Ukrainian Beetroot Borshch

Beet and cabbage borscht in bowl
Sharon White / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 5 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
797 Calories
19g Fat
71g Carbs
87g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 797
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 216mg 72%
Sodium 723mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 87g
Vitamin C 91mg 456%
Calcium 326mg 25%
Iron 14mg 76%
Potassium 2343mg 50%
*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.)

Borshch is a well-known soup in Eastern Europe and can take many forms. Some vegetarian versions just use the flavorful veggies for a bright and fresh taste, but other heartier versions use meat and bone stock, and sometimes chicken or fish. This recipe for beetroot soup, or borshch, has beef and fluffy Ukrainian caraway pirozhki dumplings, similar to pierogi, that are cooked right in the broth. Although the dish is excellent with them, it is still a delicious filling meal without.

Filled with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and, of course, beets in addition to the tasty beef shank meat, this borshch needs close to two and a half hours total to be prepared and cooked. The best way of starting this meal is to have all the ingredients ready. This recipe has many ingredients that need to be peeled and/or chopped; if your mise en place is organized, the recipe will be a success. Keep in mind that the beef stock needs a stock sachet, so you'll want to prepare that with the listed herbs and spices.

Serve the soup with sour cream, fresh dill, and lemon wedges to taste. Don't forget abundant slices of any bread of your liking on the table, as this is the classic way of eating this wonderful dish.


For the Beef Stock:

  • 3 pounds beef shanks, or 2 1/2 pounds beef chuck on the bone

  • 8 cups water, plus more as needed

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 large carrot, peeled, coarsely chopped

  • 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped

For the Stock Sachet:

  • 12 stems fresh parsley

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

For the Soup:

  • 1 pound beets, trimmed and peeled

  • 3 large carrots, trimmed and peeled

  • 1/4 large cabbage, shredded

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 2 large onions, diced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Optional Ukrainian Caraway Dumplings:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving:

  • Fresh dill, to taste

  • Sour cream, to taste

  • Lemon wedges, to taste

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Beef Stock

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a stockpot over medium heat, combine beef and water.

  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Continue to skim top surface to remove any impurities.

  4. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Tie stock sachet to pot handle and drop into pot.

  5. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until meat falls off the bone, adding water as needed to cover.

  6. Transfer beef to a bowl and pull meat off bones. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

  7. Strain stock into a clean stockpot, pressing on vegetables to obtain maximum flavor. Discard vegetables.

Make the Soup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add beets and carrots to the beef stock and cook, covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.

  3. Remove vegetables from broth, allow to cool until easy to handle, and then coarsely shred. Set aside.

  4. Add cabbage, potatoes, and onions to broth. Bring back to a boil and then simmer 20 minutes, covered, or until tender.

  5. Add shredded beets and carrots, tomato paste, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. If serving with caraway dumplings, drop batter into soup at this point—they need a total of 10 minutes of cooking.

Make the Caraway Dumplings

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, beaten egg, and pepper to taste. Add to flour mixture and blend with a fork until a stiff, sticky batter forms.

  4. Using a tablespoon or a small cookie scoop, transfer batter to simmering soup, not boiling. Cover and let steam for 5 minutes. Turn dumplings over and steam another 5 minutes, covered.

Serve the Soup

  1. Add reserved meat to soup and heat through, or around 5 minutes.

  2. Serve borshch in warmed bowls with a dollop of sour cream, fresh dill, and a lemon wedge, if desired.

Borshch or borscht? Svekoljnik?

Contrary to popular belief, Ukrainians don't spell their beetroot soup borscht—that's a Yiddish spelling—nor are beets the predominant ingredient. In fact, this stew-like soup is orange from the carrots and tomato paste, and is a purple-red color. The Polish version, called barszcz, has the ruby-red color most people associate with beet soup. Russians call their cold beet soup svekoljnik, which is very red in color. In Ukraine, beet soup is made in infinite varieties, but some resemble the Russian version and are also called borshch.