Let's make Quick Pickled Beets in the refrigerator. The vinegary, salty and sweet beet cubes or slices are great as a savory snack, salad topping and more.
Beets are a bountiful winter vegetable crop in my garden this year. And aside from Borscht and Beet Hummus, one of the best ways to prepare fresh beetroots is to pickle them them.
The acidity, saltiness, and sweetness from the pickle brine are perfect to mellow out the earthiness of beets and to bring out their natural sweet flavors. This easy pickled beets recipe is quick to make, especially if you have already cooked your beets.
Here is all you need to make refrigerator pickled beets. Aside from the cooked beets, the remaining ingredients are made into a brine and are somewhat flexible.
- Cooked Beets - Oven roast them or steam in the Instant Pot until fork tender
- Vinegar - Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
- Sea salt
- Whole Black Peppercorns
See recipe card for quantities.
Follow the process shots in this step-by-step tutorial to see how to make pickled beets
Cook your beets. I recommend steaming in the Instant Pot or oven roasting. But you can also simply boil them.
Once cool to handle, cut off the ends and peel off the beet skin
Cut the cooked and peeled beets into your desired shape - dice into cubes or slice
Fill the cut up beets into a quart sized jar
Combine the pickle brine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer
Pour the pickle brine into the jar with the beets. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving
Hint: Using disposable rubber gloves helps to keep your hands from getting stained. I recommend using a plastic cutting board as they seem less likely to get permanent beet stains.
Substitution and Variations
The pickle brine ingredients are somewhat flexible and adjustable to taste
- Vinegar - white or apple cider vinegar or a ½ and ½ mixture work well, but red or white wine vinegar are possible too
- Sugar - if you don't want to use white sugar, coconut sugar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup/honey, or sugar free sweetener work too
- Black Peppercorns - feel free to substitute or add other spices like bay leaves, whole cloves, mustard seeds
- Dill - substitute any other fresh or dry herb you like in combination with beet
- Spicy - add a small whole chili (like Bird's eye) or red pepper flakes to the brine
- Garlic - add a garlic glove or some garlic powder to the brine
See this quick pickled red onion recipe on my website for another pickled condiment idea!
I recommend making quick pickled beets in a quart-sized (32oz) glass jar over a plastic container. It doesn't have to be a proper Mason jar since we are not actually canning the beets. So even a recycled glass jar is fine. A wide opening will make filling the beets into the jar easier.
I used a wide mouth quart-sized Ball jar with their one-piece storage lid.
These classic pickled beets are best if you let them sit to pickle in their brine for at least a day. After that you can enjoy them as you like. My favorite is in this Arugula Goat Cheese Salad.
They last in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
No matter which way you decide to cook the beets (roast, steam, boil), make sure they are fork tender before pickling them. Neither mushy nor crunchy pickled beets are enjoyable to eat. You want them to have some bite but not be hard in the center.
After preparing this recipe, let the beets marinate in the fridge for 24 hours so that all of the little magenta beet jewels have a chance to absorb the pickle brine. That way all of the sweet, earthy, acidic, and salty flavors can meld together.
The liquid part of the pickle brine in this recipe is half vinegar and half water. While you can adjust the ratio a bit for more or less tart quick pickled beets, I don't recommend using just vinegar as that would make the beets too overwhelmingly acidic.
These quick pickled beetroots will last up to 6 weeks refrigerated.
Looking for other beet recipes? Try these:
Quick Pickled Beets
- 1 medium saucepan
- 1 Mason jar
- Prepare your cooked beets by cutting off the ends and removing the peel. Now cut the beets into your desired shape. I recommend cubes or slices.
- Fill the beet slices/cubes into a quart-sized/1-liter glass jar.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns and dill.
- Heat on medium low until the vinegar mixture comes to a gentle simmer. Then pour it over the beets in the jar.
- Close the jar and place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 24 hours. Then the quick pickled beets are ready to enjoy.
- Enjoy the pickled onion on salads, as a simple side dish, or savory snack.
- These refrigerator pickled beets will last up to 6 weeks in the fridge.
- These pickled beets are not canned or preserved for storage at room temperature. They have to be stored in the fridge. That way they will last for up to 6 weeks.
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