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Ukrainian borscht recipe with sour cream

Traditional Ukrainian Borscht

Elena Molokhovets
This is an adaptation of traditional Ukrainian borsch (borscht) taken from the 1861 book, Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets' A Gift to Young Housewives. In it, this dish is referred to as "Ukrainian borshch" (Borshch malorossiyskiy / Борщ малороссийский, lit. "Little Russian Borscht").
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine Eastern European, Slavic, Ukrainian
Servings 4 people
Calories 400 kcal


  • 3 qts water
  • 3 lbs beef or pork (or combination)
  • 1 pc onion diced
  • 3 pcs beets grated (not pickled!)
  • 3 pcs potatoes, medium chopped
  • 3 pcs carrots grated
  • 1 head cabbage shredded
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 bunch parsley diced
  • 1 pc pork fat optional


  • Make a meat broth with the water and beef and/or pork.
  • Add the vinegar and diced onions to meat broth.
  • Prepare the beets by boiling them whole in a separate pot for about an hour. After that, immerse in cold water, grate them, and set aside for later.
  • Cook whole potatoes, carrots, and head of cabbage for about half an hour or less.
  • Shred the cabbage, chop the carrots and potatoes.
  • Mix all together, with the grated beets from before, and add the diced parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, and enjoy!


To save a lot of time, replace buying the head of cabbage with a bag of coleslaw mix; it is already pre-shredded into just the right consistency. Use 2 cups of this.
As Elena stated in her book over 150 years ago, "the borshch may also be served with fried buckwheat kasha, pancake pie with beef stuffing, or plain pancakes."
For the most authentic version, you can sauté the beets, onion, and carrots in the pork fat before combining; this is the traditional way but adds quite a bit of calories.
Keyword Historical