How to Cook Beets

If you claim to not like beets, it might just be because you've only ever had them out of a can. Home-cooked beets are nothing like their sad canned cousins. There's no reason not to cook beets yourself, especially when there are THREE ways to do it!

Just Beet It!
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I’m not so crazy to think that there’s no-one out there who genuinely doesn’t like beets, but honestly you really need to have tried home-cooked beets before you can make that evaluation. Beets are delicious, vibrant, earthy and sweet and they are nutritious too. Beets provide a good source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. The greens, if you’re lucky enough to get them with your beets, are delicious wilted into pasta or cooked the same way you would cook spinach or arugula. There are a ton of reasons to enjoy beets and several ways you can cook them. Here are my favorite three ways.

Beets trimmed on a cutting board with a knife.

Prep the Beets First 

The first thing to do, no matter how you are preparing the beets is to separate the taproot (that’s the actual beet) from the greens. Save those greens for another use. Then, trim the stem end and root end of the beet and give them a good wash under cool water. 

Beets in a square cake pan, partially covered with aluminum foil.

How to Cook Beets in the Oven

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Lots of people just wrap the beets in aluminum foil and toss them into the oven, but I generally don’t love cooking foods in direct contact with aluminum foil, so instead I use a baking pan and wrap the pan with foil. Rub the beets with a little olive oil and season with salt. Put a tablespoon or two of water into the pan – this helps steam the skins a little, making them much easier to peel.

Cooked beets in a square cake pan with an orange towel near by.

How Long to Roast Beets?

Beets really vary in size and as a result vary in their cooking time too. They should take anywhere from 35 minutes for really small beets to an hour for really big beets. You’ll know they are cooked when a paring knife slides into the center of the beet easily.

Raw beets in a pressure cooker.

How to Cook Beets in a Pressure Cooker

The main benefit of cooking beets in a pressure cooker is to save time of course, but you’ll also find that by pressure steaming the beets, they peel really easily too. Place the beets on a rack in the pressure cooker and add a cup of water. Lock the lid on and pressure cook on high for about 15 minutes for medium-sized beets – a little longer if they are big and a little less time if they are smaller. 

Cooked beets in a pressure cooker.

Carefully release the pressure with the quick release method and let the beets cool for a few minutes so that you can handle them. Then, you’ll move on to the peeling stage.

Raw beets in a ceramic dish.

How to Cook Beets in the Microwave

Cooking beets in the microwave is very easy too. Place your beets into a microwave safe dish and add a couple tablespoons of water. Cover the dish and cook on high. Again, your cooking time may vary slightly, but that’s ok with you – you’re a pro! Each average-sized beet will take 5 to 6 minutes (or 10 to 12 minutes per pound if you know how much your beets weigh).  

Cooked beets in a ceramic dish.

Once you are able to pierce a paring knife right to the center of the biggest beet, they are finished. Let them cool enough that you can handle them and get ready to peel.

Two hands with latex gloves peeling beets with a piece of paper towel.

How to Peel Beets Easily

Cooked beets are actually very easy to peel, which is why you always leave the skin on while they cook and peel them afterwards.  First of all, unless you like rosy hands, it’s a good idea to wear gloves or use a piece of aluminum foil or paper towel to protect your hands from the stain of red beets. Then, you can peel the cooked beets one of two ways. The first way is to hold the beet with one hand and scrape off the skin with a paring knife. The second and easiest way is to just rub the cooked beet with a clean paper towel. The skin should rub right off.

Storing Beets

Store your cooled, cooked beets in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to 8 months. 


Quick Notes:

  • Prep the beets
    • Separate the taproot (the beet) from the beet greens (save the greens for another use)
    • Trim the root and stem end of the beet
    • Scrub with cool water
    • Rub the beets with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Oven method
    • Place the beets in a baking pan with 2 tablespoons of water and cover with foil
    • Cook at 400ºF for 35 to 60 minutes, depending on how big the beets are
  • Pressure Cooker method
    • Place the beets on a rack in the pressure cooker with 1 cup of water
    • Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes foraverage-sized beets; +/- 2 minutes if larger or smaller)
    • Quick release the pressure
  • Microwave method
    • Place the beets in a microwave safe dish with 2 tablespoons of water and cover
    • Microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes per beet or 10 to 12 minutes per pound
  • Peel the beets
    • Once the beets have cooled so you can handle them, scrape away the skin with a paring knife or with a clean paper towel
  • Storing beets
    • Store beets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

How To Cook Beets in a Pressure Cooker

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Comments (1)Post a Reply

  1. I love roasted beets in foil, sprinkled with little kosher salt, couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and couple cloves of peeled garlic, sprinkled with olive oil and splash of water.

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