There are so many ways to cook this sweet root vegetable. Here’s how to cook beets: oven roasted, boiled, and in the Instant Pot—plus recipe ideas!
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. If you’ve ended up here, you probably think so too.
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: see the beet recipes section below.
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. If you’re a beet lover, you’re probably thinking: DUH. Yes, that’s beautifully sweet, tender flavor of roasted beets is like none other.
And here’s the best way to cook beets: roasted whole. This oven roasted beets recipe takes about an hour, but it brings out the sweetest flavor. You don’t even need salt and pepper, they’re that good! Alex and I were floored at the flavor that comes out of baked beets.
Click over for the method of how to roast beets!
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!
Tip: We recommend cooking 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.
Click over for the method for how to boil beets!
Here's a way of how to cook beets that's seriously fast and totally hands off. This method cuts the time of roasting beets in half! Enter: the Instant Pot. Instant Pot beets take about 30 minutes total. And they come out tender and juicy every time! It’s so fast and easy, we can’t stop making beet recipes. Big win over here.
Because beets vary in size, the timing will vary based on the size of the beets. You’ll have to estimate the timing based on the beet size. Pressure cook on High for 12 minutes for very small beets and about 18 minutes for very large beets. Remember that it takes about 5 minutes for the Instant Pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before the cooking starts.
Click over for the method for how to pressure cook beets!
How to store beets
Before we start: a bit on how to 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—here’s the best 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.
Once your beets are cooked: how to use them? Here are our favorite ways to use cooked beets:
- 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.
- 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!
- As hummus. Boiled beets at a bright pink color to Creamy Beet Hummus.
- In a veggie burger. Try these Smoky Black Bean and Beet Burgers.
- In brownies. Haven’t tried them, but how much fun do these Sneaky Beet Brownies sound?
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.
- 6 to 8 beets
- Olive oil, for rubbing
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 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.
- 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).
- Roast the beets for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 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.
- 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
Keywords: How to Cook Beets
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.