Pickled Beets

Most pickled beets I find are much too vinegary, hiding rather than enhancing the naturally sweet flavor of the beets. I usually just boil beets and eat them unadorned, but my mother has a way of preparing pickled beets that is truly delicious, complementing the sweetness without overpowering it.

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Pickled Beets Recipe

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). Cut beets to uniform sizes so they will cook evenly. Steam or boil around 30 minutes or until done. (Alternatively, you can roast them by wrapping them whole in foil and cooking them in a 350°F oven for about an hour.) A fork easily inserted into the beet will tell you if the beets are done or not.

2 Drain the beets, rinsing them in cold water. Use your fingers to slip the peels off of the beets. The peels should come off easily. Discard the peels. Slice the beets.

3 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.

Serves four.

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38 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Scott at Realepicurean

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

  5. Deb

    Thank you for sharing this marinade. We just fixed pickled beets for dinner last night but didn’t do it this way. I will try your recipe next time. Thx.

  6. Suzi Boyer

    Do you know if this can be canned and how to process (since it is sweeter)?
    Thanks.

    Suzi

  7. Ari (Baking and Books)

    Can’t say that I’m a huge fan of beets, but I am a fan of this photo. The colors are wonderful, the beets look like little jewels or something!

  8. Patti

    Yum, beets. I use a little rice vinegar and a few drops of balsamic and they’re lovely.

  9. Linda

    My husband doesn’t like beets but I adore pickled beets so I make them for myself. I first had them at my ex mother in law’s home. She made them with canned beets and added vinegar, garlic powder, a little worcheshire sauce and I think that’s it. I love sweet pickles so maybe that’s why I like them so much. I think I will another batch up for me.

  10. krista

    Beets are my favorite, I usually have them with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  11. Michael

    I love beets, especially in this simple way. I just use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which has the advantage of deepening the color of the beets.

  12. lydia

    I love beets! My husband’s favorite is beets roasted with orange juice, honey, and a bit of balsamic vinegar.

  13. Isabela

    I love beets too. My recipe has horseradish instead of mustard. I like it with lots of horseradish, actually, and I don’t use sugar either.

  14. Linda

    Could I use this recipe and can the beets?

  15. Elise

    Hi Linda – this is not a canning recipe. To can vegetables you need to follow canning protocol which you can find by looking up articles on Google.

  16. Heather

    Hello There…

    I am 4 mo. pregnant and craving all things pickled! And tonight I was staring at a newly acquired bunch of beets wondering what else I could do with them besides juice them — and then I found you!

    Absolutely delish looking. Thanks for sharing.
    Heather

  17. Lin

    Beets should not be cut up before cooking. They lose their juice, their flavor. They should be cooked with skins on, 2 or 3 inches of tops left on to prevent their “bleeding” while cooking.

  18. Joan

    I love beets too! For those of you who don’t like your beets with an over powering vinegar taste try the following. I use Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix as a marinade. Follow the package directions for mixing but use Balsamic vinegar which is sweeter tasting. I also add the juice of half a lemon. Really good!

  19. Leigh

    How is 1/4 cup of liquid supposed to adequately cover 4-5 beets? I just made this recipe with only two beets (that’s all the grocery store had) and there wasn’t enough marinade to get all the slices into the juice. I had to flip it a few times to get all the beets marinated. What’s the deal?

    Think of the marinade as a salad dressing. You probably wouldn’t use more than a quarter cup of salad dressing for 4-5 beets, and yes, you would have to toss them a bit to get them all covered. But if you want to use more, by all means, do so. ~Elise

  20. MFanya

    I get small turnips at my local farmer’s market and they make a really great addition to this dish: boiling them will make them too mushy, so just add them raw at the end of step three (I add 1/4 cup or so of red wine vinegar to make them pinker, and also because I like ‘em extra tart).

    The beets and turnips make a fantastic addition to a falafel sandwich!

  21. Heidi

    Wow – I’ve always liked beets, but I’ve never had them fixed this way. Amazing!

  22. Denise

    YUM. Thanks to your Mom for this recipe. Can’t wait to try your Beet & Orange salad for dinner tonight.

  23. donna

    Delicious! You still taste the sweet of the beets…my husband will enjoy them.

  24. Lucia Ruocchio

    Your recipe is similar to mine but I use the beet greens too. I also add about 8 whole cloves to red wine vinegar and sugar, cooking for a minute or two once it boils. (Toss out the cloves and allow it to cool before mixing with olive oil.) I also add sliced raw white onion to the beet salad, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and let marinade for at least an hour or better if overnight. The combination of the cloves and wine vinegar seem to bring out the ‘fresh dirt’ flavor of the beets!

  25. Lucy

    Just made these – beautiful and delicious!

  26. Joe

    How long will these last in the fridge?

    Several days. ~Elise

  27. Lori on Little Traverse Bay

    I come from a “culinary-challenged” background, ha! ha! (Think Hamburger Helper and Lime Green Kool-Aid.) So I’m trying to stretch myself, and I just made these pickled beets. They are wonderful! And so easy! Thanks!

  28. Julie in WA

    My Finance is from Syria, so when we spent a month in his home town we had pickled beets and turnips with just about every meal. Its wonderful with hummus and pita, on falafal, and with garbanos. We made at home (in the states) and they are just amazing together.

  29. Jeni

    Made these tonight– fantastic!! I used golden beets from the farm shop down the road and my 3 year old son ate 1/2 the batch. Win!

  30. Dafna

    This recipe looks great and I want to try it but it appears it’s a quick pickle. Will this last in the fridge “indefinitely” like other pickle recipes for large batches?

    It is a quick pickle. It will not last indefinitely like other pickle recipes. ~Elise

  31. Tee Sims

    I just made these beets again and had to leave a comment. Beets are a part of my 2011 garden plan now! Thanks so much.

  32. Pat

    Hi Elise,

    This is a great recipe for pickled beets. My family and I have really enjoyed making and eating them. Would you know anything about freezing beets? I’m not into canning. With beets being in season right now, we would like to buy them and either freeze them before pickling or after if that is a possibility. I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks again for a delicious and easy recipe.

    Pat

    Hi Pat, sorry I do not. We can get beets almost year round, so never have a need to freeze them. ~Elise

  33. Mel G.

    I LOVELOVELOVE beets and this recipes is SO good! Thank you!!

  34. Kendra

    Hi Elise,

    Tried these last night for dinner after picking my beets up from co-op yesterday afternoon–absolutely delicious! My mother lives next door to me and I brought some to her as she loves pickled beets–my number one fan :) My daughter was equally impressed but scared because it turned her pee red-lol! I’m on the hunt for a canning recipe for these now and the beet greens will be on the menu the day after next. I was fortunate enough to be gifted a young rooster so it’s the Coq A Vin tonight. Wish me luck!

    Kendra

  35. sue kershaw

    These are the BOMB! PERFECTLY seasoned, not too vinegary. Enjoyed immensely. Do you know whether the acid level is such that it would be a suitable canning recipe? Thanks soooooo much (grinning through my red-stained teeth)!

    • Elise

      Hi Sue, I’m so glad you like them! No idea on the canning question. For us, this is just a refrigerator beet pickle.

      • sue

        Thanks for your quick reply! I’m also checking with our local Extension Service’s “Ask-An-Expert” to see if anyone there knows if this is possible. Great recipe! I appreciate your effort in getting it out there.

  36. Anya

    Great recipe! Turned out delicious!

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