Instant pot borscht made from scratch is a delicious winter soup. This is a vegetarian version with an easy prep and hassle-free cooking thanks to the pressure cooker.
This instant pot borscht recipe is easy and pretty quick. It’s pretty much a drop and go soup recipe with a pleasant mild taste (no over-powering beet-y flavor).
Pressure cooker borscht is one of the soups that taste even better the following day so it is perfect for making ahead. It reheats well (either on a stove-top or in a microwave) and can last in the fridge for 3-4 days (without the sour cream). It also freezes well so you can divide it into freezer-friendly containers and freeze.
What is borscht?
Borscht is a soup using beets as one of the main ingredients. It is popular in Eastern and Central Europe.
I find it pretty similar to Italian minestrone soup (you can also make it in pressure cooker. I have a recipe on the blog for Instant Pot Minestrone Soup) minus the beets and sour cream.
What goes in borscht soup?
There are so many recipes for borscht out there that I don’t think you will ever find the traditional version. Every country makes it differently; every family adds their own twist to it.
Some make it without meat (like I did), others use various cuts of meat, add also beans, parsnip, canned tomatoes, etc ….
But even though there are hundreds of recipes that vary slightly in the process of making or the ingredients used, one thing is for sure. You cannot make borscht soup without beets!
Is borscht vegetarian?
Yes, this specific recipe is vegetarian and vegan friendly (just omit the sour cream).
How to make borscht in instant pot
The recipe is pretty straight forward. I do the cutting of veggies one at a time. This allows the veggies to sauté for a while, while I am cutting the next one. I find it the easiest and quickest way. If you think that this will not work for you, then cut/slice/dice all of them first.
This is the way I make my Instant pot borscht:
I start with the onion. Once I have diced it, I throw it into the pot where I have already added oil. Now turn on the pot and while the onion is sautéing you can move onto the next vegetable – carrots in my case. Cut them into small pieces and add to the pot. Stir. Continue with the next vegetable on the ingredient list until you are done.
It takes me about 2–3 minutes to prep each vegetable and that is enough time for the previous ones to sauté. Just make sure to stir them from time to time. I found that stirring after each addition is quite enough.
The last ones to add are potatoes. They don’t need sautéing so you can add the rest of the ingredients apart from sour cream in no particular order.
Give everything a good stir and close the lid. Pressure cook it for 15 minutes, using MANUAL setting. Don’t forget to turn the steam release valve to SEALING first.
I wait for at least 10 minutes before releasing the pressure manually. The reason is that the pot is under a high pressure and it is pretty full so I prefer waiting a bit. You can also let the pin drop naturally.
The last thing to do is taste this instant pot borscht soup before serving. Add more salt or vinegar, if needed.
Tools and gadgets needed for making instant pot borscht
Instant Pot – a.k.a. electric pressure cooker. Guys, if you haven’t got one yet, I highly recommend it. It changed my life. Cooking is so quick and easy. Meals that would normally take hours, are ready in fraction of that. Plus there is no need for stirring or babysitting the pot!
Knife – a good one as there will be quite a good amount of cutting. Now you can use a food processor or a kitchen robot that has attachments for shredding (to cut the cabbage and beets) but truth be told, making Instant Pot borscht is quite quick so I figured cutting by hand is faster. However, this does not mean you cannot use it. It is entirely up to you.
Chopping board – I love using the plastic ones that I can bend. That way I just transfer everything easily into any pot without making a mess.
Garlic press – it is the easiest and quickest way to mince the garlic. Also this way you will get more flavors out of the clove. Mincing the garlic with a knife does not give you that. So I recommend it but if you don’t have one, use a knife instead.
Gloves make making Instant Pot Borscht way easier. They are a must when peeling fresh beets as without them the beets will stain your hands.
Good to know:
There are different brands of vegetable stocks out there. Each one might contain a different amount of salt added. It may vary so I suggest seasoning the soup at the end rather than beginning, if you are not sure how salty the stock you are using is.
I sometimes make Instant Pot Chicken Stock and freeze it for later use. If you prefer homemade one, this is also an option. Mine does not contain almost any salt so you would probably need to add more salt at the end.
Stock cubes can also be used as a substitution. You just need to check the package instructions to see how many you use for 4 cups of water. I usually buy all-natural ones that are low in salt and need 2 of them per 4 cups of water.
Useful tips for making instant pot borscht
- If you still don’t feel comfortable about eating beets, try shredding them instead of dicing. They will basically “disappear” among the other vegetables and you won’t even notice them in this soup.
- I tweaked this recipe several times and this is the version I personally like. In many European countries you will see people topping borscht with sour cream. It makes the soup creamier and balances the beet flavor and it’s my favorite way of eating borscht. Sour cream goes also well with Sauerkraut Soup.
- Every single beet is different so some might taste stronger than others. If this is the case, the sour cream will definitely help balance the flavors.
- The color of this instant pot borscht will turn darker while cooling down.
- If you don’t have white wine vinegar, use apple cider vinegar instead.
- This soup can have a slightly different taste each time you make it as the veggies you use might taste differently – some might be sweeter, others not ….
Guys, I hope you give this instant pot beet soup a go. If you do, let me know in the comment section!
Instant Pot Borscht
- 2 tablespoons Sunflower Oil See note 1
- 1 Onion , medium-large
- 2 Medium Carrots (150 grams)
- 2 Celery Stalks (200 grams)
- 9 ounces White Cabbage (300 grams)
- 2 Fresh Beets (240 grams)
- 3 Large Potatoes (500 grams)
- ¼ cup Tomato Puree (50 grams)
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar or more
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups Vegetable Stock (1 liter)
- 1.5 cup Water (375 ml)
- 4 tablespoons Sour Cream to your taste (optional, see notes)
- Pour the oil in to the inner pot of your instant pot. Peel and dice the onion and throw it into the pot.
- Press the SAUTE function and adjust to HIGH (if you have such option on your IP). Let it saute. Now you will be cutting/shredding/dicing the veggies in stages and adding them to the pot.
- Peel the carrots and cut into small pieces (I cut them in half lengthwise, then again in half and cut into tiny pieces). When ready, add them to the pot. Stir.
- Trim off the ends from celery and cut each stem in half lengthwise and now slice/dice it into small pieces. Add to the pot and stir.
- Remove the hard part from cabbage and shred/cut it using a knife. Add it to the pot and stir.
- Use gloves to wash, peel and dice the beets. Try cutting them smaller rather than larger as they take the longest to cook. You can also shred them, if you prefer. Add them to the pot and stir again.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks (so they won’t overcook). Add them into the pot , stir and turn off the SAUTE function.
- Now add the rest of the ingredients apart from sour cream. It doesn’t matter what order you add them in.
- Lock the lid in its position. Turn the steam releasing valve to SEALING and press MANUAL (pressure cooking). Adjust the time to 15 minutes and let it cook. When ready, wait 10 minutes before releasing pressure manually.
- Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream (optional).
- Sunflower oil can be substituted with vegetable oil.
- This recipe was developed for a 6-quart/6-liter instant pot electric pressure cooker.
- This recipe yields 6-8 portions but the number of portions might vary. This depends on the size of your portions.
- The overall cooking time does not include time that the pot needs to come to pressure + release its pressure. Count with extra 30 minutes in this case.
- This soup can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. It reheats well.
- To make this soup vegan, omit sour cream.
- If using sour cream, note that the amount used is entirely up to you. You might need more or less than 4 tablespoons.