by Olena

Instant Pot Borscht

Olena Osipov
4.9 from 16 votes

Instant Pot Borscht is my Ukrainian grandma’s borscht recipe adapted for a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

Instant Pot Borscht in a bowl

Pressure Cooker Borscht

Instant Pot borscht. Borscht is Ukrainian cabbage and beet soup I grew up eating almost every week.

Eventually, I have adapted my grandma’s borscht recipe to a pressure cooker. And it tastes just like hers.

Even without any sauteing of vegetables in tomato sauce called “zazharka”. You throw everything in one pot and walk away!

Ingredients for Borscht

These are a must have ingredients. Borscht is highly versatile!!! You might find recipe too long, but it’s just options for ingredients and different size Instant Pots.

Below I go over other variations depending what you have on hand and corresponding cook times.

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Potato, onion, carrot
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic and dill

beets, potatoes, carrots and onions in glass bowls

Borscht Variations and Substitutions

  • Meat or soup bones: You can use any chicken pieces like drumsticks, legs, thighs or bones. The more fat or skin, more rich is the borscht. More classic choice would be beef short ribs or bones, and I recommend to make beef stock or bone broth first and only then make borscht.
  • Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes: I prefer tomato sauce , passata or crushed tomatoes because it’s more hearty where as diced tomatoes contain more water. But I have used both.
  • Ketchup: My mom’s trick. Worst case scenario you can add a bit of ketchup if you are out of canned tomato sauce. I am personally not a fan. My mom likes to add a squirt in any case.
  • Sauerkraut: Borscht needs acidity (more on it in the next point) and sweetness. Sauerkraut adds that tangy taste that I personally love. It is optional but so good!

bone broth in instant pot

  • Dried beans: The beauty of Instant Pot is that it can cook dried beans without soaking. I recommend to use white navy, pinto or lima beans. They tend to make Instant Pot cabbage borscht more hearty due to their high starch content.
  • Red kidney beans fact: I tried and found dry red kidney beans make borscht very “beany” tasting and also change the colour to more orange.
  • Canned beans: Reduce water to 5 cups ( 6 quart) and 8 cups (8 quart) and 15 minutes cook time is enough.

bowl of Instant Pot Borscht garnished with dill

How to Make Instant Pot Borscht

  • Prep: I prep ingredients and add them to the pot as I prep. Shred cabbage, rinse beans and meat (if using), dice onions, slice carrots, cube potatoes and cut beets into matchsticks. I like to cut beets last because of their “bleeding”.
  • Do not stir and add liquids + seasonings: Pour water, tomato sauce/ paste, maple syrup, bay leaves, salt and pepper on top. Do not stir.
  • Cook on High Pressure: Press Pressure Cook on High or Manual button for: any version without dried beans – 15 minutes, with dry beans – 35 minutes. It will take about 30 mins for it to come to pressure.
  • While borscht is cooking, prep garnishes: Peel garlic, chop dill, slice lemon in half to prepare for squeezing (if not using vinegar).
  • Wait 15 mins and release pressure: After 20 minutes is up, let it stand for 15 minutes. And then release pressure using Quick Release method by turning valve to Venting. It is OK to use Natural Release while you are away.
  • Season more: Add lemon juice, grate garlic and add dill. We like lots of everything.

how to make instant pot borscht step by step

More Tips and Facts

  • Cultures: Every Eastern European country has its own version of borscht soup. Every cook even within same family cooks their own version of borscht.
  • Vegetarian borscht: Just veggies, would be nice to add canned beans for protein. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Borscht with beef: I recommend to use beef ribs or soup bones and make stock or bone broth first. So much flavor!!! After cook for 15 minutes.
  • Borscht with chicken: Add bone in chicken pieces and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Borscht with dried beans: Use white, pinto or lima beans and cook for 35 minutes.
  • Borsch develops flavors: Borscht tastes even better next day. Freshly cooked tastes amazing too. Just different.
  • It is important to add fresh garlic and dill after borscht has finished cooking!
  • More tips: If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. If you don’t have an Instant pot but want to buy one soon, check out which Instant Pot to buy.

How Ukrainians Serve Borscht

  • Sour cream or plain yogurt. As much as you want. Alex loves a dollop of mayo. I don’t but it’s an option too.
  • More garlic. Yes! I know you might think I’m crazy but I’m Ukrainian. We always ate borscht while biting on a clove of garlic. So good! Garlic is nature’s antibiotic, did you know?!
  • Rye bread. If you could only smell and taste freshly baked Ukrainian rye bread from the bakery, you would understand why I think bagged, sliced and good for 10 days North American bread is a joke. I would cut a garlic clove in half and rub it all around the slice, especially the crust. So good! These days we satisfy ourselves with organic bagged whole grain bread, toasting helps.

As a kid, I also would rub a slice of rye bread all over. Spread sour cream on top. And sprinkle with salt. So probably weird to you but so good to me!:) I get it. Eating crickets sounds weird to me to but many do. Can’t argue about tastes and cuisines.

Enjoy, friends!

How to Store and Reheat Borscht

Storing: Refrigerate borscht for up to 5 days. It is like wine and gets only better with time.

Freezing: Freeze in an airtight container leaving some room for expansion. Borscht freezes beautifully. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or bottom shelf of the fridge overnight.

Reheating: Reheat only amount you need in a small pot by simmering and stirring on low.

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes

instant pot borscht

Instant Pot Borscht {Authentic}

Instant Pot Borscht is my Ukrainian grandma's borscht recipe adapted to pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!
4.94 from 16 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 7 (6 Qt.), 10 (8 Qt.) servings
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

For 8 Quart Instant Pot

  • 2 lbs cabbage coarsely shredded
  • 1.5 lbs 5 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1 lb 3 medium beets, cut into sticks
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 cup white, pinto or lima beans, dried *
  • 1 lb any chicken, beef or soup bones (optional)**
  • 12 cups water
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce low sodium
  • 6 oz can tomato paste low sodium
  • 1 tbsp any sweetener
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • Lots of freshly grated garlic
  • Lots of fresh chopped dill

For 6 Quart Instant Pot

  • 1.5 lbs cabbage coarsely shredded
  • 1 lb 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 medium beets cut into sticks
  • 1 large carrot sliced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 3/4 cup white, pinto or lima beans dried*
  • 1/2 lb any chicken, beef or soup bones (optional)**
  • 8 cups water
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce low sodium
  • 6 oz can tomato paste low sodium
  • 1/2 tbsp any sweetener
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
  • Lots of freshly grated garlic
  • Lots of fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  • In Instant Pot, add ingredients in the following order: cabbage, beans (if using), potatoes, beets, carrots, onion and chicken or bones (if using). 
    Do not stir.
  • Pour water and then add on top tomato sauce and paste, sweetener, bay leaves, salt and pepper. 
    Do not stir.
  • Close the lid, turn pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for: vegetarian and/or with canned beans - 15 minutes, with chicken - 20 minutes, with dried beans - 35 minutes.
  • After Instant Pot has finished cooking, let Instant Pot borscht stand for 15 minutes or longer. And then release pressure using Quick Release method by turning valve to Venting and open the lid.
  • Add vinegar, fresh garlic and dill. We like lots. Stir and adjust any seasoning to taste.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, rye or whole wheat bread and more garlic.:)
  • Storing: Refrigerate borscht for up to 5 days. It is like wine and gets only better with time.
  • Freezing: Freeze in an airtight container leaving some room for expansion. Borscht freezes beautifully. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or bottom shelf of the fridge overnight.
  • Reheating: Reheat only amount you need in a small pot by simmering and stirring on low.

Notes

  • *Red kidney beans fact: I tried and found dry red kidney beans make borscht very "beany" tasting and also change the colour to more orange.
  • *If using canned beans or no beans at all: Reduce water to 5 cups (6 quart) and 8 cups (8 quart).
  • **Borscht with beef: I recommend to use beef ribs or soup bones and make stock or bone broth first. So much flavor!!!
  • **Borscht with chicken: Add bone in chicken pieces and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Vegetarian borscht: Just veggies, would be nice to add canned beans for protein. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Borsch develops flavors: Borscht tastes even better next day. Freshly cooked tastes amazing too. Just different.
  • Tomato sauce or diced tomatoes: I prefer tomato sauce , passata or crushed tomatoes because it's more hearty where as diced tomatoes contain more water. But I have used both.
  • Ketchup: My mom's trick. Worst case scenario you can add a bit of ketchup if you are out of canned tomato sauce. I am personally not a fan. My mom likes to add a squirt in any case.
  • Sauerkraut: Borscht needs acidity (more on it in the next point) and sweetness. Sauerkraut adds that tangy taste that I personally love. It is optional but so good!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 755mg | Potassium: 954mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1559IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 3mg
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olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

38 comments on “Instant Pot Borscht

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  1. 5 stars
    I made the vegetarian and used dried great northern beans. I’m fond of puréed soup so puréed, just stirring in the greens at the end. Very good but needs aged. My grandmother also Ukrainian likely used sauerkraut as well as cabbage. I am 2nd generation and remember the rye bread from the bakery at the top of the hill. A good healthy soup shared with neighbors. Thank you Olena

    1. Hi Bethany! Just fixed the measurements (sorry just switched over to a new recipe card program). It is TBSP! I haven’t used balsamic vinegar before. I prefer to use white vinegar.

  2. I am truly confused. First a brief ancestry of myself…. I am Ukrainian & Polish (maternal grandfather from Germany over 600 years prior to living in the Ukraine). Mama & baba (both Baba’s family born & brought up in the Ukraine for 8 centuries that we can trace) until they came to the USA in 1953. Papa from Poland (his city is now in Belarus since WWII) I have followers (some who have become good friends from the Ukraine, Poland & the world).
    Can you explain why you have beets & beans in your “Authentic Ukrainian Borscht”? Russian & Polish Borscht have beets, but no tomato & certainty no beans. From every Ukrainian & references in history, Ukrainian Authentic Borscht has Beef / beef bone broth, cabbage, tomato, potato & a few spices… Sour cream or plain thick yogurt (what people calk Greek style) dollop at the end. Served with Pirozhki (soft yeast based hand pie stuffed with beef and/or beef with rice mixture & baked). I am curious to know why your “Authentic Ukrainian Borscht” has beets & beans. I love learning new things.

    1. Hi Anna. There are as many variations of borscht in Ukraine as regions and families. Even within same family women cooked borscht differently. And yet born and raised in Ukraine I have never heard of borscht without beets. That’s not borscht but rather cabbage soup. No tomato is not borscht either – cabbage soup “Schi”. Poland and Croatia etc. have their own borscht.
      Borscht is a peasant food. It started way back then when people had nothing, no beef, and to give it protein and volume they used beans. As my recipe states they are a variation and optional.
      “Served with Pirozhki” is from a movie lol. Borscht is served with rye bread in real life. Nobody had time to go to work, do laundry by hand, walk to grocery store every day and make pirozhky when I was growing up.
      Overall, one thing I learnt from people born in North America but with ancestry from Ukraine is that their family recipes, first and last names have been modified with years and are far from “authentic”.

  3. 5 stars
    I made it, but I was in a hurry and I use can beet and boneless chicken on pieces and I cook in 15 minutes, not bad for the first time with non fresh beets

  4. 5 stars
    This is amazing!! I found the 5 c of fluid fills it to the top, when using canned beans!!! We LOVE THIS SOUP!! fast, easy and delicious

  5. 4 stars
    Just made this tonight and it was an easy to follow recipe. Next time I make borscht I might try to do it on the stove as I find the instant pot makes the vegetables too soft for my liking. But… I loved the flavour of this soup! The sour cream & fresh dill and fresh garlic are what makes it taste wonderful. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    THIS IS AWESOME!!!! Such a nutritious and easy recipe, and the 5C of water filled it to capacity in my 6L instant pot!! Could NOT be better!!

  7. 5 stars
    The sour cream turns this wonderfully earthy dish into a gourmet meal. I am amazed at the flavor of the simple recipe, and it is so nutritious. This will be a staple on our menu.

  8. 5 stars
    I just made it! I didn’t have kidney beans so I used red lentils instead, there fore cutting the cooking time to 20′ and it worked really well. I also made it with half broth half water. It came out sooo so good!

  9. If I don’t use beans or meat, and will use grated carrot & beets, do I need to adjust anything? Also, can I add celery? I always use celery in borsht.

  10. Hi Olena;

    Could you please tell me what cooking time and temperature would be
    if I cooked this on my stove top.
    I do not have an Instant Pot.
    Thank you.

  11. 5 stars
    Excellant recipe. We made it and couldn’t get enough of it. Absolutely delicious…and super easy to make. Thank you for sharing!!

  12. 5 stars
    Excellent borscht recipe!
    The colour and flavour is great. So often borscht is orange by the time it’s served; this was nice and red. Adding the garlic and peas at the end preserved the flavours.
    My grandparents were Ukrainian too and I’ve been eating and making borscht since I can remember.
    This recipe is a keeper and I’ve made it several times now without fail.
    Thanks for sharing it !

  13. 5 stars
    Yum. Made this 2X now. first time as per recipe, second time I changed it up a bit. first time rough chop veg, 2nd time fine chop everything. Oh lets see 2nd time: red cabbage, carrots, spuds, black beans, onion, peas, beets, garlic, bay leaves, stir-fry chopped meat (needs more), I don’t usually measure spices & I use very little salt as my wife can’t have it. I like the instant pot, it is a great reminder of my old pressure cooker, but easier. Thanks.

    1. 5 stars
      We made the recipe with pinto beans and beef neck bones. I didn’t chop the vegetables smalls enough, so I used an immersion blender and the end result was heavenly. I added saukraut to mine at the end and it was a perfect touch! I plan to make it again.

  14. 5 stars
    Oh! Oh, oh, oh, OH! Olena I am so happy to see borscht for my new 6qt. Instapot! I’ve had it but hardly used it because I just wasn’t convinced. Why would a retired coupon ever need one? I finally gave in and now love that thing!

    I want to make this borscht so original your grandma would be proud! (Besides the Instapot, that is) I’m talking about the most vintage flavors that she would have made for you! Is this how her would have tasted? Or would she have used cider vinegar? Or any other small additions she would have used or left off? I’m sorry, I just want to make it perfect! Laurel

    1. No cider vinegar. We didn’t have any. Plus she didn’t add any acid. It was more sweeter. Only other difference she did use beef bones always instead of beans. There. It will be 100% my grandmas.

  15. 5 stars
    Olena, I can totally relate rubbing homegrown garlic on a crust of the rye bread. I do it up to this day. I also spread a little butter on the soft part of the bread, broil in the oven for a minute is so and it goes so good with borscht. I even thought my kids to eat it that way. It’s especially great during cold weather to prevent viral and bacterial sicknesses. I ? agree that garlic is a natural antibiotic! Biting on a garlic clove along with eating borscht we almost never got sick us kids compared to our kids. You will not make my bite on a chunk of garlic clove for $100 bucks! Sorry for a lengthy.

    1. So which rye bread do you use? Juts from the grocery store? Yes, butter on broiled bread so good! Haha, I don’t think I can make my kids bite on a clove of garlic either. I don’t think I have ever tried though…Here we go, next time.:)

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