Chilled Russian Borscht

This luscious beet soup, served with a dollop of rich, tart sour cream and plenty of salady garnishes (cubed boiled potatoes, crunchy diced radishes, chopped hard-boiled eggs and fragrant, coarsely chopped dill), seems the very essence of Russian cooking: sustaining food that still carries hints of its homey peasant influences. Slideshow:  More Chilled Soups 

Chilled Russian Borscht
Photo: © Matt Armedariz
Total Time:
45 mins
6 to 8


  • 2 pounds medium beets, peeled and quartered

  • 11 cups water

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 cup finely diced radishes

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 3 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • Sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving


  1. In a large pot, cover the quartered beets with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a plate.

  2. Coarsely shred the beets in a food processor. Return them to the pot and add the sugar, lemon juice and cider vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the soup until chilled, for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potato cubes and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the cucumbers, radishes, scallions, eggs, dill and parsley.

  4. Ladle the chilled borscht into bowls. Garnish with the vegetable and chopped egg mixture, top with a generous dollop of sour cream and serve.

Make Ahead

The borscht can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Prepare the garnishes just before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Borscht, especially when served cold, is delicious with a lightly earthy rosé, such as one from southern France.

Related Articles