Grandma's Borscht

I live in a community with a high percentage of Ukrainians and beet borscht is their staple soup. I figured it was time I learned to make it. I never liked borscht growing up as a child. It wasn't until I tried my Mother-in-law's borscht that I became a convert. This recipe is based off of hers. Although, when I asked for it, it came more as a list of ingredients than a list of measurements. She's not necessarily a slave to exact amounts, but instead uses what she has on hand - something I definitely admire. Oddly enough, despite the varying ingredients and proportions that go into her soup, it always tastes the same to me - it always tastes perfect.

Borscht (makes one BIG pot)

8 cups vegetable stock or bone broth**

1 1/2 cups onions, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, chopped

3-4 large carrots, grated

2 cups cabbage, shredded or cut fine

3 cups tomatoes (I use a combination of fresh or stewed, juice included)

3 cups beets, grated or cubed

Sea salt & Cracked pepper to taste

Splash lemon juice


**Bone Broth

2 ham hocks or chicken broth pack (neck, back & feet)

8 cups water

1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

1 onion, roughly chopped

3 carrots, roughly chopped

a handful of parsnip ends

a pinch of dried celery leaf, parsley & lovage (optional)

In a large stock pot, place stock ingredients together and bring to a boil. Simmer until about 2 hours prior to wanting to eat your borscht - the longer the better. In a large frying pan, sauté onions, garlic, celery and carrots for 10-15 minutes or until soft. Strain your broth and return to the stock pot, adding sautéed ingredients, as well as cabbage and beets. Bring to a boil again and reduce to a simmer until beet cubes are tender. Add salt, pepper and a splash of lemon to taste. Enjoy!


Shanon Hilton is a mother, wife, aspiring farmer, and passionate food advocate. She writes about her thoughts on food, farming and health at

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