This Instant Pot Borscht is healthy and delicious. It’s a perfect and affordable way to stay warm during winter while eating cozy and comforting vegan and gluten-free soup. Making it in a pressure cooker means that you don’t have to stir the pot. It’s easy to make and easier to eat.
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Hello, January! I really wanted to start this year with pancakes. It sort of became a tradition on my blog. I made delicious Giant Double Banana Pancakes as my first post of 2017. And 2016 started with Gluten-free Banana and Ricotta Pancakes, ok, it was the second post of that year but still, it counts.
And this year was supposed to be another pancake recipe. It was Buckwheat Ricotta Pancakes that were on my mind. I made them. I ate them. I enjoyed them. I did not photograph them.
So, instead I am starting this blog year with a delicious and healthy soup from my childhood. Maybe it’ll be my new yearly tradition since the actual first recipe of 2016 was a Russian Quick, Easy, and Affordable Canned Salmon Soup.
I’ve been using my Instant Pot a few times a week for almost two months now. I am still not convinced it’s a game changer as many people say. It is definitely a good appliance and I like using it, for example to make my Instant Pot Gingerbread Cheesecake for Two, but it is not a necessity in my mind.
In fact, I will be writing an article with a few points to know about Instant Pot before buying it. (Update: I wrote the article about 7 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Instant Pot) That said, I do find it useful for quite a few recipes and this Instant Pot Borscht is one of them.
Is Borscht Ukrainian or Russian or…?
Being born in Russia means that I’ve eaten my share of Borschts in my life. There are tons of recipes for an authentic Borscht. Some say it’s traditionally Ukrainian, some say it’s Russian. It’s most definitely part of Slavic cuisine.
Is Instant Pot Borscht an authentic recipe?
Nope! But it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. There are as many recipes for Borscht in Russia as there are recipes for Apple Pie in North America. Most borschts are made with beef stock and pieces of meat from the beef bones.
Some use beet juice, some have beans added to the mixture. I grew up eating vegetarian borscht and my recipe for Instant Pot Borscht is just that: vegetables, vegetables, and more vegetables.
Traditionally, Borscht is eaten with a big heaping spoonful of sour cream but I omitted it in the recipe to make the soup vegan. If you aren’t vegan then feel free to add some sour cream, plain yogurt, or a little bit of mayo (mayo is also something commonly added to soups in Russia).
More Instant Pot Soup Recipes
I’ve only made borscht a few times in my life before. The problem with it was that beets notoriously take a very long time to cook, so the soup had to be made in stages. You first had to cook the beets and only when they were almost done you could add the rest of the ingredients.
Making Instant Pot Borscht and cutting the vegetables in different sizes means that everything could be cooked together. I made this Pressure Cooker Borscht a few times already since getting my Instant Pot.
I usually dice the beets in very small cubes, maybe 1/4 inch in size and I cut the potatoes in much larger 1-1.5 inch pieces. This way both the beets and the potatoes cook at the same rate.
How long does it actually take to make Instant Pot Borscht?
Many recipes online will claim that Instant Pot makes everything almost instantly. You may even be amazed when you see the details of this recipe. Yes, it cooks in my Instant Pot in 13 minutes. You read it right, 13 minutes!!!
But, but, but… This is my biggest beef (or beet? yes, no? not funny, ok, moving on…) with all the Instant Pot blogger recipes, no-one tells you that the pressure cooker takes time to actually come to pressure and then it takes time to release the pressure.
Yes, it’s usually mentioned in recipes in passing but more often then not no real numbers are given.
In this particular Instant Pot Borscht recipe, it takes about 32 minutes to come to pressure, then 13 minutes to cook, then another 5 minutes to release the pressure. Don’t forget that there’s at least 5-7 minutes of sautéing (although this step can be omitted if you prefer those “dump and start” recipes), and cutting and chopping everything takes minimum 20 minutes but most likely 30 minutes.
So, the 13 minutes in Pressure Cooker now becomes almost 1.5 hours. I still will take this recipe over the more traditional stove-top method any time.
I like the idea of putting everything in my pressure cooker and walking away. I like that I don’t have to watch it and cook it in stages and stir. But although I am very tempted to say that it’s a 13 minute Instant Pot Borscht, I can’t do that.
I discovered Better Than Bouillon stock base about a decade ago and it’s one of my absolutely favourite products. They have many different kinds and I always stock up (yes, pun very much intended) on the jars if they are ever on sale at my local Costco. Unfortunately, this brand isn’t easy to find in Canada otherwise.
If you don’t have this miracle product, feel free to use your favourite brand of vegetable stock, or you could even omit it altogether and just use water. You’ll notice in the recipe and the video that I don’t add any seasoning to the soup before cooking it.
I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking and there’s enough sodium in the stock already. I prefer to add a bit of salt to my bowl directly. However, if you use just water to make this soup, you may want to add about one teaspoon of salt or more to taste.
The soup is healthy and delicious. It’s a perfect way to start the year and it’s amazing to boost your immune system. It’s also very affordable as it uses beets and cabbage that usually don’t cost a lot at grocery stores.
Instant Pot Borscht is a great way to eat in January to stay healthy and to recover from all the costs associated with December.
Do you want more Beet Recipes?
- Cinnamon Beet Pancakes
- Cold Beet Soup
- Russian Beet Salad with Prunes and Pecans
- Chocolate Ravioli with Ricotta-Beet Filling
- 27 Unbeatable Beet Recipes
If you think Instant Pot Borscht is a complicated recipe to make, think again! Watch this video to see how easy it is!
DO YOU WANT MORE INSTANT POT RECIPES?
Join my Real Ingredients Instant Pot Recipes Facebook Group!!! It’s a fun and safe place to share your own Instant Pot recipes made with Real Ingredients.
Instant Pot Borscht
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound carrots (2 large)
- 1/4 pound onion (1 medium)
- 1 pound beets (3 medium)
- 1+3/4 pound potatoes (6 medium)
- 1 pound cabbage (1/2 cabbage head)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cloves garlic (optional)
- dill (optional)
- salt, pepper to taste
Prepare all the vegetables first
- Finely dice the onions.
- Shred the carrots. I prefer doing it using my food processor but you could use a manual grater.
- Peel and dice the beets into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into 1-1.5 inch pieces.
- Remove the core from the cabbage and finely shred it. I like also cutting each long cabbage shred in half so that they aren't too long.
Make the Instant Pot Borscht
- Turn your Instant Pot on and choose the sauté function.
- Add the olive oil and wait until it gets hot.
- Add the diced onions and shredded carrots and cook for about 5-7 minutes while stirring it with a spatula or a wooden spoon. I find that Instant Pot sauté function cooks vegetables faster than the stove, so in about 5-7 minutes this amount of vegetables will become quite soft. NOTE: You can technically omit this step of sautéing the vegetables first. It adds the flavour but even without the step the soup will still be delicious!
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.
- Close the lid, turn the pressure valve to Sealing, choose either Manual mode or Pressure cooker mode (depending on your model) and use the arrows to select cook time of 13 minutes.
- It took 32 minutes to come to pressure for me but I used cold tap water. if you use room temperature water/stock, it may take a few minutes less.
- Once the 13 minutes of pressure cooking are up and your Instant Pot beeps that it's done do a manual quick release. I like putting a small kitchen towel on the pressure release valve to contain the steam a little bit. It took about 5 minutes to fully release the pressure.
- Carefully open the lid, the borscht will be hot and steaming. Add minced garlic if using.
- Serve sprinkled with chopped dill.
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Came out great. I added a can of white kidney beans for protein and blended everything with an immersion blender since I like my soups smooth. Very happy with the results.
So no need to take the skins off the beets?
Dan S. says
Have made this recipe twice turned out great even my mother in law who is of German from Russia heritage liked it and she isn’t at all shy about food shaming. I couldn’t find fresh beets so I used 3 cans of sliced beets they are already softened from the canning process so i didn’t cook them in the IP sliced them to the desired size and stirred them in after the quick pressure release and let them steep until it was all cooled to the proper temp to serve .If I didn’t add the beets to the mix how did I get that good beet flavor? I added the beet juice from the cans in with the stock !
Linda Davies says
I made this borscht and it turned out delicious. I did add a touch of vinegar as my husband is Polish and they always have vinegar in their borscht. He was in the kitchen so asked me add it. It was easy to make and tasted delicious. Thanks for sharing.
I’m so glad you loved it!
Hannah Judson says
I made this recipe today and I liked it but it had a sweet taste to it and I’m not sure why. I am use to a more savory flavor.
Hmmm… the taste shouldn’t be sweet per se but there’s definitely natural sweetness in beets and tomatoes. Although it should be counteracted by all the other ingredients…
Just made this last night! It was amazing. And I don’t miss the beef at all!
I am so glad you liked it! Thank you for letting me know!
Love this soup! Easy to follow directions. So happy to have a quick pressure cooked, vegan recipe for this.
I’d remove the part about the towel and the quick release, that’s super dangerous.
Kevin Handy says
Is it possible to make this in a crock pot instead of a pressure pot. I have a rice cooker with a crock pot function and then I have a crock pot but no pressure cooker. Would there be a difference in the flavor (sorry I’m a Yank we have flavor not flavour 🙂 ). Also is borscht meant to be soupy and thin or thick and hearty? If so would there be any value at all in creating a “cream” by taking about a cup of mass from the soup to say 1/4 cup of broth and reducing it to a slurry with bits still present and dumping it back in the soup and letting the whole thing warm a bit after the major cooking is done? I’ve done this with stews and soups before to make it hearty and tasty.
Unfortunately I have never made this in a slow cooker so I cannot comment on that. Traditional Borscht is eaten with a big dollop of sour cream, so you could do that. It is supposed to be soupy, not like a stew 🙂
How much water/stock is added to the IP for this borscht recipe. I did not see it listed in the ingredients.
Looking forward to making this recipe!
The recipe lists 6 cups vegetable stock
Jennifer Silk says
Made this yesterday, and it enjoyed it very much, Made a few adjustments. Used unsalted vegetable stock, and white pepper to season. Thought it needed a bit more seasoning, so used Penzey’s Tsar Dust, which has cinnamon, nutmeg, and marjoram in it. Really gave it a nice taste. Plus I recently discovered that Green Giant has frozen beets in riced and spiral form. Super easy to use a bag of each, and reduce cooking time to 6 minutes.
That Penzey’s Tsar Dust sounds wonderful! I should definitely look it up – the combination of flavours is very unique! I am so glad you liked the recipe and oh wow, I need to look for those beets – they sound super useful and convenient!
Will this soup taste good chilled?
Unfortunately I don’t know as this particular version we always eat hot
Made this tonight. Was very successful. Had to do some adjustments thou. Used chicken stock and added 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp Brown sugar. I like the flavor of red wine vinegar and use it table side. Will definitely make again. Thank you for a great recipe. Patricia
I’m so glad you liked the recipe! My grandma also adds vinegar to her borscht, so I know that flavour and it’s great!
Do you quick release right when it’s done? Seems every recipe I’ve read makes me wait at least 10 minutes. Sorry, InstaPot newbie here.
I do quick release right away without waiting.
Paul Moeseenko says
Made the borcht and it turned out great. Recipe is very similar to mom’s except for the beef and pork bones. Used our “Instant Pot” made by “CrockPot” and it seems to come up to pressure much quicker than most people say their Instant Pot does (just for your info). Thanks again for the recipe. Will be making others, including this one again.
Yes, a lot of recipes use pork bones. For some reason in my family we rarely made meat soups. It’s very interesting about the time that it takes to come to pressure. Mine takes very long time but I just talked to a friend who has Instant Pot (much older 8 year old version) and hers comes to pressure very quickly. I wonder if there’s something wrong with my particular appliance
Ahh, thank you for being so straightforward about the time it takes to come to pressure and release!! I just got an Instant Pot for Christmas and made a jambalaya in it that I assumed would be really fast, but the recipe called for letting the pressure release naturally and I was surprised by how long that took! We ended up eating way later than usual for us, haha. That said, now that I know, I’ll still happily use it for lots of things, as it is nice to be so hands-off, but I wish that the extra time was included in recipes. This looks delicious!
Oh, I totally get your frustration! This is my issue with most IP recipes, that extra time isn’t included and it often is quite long. Like I made a soup yesterday and the cook time was 5 minutes, but it took 20 minutes to come to pressure and 5 minutes to release the pressure, so it was still 30 minutes of cooking. Not long but long enough that I had to actually allot time for the soup as opposed to just 5 minutes.
To speed up the pressure cooking add hot (kettle boiled) water.
It’s a good tip and I do it also often. However, the “coming to pressure” time is often needed as it also cooks food at the same time so speeding up that process might result in the food not being cooked properly. In this particular recipe I think it would work fine but I have a recipe where I cook soup for 2 minutes only and I don’t think it would work with boiling water as the potatoes wouldn’t cook through if it comes to pressure faster.
Ha! I’ve done the same thing where I totally plan to post a recipe but make it and eat it without photographing it! The world needs those pancakes though! But man alive, I will definitely take this beautiful and wonderful sounding borscht! Love that you can make this in the instant pot!
Ooh I haven had a good Borscht in years!! This sounds delicious, and to easy to do in the Instant Pot, can’t wait to try it out!
I wish you lived next door so that I could taste this lol. I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to love beets… but I REALLY want to like them!! Maybe this will be the recipe that does the trick!