This recipe will give you the confidence to learn how to prepare and make healthy beets.  Use a dutch oven to boil the beets on the stove--it's so simple!  Learn all the techniques, methods, tips, and tricks to make beets taste good.  You'll be wondering why it took you so long to make beets a part of your diet.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
holding a slice of boiled beet on a fork
Veggie Side Dishes

How to Boil Beets Recipe

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Love them or hate them, beets are a very popular vegetable across the pond in England.  This how to boil beets recipe is the perfect starting point to get you eating more beets.  Keep reading to find out all about how to cook this delicious and nutritious vegetable.

holding a bowl of sliced boiled beets

What methods are used for cooking beets?

  • Boiled on the stove top
  • Roasted in the oven in foil or on a cookie sheet
  • Steamed in a steamer
  • Grilled on a charcoal grill
  • Baked in foil in camp coals
  • Dehydrated slices to make beet chips

How can I dress up boiled beets?

  • Balsamic Glaze: Use balsamic vinegar, sweetener of choice, butter, salt and pepper.
  • Compound Butter: Use fresh dill, mint or tarragon, salt and pepper with unsalted butter.
  • Reduction Sauce: Use red wine vinegar and butter along with beet juice.
  • Burst of Acidity: Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
  • Caramelized Nuts: Use caramelized or candied pecans to jazz up cubed boiled beets in a mixed green salad.

What are the health benefits of boiled beets?

  • Low in calories
  • No cholesterol or fat
  • High in vitamins B and C
  • high in potassium and iron
  • high in folic acid

How to Cook Beets without Losing the Nutrients

The best way to cook beets without losing too many nutrients is to steam them for 15 minutes. 

If you boil the beets, leave the root on and 1 to 2 inches of the stem.  This will help keep many of the nutrients in the beet.  Of course, some of the nutrients will go into the water, but you can reuse the beet water in soups, rice, risotto, or pasta.

holding a slice of boiled beet on a fork

Should I peel beets before cooking?

No, it is easier to boil the beets first, let them cool, and then peel the beets. 

How do you peel beets?

  • Wear kitchen gloves, if you don’t want to stain your fingers.
  • Lean over the sink and use a paper towel to rub off the skins.
  • Also try rubbing off the skins under cold running water.
  • Discard the skins or save them for a friend that has goats.

How do you make beets taste less earthy?

  • Use plenty of salt, like when you’re cooking pasta or potatoes.
  • Use vinegar in the water.  Try red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

What makes beets taste earthy?

  • Geosmin, an organic compound produced by microbes in the soil. 
  • Other foods high in geosmin are lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, and catfish.
  • It seems half the population likes the earthy taste of beets and the other half doesn’t–much like cilantro.

a bowl of diced boiled beets

What do you do with boiled beets?

  • Salads
  • Soups (Borscht)
  • Pickle them
  • Spiralize them to make zoodles
  • Puree for baby food
  • Smoothies
  • Dips

Can you reuse the water from boiled beets?

Yes, you can!  If you don’t want to throw it out, here are some ideas to give it a second use.

  • Make Depression-era beet jelly (faux grape jelly).
  • Use it as a natural dye in sauces, icing, and cakes.
  • Make beet lemonade with sugar syrup, lemon and lime juice from concentrate mixed with beet juice.
  • Dye Easter eggs.
  • Pickle hard boiled eggs in it; just add some vinegar and spices.
  • Use it as a base for risotto: it will be pink.
  • Make it into a beet juice reduction sauce with red wine vinegar and butter.
  • Use it to boil apples for applesauce.  It will turn the applesauce pink.
  • Water your houseplants or outside bushes with it, as it’s filled with nutrients.

How long are boiled beets good for?

Cooked beets are good for 3 to 5 days when stored in an airtight container and placed in the fridge.  If you need longer storage, freeze the cooled beats in a zip top freezer bag.  Just remember that the beet juices may stain a plastic container, so if you have glass use it!

How to Boil Beets

Start by scrubbing and rinsing the dirt off the beets.  Trim off the beet greens and leave on a 2-inch stem.  Keep the leaves and stems for another use.

Measure out the red wine vinegar and the kosher salt.

beet roots with red wine vinegar, salt, and beet greens

Submerge the whole, unpeeled beets into a Dutch oven filled with water. 

beets in a pot of water

Add the red wine vinegar and carefully mix.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the kosher salt. 

Keep the pot covered and reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until fork tender, roughly 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the beets.  Larger beets can take up to 60 minutes.

adding red wine vinegar and salt to the pot of beets

To check if the beets are cooked, pierce with a fork.  If the fork easily inserts into the beet, they’re done.  Remove them from the pot with a fork or a slotted spoon, and place on a large plate.

stabbing a boiled beet with a fork

When they’re cool enough to handle, cut off the stems and roots.  Rub the skins off with a dry paper towel, or rub them under cold running water.

taking the skin off of a boiled beet

Rinse off any small amounts of remaining beet peel under cold water.  Now you’re ready to use the cooked beets in your recipe of choice.

holding a large boiled beet on a spoon

I chose to slice the beets for the photo shoot and then I decided to cut them smaller to use in a salad.  Feel free to quarter, cube, or puree the cooked beets.

Pro Tips for Making Boiled Beets

  • Keep at least 1 inch of the stem and the root intact before boiling the beets whole. This will keep the beet from bleeding too much into the water.
  • Don’t use wooden cutting boards, as the beet juice will stain it.  Use a plastic cutting board with paper towel or wax paper on top.
  • If your hands get stained with beet juice, use fresh lemon juice to help get rid of any stubborn stains.
  • Don’t throw out the beet greens or stems.  Sauté them or use them in salads or soups.
  • Don’t throw out the beet water.  Re-purpose it in soups, rice, smoothies, pickled eggs, dye icing, or faux grape jelly.
  • Dress up boiled beets with a balsamic glaze, beet juice reduction sauce, compound butter, or caramelized/candied pecans.

Looking for more nutritious vegetable side dishes?

holding a forkful of sautéed beet greens holding a bowl of sautéed kale with mushrooms three bowls of mushy peas

The pleasure of a 5-star review of this boiled beet recipe would be greatly appreciated.

holding a slice of boiled beet on a fork

How to Boil Beets Recipe

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 9 whole beets 1x


This recipe will give you the confidence to learn how to prepare and make healthy beets.  Use a dutch oven to boil the beets on the stove–it’s so simple!  Learn all the techniques, methods, tips, and tricks to make beets taste good.  You’ll be wondering why it took you so long to make beets a part of your diet.



  • 9 medium-sized fresh beets
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


How to Boil Beets

  1. Remove the tops from the beets, but leave a two inch stem.  This will help the pigment from leaching into the water.
  2. Wash and dry the beet roots.
  3. Add the vinegar and the beets to a large pot of water, then cover and bring to a boil.  Stir in the salt and reduce the heat to medium low.  Simmer until fork tender, roughly 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the beets, then let them cool.  Cut off the root and stem and discard.
  5. Optional: Keep the beet water.  Read the post for ideas on how to use it.
  6. Peel by using a piece of paper towel to wipe the skin off or peel under running water.
  7. Keep whole, quarter, slice, cube or puree depending on your recipe.

Dress up Boiled Beets With…

  1. Herb butter (try fresh dill, mint or tarragon)
  2. Balsamic glaze
  3. Beet juice reduction sauce
  4. Chopped caramelized or candied pecans on a salad of mixed greens


  • The pleasure of a 5-star review of this how to boil beets recipe would be greatly appreciated.
  • Category: Vegetable side
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: how to cook beets, stove, how to peel beets

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4 thoughts on “How to Boil Beets Recipe

  1. These look really good! I don’t usually eat beets, but I am sure they taste a lot better than the ones I’ve tried in the past.

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