Momma’s Tasty Borscht Recipe

If you ask me what my favourite soup is, I will not have to think about it for long. Borscht, the iconic beet soup, is the first thing on my mind. But it’s not just a delicious soup, it’s a real storehouse of vitamins, minerals, and energy. This borscht recipe is best-suited as a cold weather meal, especially during the snowstorms of Kazakhstan, but you can also make borscht in the summer when you have loads of fresh seasonal veggies.

Delicious and fragrant red borscht: it’s hard to imagine a better choice for lunch! This soup tastes even better when you dunk whole wheat bread, coated with a clove of grated garlic, in the middle.

I love traditional borscht with beef or pork, but there are many other variations of this dish. For example, a lighter borscht might contain chicken breast or just pure veggies.

The best borscht is cooked by my mother. Nowhere have I tasted a better soup! She never adds vinegar or lemon juice, only tomatoes. This makes the dish taste more natural in my opinion. Mum always grates carrots and beets for the borscht, too. This makes the red colour of the soup as rich as possible, and the vegetables look juicy and appetising after roasting. She also always puts in a lot of meat and beans and serves it with a generous spoon of sour cream.

It has become our family’s borscht recipe, and all my sisters and I cook borscht for our friends when we get the chance. Matt can vouch for me here. He’s had borscht at my house in Germany several times and now he craves it while we’re away. He’s determined to learn the borscht recipe himself so he can cook it for his family.

In our family, it is customary to eat borscht at least once a week – at weekends, and also when guests come. Therefore, it often becomes a way to gather all near and dear ones around one table, not only for the purpose of a shared dinner, but also for a cosy heart-to-heart conversation. Just another reason why I love this wonderful dish so much.

History of borscht

Borscht is a traditional Eastern Slavic dish cooked with beetroot, which gives it its characteristic rich colour. Unlike ordinary soups, borscht is thick. Usually considered a Ukrainian dish, borscht also has a place in the culinary repertoire of Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Moldova. Jews that originally fled from Europe boast their own borscht recipes.

The name of the dish comes from the old name of the beet, “hogweed“. In the past, the recipe for the dish was quite different from the actual recipe. It was a stew of “hogweed” or beetroot kvass. When it was first made and by whom is still a mystery, but it’s estimated to be well over 1,000 years old.

Of all the soup recipes to choose from, borscht is not an easy one. Similarly to tavce gravce, making borscht is a time-consuming process, but it’s well worth the effort. And if you love beets, you can’t not fall in love with this recipe.

Not a beet fan? Check out some of our other international recipes.


  • Beef on the bone: 600 g
  • Fresh beets: 3
  • White or green cabbage: 400 g
  • Red beans: 300 g
  • Carrots: 3
  • Red bell pepper: 1
  • Onion: 1
  • Garlic cloves: 3
  • Tomato paste: 2 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil (olive oil or sunflower oil) for frying
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For garnishing:

  • Fresh dill
  • Sour cream
  • Brown bread

How to make borscht soup:

1. Soak the beans overnight, or at least for three hours, otherwise they will take a very long time to cook.

2. Boil the beans for 40 minutes or until soft. Salt the beans at the end of cooking.

3. Wash the meat and put it to cook in a large pot with a volume of 4-5 litres. There should be enough water in the pot to cover the meat. Cook the meat over medium heat for 1.5 -2 hours. 15 minutes before it’s ready, add some salt and the bay leaf.

4. Prepare vegetables: chop the cabbage, cut the beets and bell peppers into thin strips, grate the carrots, and chop the onion and garlic into cubes.

5. Heat oil in a frying pan, sauté finely chopped onions, garlic and carrots.

6. Then, in a separate pan, sauté the beets with the bell pepper for about 10 minutes.

7. Fry the cabbage separately too for around 10 minutes.

8. Put all the vegetables in a large soup pot. Add tomato paste, salt, and pepper, then cook the mix on medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. My mom says, “Let them get closer to each other.”

9. When the beef is ready, place it in a bowl, and add the beef broth liquid to the large pot of veggies. Bring it to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes. You can taste it and add more salt if you feel it needs it.

10. Add the beans to the large pot and cook for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. It should not take long as the veggies were sauteed beforehand.

11. Serve borscht with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, fresh dill, sliced bread and meat.


  • You can use any meat for the broth. I prefer chicken broth.
  • You can also experiment with veggies: add potatoes and tomatoes instead of paste, or you can even use frozen peas.
  • To save time, you can use canned beans as well as canned beets, but you might lose the richness of the flavour.
  • For a vegetarian or vegan version of this borscht soup recipe, use vegetable stock or vegetable broth, and serve with coconut cream.
  • If you have a food processor, you can also use that to prepare borscht.

Enjoy our family borscht recipe!

Borscht is probably my favourite food. I hope that with this great recipe in hand, you will fall in love with it too. It’s great for feeding lots of people – there’s usually leftovers the day after, and, let me tell you, it’s just as good!

If you’re in the mood for more slavic food, try our syrniki recipe! We also have our own blinchiki recipe, a slavic-style crêpe. If you’re feeling controversial, our manti recipe is partially Slavic, too. Just don’t get saying that in Turkey… 😉 Want something for dessert instead? Our easy strawberry cheesecake recipe will hit the spot.

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