Today, we will take you through an in-depth guide on how to boil beets. We’ll discuss everything about boiling beets including what prep is involved, how you can boil them, how long to boil beets, and even how to use them.
How often do you eat beets? Not as often as you would like? If you want to include these amazing root vegetables in your cooking more often, you should learn how to cook them properly.
We have shared how to roast beets in the oven before. In this post, we will be explaining how to boil beets with some expert tips and tricks.
Beets are low in calories and fat but packed with fiber and vitamins (source here) so they have several health benefits. Let's eat more beets!
You can use boiled beets in several ways. Start with serving them as a side with an addition of olive oil and lemon juice or make our favorite quick beet pickles.
How To Prepare Beets
Before jumping right into boiling beets, you first have to learn the ways of preparing them.
To start, wash the beets under running water. You can even gently scrub them with a vegetable brush or paper towel to remove any tough and dry pieces of dirt.
Next, cut off the stems and green leaves of each beetroot. Leave about an inch of stem above the raw beets to avoid them bleeding (release their nutrients, flavorful juices and bright color). And don't throw the leaves away! You can make a delicious beet green salad with them.
For this boiled beets recipe, that’s where the preparations stop. You can move onto the cooking process.
Do I Need To Peel Beets?
Many people do prefer peeling beets before cooking them. But there are a couple of downsides to doing so.
First of all, beets do not have to be peeled - at all. Their skin is completely edible, as are most vegetables. The only reason people end up removing the skin is because of visual aesthetics and preference.
Secondly, the skin of beets contains a ton of vitamins and minerals. So, if you want to gain the most nutritional value from your beets, maybe reconsider removing the skins.
And finally, if you still want to remove the skin, then it is much easier to do so after the boiled beetroot has been cooked. While the beetroots are still slightly warm, you can simply slide the whole skin off effortlessly. Just remember to wear gloves! Otherwise, your hands will be pink for days!
Can I chop the beets before boiling them?
The first thing we say when people ask how to boil beetroot is to boil it whole. When you cut beetroot, it allows their flavorful juices to leach out. And the vitamins and minerals along with it!
Furthermore, it is much easier to peel whole cooked beetroot than raw or cut pieces. The only exception to this rule (for us at least) is when you are making roast beets in the oven. You can either wrap them all in aluminum foil or arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Boiling Beets Whole
So, without further or due, let's look at how to boil beets. You will see cooking beets on the stove is incredibly easy and works for virtually all beet recipes.
Prepare the beetroots: Wash them under water and scrub with a brush if needed. Remember, don't peel them, and do not cut them.
Bring the beets to a boil: Add the whole prepped beets into a large saucepan and cover them with water. You can add some salt in the water at this step but we often boil them without salt as it has very little effect on the flavor. Then bring the water to a boil.
Cook the beets: Once the water starts to boil, lower the heat. Allow the beets to simmer covered for about 40 minutes or until they are tender. Test the doneness using a knife or a fork.
Cool and peel the beets: Once cooked, drain them and rinse under cold water. Let them cool for 10 minutes. We don't want them to cool completely. Once you can handle them, rub off their skin or peel with a knife.
Use the boiled beets: You can either serve beet slices as a side dish or incorporate them into your recipes immediately.
How Long To Boil Beetroots
The exact cooking time for beetroot depends on the size. If you are using large beets, it will take around 40, maybe even 50 minutes in total. But, if you are using medium beets, it will take about 30-40 minutes instead.
And, if you’re curious about how to boil beetroot in a pressure cooker, the process remains exactly the same. Add enough water to cover your beets, and allow them to cook on high set for 15-20 minutes.
Can I Steam the Beets Instead?
Yes, you can. If you have a steamer basket, go ahead and use it. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place your steamer basket onto it. Make sure that its bottom is not touching the water. Put the beets in the basket and steam covered until the beets are tender, for about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
How To Understand When Boiling Beets Are Done
Now let's take a look at how to check their progress. When cooking red beets or golden beets, there is only one way to test their doneness: You can insert a sharp knife to see how easily it goes into the center. It should glide in effortlessly, but the beet should give a little resistance.
The beet is then tender, perfect for eating as-is. If you want to blend the beets, cook them until the knife runs through easily.
How To Store
You can store boiled whole beets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They can release their pink juice a little as they sit, it is normal.
You can also freeze the cooked beets. Slice the beets and put them on a large plate and let them sit in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then put them in freezer bags and keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. This method is more practical than freezing them whole. When you are ready to use, bring them to room temperature.
Pick firm beets when buying. There shouldn't be any blemishes or bruises on them.
Make sure to leave about an inch of the stems of each beet when cutting them off. This will prevent the beets from bleeding much.
Add a teaspoon of salt and a drop of vinegar or lemon juice in the boiling water if the beets you are using don't have any stems. This is another method to help beets not to release their pink color much.
The cooking time will depend on the size of the beets. The larger the beetroot, the longer it will need to be cooked.
Always check the progress after about 30 minutes by using the tip of a knife. If it’s tender and the knife goes in easily, the beets are ready.
Wear gloves when peeling and working with beets. This will avoid pink stains on your hand that will last days!
When peeling the beets, don’t allow them to cool off completely. Once they are cooled, their skins become very difficult to remove again. They should still be slightly warm.
If you have a steamer basket, you can steam the beets instead. Place your steamer basket onto boiling water in a large pot. Make sure that its bottom is not touching the water. Put the beets in the basket and steam covered until the beets are tender, for about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
What To Make With Cooked Beets
There is no shortage of beet recipes out there. The easiest way to use boiled beets is to serve them sliced and flavored with salt, pepper and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. And you can drizzle a little olive oil over them. This makes a wonderful side dish with a fresh taste.
Also, you can incorporate them in salads as we do in our buckwheat salad or make a delicious dip or hummus. They go really well with goat cheese or feta too. You can even make a decadent chocolate beet cake.
It really depends on preference and what you are planning to make with cooked beets. If you are planning to make pickles, you should boil them. If you are after a caramelized taste, roasting would be the right choice for you.
No. They can be eaten raw. We sometimes grate a raw beet in our green salad and it tastes great. You can also pickle raw beets.
More Recipes Like This
As always: If you make this recipe, let us know what you think by rating it and leaving a comment below. And post a pic on Instagram too—tag @give_recipe so we can see!
How To Boil Beets Whole
It is super easy to cook beets on the stovetop. Just boil them in a pot until tender and serve as they are or use in the recipes you like.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 5 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: American
- 5 beets
- Prepare the beetroots: Wash them well. Cut the long stems leaving about 1 inch of it. If you cut them all, they will bleed a lot, releasing their juice.
- Place beetroots in a large pot and fill the pot with water. Make sure the beets are all covered with water.
- Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 40 minutes, or until tender. Check it with a knife.
- Drain and let them cool for 10 min.
- Remove their skin by rubbing off. Make sure to wear gloves when doing this.
- Use immediately in your recipes or keep them whole in a container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- Pick firm beets when buying. There shouldn't be any blemishes or bruises on them.
- Make sure to leave about an inch of the stems of each beet when cutting them off. This will prevent the beets from bleeding much.
- Add a teaspoon of salt and a drop of vinegar or lemon juice in the boiling water if the beets you are using don't have any stems. This is another method to help beets not to release their pink color much.
- The cooking time will depend on the size of the beets. The larger the beetroot, the longer it will need to be cooked.
- Always check the progress after about 30 minutes by using the tip of a knife. If it’s tender and the knife goes in easily, the beets are ready.
- Wear gloves when peeling and working with beets. This will avoid pink stains on your hand that will last days!
- When peeling the beets, don’t allow them to cool off completely. Once they are cooled, their skins become very difficult to remove again. They should still be slightly warm.
- If you have a steamer basket, you can steam the beets instead. Place your steamer basket onto boiling water in a large pot. Make sure that its bottom is not touching the water. Put the beets in the basket and steam covered until the beets are tender, for about 40-50 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 35
- Sugar: 5.5 g
- Sodium: 64.2 mg
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.8 g
- Fiber: 2.3 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: boiled beets, how to boil beets