Instant Pot Borscht is a delicious vegan soup recipe ready in just 8 minutes at high pressure. Loaded with beets, cabbage, and fresh dill, this vegetarian borscht recipe is simple and nourishing. Stove top instructions are also included.
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Let's get something out of the way straight off the bat - I'm not Ukrainian. Or Polish. Or Russian. I do not descend from borscht-making people, and I therefore cannot attest to the authenticity - or more likely, lack thereof - of this recipe.
My husband, however, is of Ukrainian descent, and borscht is served at nearly every holiday dinner hosted by his family. I'm not particularly fond of beets, but borscht is a different matter. A steaming hot bowl of borscht is about as nourishing and comforting as it gets, and the more dill the better.
What is borscht?
Borscht is a soup beet soup that hails from Eastern Europe and is commonly found in the cuisine of countries such as Ukraine, Poland, and Russia. Traditionally the recipe may include both beef and beef stock, but vegetarian versions with beets and red cabbage are popular as well.
If you want to make a vegetarian borscht recipe that has deep, all-day simmered flavors, you could of course simmer it all day. But you're short on time, then call your pressure cooker into action!
This Instant Pot Borscht Recipe hits all the right notes. Loaded with veggies, just the right amount of acidity, and a not-so-secret ingredient that takes the whole thing to the next level.
The list of ingredients to make Instant Pot Borscht is not short, but it is simple. You'll find specific quantities in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here's a quick overview of what you need.
- Beets --> These are kind of the star of the show.
- Red Cabbage --> Upping the anthocyanin game big time.
- Onion --> A big yellow fellow.
- Carrots --> Dice 'em up!
- Tomatoes --> Adding some tartness.
- Canned peas --> Added along with their liquid, which is the magic ingredient.
- Vegetable broth --> Store-bought is totally fine.
- Red wine vinegar --> Or apple cider vinegar is fine too.
- Lemon juice --> More bright flavour!
- Fresh dill --> And lots of it!
- Fresh parsley --> As one does.
If you want to make Instant Pot Borscht, you're going to need an Instant Pot!
But worry not - if you don't have an Instant Pot, you can make it in a large heavy-bottomed pot instead. I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for making soups.
Pro tips / recipe notes:
The magic ingredient in this recipe isn't beets or dill, it's the canned peas! But the most important thing is to add the entire can of peas, including the liquid. The brine that the peas are canned in adds a really special salty umami flavour to this Instant Pot Borscht recipe and it isn't the same without it.
Both beets and red cabbage will stain your cutting board (and your hands!) so be sure to use a darker coloured board or a plastic board that you can scrub with baking soda or lemon once you're done chopping.
Be sure to cut the beets into small cubes - I aim for a half-inch dice - or you may have to extend the cooking time.
To save time on chopping, feel free to replace the red cabbage with grocery store coleslaw mix - it's already shredded, and usually contains just cabbage and carrots.
If you have leftover beets from this recipe, follow these steps for Freezing Beets The Easy Way. You could even chop enough beets for a second batch of soup, and have them on hand in the freezer for next time.
This is a *chunky* borscht recipe, but if you prefer smooth borscht you are more than welcome to purée the soup as well.
Make ahead / storage tips
Borscht is one of those soups that tastes better the next day, so by all means make this one in advance!
You can store borscht for about three days in the fridge in an airtight container. Like most soups, Instant Pot Borscht freezes brilliantly.
To freeze, simply transfer cooled soup into freezer-proof containers and ensure there's enough head space for the soup to expand as it freezes. I often reuse yogurt containers for freezing my soup, but I also love these reusable silicon freezer bags.
You can also freeze soup in Mason jars, but you need to be really sure to leave enough space for expansion so the jars don't break in the freezer.
To re-heat soup I most often use my microwave.
If the soup is frozen, I'll sometimes drop the frozen block of soup into a pot and heat on low heat, covered, on the stove top until the soup has melted and warmed up.
What to serve with borscht
When it comes to a comforting bowl of winter soup like borscht, I think it doesn't get much better than serving it alongside a nice piece of crusty bread. If you're looking to mix things up, try making these Savory Cottage Cheese Muffins instead.
I love topping borscht with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, and lots of fresh dill. If you want to keep things vegan, you can either skip the sour cream or use unsweetened coconut yogurt instead.
Are beets healthy?
Yes, friends. Yes they are. Beets have a unique complement of antioxidants - their red colour comes primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments, rather than anthocyanins. They’re a very good source of the antioxidant manganese and a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C.
Many of these phytonutrients in beets have also been shown to function as anti-inflammatory compounds. Beets are an unusual source of betaine - a key body nutrient made from the B-complex vitamin, choline, an important vitamin for helping regulate inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
Beets are also an excellent source of folate and a very good source of, potassium, and copper. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamin B6.
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Instant Pot Borscht
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large carrots diced into small pieces
- 4 medium beets peeled and diced - approx ½ inch dice
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage Finely sliced
- 4 medium tomatoes diced
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 14 ounce can green peas including the liquid!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Turn your Instant Pot to "saute" and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to heat.2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Add the onion, bay leaves, and salt, and sauté until the onion is translucent.1 large onion, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the diced carrots, shredded cabbage, and beets, and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often.2 large carrots, 2 cups shredded red cabbage, 4 medium beets
- Press "cancel" to stop the sauté function.
- Add the diced tomatoes and the vegetable broth.6 cups vegetable broth, 4 medium tomatoes
- Place the lid on your Instant Pot, ensuring the valve is set to "sealing". Use the "pressure cook" function and set the timer for 8 minutes.
- When the pressure cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Then, flip the vent to "venting" and release the remaining pressure.
- Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, dill, parsley, and the canned peas along with all of their liquid. Let the soup sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 14 ounce can green peas
- Serve with lots of fresh dill, freshly ground black pepper, and creme fraiche or sour cream if desired.
- Set a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and bay leaves. Sauté until the onion is translucent.2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 large onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves
- Add the diced carrots and beets and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the carrots have softened slightly.2 large carrots, 4 medium beets
- Add the shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.2 cups shredded red cabbage, 4 medium tomatoes, 6 cups vegetable broth
- Cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add red wine vinegar, lemon juice, fresh dill, and fresh parsley. Add the canned peas, along with all of their liquid.2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 14 ounce can green peas
- Serve with lots of fresh dill, freshly ground black pepper, and a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream if you wish.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- The magic ingredient in this recipe isn't beets or dill, it's the canned peas! But the most important thing is to add the entire can of peas, including the liquid. The brine that the peas are canned in adds a really special salty umami flavour to this Instant Pot Borscht recipe and it isn't the same without it.
- Be sure to cut the beets into small cubes - I aim for a half-inch dice - or you may have to extend the cooking time.
- To save time on chopping, feel free to replace the red cabbage with grocery store coleslaw mix - it's already shredded, and usually contains just cabbage and carrots.
- This is a *chunky* borscht recipe, but if you prefer smooth borscht you are more than welcome to purée the soup as well.
This recipe was first published on December 15, 2014. It has been re-tested, rephotographed, and updated with Instant Pot instructions on February 23, 2022.