How to Cook Beets
Move to the beet. Start with these basics to learn how to cook fresh beets at home-then get creative with your salads, snacks, dinners and more.
Beets are full of nutrients—plus natural sugars that come out in full force when you roast them. Learn about the sweet root veggie you can boil, roast, microwave, slow-cook, pickle or even munch on raw. Seek inspiration from our best beet recipes.
What To Know Before You Cook Beets
Before you dig into those beautiful beets, read through these good-to-know tips compiled by experts from our Test Kitchen team.
There’s a Difference Between Red and Yellow Beets
Red beets taste slightly more earthy than yellow, or golden, beets. For taste and texture, you can use the colors interchangeably, but if your recipe calls for many different-colored ingredients—like potatoes, beets and carrots—keep in mind that when you stir everything together, red beets will turn just about everything purple. Try yellow beets instead, although they can bleed a bit, too.
How to Store Beets
Cut off greens 2 inches above the beets. Refrigerate greens separately in a sealed plastic bag for up to three days. Refrigerate uncooked beets in an open bag for about two weeks.
You Can Eat Them Raw
You may not want to bite into raw beet like you would an apple, but thinly sliced beet root can add a nice crunch to a dish. Just peel with a veggie peeler. They can be tough (beyond crunchy), so try shaving them with that peeler or cut them into matchsticks. A mandoline slicer works nicely, too. You could even spiralize them! Here are 6 more vegetables you never knew you could spiralize.
Now, Get Cookin’
Click on a link below to learn how to cook the best beets ever.
How to Boil (and Peel) Beets
Boiling beets to remove skin is an excellent way to keep your hands from getting stained. When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim off what’s left of the stem, grab a couple sheets of clean paper towel and hold one in each hand. Then pick up a beet with both hands. Hold the beet firmly and twist your hands in opposite directions. The skin slides right off and you hands stay clean!
- Cutting board
- Dutch oven
- Paper towels
Step 1: Trim the tops and tails
On a cutting board, cut off the greens to 1 inch and cut off tail of beet.
Test Kitchen tip: Why trim the tops to 1 inch? It helps prevent the color from bleeding into the water.
Step 2: Get boiling
Place beets in a Dutch oven and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then cook for 30 minutes.
Step 3. Cool ’em down
Remove beets to a bowl of cold water.
Step 4: Easy, breezy peeling
Trim off what’s left of the stem, grab a couple sheets of clean paper towels and hold one in each hand. Pick up a beet with both hands. Hold the beet firmly and twist your hands in opposite directions. The skin slides right off and your hands stay clean!
How to Roast Beets
Taste of Home
- 1 lb of beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed to 1 in.
- Olive oil
- Heavy-duty foil
- Baking sheet
Roasting beets concentrates their sugars, making them extra tasty. It couldn’t be easier. Place beets on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 24×12-in.); drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil around beets, sealing tightly. Place on a baking sheet. Roast at 400° for 55-65 minutes or until tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.
How to Cook Beets in the Oven
- 1/2 lb of beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed to 1 in.
- 13×9 baking dish
How to Microwave Beets
Taste of Home
- 2 lbs of beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed to 1 in.
- Large microwave-safe dish
Beets cook quickest in the microwave, with a flavor and texture similar to steaming or boiling. Place beets in a single layer in a large microwave-safe dish. Drizzle with water. Microwave, covered, on high 14-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork, turning once; let stand 5 minutes.
How to Slow-Cook Beets
Taste of Home
- 3 lbs of beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed to 1 in.
- 1 cup water or stock
- 4-qt. slow cooker
Concentrate the sweet flavor of beets by cooking ‘em low and slow. Place beets in a greased 4-qt. slow cooker. Pour about a cup of liquid over the top. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until beets are tender.
How to Pickle Beets
- 8 medium fresh beets
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
- 1-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dutch oven
- Small saucepan
The sweet, rich flavor of beets springs to life with the addition of vinegar and spices. Try these zippy pickles on sandwiches, potatoes or with fruit or vegetable salads. Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 in. Place in a Dutch oven; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes or until tender. Remove from water; cool. Peel beets and slice; place in a bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, cloves, allspice and salt. Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Pour over beets. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Drain before serving. (Makes 6-8 1-cup servings)