How to Cook Beets
This simple cooking tutorial teaches you how to cook perfect beets at home.
As we navigate this strange and surreal period ahead, my goal and intention is to provide you with as many helpful recipes and resources as I can. We’re all in this together.
Many of us are working from home, working with limited ingredients, and trying our best to avoid the influx of news.
While this is an extremely difficult time, I hope that I can provide value and perhaps, a welcome distraction.
In that spirit, I’m sharing a simple guide on how to cook beets. In the coming weeks, you can expect more guides and tips on how to store and cook produce, as well as ways to reduce waste in the kitchen.
While frozen vegetables appear to be limited right now, fresh vegetables and produce are being restocked regularly.
Beets, like many root vegetables, have a long storage life, which is particularly helpful.
While beet greens should be used quickly, trimmed beets can be stored in the refrigerator for as long as 2 to 4 weeks.
Ways to Use Beets:
I absolutely love yellow beets, because they’re more delicate in flavor and you don’t have to worry about staining. However, red beets are delicious, incredibly good for you, and more readily available.
If you’re able to, seek out bunches with the vibrant greens attached. Beet greens are delicate in flavor and can be sautéed (here’s a recipe for sautéed beet greens!) or used in place of spinach or Swiss chard in any recipe. Less waste, more food!
Cooking fresh beets from scratch requires time, but is completely hands off. Most normal-sized beets take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to cook through.
While many roasting methods call for wrapping each beet tightly in aluminum foil, I prefer this method below (which is similar to braising) because it’s more straight forward and requires nothing more than an oven-safe pot with a lid.
How to Cook Beets:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position.
- If attached, trim greens (set aside) leaving roughly 1/2-inch of the stem ends. Do not remove or trim the hairy root end. Scrub gently to clean without piercing the skin.
- Rub the beets with a small amount of olive or avocado oil and set in a large saucepan. Fill with cold water until the beets are submerged halfway. Top with a tightly fitted lid.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes (minimum) or up to 1.5 hours. Check doneness by piercing the center of each beet with a paring knife. If the knife meets little to no resistance, the beets are done cooking. Total cook time will vary depending on the size of your beets.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Cool until they’re able to be handled. Warm beets will be easier to peel.
- Using a clean kitchen cloth or gloves, gently rub the skins off the beets. Trim and discard the tougher tail or stem end. Cut into wedges or half-moon shapes. Use as desired.
How to Store and Freeze Cooked Beets:
Cooked beets can be stored in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 5 days.
You can also freeze cooked beets or any extras to extend their life. Cut the cooked beets into wedges and spread on a small sheet pan or plate, setting them apart so they are not touching one another. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a large Ziplock bag or freezer-safe container.
Frozen beets can be added directly to smoothies (for an extra dose of nutrition and fiber!) or defrosted and thawed in the fridge to use later.
How to Cook Beets
- 1 large bunch fresh red or golden beets with greens attached
- extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the center position.
- Trim beet greens (set aside for another use), leaving roughly half an inch of stem on the top of the beet roots. Do not remove or trim the hairy roots. Scrub gently with fingertips without piercing the skin.
- Rub the beets with a small amount of olive or avocado oil. Set in a large saucepan and fill with cold water until the beets are submerged halfway. Top with a tightly fitted lid.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes (minimum) or up to 1½ hours (2½-inch to 3-inch diameter beets), or longer. Check by piercing the center of each beet with a paring knife – if the knife meets no resistance, the beets are finished cooking. Total cook time will vary based on size.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the beets to a bowl and allow to cool until they’re able to be handled. Warm beets are easier to peel.
- Using a clean kitchen cloth or gloves, gently rub the skins off the beets and trim the tail or tougher stem. Trim into wedges or half-moon shapes and use as desired.
- Storage Tips: Cooked beets will last at least 3 to 5 full days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze cooked beets for later use. Spread the beets pieces, so they are not touching one another, on a small sheet pan and place in freezer. Freeze completely then transfer to a large Ziplock bag or freezer safe container for later. You can use frozen beets in smoothies (for an extra dose of nutrition and fiber!) or defrost them in the fridge before using regularly.
Tips for Success:
- If the beet greens are in good shape, make sautéed beet greens!
- I love yellow beets, because they’re a bit more delicate in flavor and you don’t have to worry about staining. However, red beets are delicious, very nutritious, and more readily available.
- Cooked beets can be stored in the refrigerator for at least 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze cooked beets for up to 3 months or longer. Use the frozen pieces in smoothies or defrost and thaw in the freeze for regular use.