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If you're wondering how to pickle beets easily, this is it! These Quick Pickled Beets have just 6 ingredients and you don't even need to boil the pickling liquid! Just roast, steam or boil the beets, mix the pickling liquid ingredients together and pour over beets stacked in a jar. They'll be ready to eat in hours and will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator!
When I call these Pickled Beets 'quick,' I mean it, 6 ingredients: beets, water, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. And you won't even need to heat the pickling mixture, just whisk all of the ingredients together until the honey dissolves (In a flash this will go from: "this stuff is never going to mix in" to, "oh, that wasn't so bad.").
Ingredients You Need to Make Pickled Beets
Fresh, Whole Beets: unpeeled, red beets, golden beets or other variety
Olive Oil: whatever variety you have on hand
Apple Cider Vinegar: feel free to experiment with other vinegars and adjust the honey and water amounts to suit your taste
Water: ideally filtered
Honey: start with 2 tablespoons and add up to 4 (or more) depending on the level of sweetness you're after
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
I have always loved pickled beets, but I'd almost forgotten about them. That is until we got about 4 pounds of beets in our CSA share and I thought, "What on Earth am I going to do with all of these?" Our typical way to eat beets is simply roasted with a little olive oil and salt. But when you roast 4 pounds of beets for two people, well, you can't eat them all in one sitting. So why not pickle them?
The first time I made these, I just guessed at the amounts. Since then, I've made them twice more with different levels of acidity and sweetness and have the recipe that's just right for us. Feel free to play with the amounts to find the right balance for you.
How to Cook Beets for Pickling: 3 Great Options
- To Roast: Scrub beets and wrap in foil. Place in a baking dish or baking sheet (to catch drips) and roast in an oven preheated to 375ºF for 60 to 90 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then peel (using a dry paper towel makes quick work of this).
- To Boil: Add scrubbed beets and a generous splash of vinegar or lemon juice (to reduce color bleeding) to a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 45 to 60 minutes until tender. Let cool (at least until cool enough to handle) and peel.
- To Steam: Place scrubbed in a steamer basket over about 2-inches of boiling water; cover and steam 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Peel when cool enough to handle.
- For extra spice, add a teaspoon of black peppercorns and/or a cinnamon stick or a few whole cloves.
- White vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar will give these beets a sharper vinegar flavor.
My favorite way to eat these easy pickled beets is on top of a fully loaded salad: crispy lettuce, sweet tomatoes, buttery avocado, maybe some crunchy cabbage or cucumber and often shrimp, chicken or crab.
Pickled beets are endlessly versatile though: toss them on almost any salad or make them the main attraction as a beet salad alongside some good, stinky gorgonzola and maybe a few walnuts or just snack on them straight from the jar!
More Quick Pickling Recipes
And if you're looking for more quick pickling inspiration, don't miss my Giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables), these Refrigerator Pickles (my favorite summer snack), Pickled Radishes, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Banana Peppers or these Quick Pickled Red Onions!
How to Make Quick Pickled Beets
Cook beets using one of the options above (roast, boil or steam) until tender. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into bite size pieces and place in clean quart size canning jar.
In a medium pitcher, whisk together pickling liquid ingredients until combined: water, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over beets; cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Enjoy within 3 weeks!
Quick Pickled Beets
- 2 pounds red beets trimmed and washed
- olive oil for drizzling
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Pickling Liquid
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 to 4 tablespoons honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. (See recipe notes for other cooking options)
- Place beets in a deep, lidded baking dish (or foil packet placed on a rimmed baking sheet) in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cover and bake for 60 to 90 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Peel cool beets (a paper towel makes this very easy) and coarsely dice. Transfer diced beets to a clean, 1-quart canning jar.
- Combine vinegar, water and honey in a 2-cup glass pitcher. Whisk until honey has dissolved. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour pickling liquid over beets in jar (you may have a little left over), cover and refrigerate.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before eating - the longer they marinate, the stronger the beets will taste.
- You can also boil or steam beets for this recipe instead of baking. To boil, place beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover (and 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice if you want to reduce color bleeding). Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 45 to 60 minutes until tender. Drain beets and rinse with cold water (to speed cooling process); let cool to warm room temperature (cool enough to handle). Peel then proceed with recipe. To steam, place in a steamer basket over a couple of inches of boiling water; cover and steam 30 to 40 minutes until tender. Peel once they're cool enough to handle and proceed with recipe.
- This recipe also works great for other beet varieties like golden and chioggia (striped).
- Enjoy within 3 weeks.