Traditional recipes

Pickled beetroot recipe

Pickled beetroot recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Preserves
  • Pickles

A simple and easy way to make your own pickled beetroot. Use in recipes that call for pickled beetroot.

715 people made this

IngredientsServes: 60

  • 4.5kg fresh small beetroots, stems removed
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 litre white vinegar
  • 25g whole cloves

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:50min

  1. Place beetroots in a large stock pot with water to cover. Bring to the boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes depending on the size of the beetroots. If beetroots are large, cut them into quarters. Drain, reserving 500ml of the beetroot water, cool and peel.
  2. Sterilise jars and lids by immersing in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Fill each jar with beetroots and add several whole cloves to each jar.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, beetroot water, vinegar and pickling salt. Bring to a rapid boil. Pour the hot brine over the beetroots in the jars and seal lids.
  4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stock pot and fill halfway with water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 5cm space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 2.5cm above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot and process for 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Pickling salt is available in speciality shops or online. Alternatively, you can use sea salt instead, although this may not work as well and will give a cloudy appearance.

How to sterilise jars

Learn how to sterilise jars two ways with our handy step-by-step guide and video.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(196)

Reviews in English (158)

This is a quick and easy recipe and works well. It was my first foray into pickling so I was relieved to have good results. The only changes I made was to add some whole mustard seeds to the jars and I used sea salt which did not turn the jars cloudy. I will be making this again.-21 Nov 2015

now about to make this but confused as to how many jars i will need please someone help-16 Sep 2016


Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 pounds small red beets (about 5 beets)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 onion)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Trim beets, leaving root and 1-inch stem scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water drain completely. Cool 5 minutes trim roots, and rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices place in a large bowl.

Stir together vinegar, water, sugar, onion, thyme, salt, oregano, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour hot liquid over beets cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.


  • 1 1/2 pounds small red beets (about 5 beets)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 onion)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Trim beets, leaving root and 1-inch stem scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water drain completely. Cool 5 minutes trim roots, and rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices place in a large bowl.

Stir together vinegar, water, sugar, onion, thyme, salt, oregano, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour hot liquid over beets cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.


The Process of Pickling Beets

Step 1: Boil the beets

Cut off the beet greens (but save them, as they’re quite good for you!) down to about an inch from the top of the beet. Leave the beets tail in place, as that helps to lock in the flavor when they’re boiling.

Cover the beets with water, bring to a steady simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, until a fork can be inserted into the beet without too much trouble. For larger beets, you may need to boil them longer, of course.

Step 2: Remove the outer layer of skin

It is imperative that you remove the outer layer of beet skin after they’re done boiling. This should be a relatively easy process if they’re tender. Simply run the boiled beets under cold water as you gently peel away the outer layer of skin, revealing a soft, deep magenta fleshy bulb underneath.

Step 3: Cut the beets into half circles

While the beets are still warm, cut them into half circles, removing the remaining top part of the beet and the tail, too.

It’s important that you get the beets soaking in the pickling liquid while they’re still warm for maximum absorption of the pickling liquid.

Step 4: Pickle the beets

Create the pickling liquid for using this best pickled beets recipe (down below) and then begin marinading the beets while they’re still warm. Remember: you can always dilute the pickling liquid with a little bit of water if the seasoned rice wine vinegar is too astringent for you – a tablespoon or two should do.

You can store them for a week or two in the fridge in a covered container.

Pickled beets are great atop pretty much anything. These pickled beets add a sweet, sour, slightly salty and interestingly meaty punch to any dish.


  • 1 small red onion, halved and sliced
  • ½ cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 cups steamed sliced beets, 1/2-1 inch thick (see Tip)

Combine onion, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the onion is tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in beets. Transfer to a large bowl and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Tip: How to Prep & Steam Beets: Trim greens (if any) and root end peel the skin with a vegetable peeler.
Cut beets into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick cubes, wedges or slices.

To steam on the stovetop: Place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

To steam in the microwave: Place in a glass baking dish, add 2 tablespoons water, cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

No time to prep? Look for Melissa's brand Peeled Baby Red Beets in the produce section of many supermarkets. They're peeled, steamed and ready to eat and contain far less sodium than their canned counterparts.


  • 500–600g/1lb 2–5oz fresh beetroot
  • 1 eating apple
  • 1 small onion or banana shallot
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • pinch coarsely ground black pepper
  • 175ml/6fl oz cider vinegar
  • 75g/2½oz granulated sugar
  • 4 mint leaves

Wash the beetroot well, leaving the roots and trimmed stalks intact. Put in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and then plunge the beetroot into a bowl of cold water to prevent them cooking any further. When cool enough to handle, rub the skins lightly to remove.

Chop the beetroot into approximately 3mm pieces. Halve, quarter and core the apple (no need to peel) and cut into similar sized pieces as the beetroot. Chop the onion or shallot into similar sized pieces. Place the beetroot, apple and onion in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt.

Blend together the cornflour, paprika, cumin, coriander and black pepper with 50ml/2fl oz water. Set aside.

Put the vinegar, 175ml/6fl oz water and the sugar in a large saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Scrape in the cornflour paste and bring to a simmer, stirring until the mixture has slightly thickened.

Add the prepared beetroot, apple and onion to the pan and simmer for 3–5 minutes, or until the pieces are hot throughout. Remove from the heat. Spoon into the sterilised jars filling to the brim and tucking in a couple of mint leaves here and there (make sure everything is covered by the spicy vinegar). Seal with a vinegar-safe lid and invert the jars for a minute or so to ensure the lids are sterilised, then turn the right way up and leave to cool.

The pickle can be eaten straight away. Otherwise keep in a cool place for up to 6 months. Once opened, store in the fridge for up to 8 weeks.

Recipe Tips

Prepare your jars and lids shortly before you need them. You can do this by putting them through a hot (60C) dishwasher cycle shortly before you need them (don’t try to dry them with a tea towel, let them air dry) or wash them in hot water then place in an oven preheated to 140C/120C Fan/Gas 1 for 15 minutes (switch off the oven and leave the jars inside until needed). Alternatively, place the jars in a large stock pot with a clean folded cloth or trivet placed on the base, cover the jars completely with cold water and bring to simmering point (90C) for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the jars in the hot water until you need them. When your preserve is ready, carefully remove the jars from the pan, tipping out the water as you do so – a pair of bottling tongs makes this job easy, but otherwise use ordinary tongs.


Recipe Summary

  • 4 ½ pounds medium-size fresh beets
  • ½ medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

Preheat oven to 400°. Remove tops and ends of beets, and wash. Place beets and onion on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and toss to coat. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until tender.

Transfer beets, onion, and any liquid to a bowl cool 15 minutes. Peel beets cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut slices into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. Layer beets and onion in 4 (1-pt.) widemouthed jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top.

Bring sugar, next 2 ingredients, and 1 1/3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often. Boil 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Pour into jars, just covering beet mixture. Discard any remaining vinegar mixture. Add 2 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick to each jar. Cover with lids screw on bands. Chill 2 days before serving. Store up to 1 month.


  • 3 ½ pounds beets, peeled and cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 11 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add about a third of the beet slices, cover, return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beets to the ice water to cool. Repeat with the two remaining batches of beets.

Drain the cooled beets and divide among 6 pint-size (2-cup) canning jars or similar-size tempered-glass or heatproof-plastic containers with lids. Add 1/2 teaspoon of pickling spice to each jar.

Combine vinegar, 3 cups water, salt and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Carefully fill jars (or containers) with the brine to within 1/2 inch of the rim, covering the beets completely. (Discard any leftover brine.)

Place the lids on the jars (or containers). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Equipment: 6 pint-size (2-cup) canning jars or similar-size tempered-glass or heatproof-plastic containers with lids


Do you want more canning recipes? Check out our amazing new ebook, THE BEST CANNING RECIPES!


    • About 2 pounds medium beets
    • 2 cups white vinegar
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons kosher, canning, or other noniodized salt
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • Grated fresh or prepared horseradish to taste, optional
    1. Remove all but an inch of the beet greens, reserving the rest of the greens for another use. Wash and scrub the beets, then simmer in boiling water to cover until tender, 30 to 60 minutes. Cool enough to peel off the skins. Cut the beets into 1/2-inch slices. (You can cook the beets a day or two in advance if you like cut them up at the last minute.)
    2. Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and cloves to a boil. Add the beets and the onion and cook for about a minute. Cool, then add the horseradish and refrigerate. Eat within 2 weeks, as a side dish or as a garnish.

    The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman. © 2005 by Mark Bittman. Published by Broadway Books. All Rights Reserved.

    MARK BITTMAN is the author of the blockbuster The Best Recipes in the World (Broadway, 2005) and the classic bestseller How to Cook Everything, which has sold more than one million copies. He is also the coauthor, with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, of Simple to Spectacular and Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef. Mr. Bittman is a prolific writer, makes frequent appearances on radio and television, and is the host of The Best Recipes in the World, a 13-part series on public television. He lives in New York and Connecticut.


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