by Olena

Instant Pot Borscht

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 30 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!

We love cabbage around here, from Instant Pot cabbage rolls, to Russian shchi, to unstuffed cabbage rolls.

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!

What is borscht? It’ basically vegetable soup meets beets meets tomato soup.

Love beets? Try beets with goat cheese or arugula beet salad.

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 any Instant Pot beans recipe 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 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 30 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.
    Instant Pot Borscht
  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, rye or whole wheat bread and more garlic.:)
    Instant Pot 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.

        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, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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