Chilled Summer Borscht Recipe

Enjoying a bowl of soup is a comforting way to satiate your hunger, no matter the season. In the cooler months, every spoonful feels like a warm hug from the inside out. And as hot summer days roll around, when we could all do with something a little bit more refreshing, chilled soups are the perfect way to satisfy our cravings while keeping things light. Food Republic recipe developer Julianne De Witt brings us this chilled summer borscht recipe, which is sure to brighten up your day with its hot pink hue and bold flavor.

"There are many different variations of borscht, both hot and cold, depending on what region the recipe comes from," De Witt explains. She goes on to note, "I grew up on the Ukrainian style, served hot, with beets (of course), cabbage, and potatoes, and I also love a chilled soup in the summer." As for this version, she shares, "I love the vibrant color of this soup. It's fresh and light, and the earthy sweetness of the beets is balanced by the acidity of lemon juice and vinegar. The cucumbers and radishes add a pleasant crunch, and the sour cream adds a bit of decadence." That pretty much sums up all the tastes and textures we love in a dish, and this chilled borscht highlights them all.

Gather the ingredients for this chilled summer borscht

For this recipe, pick up a few medium-sized beets, as well as vegetable stock, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice (freshly squeezed), white wine vinegar, sea salt, and ground black pepper. Then, get an English cucumber, dice some red radishes, and chop up a few fresh chives and dill sprigs.

"Some summer borscht recipes call for a dollop of sour cream on top, but I like to add it to the soup base as well to get that lovely velvety texture," De Witt remarks, so creamy soup lovers are sure to get their fix with this recipe. Plant-based eaters can enjoy it, too: "Many borscht recipes call for chicken stock as a base, but I use vegetable stock to keep this dish vegetarian," she adds.

Cook the beets

Add the beets to a large pot with enough water to submerge them. Don't make the common beet mistake of peeling them when raw — they'll be much easier to work with once they've been boiled. 

Place the pot on the stovetop and bring the water to a boil, then cook the beets for 30-40 minutes until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beets to a plate to cool down, and be sure to save 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid and let it cool in a bowl on the side.

Combine the soup ingredients

Once the cooking liquid has cooled down, pour it into a large bowl along with the vegetable stock, sour cream, sugar, fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk the contents until they are properly combined and there are no more lumps from the sour cream. De Witt explains, "The fat in the sour cream prevents it from separating."

Peel the beets, then add the vegetables to the soup

Run the beets under cold water and rub them to peel off the skins. Once the beets are peeled, dice them into medium-sized pieces. Toss them into the soup along with the diced cucumber, radishes, chives, and dill. Stir everything together to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Chill, garnish, and serve

Cover the soup and transfer it to the fridge for at least 3 hours, during which time the borscht will chill and soak up plenty of flavor — and color! When you're ready to serve this chilled summer soup, taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve each portion with a dollop of sour cream and an extra sprig of dill for garnish.

De Witt recommends enjoying this refreshing borscht "with a salad and bread for a light lunch or as a starter." Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Chilled Summer Borscht Recipe
4.9 from 15 ratings
Borscht doesn't have to be hot! Enjoy the traditional beet soup with a refreshing twist for the warmer months.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowls of borscht soup
Total time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
  • 5 medium beets
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 ½ cups sour cream, plus extra for serving
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • ⅔ cup diced red radishes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus extra for serving
  1. Place the beets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook the beets for 30-40 minutes, until tender.
  2. Before draining the beets with a slotted spoon, reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking liquid. Set both the drained beets aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the reserved cooking liquid, vegetable stock, sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  4. Peel the beets by rubbing off the skins under cold water, then dice them into medium-sized pieces.
  5. Add the diced beets, cucumber, radishes, chives, and dill to the soup, then cover and chill for at least 3 hours for the flavor and color to set.
  6. Once chilled, adjust the seasoning of the borscht to taste and serve with a spoonful of sour cream and a sprig of dill.
Calories per Serving 266
Total Fat 18.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Trans Fat 0.8 g
Cholesterol 56.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 17.5 g
Sodium 745.9 mg
Protein 4.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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