11 Great Ways to Cook Beets

imageAre you afraid of beets? First of all they’re bright red, and the color seems to bleed all over the place! Then there is a fear that their color and flavor will intimidate other dishes.

There’s no reason to fear. You can learn to love the color, and taste, of beets. Many beet recipes call for sugar, but it can often be skipped. Choose small, firm beets with smooth skin.

In the northern hemisphere beets become available in the early spring, making them a popular option for Passover and Easter.

Notes on cooking beets:

Avoid peeling before cooking to retain their brilliant color. Scrub well, especially where the tops have been removed. It’s easiest to cook whole and slip off the skin once cool (if desired). Then prepare them for your recipe.

Beets are forgiving—a little over or undercooked does them no harm. Whole beets require a long cooking time because of their density: Joy of Cooking recommends 30-40 minutes in simmering water for young beets and up to two hours for larger ones.

The pressure cooker can cut the cooking time to between 10 and 40 minutes.

  1. Borsht, a soup made of beets, is the classic beet dish. You can also try this updated variation made of roasted beets: Beet Soup with Cumin and Ginger.
  2. Ferment: The Forward recently listed fermented beets as one of Ten Jewish Foods to Bring Back, and includes a recipe.
  3. Marinate: I often make a simple marinated beet salad.
  4. Stock: Beets can be added to stock, like most other vegetables. Even your beet-haters won’t notice. If they ask why the soup is slightly pink, shrug your shoulders.
  5. Roast. I love to add round slices of beets to a tray of roasted vegetables. I don’t bother to peel them. They cook more quickly this way.
  6. Plain. Beets are a vegetable, and can be cooked in water and served on the side like any other.
  7. Salad. Add cooked beets and add to potato salad or any green salad. I’ve paired them with turnip and sweet potato as well. Try this Beet Salad with Yogurt.
  8. Beet greens. Don’t forget the greens, a delicious source of vitamins and iron. Saute in oil or cook in  a small amount of water.
  9. Puree. Lorna Sass likes to make vegetable purees in the pressure cooker. I enjoyed her combination of beets and sweet potatoes with fresh ginger and orange.
  10. Natural food color. Add cooking water from beets to make cake or frosting pink.
  11. Stew. Add to stews or slow cooker recipes, where the long cooking time won’t matter.

Have any creative ideas for using beets? Please share in the comments.

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Passover Recipes and Cooking Techniques


  1. I’m scared to cook beets, but more to do with how their colour interacts with clothes than anything else 🙂 but I peel and chop raw beets and add them to salads.

  2. As I kid, my mother got me to eat potato salad by putting beets in it. I loved that pretty pink salad.
    Yesterday, I had an incredibly good beet & ginger cake at a restaurant. Not to sweet and very delicious. I’ve been meaning to look up recipes because that is something I want to make at home. If any one has a recipe, I’d love it!

  3. Of course I meant to write not too sweet.

  4. I found a great nondairy version of the cake I had yesterday–with olive oil and soy milk. The cake I had didn’t need the frosting so I’ll try it without frosting, too:

  5. I love roasted beets. I peel them and cube them and toss them with oil. Great mixed with roasted sweet potatoes especially on Rosh Hashanah.

  6. I have wrapped them in silver foil and roasted, then serve with roasted sweet potatoes and onions (also wrapped and roasted separately) – the colours are great together. Also less mess and red hands!

  7. I like slightly pickling undercooked beets and adding them to potato salad.

    I would avoid them in stock. I added some beets to soup and my husband freaked from the color, and it really changed the flavor. Save it for your most open minded eaters.

  8. i add one or two peeled beeets when i make orange soup.the color of the soup becomes a beautiful deeper orange than my regular orange soup–extra vitamins and fiber too

  9. I love beets. My favorite way to prepare them is to scrub them, slice them thin, and toss them with oil, garlic and fresh thyme. Then I roast them at 425 for about 1/2 hour, flipping them halfway through. They come out crisp and lovely.

  10. Interesting new ways to work with beets. Everytime I get hungry for beets I always think of pickled beets and eggs. I love those. Also I like having them in a salad. Love the post thanks…

  11. Stir Fry, but you have to be careful. The first stir fry I made had the beet greens and 4-5 walnut sized beets. The entire stir fry tasted like beets. I’ve since found that about half a medium sized beet can be added to a stir fry without overpowering the dish.

    Grated or thinly sliced raw beets are also something I add to my coleslaw from time to time. I took one to a pot luck and people asked about the pink colour.

  12. You can grate them and eat them raw on salad or in a slaw.


  1. […] for most, beets’ sweetness shouldn’t pose a problem. There are many simple, delicious ways to prepare beets, including boiling, baking, steaming them in the microwave, or eating them raw. Beet greens and […]