This Russian Borscht Recipe is a traditional Ukrainian/Russian red borscht soup loaded with meat, potatoes, vegetables, cabbage and beets. This hearty soup is so healthy and all the vegetables come together and taste wonderful.

In most Slavic homes, this soup is served on a regular basis and for a good reason – it’s phenomenal.

A bowl of Russian borscht with sour cream and fresh herbs with dill and bread slices next to the bowl.

Traditional Ukrainian Red Borscht Recipe-

Borscht is probably one of the most popular and staple dishes in the Ukrainian and Russian cuisine. There are so many different variations of borscht recipes and all terrific in their own way. The combination of ingredients in red borscht are so unique. Fresh shredded cabbage, meat, potatoes, beets with vegetables and herbs combined is Ukrainian comfort food defined!

Borscht in a pot with a ladle of borscht made with beets, cabbage, potatoes, and meat.

How to season meat for borscht and soup-

The uniqueness of this Borscht is that the meat is seasoned and becomes so tender, flavorful and melts in your mouth. Once you try seasoning the meat, you’ll never want unseasoned meat in your soup again.

If you season the beef, pork or chicken, it will sit in the meat drawer of your refrigerator for days (up to a week), thanks to the salt preserving it. (Add less salt to chicken meat if seasoning chicken.)

Seasoning the meat with garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper just adds so much flavor to the meat itself but also the soup.

TIP: You want to season the meat at least one day in advance. Rinse the meat before adding to the soup to remove the bay leaves and garlic.

Step by step picture of how to make this Russian borscht recipe.

TIPS How To Make Red Borscht Soup Recipe-

  • Most cooks add kidney beans to their red borscht but my husband and the kids strongly dislike them, therefore, we leave them out. If you are a fan of kidney beans, add them to your soup.
  • Be sure the potatoes are all cut into even pieces or they will be unevenly cooked.
  • You can leave out the meat if you are looking for a vegetarian soup recipe.
  • Use a SLICER for the cabbage, it’s much easier shredding this way.
  • Be sure to continue removing scum and fat that rises to the top until nothing floats to top when cooking the meat.
  • Red Ukrainian Borscht tastes even better the following day when reheated. Make a large pot and enjoy the soup all week long (keep refrigerated).
  • We love the seasoning Vegeta and add some of it to the soup. If you don’t have Vegeta, taste the soup and add additional salt if needed (but order some Vegeta and try it, we use it for everything). 🙂
An up-close picture of Russian borscht in a bowl with sour cream, grated pepper, and fresh herbs.

What kind of meat to use for Borscht?

You can use your favorite meat for borscht. In classic Red Borscht recipes, the beef or pork has a bone on it. You can either add meat with or without bones.

My family loves chicken most so that is what we use most often.

Can I use canned beets?

Yes, you can substitute canned beets for fresh beets. Keep the juices of the canned beets as well.

A bowl of Russian Borscht with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill with a spoon.

Try these other SOUP recipes:

Russian Borscht Recipe

Author: Valentina
5 from 11 votes
Russian Borscht recipe with meat. potatoes, carrots, cabbage and beets. Seasoned meat gives the soup so much flavor and is an amazing addition to the traditional recipe. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10 servings


meat & seasoning-

  • 1 lb pork meat, cut into chunks
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 bay leaves, crushed


  • 14 cups water
  • 5 cups water, for beets
  • 3 medium beets, quartered
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 head of medium cabbage, shredded
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 medium red pepper, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Tbsp vinegar or 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 4 Tbsp fresh dill
  • sour cream, to serve


  • Cut meat into bite-size pieces. Slice the garlic cloves. Break the bay leaves into smaller pieces. Season the meat. Combine everything. Refrigerate meat for at least 2 days. 
  • Peel and quarter beets. Add beets and 5 cups water to a saucepan,  bring to a boil. Cook 20-25 minutes, until beets pierce easily with a knife. Once cooked, remove them from water and setaside cool. KEEP WATER.
  • In a large pot, bring 14 cups water to a boil. 
  • Rinse seasoning off of meat. Add the meat to the boiling water. Remove scum and fat that accumulates and floats to the top of the water. It’s very important to keep removing the scum frequently. Turn heat down to low/medium, cook meat about 35-40 minutes or until meat is tender.
  • While meat is cooking, peel and cube the potatoes. Add to a bowl and cover with cold water so they don’t turn color. Set aside.
  • Shred the cabbage. Set aside.
  • Chop the onion finely. Add to a large skillet with 2 Tbsp butter and saute 3 minutes on medium heat.
  • While onion is cooking, grate carrots.
  • Add carrots to the skillet with another 2 Tbsp butter, mix. Cook about 5-6 minutes or until carrots are tender. (If the skillet begins to get dry, add a bit of oil.)
  • Take the cooled beets and grate them. Add to the skillet with onion and carrots.
  • Cube red pepper or cut into small thin strips add to skillet. Add minced garlic to skillet. 
  • Chop tomatoes and add to the skillet. Add the water leftover from cooking the beets to the killet with sauteed veggies. Turn heat down to med/low and cook about 5 minutes.
  • Once meat is tender, add potatoes and cabbage. (If you like the cabbage a bit crunchier, add about 5 minutes after potatoes are added.) Cook 15 minutes.
  • Transfer all of the ingredients from the skillet to the pot. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaves, parsley and dill. Cook another 5-10 minutes or until potatoes and cabbage are tender. Taste if additional seasonings are needed.
  • Add fresh herbs of choice.
  • Serve with sour cream.
  • Enjoy.


262kcal Calories22g Carbs11g Protein14g Fat6g Saturated Fat44mg Cholesterol1841mg Sodium788mg Potassium5g Fiber7g Sugar2915IU Vitamin A50.2mg Vitamin C83mg Calcium3.8mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Russian Borscht Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 262 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 44mg15%
Sodium 1841mg80%
Potassium 788mg23%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 2915IU58%
Vitamin C 50.2mg61%
Calcium 83mg8%
Iron 3.8mg21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
(The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)