make and goes well with borsht. Here is a good recipe for Pampushky if you want to try making it. 
  • Cured meats, like sausages, are an easy and delicious way to round out a borscht-based meal. 
  • A hunk of black or rye bread is an excellent, delicious, authentic addition. 

How to Store Traditional Borscht 

You can keep red borscht in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

If you want to keep the soup for a month or more, you can freeze it. Portion the soup into food-safe bags and put the bags into an airtight container in the freezer. Let the frozen borscht thaw overnight in the fridge. 

What Is the Best Way to Reheat Borscht?

The key to reheating borscht is to avoid it coming to a simmer:

  1. Put the cold borscht in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the soup is at the proper temperature. 
  3. Serve with garnishes. 
Two bowls of homemade Borscht beet soup.

Favorite Soup Recipes

Check out more of my easy soup recipes and the best vegetarian recipes on CopyKat!

Homemade Borscht in two bowls.

Homemade Borscht

This hearty warm Borscht is a delicious beet soup to enjoy in the fall and winter.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Keyword: Borscht, Soup Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 89kcal


  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • salt to taste
  • 2 onions thinly sliced
  • oil
  • 2 pounds beets shredded
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • white wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds cabbage cut into 7-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons mashed garlic


  • Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the potatoes, parsley, and salt and cook for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • In a separate deep pan, sauté the onions in oil until translucent. Add the beets, carrots, and vinegar and cook until soft.
  • Add the cabbage and sauteed vegetables to the pot with the boiled potatoes. Turn off the heat and add the garlic. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.


When reheating, do not boil or the bright red color will be lost.


Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 629mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1570IU | Vitamin C: 35.7mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3.2mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Joeblow

    I’ve made this a few times now. My girlfriend and I can’t get enough.
    The only thing lacking here was black pepper. Then it’s perfect!

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