Pickled Beets

Beets are a weekly ritual around here. Usually we boil them and toss them in a sweet sour vinaigrette and keep them in the refrigerator to eat all week. The vinegar in the dressing “pickles” the beets, helping them last longer in the fridge.

Many pickled beets I find are much too vinegary, hiding rather than enhancing the naturally sweet flavor of the beets. This recipe is my mother’s approach to preparing the beets, using cider vinegar balanced with a little sugar (you could also just use balsamic), along with olive oil and some dry mustard. We love it! The vinaigrette complements the sweetness of the beets without overpowering them.

Pickled Beets

Do you love beets? Check out all of our beet recipes here.

Updated from the recipe archive, first posted in 2006.

Pickled Beets Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

This recipe uses a basic vinaigrette, heavy on the vinegar to offset the sweetness of the beets, but you could easily use any favorite vinaigrette. A little olive oil with salt, pepper, and balsamic is lovely. Try sprinkling a little orange zest in with the beets, or adding some lime, lemon, or orange juice to the dressing for a citrus note.



  • 1 bunch (4 or 5) beets
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper


1 Remove greens from beets, save for future use (see beet greens recipe). Scrub the beets free of any dirt.

2a Boiling method. Place the beets in a medium saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil on high heat then lower the heat and maintain a simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets, until they are easily pierced with the tines of a fork.

2b Roasting method. Rub the beets with olive oil and wrap them in foil (you can wrap them all together, no need to wrap them individually). Roast in a 400°F oven for an hour or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Let them cool to the touch.

3 If you have boiled the beets, drain them and rinse them cold water. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Quarter or slice the beets.

4 Make the vinaigrette by combining the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard. Whisk ingredients together with a fork. The dry mustard will help to emulsify the vinaigrette. Adjust to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and vinaigrette in a bowl and allow to marinate for a half hour at room temperature.

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Pickled Beets

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Showing 4 of 46 Comments

  • Nicole

    After almost 30 years of thinking I hate beets, I recently discovered that I really love them now! As a child I always thought they tasted like dirt! But recently my aunt made pickled beets for me and now I can’t get enough (I even started finding ways to use them in desserts!). I love lots of vinegar but I think I’ll try this milder version with the mustard just to change things up. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Robyn

    Thanks Elise’s Mum, I love beetroot and will try this next time I find some beetroot, it sounds spot on. Here’s a favourite of mine from Madhur Jafferys’ World Vegetarian( a wonderful! book):

    Beetroot with Mint & Yoghurt
    8oz (225g) cooked beetroot, coarsely grated(I use food processor)
    16 fl oz (500ml) natural yoghurt,
    1 tsp salt,
    Fresh ground black pepper,
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
    2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    3 cloves of garlic (actually I use much more!) finely chopped

    Mix yoghurt in bowl with fork til smooth, add salt, pepper, cayenne, stir then gently mix in beetroot & mint.

    Put oil in garlic in small frypan over med-high heat. Whe it sizzles press garlic down with spatula, turning, allow to sizzle some more. When garlic is medium brown add flavoured oil and garlic to beetroot mix.

    Recipes says serves 6-8. It is so delicious I certainly wouldn’t share it with so many others!! Just a note tho’ it is a shocking pink. I usually eat it with crisped pita bread mezze style.

  • Carol

    Your recipe is similar to mine, although I omit the dry mustard. However I do add either two green onions or one small white onion, diced. This gives a kick to it, as the mustard likely does. It’s great as a “jar” salad: for use at any meal.
    P.S. I can’t stand dealing with boiling hot beets after the cooking period, so I quickly drain and then cool in the refrigerator overnight. The skins peel just as easily.

  • Scott at Realepicurean

    That is quite interesting – I also hate the trend of “over-pickled” beetroot, it’s all too prevalent in the UK.

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