Easy Homemade Borscht Recipe

Borscht is a beet-based soup that I grew up eating throughout the year, but especially on Ukrainian Christmas Eve. This Homemade Borscht Recipe is the easiest and quickest ever – ready in under 15 minutes!

If you know anything about beets you must be wondering how I can possibly make a beet-based soup in under 15 minutes. Beets take a long time to cook. Longer than 15 minutes for sure. And they’re a pain to peel. No way could it be done.

But you see, I’m doing this SOUPin15 series and I’m sharing a homemade soup that’s ready in under 15 minutes every single week for a year.

And right now we’re in the holiday season which always makes me think of Borscht since it is a staple at Ukrainian Christmas feasts.

I had to find a way!


I was thinking about it when I remembered my mom telling me, years ago, that she tried making borscht using canned beets. I couldn’t remember if she’d said that it had worked or not. I called her and asked. She said, “Yes!” My BORSCHTin15 problem was solved!

Quickest Easiest Homemade Borscht

Using canned beets for this soup is amazing. Not only are they already tender, they’re also already peeled. Peeling beets is a time-consuming and messy business. It’s so great to not have to do it.

RECIPE UPDATE: Since posting this recipe, I have discovered a way to prepare fresh beets that is simple and not at all messy. You roast the beets in their skins. If you want to make borscht using fresh beets instead of canned, this is the way to go. Follow the instructions for roasting beets here. You’ll need 5-6 medium beets for the borscht recipe before.

A note about this borscht and borscht generally. There are different kinds of borscht. In my family alone we eat three different varieties. There’s a special summer version with fresh garden vegetables, a wintery meaty version that can be a whole meal, and a more delicate vegetarian version that is always part of our meatless Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. If you grew up eating borscht it might have been like one of these three. Or it might have been completely different.

I think you’ll like this one no matter what you’re used to though.

The key is those sweet beets, of course, but also the dill and a good bit of cream (sour cream or heavy cream). Also, you need to have a bit of acid, usually in the form of vinegar.

My mom says that the acid is needed to keep the beets brightly colored. I don’t actually know if this is true since I’ve never omitted the vinegar to find out. Whatever the reason for adding it, I’ve noted nice acidity in every borscht I’ve ever had and I don’t think it could really be borscht without it.

Acidity is important in more than just borscht, which is why it’s my SouperTip today. Every week when I share a new SOUPin15 recipe I also share a tip for what makes it delicious so quickly. Today’s SouperTip is acidity in the form of vinegar or citrus juice. Adding a small amount can really make a difference to a soup (or a stew or sauce or just about anything, for that matter). Next time you’re tasting a soup and think it needs more seasoning or more salt, try adding a bit of lemon juice or vinegar instead. It will give it a flavor boost and some complexity in the background that makes you go, “Mmmm…what’s that? So good.” Vinegars are best added in the middle of cooking so that the harshness can blend in a bit. Citrus is best added at the very end of cooking to retain the fresh flavor.

I’m heading to Canada for Christmas with my family in a few days. I’m pretty sure there will be borscht there at least once (Mom? Will there be? Please?). I hope you get to have some at your own holiday feast too!

Easy Homemade Borscht


And now, here’s my quick and Easy Borscht Recipe. See you in 15!

Easy Borscht


  • 4 cups low or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil (like vegetable or grape seed)
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 cup carrot matchsticks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh dill
  • 2 (15oz.) cans "original cut" beets
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp. whipping cream or sour cream to serve


  1. Measure the broth into a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Chop the potato into a small (1/4 inch) dice. Add it to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir and then cover the pot.
  3. Roughly chop the carrot matchsticks. Add them to the pot. Stir and cover.
  4. Chop the onion. Add it to the pot. Stir and cover.
  5. When the broth is done heating, add it to the pot along with the salt and pepper.
  6. Increase heat to high, cover and let it come to a simmer. Reduce heat to a moderate simmer.
  7. While the broth is simmering in the pot, put the frozen peas and beans in the microwave-safe bowl and heat until defrosted and warm, about 2 minutes.
  8. While the peas and beans heat, chop the dill. Add half of it to the pot of soup. Put the rest aside for now. Put a colander over a bowl and pour in the cans of beets. You need the liquid so do not discard it. Put the drained beets into a food processor and process until they're in small pieces.
  9. When the potatoes in the pot are tender add the vinegar, the beets and the beet liquid and the heated peas and beans. Heat on high until simmering.
    Stir in the remaining dill. Taste and add more vinegar and black pepper as needed. Serve with either whipping cream or sour cream on the side for people to add to their bowls of soup.

Video by Leigh Olson. Article, photos and recipe by Christine Pittman.


13 Responses to “Easy Homemade Borscht Recipe”

  1. Dr. Meena Amour — March 18, 2018 @ 4:42 pm (#)

    Wow ! So delicious !
    We had Shallow fried Salmon steaks, garnished with red onions sliced lengthwise and spiced with salt and white pepper powder and a dusting of turmeric powder as per my Keralyte Indian roots as the 1st course, garnished with vinegered red onions sliced lengthwise, and marinatated by squeezing with a pinch each of salt and red chillie flakes.
    We topped off this meal with cubes of Baklava
    Dr. Meena Amour

  2. Alyssa — September 26, 2017 @ 2:06 am (#)

    Made this tonight!! Once I get off work either I eat something on the way home or cook something really quick. My husband is Russian and been wanting to surprise him with one of his favorite dishes. This recipe was perfect for what I was looking for. I knew I wanted it to be quick and to use can beets. I change a few things… instead of peas in used purple cabbage. I for got dill, so I used a little pickle juice (haha), and added two leaves of sage. Top off with sour cream at the end. I love how quick and easy to follow these directions. Plus, my husband was very impressed with how well it turned out. I did two tps vinegar then it said if you think you want more add more I wasn’t sure so I did a splash more. But my husband said two would of been perfect. But hey everyone is different! Thank you for this receip!! I will be using it for when ever I make borscht! 

    • Christine Pittman — September 26, 2017 @ 1:21 pm (#)

      Alyssa, Thanks for letting me know. Your adjustments sounds great! Did you know that there is actually a soup called Pickle Soup that uses the juice from pickles? Here is a link https://cookthestory.com/dill-pickle-soup/ It’s a Polish soup. I wonder if it was adding the pickle juice to your borscht that made it seem too vinegary. The pickle juice is quite strong-flavored. Anyway, very happy that you both liked it!

  3. Alicia Riley — November 17, 2016 @ 6:25 pm (#)

    Thanks for the quick and easy recipe! I made this for our book club, discussing War and Peace. Great Russian peasant food!

    • Christine Pittman — November 18, 2016 @ 8:10 am (#)

      Alicia, What a great idea. Glad you liked it!

  4. 9mm — August 29, 2016 @ 7:26 am (#)

    A polish chef introduced me to the polish version of this. It’s less beetroot and red cabbage, and more normal cabbage and polish white sausage. Then it can be served in a cooked round loaf of bread – crusty on the outside with the inside scooped out – and then a boiled egg chopped in half and half a sausage. Delicious.

    • Christine Pittman — August 29, 2016 @ 5:33 pm (#)

      That really does sound delicious!

  5. Jane on Whidbey — February 14, 2015 @ 7:21 pm (#)

    I’m so grateful to find your soup recipes. I love soup, and I hate to spend my life in the kitchen. As I like to say, “I like to have cooked.” lol Thanks for quick and delicious!

  6. Carol at Wild Goose Tea — December 23, 2014 @ 5:20 pm (#)

    I just started liking beets a couple of years ago. I always did love the color, however. I am a soup lover, so this looks
    mighty tasty to me.

    • Christine Pittman — December 24, 2014 @ 9:10 am (#)

      Carol, yes, lots of people don’t seem to like beets. But once they get used to them they love them. Really sweet and flavorful. Thanks for the comment!


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