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There are so many ways to cook this vibrant root vegetable. Here’s how to cook beets: oven roasted, boiled, and more! These are our go-to methods for when we’re making beet salad, soup, and hummus.

How to cook beets
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Got a big bunch of beets but not sure what to do next? We’re here to help. Alex and I will admit, we weren’t big beet eaters until we truly learned how to cook beets. Now, we’re making them all the time: from hummus to a simple plate of roasted beets with goat cheese. The sweet, earthy flavor of beets is like none other.

But if you’re a beet beginner: rest assured! All of these methods for how to cook beets are pretty simple and result in perfectly tender beets every time. Then you can use them in a multitude of ways, from hummus to salads.

How to cook beets

Do you love the earthy taste of beets? While they’re not the sexiest of vegetables, this nutritious, hot pink veggie is enjoying somewhat of resurgence in public opinion. Here are our top three ways to cook them.

How to roast beets

It takes about 1 hour to make whole oven roasted beets, but it’s well worth it for the flavor. We recommend roasting up a big batch, and then keeping them in the refrigerator for the week. Roasted whole beets will keep about 3 to 5 days in a sealed container.

Step 1: Wash the beets.

Step 1: Wash the beets. Then trim off all but about 1 inch of the beet greens. Leaving on the stem while roasting helps keep the beets from “bleeding” out red juice in the oven.

Step 2: Rub the beets with olive oil.

Step 2: Rub the beets lightly with olive oil. Then place the beets in an oven-proof dish. If you don’t have this type of dish, you also can wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place them on the oven grates.

Step 3: Roast the beets for 45 to 90 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. The time depends on the size of the beets. Check every 10 minutes until they are tender. Medium beets generally take about 1 hour.

Once the beets are roasted, allow them to cool for a few minutes. Then place them under cool water and rub off the skins with your fingers.

How to boil beets

Boiled beets is a fast and easy method: small beets boil in about 20 minutes, medium beets in 30 minutes, and large beets in 40 minutes. Compared to about 1 hour to roast beets, it’s a big time savings! Making oven roasted 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.

Boiling beets: cut off the beet greens

Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 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, but there will still be some leakage into the water.

Boiling beets

Step 2: 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.

Peeling beets

Step 3: Allow the beets to cool for a few minutes. Then place them under cool water and rub off the skins with your fingers. 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.

How to make Instant Pot beets

Here’s our method for how to make beets in an Instant Pot. There’s a bit of variation based on the size of the beets. You’ll need to estimate the timing, and then adjust as necessary. It makes for perfectly cooked, tender beets in about 30 minutes. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Wash the beets well under cold water. Slice off the stem and root end of each of the beets.

Beet with knife inserted in Instant Pot

Step 2: Pressure cook on High for 12 minutes for very small beets, and about 18 minutes for very large beets. Remember that it will take about 5 minutes for the Instant Pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before the cooking starts. Test to see if the beets are tender by inserting a clean knife. If knife slides right in, the beet is done.

Cooked and peeled beets

Step 3: If there is a little resistance to the knife, pressure cook on High again for 1 to 2 minutes and test again. When the beets are done, rinse them and slip off the peels with your fingers: they’ll come right off.

Storing store beets

If you buy a big bunch of beets from your farmers market or the store, how to store them? The best way we’ve found is to cut off the greens, leaving about 1 inch of the stem intact. You can save the greens and use them in your recipes (like this omelette recipe using beet greens). Then place the beets in an airtight storage container (like these silicone food storage bags) and store in your produce drawer. The beets should stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.

How to store beets

Beet recipes

Once your beets are cooked: how to use them? Here are our favorite ways to use cooked beets:

  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. This Beet & Blue Cheese Salad is delicious and uses the beet greens too.
  2. With goat cheese. Try our Roasted 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?

Frequently asked questions

How do I know when beets are cooked?

Beets are done when they are fork-tender. Insert a fork into the center of the beet; if it goes in easily, they are cooked.

Should I peel beets before cooking?

It’s not necessary to peel beets before cooking. The skin will slip off easily after they are cooked and cooled.

How do I store cooked beets?

Cooked beets can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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How to cook beets

How to Cook Beets


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x
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Description

Here’s how to cook beets in the oven so that they come out perfectly tender and sweet! Use them in salads, hummus, and as a side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 6 to 8 beets
  • Olive oil, for rubbing

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the beets. Trim off all but about 1 inch of the beet greens (you can save them for later and use them in salads). Leaving on the stem helps keep the beets from “bleeding” out red juice in the oven.
  3. Rub the beets lightly with olive oil. Place the beets in a covered oven proof dish. (You also can wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place them on the oven grates).
  4. Roast the beets for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on the size and freshness, until tender when pierced with a fork. Check every 10 minutes until tender; we’ve found medium sized beets take about 1 hour.
  5. Allow them 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.) Serve immediately, or keep them refrigerated in a sealed container for 3 to 5 days (keep them whole to stay the freshest).
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Beets

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. A says:

    I didn’t purchase fresh whole beets until this past Monday. I took them hone and scored the best and par boiled it. Then l put it in a casserole dish with carmelized shallots and precooked acorn squash. I used the par boiled water to make saffron rice from Knorr which gave it a beautiful orange color and then baked the veggies with the stems and greens … I should have added more oil to the greens — l use veggie soybean (olive oil allergy). It was delicious. I am so glad l bought fresh veggies. 👍🙂