Pickled Beets

A midwestern classic—pickled beets! Our favorite refrigerator pickled beets, roasted or boiled beets, marinated in a cider vinegar vinaigrette.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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

Showing 4 of 59 Comments

  • Gerry Daniels

    Hi: My mother years ago would make a pickled beet using vinegar. I think your recipe might be it. Mom would bye a large can of beets and then pickle them. I don’t remember that she canned them. They lasted for a while in the cabinet. Do you know if your recipe would work for this.

  • JoyfulApricotRD

    WOW! These turned out so amazing! I followed your instructions for the boiling method, and the skins peeled off so easily. The marinade was so simple to make – and I already had all the ingredients in my pantry. I will definitely be making these again – so delicious! Beets are super rich in plant-nitrates which are wonderful for improving blood pressure and increase blood flow within your blood vessels! This is a delicious way to prepare them which I think anyone would enjoy. Thanks for posting!!

  • Paulette

    I would like to use raw beets …. see any problems?

  • Naomi

    Well, my comment might get lost in this sea of people who love your recipe, but I just wanted to stop back by here and let you know that this is my favorite pickled beet recipe and I make it over and over again. I just made a gallon jar full of these babies. I love adding the little chunks to my salads to give just enough sweetness. It’s just about my favorite quick snack and I love having them around for a healthy treat. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Kelly O'Neill-Falkner

    I went looking for a beet recipe because I had a bag that I needed to use – I did not realize with a few simple ingredients I could make pickled beets for the fridge as opposed to the whole canning process. I did not have any dry mustard so that ingredient was omitted but I used the standard recipe adding honey instead of sugar and some grated orange peel.. They taste really good ! Thanks for sharing, now that I know how easy it is I will make these regularly.

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