Quick Pickled Beets
There’s no need for a long canning process to make these Quick Pickled Beets. Just pour a simple brine over cooked beets and let them chill in the fridge. Add them to salads, serve as a side dish, or enjoy straight from the jar!
Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets
I’m a huge fan of pickling vegetables, whether it’s red onions or carrots or a crave-worthy medley of vegetables that I dig into like a side salad. There’s just something about the tangy-sweet flavor of pickled goods that I can’t get enough of!
These Quick Pickled Beets are my latest obsession. The deep, earthy flavor of beets combined with the simple, tangy brine is absolute perfection. I can’t keep my fork out of the jar!
I grew up on pickled beets, thanks to Mom. She canned beets from our garden – our pantry was rarely without them. And while I have every respect for the full-on canning process, I just don’t have the time. I’m more of a quick pickles kinda gal. They take very little time and effort, and keep well in the fridge for many weeks.
For this recipe, once the beets are cooked, you only need about 15 minutes of time to make a batch – and they’ll keep for up to 6 weeks in the fridge!
When I’m not eating these gorgeous bites of pickled beets straight from the jar, you’ll also find me eating them with my morning eggs or in a fresh green salad. They also make a great side dish!
What You’ll Need
Besides the beets, you need just a few ingredients to make the brine for these pickled beets.
- Beets – I always use red beets, but golden beets would work as well. To cook them, you can boil or roast them. See below for directions on how to prepare them.
- Water – Water provides an easy base for the brine, along with vinegar, and a place for the sugar and salt to dissolve.
- Apple cider vinegar – I’m using apple cider vinegar because it pairs perfectly with beets, although you can use almost any clear vinegar >> white vinegar, rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, etc.
- Salt – Salt is extremely important in pickles, it’s just part of the pickling process! I recommend using kosher or sea salt, rather than table salt.
- Granulated sugar – This helps enhance the natural sweetness in the beets and bumps up the bright tangy flavor of the pickling brine.
- Whole mustard seeds & black peppercorns – Mustard seeds and peppercorns add depth of flavor to the beets. I love using both of these ingredients in this recipe and often add more than the recipe calls for. Cinnamon sticks are also a fun addition, in which I then omit the mustard seeds.
How to Cook Beets
Quick pickled beets can be made with boiled or roasted beets. Roasting the beets before pickling concentrates their flavor while boiling tends to be a bit easier and quicker, and gives a cleaner beet flavor. I most often boil the beets, but feel free to do what you like!
- How to boil beets. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim and wash the beets, removing any greens. Add the beets to the boiling water and cook for 30 minutes, or until completely tender. A paring knife should slide in and out of the beets easily. Beets can vary greatly in size, and they are a very dense root vegetable, so size will definitely determine how long you need to cook them. Transfer the beets to a bowl of ice water and then peel away the skins with your fingers (very easy to do!) and cut or slice as desired.
- How to roast beets. Wash the beets and remove any greens. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake on a baking sheet at 400° F for 45 minutes, or until completely tender. Again, the size of your beets will determine cook time, as I just mentioned above. A paring knife should slide in and out of the beets easily. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or so, then peel away the skin and cut or slice as desired.
Can I Use Packaged Pre-Cooked Beets?
I’ve experimented with this, and yes you can – it works great! I buy a box of whole peeled, cooked beets from Costco that includes 3 separate packages of beets that weigh 17.6 ounces per package. And one package is the PERFECT amount for this recipe!
If I’m being totally honest, I do prefer the texture more when I boil or roast my own beets, as they’re just a bit more toothsome. But using pre-cooked beets saves so much time, and the flavor is still delicious – I’m really a fan of this method!
How to Make Pickled Beets
Pickling beets has never been easier – just 3 steps to make these refrigerator pickled beets!
- Prepare the beets. Once cooked and peeled, chop or slice the beets to your desired size. You can portion into cubes or slices, whatever you prefer. Transfer to a glass airtight container(s) and set aside.
- Make the brine. Combine all other ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil until the sugar and salt have dissolved completely. Pour the brine over the beets to cover them completely. Let them cool to room temperature.
- Seal and chill. Cover the container tightly with a lid and place it in the fridge to chill.
Variations + Tips for Success
For the best refrigerator pickled beets, keep these tips in mind.
- Try other seasonings. I like the flavor from the mustard seed and peppercorn but you can change it up if you like. Cinnamon sticks, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves are all common add-ins.
- Make sure the beets are completely covered. It’s important that the brine covers all of the beets as any outside of the brine will not be pickled. The brine not only adds the pickled flavor but also helps to preserve the beets for longer refrigerator storage.
- What kind of jar can I use? Wide-mouth jars come in very handy here. They are my favorite vessels for storing pickles, as they’re easier to fill than jars with small mouths. They’re also easier to serve from. But really, any glass jar or container will do, as long as the lid fits tightly.
- Chill before serving. While the beets will have a lightly pickled flavor after 15 minutes or so, I highly recommend allowing them to chill completely before serving. If making pickled beets for a special meal, it would be a good idea to make these pickles 1 to 2 days prior to serving, for a more developed pickled flavor.
- Save the beet juice. If you like pickled eggs, save the beet juice and make the most beautiful pickled eggs ever!
Pickled beets on their own make a zippy, tangy snack or side dish, but they can also be used in so many different ways.
They’re delicious in salads. I love this roasted beet salad and it could easily be made with pickled beets instead, or just add them to your favorite green salad. Balsamic dressing goes great with beets.
One of my favorite ways to eat beets is very simply – with my morning eggs. Whether I make my eggs fried, scrambled, or hard-boiled, a big spoonful of pickled beets is a flavor-packed, beautiful side.
Beets can also be used as a topping on sandwiches and wraps. Just add a few pieces of pickled beets to give a basic lunch a whole new flavor. If your beets are on the larger size, you might want to slice the beets thinner or chop them up before adding them to your sandwich.
You can also create your own side dishes, like simply sprinkling some crumbled feta or goat cheese over a dish of pickled beets. It’s a beautiful contrast in flavor.
And, of course – you can eat them straight from the jar! There’s no shame in that – and it may just be my favorite way to enjoy them!
Do Quick Pickled Beets Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, these quick pickled beets need to be refrigerated. This is not a shelf stable recipe, where the beets are canned with a hot water process and then stored in a pantry, as that process requires several other steps and more time. These pickled beets need to go in the fridge after preparing them, and they’ll last for up to 6 weeks.
More Pickled Vegetables:
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Quick Pickled Beets
- 3 cups sliced or chopped cooked beets see notes
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
- ¾ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Slice or chop the prepared beets to your desired size – I usually chop into 1" cubes. Add them to a 1-quart jar and set aside while you make the brine.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Bring mixture to a boil and cook until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Pour the brine over the beets, making sure to cover them completely. Let cool to room temperature.
- Seal the jar/container and place it in the fridge to chill. I recommend waiting until the beets are fully chilled to serve, but they will have a lightly pickled flavor after 15 minutes.