Chilled Beet Soup (Cold Borscht)

Cold Borscht

Molly Watson

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
0g Fat
13g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1128mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 5g
Calcium 63mg 5%
*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.)

Sweet, earthy beets become a refreshing chilled soup in this easy, flexible recipe. You can serve it pureed smooth or leave it with pieces of the grated beets in the sweet, red broth. Either way, it's chock full of vitamins and entirely refreshing.

It makes a delightfully fresh start to a bigger dinner, or a perfectly light and refreshing meal when the weather is beyond hot. A dollop of sour cream or yogurt is optional, of course, but that bit of creaminess and tang is the ideal foil to the sweetness of the beets. Serve with crusty bread to sop up any bit of soup clinging to the bottom of the bowl when you're finished spooning it up.


  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 6 cups fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • Optional: 1 clove garlic
  • 4 medium beets (peeled)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Garnish: yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche, and/or herbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Peel the onion and finely chop it.

  2. In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and salt with 1/4 cup of the broth until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. While they cook, peel and mince the garlic, if using; add it to the onions and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add the remaining broth and reduce the heat to low. Grate the beets on a large hole grater directly over the pot so they fall right into the broth. 

  4. Once all the beets are grated into the broth, bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the beets are very tender, about 15 minutes.

  5. If you prefer a creamy soup, whirl the soup in a blender or food processor, or with a hand-held immersion blender, until smooth.

  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.

  7. Ladle into individual soup bowls. Garnish with yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche and/or herbs, if you like.

Recipe Tips

Since this soup is served cold, any fat in the broth will congeal, and likely float on the surface of the soup. Some people may not mind, but others would find it unappetizing. Remove the layer of fat before pureeing (if you are doing so) or chilling.

Prepping raw beets can be a messy job so you will want to cover your work surface with a piece of plastic wrap, waxed paper, or old dish towel before peeling and grating. Handling the beets with bare hands will lead to some staining of the skin. It usually goes away with a few washes, but wear gloves if you don't want pink under your fingernails in the next few days. You can also try squeezing fresh lemon juice over your skin to help remove the purple tint.

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