Pickled Beets

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.

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

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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Comments

  • Alice

    These beets are WONDERFUL! They taste just like my mom’s pickled beets, the regular way but without the hassle of canning. AWESOME! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Carmen

    This is an excellent recipe. The beet flavor remained, with a hint of the vinegar. Very pleasant. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Cathy onejll

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  • Cheryl Johnson

    What a delicious side dish. I had not had beets since my childhood and decided to grow some this year in my garden. Tried the recipe and all the family loved! I saw somewhere to use an egg slicer after cooking and that worked great, had to cut a few of mine because of size. Thanks so much for this wonderful treat, will be a staple on our table.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cheryl, I’m so glad you liked the beets! We eat them all season long. Great in salads too.

  • Sharon CW

    Can you tell me is it safe to freeze pickled beets? I am the only one in my family who eats them and I have a bunch made up. Would hate to waste them. How long will they keep in the fridge? I have had beets n eggs for three days now lol.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sharon, I haven’t tried freezing pickled beets but I have frozen roasted beets. They’ll last a few months in the freezer. They’ll keep for about 5 days or so in the fridge.

      • Ruth

        I have kept pickled beets in fridg for months, the vinegar preserves them .

  • Aldous

    I have never had pickled beets. Since I am a vegetarian for the most part, and am doing so for my health, I made these. Oh my God! I love them! I will probably up the mustard powder next time, or get some hot Coleman’s. I had mustard powder from an Indian market (I eat a lot of Indian food.), and it seemed very mild to me.

    • Elise

      HI ALdous, I’m so glad you liked them! I love pickled beets and eat them all year round.

  • DaveM
  • Sandy S

    Thank you for giving me a quick way to have pickled beets. I’ve been adding pickled beets to green salads for years, as a way to skip high fat/sugar salad dressings. But they are usually from a can. So, really looking forward to trying this recipe with it’s modest tablespoon of olive oil and sugar! Am thinking I will also add some rings of red onion while it is marinating!

  • Millie | Add A Little

    Yum! One of my favourites! I love adding them to salads!

  • Brian

    Amazing recipe. how long can it stay in the fridge for?

  • Deborah

    This is a great marinade for beets. Tangy/sweet, but not sharp, thanks to the mustard.

    I served these beets with a lemon herb chicken, cooked in the clay baker, with potatoes, yams, carrots and onion. Plus lots of fresh garlic. Ready in About 1.4 hours.

  • Anya

    Great recipe! Turned out delicious!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Mel G.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Joe

    How long will these last in the fridge?

    Several days. ~Elise

  • Lucy

    Just made these – beautiful and delicious!

  • 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!

  • donna

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

  • Denise

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

  • Heidi

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

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Linda

    Could I use this recipe and can the beets?

  • 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.

  • lydia

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

  • 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.

  • krista

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

  • 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.

  • Patti

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

  • Suzi Boyer

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

    Suzi

  • 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.

  • 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.