How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

Learn How to Cook Beets using three easy-to-follow methods and enjoy this incredibly versatile vegetable to create colorful, nutritious, and flavorful meals the whole family will enjoy!

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

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Continuing with my series on how to cook all your favorite vegetables, today I have for you guys the beetroot!

If you love vegetables as much as I do, don’t forget to check out these other great posts all about Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Potato, Acorn Squash, and Butternut Squash.

Beets

For a really long time, I had this preconceived and highly imagined image of beets in my brain. Very much unlike the sweet and delicious root that actually are, my brain imaged the poor beet to be tough, crunchy, and most-definitely what it would taste like to land face-first in a pile of dirt. 

I hadn’t even tried them, yet somehow, this strange-looking dirt-covered root vegetable (much like a carrot, by the way) was already creeping me out.

Fast-forward ten years and here I am; very well-acquainted with the beet and about to share everything I know, including how to cook beets (3 ways!) with you today!

So, if you’re new to beets, hello

Despite their rough exterior, they are actually super easy to cook. And, they most definitely do not taste like dirt– raw or cooked.

What are beets?

Beets, otherwise known as beetroots, are the taproot part of a beet plant. The taproot, a central root from where other roots sprout laterally, is a storage organ for the plant so well developed that it has been cultivated as a vegetable.

Beets are eaten boiled, roasted, steamed, or raw, and enjoyed in dishes ranging from soups to salads, cocktails to dips, and everything in between.

Other than as a food, beets are a popular non-toxic food coloring alternative and as a medicinal plant.

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

Health Benefits of Eating Beets

Beets are one of the most nutrient-rich foods you can feed your body. Considered a superfood, you can’t go wrong with eating more of these delicious tasting ruby red roots.

So what are the health benefits of eating beets?

  1. Low in calories, but tons of nutrients. Beets do a really great job at feeding your body the vitamins and minerals it needs without packing in the calories. For example, in a 3.5-ounce serving, beets contain just 44 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 20 % RDI of folate, and 16 % RDI of manganese.
  2. Helps regulate blood pressure. Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which when ingested, are converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop.
  3. Beets are a good source of fiber. As we know, fiber is important in maintaining a healthy gut and preventing things like constipation.
  4. Beets are low in calories and high in water. Given the high content of water and fiber in beets, they are an excellent addition to any diet – especially for those who are trying to lose weight (although I will never claim that any food is responsible for weight loss).

How to pick beets from your local market

Beets come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes. Some markets sell beets in “bulk bins” which consist of just the beetroot without the beet greens, while others may only sell beets in a bunch.

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No matter where you find and purchase your beets, use this as a guide to picking the best beets every time!

  • Pick beets that are free of bruising or any major blemishes. Now, remember that we’re talking about beets here, so you’ll probably be hard-pressed to find a perfect apple-shaped beetroot.
  • Larger beets will be harder to cut and will take longer to cook. As such, it’s best to look for medium-sized beets.
  • If you can, buy beets with the greens still attached. It’s a good indication of freshness.
  • Avoid beets with wrinkly skin as it is a sign of dehydration.

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

How to cook beets

Now that we know all about the awesome benefits of eating beets and that they taste pretty incredible (translation – beets do not taste like dirt), let’s learn how to cook them using three, easy-to-follow methods.

First, before using any method you need to prepare your beets for cooking.

  1. If you purchased beets with the greens still attached, remove the leafy greens and reserve for later use or discard. Do not slice through the beetroot; instead chop off the beet greens, leaving approximately 1-inch of the green intact.
  2. Scrub your beets. Use a vegetable scrubber if you have one.

1 | Boiled Beets

Boiling is my personal favorite. I feel like it’s the easiest no-fail method to getting perfect beets every time. 

To start, grab a large pot. It needs to be large enough to fit all your beets plus water. So, grab that pot, add the cleaned beets and cover with approximately 1-2 inches of water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, cover the pot and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until beets are fork tender- you want your beets to be tender, but not too soft or mushy. The total time will vary depending on the size of your beets, but it should take anywhere between 30-60 minutes.

Immediately transfer beets to an ice water bath to prevent any additional cooking and allow them to cool faster. As soon as they are cool, peel the skin right off! Yes, you guys, the skin should (if the beets were cooked long enough) peel right off. Give them a final rinse and enjoy your silky smooth perfect boiled beets!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy with all your favorite things!

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

2 | Steamed Beets

Steaming is very similar to boiling beets. However, unlike boiling, the beets are not fully submerged in the water which prevents nutrients from escaping into the surrounding water.

To get started, grab a large pot and insert your steamer basket. Fill with water, making sure that the water level remains just below the steamer basket as you want the steam to circulate under and around the beets as they cook. Add the prepared beets to your pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid (key for this to work). Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow beets to steam until fork tender- you want your beets to be tender, but not too soft or mushy.

Carefully remove beets from the pot and allow them to cool before peeling away the skin. Rinse with cold water and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

3 | Roasted Beets

Argued by some to be the best way to lock in the flavor of beets, there is no doubt that roasting beets are yet another easy way to cook these amazing vegetables. Personally, I’m neutral. In terms to taste, I find little difference. However, if I’m already planning to bake some potatoes or roast chicken, then roasting beets is the most obvious (and logical) choice. 

To roast beets set your oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Thoroughly wash each beet, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Transfer the beets to a large baking sheet and allow them to roast until tender, approximately 45-60 minutes. Remove beets from the oven, carefully remove foil, and allow your beets to cool before peeling away the skin. Rinse with cold water and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Do you need to peel beets before cooking?

No. In fact, none of these methods require you to peel your beets before cooking. Beets are incredibly difficult to peel, so unless you plan to eat your beets raw, just leave the skin on.

Can you eat beets raw?

Yes! absolutely!

Raw beets are just as delicious as their cooked friends. Somewhat sweeter, and maybe a little crunchier, raw beets taste fantastic in salads such as this Kohlrabi, Beetroot and Apple Salad or this Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad. Raw beets can also be pressed for its juice!

More beet recipes

  • Scalloped Root Vegetable Skillet
  • Vegetarian Beet Burgers
  • Sweet Chili Miso Salmon Salad with Beets and Oranges
  • Wild Rice Salad with Beets, Oranges and Whipped Lemon Ricotta
  • Beet Hummus
  • Beet, Avocado + Quinoa Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
  • Beet, Spinach and Raspberry Quesadilla
  • Layered Berry Beet and Mango Carrot Smoothie

If you try cooking beets using one of these methods please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to read your thoughts, feedback, and favorite recipes including sweet beets!

How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

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How to Cook Beets (3 Methods)

How to Cook Beets

Learn How to Cook Beets using three easy-to-follow methods and enjoy this incredibly versatile vegetable to create colorful, nutritious, and flavorful meals the whole family will enjoy!

Prep Time 5 mins

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Cook Time 45 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Course Salad, Snack

Cuisine American

Servings 6 beet (2″ diameter)

Calories 35 kcal

Instructions 

Boiled Beets

  • Chop off the beet greens, leaving approximately 1-inch of the green intact. Wash and scrub the dirt from each beet.

  • Add beets to a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook beets until fork tender, approximately 30-45 minutes. Carefully transfer beets to an ice water bath to stop cooking. Once cool, peel away the skin and rinse under cool water.

Steamed Beets

  • Chop off the beet greens, leaving approximately 1-inch of the green intact. Wash and scrub the dirt from each beet.

  • Insert steamer basket into a large pot and add just enough water so that the level remains below the steamer basket. Add the beets to the pot, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the beets are fork tender, approximately 30-45 minutes. Remove beets and allow them to cool before peeling and rinsing under cool water.

Roasted Beets

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and set oven rack to the center position. Chop off the beet greens, leaving approximately 1-inch of the green intact. Wash and scrub the dirt from each beet.

  • Place each beet in a piece of foil large enough to fully wrap up the beet and drizzle with approximately 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap each beet tightly in foil and transfer to a large baking sheet. Roast for approximately 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove beets from the foil and allow them to cool before peeling.

Jessica’s Notes

Total amount prepared will vary according to how many beets you choose to cook; however, the serving size and nutrition information reflects that for 1 medium beet (approximately 1 cup).

Nutritional Information

Calories: 35kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1.3g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 63mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 0.6mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword beets, How to Cook Beets

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This post was originally published in April 2017 and updated in February 2019 with updated images and text. [external_footer]