by Olena

Instant Pot Borscht

by Olena

My grandma's Ukrainian borscht recipe adapted to a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

Instant Pot Borscht from My Grandma

Borscht is Ukrainian cabbage and beet soup I grew up eating almost every week. Eventually I have adapted my grandma’s recipe to this Instant Pot borscht. 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!

If you don’t have Instant Pot, I have a stovetop version of this Ukrainian borscht.

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Instant Pot Borscht Facts

  1. Borscht is healthy and affordable.
  2. Every Eastern European country has its own version of borscht soup.
  3. Every cook even within same family cooks their own version of borscht.
  4. Borscht can be vegetarian, with beef, beans, chicken, pork or bones.
  5. Core of the borscht are beets and cabbage.
  6. Borscht tastes even better next day. Freshly cooked tastes amazing too. Just different.
  7. Borscht soup thickens more the longer it sits.
  8. It is important to add fresh garlic and dill after borscht has finished cooking!

Instant Pot Borscht Ingredients

What is borscht made out of? These are a must have borsch ingredients. Below I will go over other ingredients I like to use and their substitutions.

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Potato
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Tomato paste
  • Garlic
  • Dill

My grandma's Ukrainian borscht recipe adapted to a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

Instant Pot Borscht Variations & Substitutions

Beans

The beauty of Instant Pot is that it can cook dried beans without soaking. I recommend to use white navy, red kidney, pinto or lima beans. They tend to make Instant Pot cabbage borscht more hearty due to their high starch content.

I think I prefer white navy beans to red kidney beans. Less bitter. Next time.

If you would like to use canned beans, please use low sodium and adjust cooking time to 30 minutes and immediate Quick Release is OK.

If You Don’t Love Bean Based Soup…

If you are not a fan of thick bean soup cooked with dried beans, use canned beans or no beans. I noticed with particularly pressure cooker borscht recipe because beans are cooked from scratch, they create a bean broth. Borscht comes out thicker though.

Red kidney beans also change the colour of this cabbage and beet soup to more orange. And take a bit away from the beet taste. It’s a matter of personal taste about which is not wise to argue.

Meat or Bones

I added one large chicken breast for protein because we eat a lot. You can use any chicken pieces like drumsticks, legs, thighs or bones. The more fat or skin, more rich is the borscht. Also chicken makes borscht more sweet. Or the other way around. Not sure but it’s so good!

You can make Instant Pot beef borscht with beef short ribs or bones. So good! Pork works just as good. And bacon, of course.

I have made vegetarian borscht with beans and no meat numerous times. Sky is the limit.

Tomato Sauce or Diced Tomatoes

In addition to beets, canned tomato products like tomato sauce or diced tomatoes are a good addition. I prefer tomato sauce because it’s more hearty where as diced tomatoes contain more water. But I have used both depending on my pantry’s contents.

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

There is a version of Ukrainian borscht recipe with all or some of sauerkraut in place of fresh cabbage. I have a feeling that Poland or Croatia do the same. Borscht needs acidity (more on it in the next point) and sweetness. Sauerkraut adds that tangy taste that I personally love. It is optional.

Sweet and Sour

As I mentioned above, to taste very good borscht needs something acidic mixed with some sweet ingredients. Here are your options as there are plenty:

  • Sweet: Maple syrup, honey, cane sugar, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup – really anything.
  • Sour: Lemon juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, pickle juice, sauerkraut.

How to Make Instant Pot Borscht

Here is the flow of cooking a borscht recipe I like in order to have a clean kitchen by the time we are ready to eat borscht. Nobody wants to clean the kitchen after dinner, am I right?!

My grandma's Ukrainian borscht recipe adapted to a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

1. Prepare All Ingredients and Add to Instant Pot

  • Shred cabbage and add to Instant Pot.
  • Rinse beans and meat or bones (if using) and lay on top of cabbage.
  • Dice onions, slice carrots, cube potatoes and cut beets into matchsticks. I like to cut beets last because of their “bleeding”. Add to the pot.
  • Do not stir. Instant Pot’s bottom burner location doesn’t favor stirring.
  • Pour water and then add tomato sauce and paste, maple syrup, bay leaves, salt and pepper on top. Do not stir.

2. Cook for 35 Mins on High Pressure

  • Close the lid, turn pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 35 minutes.
  • Now I like to rinse the cutting board from “blood”.
  • Peel garlic.
  • Wash and chop dill.
  • Slice lemon in half to prepare for squeezing (if not using vinegar).
  • Transfer both to a bowl and clean up the kitchen. You are all set and ready.

3. Season Borscht More After Cooking

  • 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.
  • It is OK to use Natural Release while you are away, for example.
  • Add lemon juice, grate garlic and add dill. We like lots of everything.
  • Stir and adjust any seasoning to taste.

My grandma's Ukrainian borscht recipe adapted to a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

What to Serve Instant Pot Borscht With?

  • 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!

More Healthy Instant Pot Soup Recipes

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Instant Pot Borscht

5 from 1 reviews

My grandma’s Ukrainian borscht recipe adapted to a pressure cooker. Serve this hearty cabbage and beet soup with lots of dill, garlic and sour cream. So good!

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 7 (6 Qt.), 10 (8 Qt.) servings
  • Category: Soup and Stew
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian

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 red kidney beans, dried (optional)
  • 1 lb any chicken, beef or bones (optional)
  • 12 cups water
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium
  • 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 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 red kidney beans, dried (optional)
  • 1/2 lb any chicken, beef or bones (optional)
  • 8 cups water
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium
  • 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • Lots of freshly grated garlic
  • Lots of fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. 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, maple syrup, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Do not stir.
  2. Close the lid, turn pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 35 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Add lemon juice, fresh garlic and dill. We like lots. Stir and adjust any seasoning to taste.
  5. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, rye or whole wheat bread and more garlic.:)

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

If you are not a fan of thick bean based soup cooked with dried beans skip the beans. If you would like to use canned beans, please use low sodium and adjust cooking time to 30 minutes and immediate Quick Release is OK.

Substitute tomato sauce with diced or crushed tomatoes.

Substitute maple syrup or honey with any sugar.

Instead of lemon juice use white or apple cider vinegar.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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2 comments on “Instant Pot Borscht

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  1. 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.:)