How to Cook Fresh Beets

Learn three simple methods for cooking beets: roasting, steaming, and boiling. Beets are versatile beyond their association with borscht, the famous Eastern European pink soup. If you have a fondness for fresh beets, you’re in for a treat! We’ll guide you through the process of cooking them in three different ways roasting, steaming, or boiling.

How to Cook Fresh Beets
How to Cook Fresh Beets

Not only are beets delicious, but they also offer health benefits, being low in calories and rich in fibre. Packed with essential nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C, beets make a nutritious addition to your meals.

Let’s dive into the cooking journey!

Why Learn to Cook Beets?

Beets are incredibly versatile and can enhance various dishes, from salads and roasted side dishes to pickled eggs and borscht. Also, they serve as a fantastic natural food dye for pancakes, cakes, and cookies, adding a vibrant touch without changing the flavour.

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, beets are packed with vitamins, offering 20 per cent of your daily folate intake in just one serving. Enjoy the colourful and nutritious benefits they bring to your plate.

How to Cook Fresh Beets

How you cook beets depends on the recipe you’re using. You can boil, roast, or steam them based on what you want. Roasting gives a charred taste, boiling makes them softer, and steaming is in the middle.

If you’re making them as a side dish, all three ways taste good, so you can pick the one you like.

How to Roast Beets 

Here’s how to roast your beets:

  1. Put clean beets on a large piece of foil. The foil should be big enough to wrap the beets completely.
  2. Drizzle olive oil on them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil around the beets to make a sealed pouch.
  3. Put it on a baking sheet in case there are any drips, then roast in the oven.
  4. Once the beets are soft enough for a fork, they’re ready. Let them cool, then peel them under running water.

And that’s all you have to do.

How to Steam Beets 

Here’s a simple way to steam your beets:

  1. Get a big pot and attach a steamer to it. Fill the pot with water, but make sure it’s below the steamer. The water amount depends on your steamer. Boil the water.
  2. Place the beets in the steamer basket, cover it, and steam on high until the beets are soft enough for a fork.

The time will change based on how big your beets are. Let them cool, then peel under running water.

How to Boil Beets 

Here’s how to boil beets:

  1. Put the beets, vinegar, bay leaf, garlic, and salt in a big pot.
  2. Fill it with enough water to cover the beets and bring it to a boil on high heat.
  3. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook until the beets are soft enough for a fork, which depends on their size.
  5. Let them cool, and then peel off the skin under running water.

Tips for Cooking Beets 

Here are some tips for cooking beets:

  1. Consider the size of the beets – small ones might be ready in 10 minutes, while larger ones could take up to 40. Keep an eye on them regardless of the cooking method you choose.
  2. Don’t bother removing the beet skin before cooking. It’s easier to do after they’re cooked, and some say it keeps the earthy taste intact.
  3. Add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to the boiling water. This helps lock in the beautiful red (or orange) colour of the beets. You won’t taste the acidity, and it works like a charm.
  4. Be cautious about staining. Beets can be tricky to handle because they stain. Most stains are easy to clean, but cutting boards can be stubborn, so be mindful of that.

How to Reheat and Store Cooked Beets 

The ideal way to store beets is to wrap them in foil or place them in a Ziploc bag or airtight container before refrigerating. Because beets can release moisture in the fridge, store them upright to avoid any mess.

When it’s time to reheat, simply put them in the oven at 350 degrees for around 15-20 minutes until they’re heated through.

If you prefer using the microwave, cook them on high for about three minutes until they’re warm all the way through.

How long will cook beets last in the fridge?

How long do cooked beets stay good in the fridge? Usually around 5 days. If you see mould or notice a strange smell, it’s time to throw them out.

Can I freeze cooked beets? 

Yes. Let them cool completely, then stash them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Beets can stay frozen for about 12 months.

When you’re ready to eat them, either thaw them in the fridge overnight or use the defrost function in your microwave.


What is the easiest way to peel cooked beets?

You can remove the peel in two ways. First, scrub it off under running water. Alternatively, use a paper towel to scrub off the outer skin in a dry method.

When should I cut my beet before cooking?

If you’re roasting beets alongside other cut vegetables on a sheet pan, it’s practical to peel and slice them before roasting. However, slicing larger beets is easier to do after they’ve been cooked.



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