Want a recipe for boiling beets? Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to boil beets on the stovetop until they’re perfectly tender.

Boiling beets

Looking to cook up some beets? We’re big fans of this nutritious pink root vegetable over here too! We love eating it in anything from a salad to hummus to soup. There are many ways to cook beets: you can roast them, or if you’ve got an Instant Pot you can pressure cook them. And lastly: you can boil them! Boiling beets is simple and quick: it’s our favorite method when we’re in a hurry. Keep reading for our tutorial!

Boiled beets

How to boil beets: a tutorial

Boiling beets is an easy method that’s also fast! How long to boil beets? It takes between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the size. Compared to about 1 hour to roast beets, it’s a big time savings! Roasting beets does accentuate their sweet flavor a bit more, so that’s our preferred method. But if you’re in a hurry, boiling beets is the way to go!

We recommend cooking up a big batch, and then keeping them in the refrigerator for the week. Cooked whole beets will keep about 3 to 5 days in a sealed container. (Oh and make sure to make some beet hummus! You’ll thank us later.) Now, ready to get started?

Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Use the largest pot you have. You can liberally salt the water: add about 1 tablespoon or so, like you would for pasta.

Step 2: Wash the beets and cut off the greens.

Wash the beets. Then trim off all but about 1 inch of the beet greens. Leaving on the stem helps keep too much red juice from “bleeding” out while boiling beets. However, there will still be some leakage into the water! (You can save the beet greens: here’s the best recipe for beet greens! And here’s how to store beets if you’re not using them all.)

Boiling beets: cut off the beet greens

Step 3: Boil the beets 20 to 40 minutes until tender, depending on the size.

Boil 20 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Smaller beets take about 20 minutes, medium beets about 30 minutes and large beets about 40 minutes or more.

Boiling beets

Step 4: Rinse under cool water and rub off the skins.

Once you’re done boiling the beets, peel them! Allow the beets to cool for a few minutes. Then place them under cool water and rub off the skins with your fingers. Watch out: this process is a little messy! You’ll want to take care not to splash too much, and wipe up any beet juice stains right away! The beet juice will eventually wash off of your hands.

You’re done! You can serve the boiled beets right away. Or, keep them refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 to 5 days to use in recipes throughout the week (keep them whole to stay the freshest).

Peeling beets

Ways to use boiled beets

Once you’re done boiling beets, you can use them in so many different ways! Here are some of our favorite beet recipes:

  1. Salad. Our favorite is this Beet Salad with Balsamic Dressing, starring greens, tangy dressing, and crunchy pistachios. Or try our Beet and Apple Salad with honey mustard dressing.
  2. With goat cheese. Try Beets with Goat Cheese: slice them into rounds and top with goat cheese, chives, and a drizzle of olive oil. Yum!
  3. As hummus. Boiled beets at a bright pink color to Creamy Beet Hummus.
  4. In a veggie burger. Try these Smoky Black Bean and Beet Burgers.
  5. In brownies. Haven’t tried them, but how much fun do these Sneaky Beet Brownies sound?

Of course, you probably have your own favorite ways to use this healthy root vegetable! Tell us in the comments below.

Tell us: why are you boiling beets today? (Just wondering.)

Beet hummus with boiled beets

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan.

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Boiling beets

How to Boil Beets


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 to 8 1x

Description

Want a recipe for boiling beets? Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to boil beets on the stovetop until they’re perfectly tender.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 to 8 beets

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Wash the beets. Then trim off all but about 1 inch of the beet greens. Leaving on the stem helps keep the beets from “bleeding” out too much red juice, though they will still bleed into the water. (You can save the beet greens: here’s the best recipe for beet greens!)
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the beets. Boil 20 to 40 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife. Smaller beets take about 20 minutes, medium beets about 30 minutes and large beets about 40 minutes or more.
  4. Allow the beets to cool for a few minutes, then place them under cool water and rub off the skins with your fingers. (It’s a little messy and your fingers will get a little stained, but it’s ok! The beet juice washes off.)
  5. Season with salt as desired. Serve immediately, or keep them refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 to 5 days (keep them whole to stay the freshest).
  • Category: Cooking Method
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: Boiling Beets, How to boil beets, How long to boil beets

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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34 Comments

    1. Yup, Romanians also use it like that: grated boiled beets, grated horseradish, a bit of vinegar and sunflower seeds oil (or any kind, depending on what country you’re in) – mix them together and let them rest in the fridge to get the horseradish spice infused into the beets; it’s usually served with meats.

  1. Boiling beets because I was given a good amount of them from a friend who’s family has a farm. I have been looking over the recipes you listed and am excited to try some! Also, my children love smoothies and I hear they are also a great addition to them and are super healthy! Win win!!

  2. I usually boil about 6 beets, peel them, slice, and while still a little warm put them in the juice of 1 fresh orange and about a half cup of red wine vinegar. Then add about 1/3 cup sugar and shakeit up…Voila! Homemade pickled beets!
    But today while buying the beets the lovely Polish lady next to me was buying a horseradish root and told me how delicious it is with grated cooked beets…
    SO I am boiling beets to check it out!

  3. Very easy to understand also other ways to cook beetroot and different ideas how to use then.

  4. I’m boiling beets to mix with an orange sauce and orange chunks. The beets I have are huge and have been boiling an hour as opposed to the 25 minutes the recipe said. You post confirms for me I’m not doing anything wrong. I just need to keep being patient.

  5. So many beets from the CSA! Boiling for salads – I’ll make with goat cheese always, then sometimes with salmon or pistachios.

  6. Boiling beets from a friend’s CSA harvest – going to make Harvard beets to accompany grilled lamb chops and zucchini.

  7. I followed your directions. They were easy. After cooking, I cut up my beets into pieces, added salt, pepper, fine extra virgin olive oil and fine basalmic vinegar. Served with a creamy goat cheese. Delicious. Thank you for the instructions.

  8. I am boiling beets to make “cream” of beet soup. I sauté onion and garlic in olive oil then add chicken broth a couple of peeled and diced potatoes and boil til potatoes are done. Then I add cooked cubed beats and return to boil until heated through. Then purée the whole beautiful mess into a ruby blissful soup! A dollop of sour cream and some chopped chives on each serving tops it off.

  9. I usually do a wonderful beet smoothie but I love beet salad. Thought I would make one for dinner.

  10. I boiled my beet then cooled and cut in medium pieces the added equal amounts of boiled water and vinegar and bottled for the winter.So good !!!!

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