Beet Greens

While this recipe calls for discarding the stems, if you want you can use them too if they aren't too woody. Just cut them into 1-inch segments and add them to the onions after the onions have been cooking for a minute.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 pound beet greens
  • 1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp of cider vinegar


1 Rinse and cut the beet greens: Rinse the beet greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and rinse a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2 Sauté the bacon, onions, garlic: In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic, cook a minute more.

3 Add water, sugar, red pepper flakes: Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a boil.

4 Add beet greens, cook until tender, add vinegar: Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in the vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Lisa

    I think I like it! It’s very interesting the sugar and vinegar combo. It reminds me of my mom’s green beans with vinegar, onions and sugar. I don’t miss the salt.


  • Raymond Mallette

    They are also delicious by just boiling, putting in a bowl….add butter, salt, pepper and a touch of apple cider vinegar.

  • Loriann

    Love this recipe! I add cannellini beans and wild mushrooms at the end, so delicious!


  • Katie

    So tasty! The flavors all compliment eachother well


  • Katie

    This sounds delicious! I just got a CSA and got a bunch of beet greens I am going to make this with. Any tips for storage? Have you had experience freezing this after it’s cooked?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Katie, I store fresh beet greens the way I store chard. I do make sure they are separated from the beets, then I put them in a plastic bag and make sure I use them up in a few days. I don’t rinse the greens first, water encourages spoilage. As for freezing them, I haven’t but I don’t see why cooked beet greens would freeze any differently than say, cooked spinach. Should be fine.

  • Christa



  • Jodi

    Never thought I eat, let alone like, beet greens. Delicious!!


  • PapaG

    The recipe is good but poorly written. Be careful when following the directions. Each instruction starts with a title that incorporates ALL the ingredients in that instruction. THEN it proceeds to tell you that certain ingredients are added first, followed by others. Very strange.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi PapaG, glad you liked the recipe! The instructions start with a bolded summary for each step. I started doing this a few years ago when I found that more and more people were reading the instructions from a cel phone (now more than 70%!). Summarizing and bolding the steps make the instructions much easier to follow if you are scrolling on a small screen.

  • MaryFrances

    Yummy. Tasted like Greek grape leaves to me. I used avocado oil and xylitol.


  • Bonnie D. Ivanish

    Not long ago, our grocery began leaving the greens on the beets. I was glad, because I had always heard how nutritious they are, but I had no idea how to prepare. I found your wonderful recipe about a year ago and I have made it many times since then. I’m here to say thanks, and to suggest a slight variation which I tried & loved. Tonight I was having a piece of salmon, with this in mind as a side, but I needed a little something more, like a starch. No time to cook pasta or potatoes, I decided to add a can of light red kidney beans (rinsed) at the end of preparation, allowing just enough time to heat them through. I am so pleased that I thought of it….beans worked perfectly together with the greens, a well-balanced meal with the salmon, plus I didn’t need to dirty another pan. Easy & delicious, this recipe rocks!


  • Rosemary

    I added just a dash of salt.


  • Lori Windspirit

    These were delicious! Great recipe! I kept looking at the greens attached to my beets and I thought it was such a waste to throw them away that I looked for and found your recipe. This is perfect for a Keto side! I steamed the stems with cauliflower and then added them both to the saute and it was lovely! They are delicate and yummy and there is no bitterness at all. Thanks for the great idea!


  • Mary

    What is a good substitute for bacon in this recipe?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Mary, you could just cook the onion and garlic in extra virgin olive oil instead.

  • Candace Rushing

    The beet greens made a perfect little side-dish to add flavor to chicken and buttered beets! I’ll make it again!


  • Judy Bothof

    I made this expecting to throw most of it out. But it was very good! Pairing it with the beets from the garden was great. I took Chris ‘ advice, and only used only one Tbls vinegar. Yummy.


  • John K

    Delicious! I will make this again


  • Dianne

    Keeping this one as a favorite!!!


  • Chris Weaver

    I like the recipe, but would reduce the vinegar to 1 tbsp. or less. Vinegar is used to tenderize tough greens like collards or kale and beetroot greens aren’t that tough. Hence, the vinegar taste is a bit strong for me. I also added salt. The process is spot on, though.

  • Jennie

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I was at a loss for what to do with beet greens other than including them in borcht. This is delicious! I included the stems, and I did have to cook it about 25 minutes to boil off the liquid, so the greens were a bit more “done” than I’d have preferred, but still quite tasty.

    • bob

      There was a lot of liquid left after 6-7 minutes if simmering but the greens were perfectly done. so I stopped simmering. I’m sipping the warm leftover liquid now . Zero regrets.

  • sharon sherman

    Loved this recipe and easy to make…..


  • Larry Angell

    Hi,my name is Larry…. This recipe is very good , but I am going to have to try this with fresh cut beet greens. I am a canner and can about everything I get my hands on. I love pickled and canned beets, plus I can the greens by themselves. I drain hem and then saute….. yum very good… your recipe works well…. Thank You

  • Laura

    As a child my dad always grew beets. Mom didn’t waste much but always pickled the stems and threw away the greens. I have tried twice cooking the greens like we cook turnip greens or collards. They were edible but not really tasty. We loved this recipe! Will do it again. As usual with cooking beets my entire kitchen is red. Let me get busy. Thank you. It is delicious!

  • Janet Campbell

    Thank you for this recipe, Elise. I was looking for this recipe for long time. I love it…

  • Judy

    Thanks for this recipe, Elise. It looks and sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving side dish! We have a boatload of beets that we are going to harvest very soon. We’ll never going to be able to eat all the greens, but we can dehydrate them for future cooking. We’ve done that with Swiss Chard and Kale, so I imagine it will work the same for beet greens. Nice to have these greens in jars to add to casseroles, soups and stews, etc. We have a dehydrator, but for those who don’t, you can dry them in the oven on low heat.

  • terismyth

    Great recipe. I make it easy and make a Chinese chicken salad dressing in the blender and add beet greens to make it greener and healthier.


  • Aldous

    I will try this, but I usually just run them through the juicer. I will jucie almost anything.

  • Diane

    Made this tonight; we have always loved beets, but I’ve usually discarded the greens. No longer!! This was simple and outstanding! I did use more bacon (can never go wrong with bacon!), and I did not cover the greens, but just kept tossing them as they cooked for about 5 minutes. I used a ton of greens (didn’t weigh them so i’m not sure but it worked). Didn’t remember to buy cider vinegar so just used plain white. I’m sure the cider is better and I will get some to have on hand for next time. My husband and I devoured the whole mess of greens in no time. YUM!!


  • Snowdog2

    There is no need to throw away the stems. They need to be separated and cooked in advance for about 10-12 minutes in water, and then just add them to the leaves to cook all together. I had beet greens in Greece and it was mostly the stems and they were delicious. I use it all in Quiche or just as vegetable.

  • Rosenda Brown

    First time cooking, eating beet greens and because I don’t eat pork I use turkey bacon. Wow! Thank you for sharing your recipe.



  • Connie

    what do you use for sauce or extra sauce
    Love your page have used several of the recipes and am well satisfied, it has added a great help to some of my own favs

  • Ruth

    First time eating beet greens and they are delicious! Thank you.


  • Karen

    I have never had beet greens and I bought some beautiful yellow beets. I saw this recipe and decided to try it. Outstanding!!! My husband even liked them. I roasted the beets and put the beets in the middle of the greens. A very nice presentation. Loved the recipe. Thanks for the great recipe.


  • William

    I made this recipe without the bacon and it is quite good. After all I have been hearing lately about the cruelty to pigs (pigs are kept all their lives in Gestation Crates, no sun, no interaction with other pigs, and have miserable painful lives)… I quit eating any kind of pork. I don’t want to have any part of that! This recipe doesn’t need it, so try it without and help end animal cruelty :)

    • Jeanne

      Bravo, William! All animals are abused so I don’t eat any meat but I am looking forward to making this tomorrow (without bacon of course), looks delicious! Thank you for sharing this easy recipe, Elise!

  • Nis

    i don’t eat Beet normally (Thinking its too much sugar) but tried this recipe. It was yummy. However substituted bacon with Maldive fish. (Because I don’t eat meat) However, I prefer this without vinegar. Thanks for a good recipe…

  • Pieter

    Your recipe looks very inviting and I will try it. Here is South Africa, we have eaten beetroot leaves for as long as we can remember. We would sautee the stems with onions in a little bid of sunflower oil until soft and then add the leaves to the pan. Pour in about half a cup of water. Top with slices of potato and when the potato is done, the rest are all done. Add salt and a generous amount of white pepper.

    • Jo

      I will try this, thanks!

  • lisa

    fantastic recipe! I didn’t have any bacon on hand so used butter and schmalz instead. also added some red kale to the beet greens.

  • Kendra

    Ok, I lied. I didn’t wait until the night after next to be on the menu. I cooked these up for lunch and they’re delicious! Perfect balance of flavors–good thing I have more beets. Thanks again for a great recipe :)


  • Albrecht Maier

    Can I freeze the beet greens for later use, similar to how I process zuccini for later use?

    I haven’t frozen them, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Patti

    Made these tonite. I tasted them before adding the vinegar and was skeptical about whether I should add the vinegar. Glad I did :)
    I had a whole bunch extra water so not sure if I did it right but they were delicious.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  • becca

    Correction to my post above: Since I only had 1/2 lb. of beet greens, I added 1/2 lb. spinach. That’s why I kept the water, pepper, vinegar amounts the same. But the recipe yielded a little more since I added more onions and included beans.

  • becca

    This is heaven! I’m glad I searched for a beet green recipe and came across this one. The flavors work so well, a keeper! I wanted to make more, so I added some spinach from my garden (at least 1/2 lb). I added some more bacon, a large onion, 5 big cloves/garlic, and kept same amount of water, sugar, pepper, vinegar. Aside from the spinach, my own additions were: 1 can cannellini beans (white kidney) rinsed/drained, and about 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Those were added into the cooked greens and simmered for a few minutes. I served this over quinoa, but pasta or rice would be fine, too. I can eat this all day, thank you!


  • Julie M

    I made these with a little more onion, and smoked tempeh instead of bacon. Very tasty! Thank you!

  • alyce

    why don’t you peel the roasted beets before they cook in the oven??? i always wondered about that….delicious!

    You could do that, sure. ~Elise

  • Deb

    Can you freeze them once they are prepared?

    Hi Deb, I don’t know. I haven’t frozen cooked (or raw beet greens for that matter) beet greens. If you do, please let us know how it works out for you. ~Elise

  • ender

    “…simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender… (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)”

    This recipe sounds great but yikes! I think these cooking times are a bit hi. I tend to cook greens (also things like snow peas, broccoli, and many other veg.) as little as possible; just enough to wilt basically. If you grew up eating old-school vegetables (cooked for days) this takes a little getting used to, but once you do , you never go back. A lot of vitamins and other nutrients are lost in overcooking… and a lot of taste and texture.

    It completely depends on the greens. I get young chard that I can cook in just a few minutes. Sometimes the collard greens we get are so mature they require half an hour of cooking just to get tender enough to eat. I too like to cook greens as little as possible, but sometimes, especially with more mature leaves, it will take longer. ~Elise

  • Praj

    Two thumbs up to this recipe (and to you)! I just made it for the first time today and boy, was it delicious!


  • cheryl

    This is a great recipe. You can use swiss chard which is also in the beet family but is grown only for its greens. We can buy it year round in our area inexpensively. You get more greens buying it that way. Some of the stems are white, some are red like beets and some other colors are available. We make it a lot with just butter, vinegar, salt and pepper.

  • kimberley

    Wonderful recipe. Added some baby spinach. Highly recommend. I always hated throwing out the green. Will now do this every time I get beets!! Vinegar finishes it off perfectly.

  • Gretchen

    Great recipe. We were looking for a way not to waste the greens from the beets we bought at farmers market. This was a very tasty way to do that. Even my DH–who is usually not in love with the kale/greens recipes I prepare–really liked it. We will definitely keep this recipe on hand and make it again. The one modification I made (since I am trying to cut back on sugar) was to replace the tbsp of sugar with 1 tbsp of Agave Syrup. Tasted great!

  • willowisp

    NUM! I’ve never cooked a sweet and vinegary stir fry before, but your directions were great and it turned out delicious! Thank you!

  • greenbean

    I used some kind of kale, no sugar b/c I used balsalmic, added cranberries and nuts for color. Great recipe, thank you!

  • Trish

    I added the stems AND I added some fresh, chopped ginger twice (once with the onions and garlic, and again with the greens). I tossed the whole mix with some cooked brown rice and chilled for a salad.

    Simply Recipes… Simply Wonderful!!


  • rebecca

    If this is what you’d feed a cow, you have a lucky cow. I’d like to be that cow! This is simply DELICIOUS, Elise. Thanks for another winner.

  • Rhienna

    This recipe tastes quite a bit like the grass you’d feed a cow. While I’m sure the nutritional value is a plus, this is a dish I’m really going to need to modify to get the family to eat. I’m thinking of cutting the recipe and adding part to a chicken alfredo.

  • Nat

    Thanks for the great recipe!
    Wow, this is a delicious dish. I’m looking forward to try it again, rather than just for the sake of saving greens.

  • Angel

    Another tasty idea for beet greens that I concocted the other day is to make a pesto out of the leafy greens (I chopped them before the stem got too thick because that part can be very bitter). In keeping with the fact that I was making a non-traditional pesto, I changed from pine nuts to pistachios, and I also squeezed in the juice of one lemon and a put in a few drops of white wine vinegar. The result was very delicious! Hope this gives you more inspiration for beet greens!

    What a great idea, thank you for sharing! ~Elise

  • H

    A nutritionist I know recommends beet greens for families who are prone to gall stones; it seems these can help prevent them if eaten about once a week.

  • Gail Peters

    I roasted golden beets and got this recipe for the greens, so delicious!
    I didn’t have bacon so I omitted it and it was great without it.

  • Christina

    Thanks for this! Sounds delicious!

    Another great recipe:
    – wash and chop leaves (stems included)
    – peel beets when raw, cut in half and then into slices approximately 1cm thick (or just eighths if the beets are small)
    – bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add beets and greens at the same time
    – cook until beets are fork tender (about 20 min or so) and drain

    If you want to do this Greek style, add olive oil to your pot, get the oil hot, add beets and greens, stir to coat, and add lemon juice. Don’t be shy with the oil.

    Slightly different take on this: again add the oil (again, don’t be shy – that’s why bread exists) to the pan, get it hot and add the beets and greens together with some minced garlic. Stir around so that the greens are coated and the garlic cooks a bit (you could also add the garlic before) and then add just a touch of very good quality balsamic vinegar (cheap stuff is going to make your beets taste like they came out of a jar…). This is my favourite way to do them, and people who normally don’t like beets try them this way and then decide to change their minds about beets.

  • Emily

    This turned out great! I used the balsamic vinager instead of the cider vinegar and suger and I chopped up the stems and added them as suggested. The dish was so pretty with the dark greens and reds and the flavor was great. The greens seemed lighter and fresher than regular turnip greens that have cooked all day. I served them with black eyed peas and cheese quesidillas with the bacon and sun dried tomatoes on them… a very good meal! Great way to use those beet greens! Happy New Year!

  • Liane

    I just learned that chard is actually beet greens where the beets are grown for the greens, not the roots. So they are essentially the same, but chard is thicker than beet greens. They do taste good in chicken soup!

  • Loly

    Just cooked them. They turned very good. I also added basil. Yummy!

  • Jameil

    Great recipe! I omitted the bacon and the sugar, and threw in a handful or two of dried currants along with the greens. They added a nice sweetness and contrasted well with the robust flavor of the vinegar. I also squeezed some lemon juice over it before serving. I will definitely be making it again the same way.

  • Ninette Bird

    Hi Elise, I find that cooked beet leaves are akin to the red leaf chard when cooked. However to me it has a much richer taste. I have cooked it by just sauteing it with a bit of red onion, salt and pepper and a few very small bits of hot peper flakes or a few thin slices of a hot peper like habernero and then squeezing a bit of lime on it before searving with a plate of steamed fish caribbean cooked style along with some thing we call fungi which is a corn meal mush with okras in it. The mush is done the same way you do polenta but cooked in the water that the okra is boiled in. The cooked beet dish is the side vegetable of greens as it’s referred to back there.

  • Jurga

    You can also try to make a beet greens SOUP. It is very popular in my country Lithuania.

    The recipe is very simple: beef or pork broth + beet greens with stems + carrots + potatoes. When serving you can add 1/2 of table spoon of sour cream. Delicious :)

  • Lizzy

    I used a combination of kale, chard and beet greens to eat up all the greens my community supported agriculture program provides. I don’t eat pork and I can’t eat garlic so I used onions, red pepper flakes and lemon zest, balsamic vinegar and smoked salmon (my own). Delicious!

  • Joelle

    I loved this recipe. This is my first year growing beets in my garden (red and yellow) and only the second recipe I have made using cooked greens. I used 3 dried cayenne peppers from last years harvest and blended them with the sugar water. I added mushrooms with the onion, garlic and bacon. I used precooked bacon, so I sauteed everything in butter. The end result was just like a wilted spinach salad with sweet bacon dressing. The best part about it was that I was just thinning the beets, so it was an early vegetable.

  • Stacey

    Lovely recipe. We added extra red pepper flakes (1/8 tsp) for a kick at the end, which was great. The layers of flavor are awesome.

  • Jessica

    This recipe is so delicious and I’ve shared it with several people.I use the vegetarian version with olive oil. However,the last time I added a few drops of hickory seasoning liquid smoke.Heavenly! Thank you Elise for this wonderful recipe.

  • Denise

    Elise, You’re making my husband so happy with all your fabulous recipes for fresh produce coming out of his spring garden. These greens were delicious. We will not be discarding our beet greens anymore!

  • Kelly

    I am not a big fan of beets, but grow tons of them in the garden primarily for the greens. They are good for you, and this recipe is absolutely fabulous!! I have a houseful of little boys who agree. Thanks, Elise!! Kelly

  • Jane

    Great recipe but I think I went a little heavy on the pepper … HOT! I’ll delete it the next time and I know it’ll be perfect.

  • Louise

    Really, really, really good! My husband and I both loved them. Fixed them today with Rachael Ray’s Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes. Nice compliment to her dish. Thank you–

  • Louise in CA

    Wow this was good! I agree with the person who said they’d buy beets just to get the greens and use this recipe! I will definitely make it again.

  • Christine

    That was fabulous. Thank you! I returned from the produce stand with very fresh beets and thought the leaves were beautiful and there must be something I can do with them. Your recipe displayed at the top of my search results. I’ll use your recipe again and again. It’s even special enough to buy beets on purpose for the greens! (And the reddish color of the pan sauce is so wonderful. It’s very attractive too.)

  • Tasha

    LOVED them! Saw a recipe for roasted beet salad on a cooking show today that looked wonderful. When I got the beets to make the recipe they had lovely leaves and stems and I wanted to find a recipe for them. This one was amazing. Will definitely make it again. I followed the recipe with one modification- I used seasoned rice vinegar- as I didn’t have cider vinegar. I thought it worked well…although it’s probably a little sweeter than if I had used the cider vinegar.

  • Ann

    I was a bit skeptical because the greens didn’t look too appetizing before I cooked them, nor did it smell very good while cooking, but WOW – delicious!

  • Angela

    I tried it and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be really sweet but it was perfectly balanced.

  • Marilyn

    This recipe was delicious. I think any greens would taste wonderful with these seasonings. Thank you.


  • Alex Stailey

    This was a wonderful recipe for fresh beet greens! I didn’t have bacon so I used some real bacon bits and it worked great!Thanks for a Great Recipe

  • Maxine

    Fantastic. I have never cooked beet greens before, just heard about how wonderful they are. This recipe was awesome. I love the vegetarian variation posted in the comments. :)

  • dana

    Great recipe. Definitely dice and use the beet stems if they’re not too woody. I diced a whole yellow onion (large) and used olive oil along with about 4 oz. diced kielbasa (didn’t have bacon). Also, suggest skipping the sugar and adding balsamic instead of cider vinegar — 2 Tbs. worked for me.

  • Suzanne

    Vegetarian: omit bacon, substitute olive oil, add a handful of toasted pine nuts before serving. Do use the stems by chopping and adding to the water. Let them cook 3-5 minutes, then add the rest of the greens. They only need to wilt to be cooked 3-5 minutes). If you don’t have enough beet greens (3 beets should yield about half a pound), you can supplement with any other greens. Ruby chard is very similar, and would work beautifully.

  • sac-eats

    Made it per instructions with the addition of 1/2 cup of beet green stems, diced, which were added 2 min after onions. Big hit, everybody loved the dish.

    Thanks, Elise.

  • Linda

    This is the most delicious recipe…I just finished cooking the beet greens (I use maple syrup instead of sugar – and salami in lieu of bacon) and then added the steamed baby beets into the beet green mixture. Beyond delicious.

  • Joni Parker

    We were making beets for dinner and searched for a recipe to use the greens. I found this one and we had all the ingredients except bacon. So I used a leftover turkey sausage link instead. (One clump of 3 beets = 1/4 lb of greens so I quartered all the quantities) We thought this tasted wonderful and complimented the main course shrimp and side dish beets perfectly. It was exactly 2 servings.

  • Patty

    This was the best beet greens recipe I have ever made! I will definitely try it again.

  • judy

    This is a great recipe. I was grilling the beets and I decided to do something with the beet greens but the greens were more interesting than the beets. I didn’t have any pepper flakes so left them out and it was fine.

  • Bill

    Excellent! I went a little on the longer side to let the liquid reduce, and they turned out wonderfully. (And none of the gritty teeth that spinach and chard can cause!)

    This would make a wonderful warm salad tossed with some bowtie or cavatelle pasta.


  • Peter

    Crazy Thick Leaves

    Are we talking about the same beets? These seem very THICK and raw, they taste a little like grass, although my wife seems to think they taste a bit like spinach.

    The longer the beets are in the ground, the thicker the leaves. Just keep on cooking them (as if they were collard greens) until they are tender enough to eat. They should taste a lot like spinach. ~Elise

  • Mary Jo

    I have been eating beet greens ever since I was a little girl and my mom used to serve them to us kids, they are one of my favorite greens and no you do not have to cook them very long about like spinach

  • Beetie

    Great recipe. The only thing I’d do differently would be the use of the stems: rather than throwing them away, I’d chop them up and throw them in the pan ahead of the greens, letting them cook until they’re soft. They’re really good, and a pretty color.

  • carolyn

    I tried this last night. Y-U-M!