Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Calling all beet lovers! I'm thrilled to share this long-time recipe for easy pickled beets. Great news, these pickled beets don't need canning but keep for weeks and weeks in the refrigerator. I start with canned beets from the grocery store but you can also use fresh beets, just roast them first. These beets are super-simple to make whether a small batch or a large batch. We mostly eat them one or two at a time with impromptu supper salads but much to my surprise, beet pickles are really popular at parties!

Refrigerator Pickled Beets ♥, made with canned beets or fresh roasted beets, no canning required, keep for weeks in the fridge. Vegan. Low Sugar. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Whole Food, Fresh & Seasonal. No Canning Required. Great for Meal Prep & Food Gifts. Potluck & Party Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Low Calorie. Low Sugar. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.

  • "I made mine with roasted beets ... wonderful!" ~ Lorraine

The March Food Desert

So we all know that a "food desert" is a place without ready access to fresh vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. But does the "calendar place" that is March ever feel like a food desert to you too?

It's not really winter any more, at least not here in eastern Missouri, even if the forecast is for snow. And it's not really spring either, even if daffodils are blooming on the south-facing exposures.

Likewise, our tastebuds are so ready for the lightness that is spring, even as our bodies still crave the cozy sweaters of wintry comfort foods.

My answer? Bridge foods, the foods that help us cross from one season to the next, especially the long climb from winter to spring.

And – please don't shoot me on this one – I turn to canned beets. They're cheap, they're easy and frankly, I think they're fabulous.

And I'm surprised by how much people like them! For the last two Easters, I served Refrigerator Pickled Beets, cut into pieces and chopped with fresh herbs, they disappeared in a flash. "Seconds" were known to happen!

Happy First Day of Spring, northern hemisphere folk!

And First Day of Fall, southern hemisphere visitors!

How to Make Pickled Beets, One Easy, One Hard


THE EASY WAY Refrigerator Pickled Beets are pickled in a brine and keep for weeks and weeks but must be stored in the refrigerator.

THE HARD WAY "Home-Canned" Pickled Beets are pickled in a brine, then processed in boiling water in canning jars for long-term storage, no refrigeration required.

  • "Refrigerator" Pickled Beets Refrigerator pickles must be kept refrigerated to avoid spoilage. They're super quick and easy to make. No special equipment is needed. The recipe here? It's for Refrigerator Pickled Beets!
  • Refrigerator Pickled Beets last for weeks and weeks but again, must be kept in the refrigerator.

  • "Canned" Pickled Beets But Let's Call Them Home-Canned Beets Okay, this gets confusing. (1) There are "canned beets" which come in metal cans at the grocery store. Ignore this thought for the moment. (2) And then there are "home-canned beets" which have been processed, usually at home, in jars (not actually in metal cans, I know, so confusing!) for long-term storage. So the beets may be safely stored without refrigeration, they're packed into special glass canning jars, then heated and sealed with a pressure canner or in boiling water in what's called a hot water bath. The canning process isn't actually difficult but does require more time, special equipment and careful handling. If you're interested in canning, check out this guide, Practical Home Canning Tips.
  • Home-canned beets last for months and months, even a couple of years, when stored in a cool, dark place. Because the beet jars have been processed and sealed, they need not be stored in the fridge.

  • "Slightly Pickled" Beets This isn't an official way to pickle beets but I do love how adding just a little water and vinegar to the roasting pan while roasting beets in the oven adds just a touch of pickling taste to roasted beets, see My Favorite New Way to Roast Beets.
  • These only last for about a week.

Why I Use Canned Beets for Refrigerator Pickled Beets

In the veritable garden of beet recipes, my first pick just might be homemade home-canned pickled beets – but truth be told, I’ve made real pickled beets exactly once and that was ten, make that eleven, years ago.

Instead, each year I make one batch after another of Refrigerator Pickled Beets. They’re quick, they’re good, they’re handy to have on hand to add to a quick salad.

Roasting fresh beets is easy, but in my world, fresh beets are quite expensive. And I like the firm texture and the small size of the store-bought canned beets. I make soooo many things from scratch that it's nice, for once, to be happy with something that's convenient, inexpensive and yes, good, very good.

Pickled Beet Salad with Fresh Blueberries & Mint, another quick and easy summer salad ♥, totally fresh and summery! Quick. Vegan. Low Carb. Gluten Free. WW Friendly.

Pickled Beets + Fresh Blueberries & Mint = Summer Magic!

So yeah, canned beets can help "bridge" the seasons.

But y'know what? Refrigerator Pickled Beets are the starting point for one of my favorite quick 'n' easy summer salads in recent memory! Just toss pickled beets with fresh blueberries and ribbons of fresh mint. Tis that easy! But if you need more info, check out Pickled Beet Salad with Fresh Blueberries & Mint at A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.

And while fresh mint and blueberries are lovely, how about some flash-cooked beets, a little goat cheese and fresh dill? or chopped mango and chopped chive? or cilantro with a little cotija?

How to Make Refrigerator Pickled Beets

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in four easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • Pack cooked beets into a glass container with a tight lid.
  • Prepare a pickling brine (just vinegar and water plus seasoning) and bring to a boil.
  • Pour the hot pickling brine over the beets into the jar.
  • Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours - 7 days before serving.
  • Store the beets in the refrigerator for several months.
  • Be proud of yourself, keeping Refrigerator Pickled Beets on hand to enjoy any time!

Equipment & Ingredients to Make Pickled Beets

  • No Special Equipment Is Needed You only need only two things, (1) a pan to heat up the brine and (2) something to store the pickled beets in. The storage container should be glass so the beets don't stain, definitely not either metal or plasticware. A quart-size glass canning jar would work really well (even though you're not going to "can" the jars) but you could easily re-purpose an old spaghetti sauce jar (or similar), just be sure the lid is super clean and make sure it fits in your fridge! I use the same container over and over again because I know it's the perfect size for five 15-ounce cans of canned beets.

  • Cooked Beets (Canned) I use canned beets to make Refrigerator Pickled Beets. A local grocery here in St. Louis (Schnucks, for local readers) actually carries a house brand of canned small beets. There are two variations, sliced and whole. I don't recommend the canned sliced beets, the slices tend to stick together which makes it harder for the pickling liquid to soak in. If the beets are large or I just want a head start, I cut the canned whole beets into bite-size chunks. Cutting the beets also helps pack more into the canning jar.

  • Fresh Beets (Roasted) I'm so happy with the canned beets that I've stuck with them since, um, way back in 2005. But a reader used roasted beets to make Refrigerator Pickled Beets and raved, so I'm happy to recommend using fresh beets too. For roasting, I'd use this technique, My Favorite Way to Roast Beets.

  • Pickling Brine The brine is made up of a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar both work great. I've never used balsamic vinegar but think it would work fine, I'd substitute maybe a quarter of apple cider or white vinegar with balsamic.

  • Seasonings & Preservatives A small amount of sugar and salt (1) season the brine for taste and (2) preserve the beets so they last longer. I also add a tiny bit of black pepper, just a touch.

  • No Cloves, No Cinnamon, No Pickling Spice, No Garlic Refrigerator Pickled Beets are super simple, just beets and the brine.

  • Optional Added Ingredients That said, if you'd like to add in some other ingredients, perhaps a whole clove, a piece of cinnamon, a piece of star anise, a whole allspice, a bay leaf, a peeled garlic clove (take it out after 24 hours), some thin-sliced onions, maybe some fresh orange peel? All are options.
Beet Recipes & Ideas ♥, Savory to Sweet. Recipes, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.

Calling All Beet Princesses

Call me a suck-a for beets, there’s good reason for bearing a Beet Queen crown. Roasted or raw, sandwiched or scalloped, souped or salad-ed, beet beauties are "da best".

They even – get this – make a really good summer smoothie.

Take that for breakfast, all you Beet Princesses.

PS My friend Pille from the Estonian food blog Nami-Nami hosts a board on Pinterest for beautiful beet recipes. Check out a few of hers, I think she might be ripping the beet-queen crown from my head! :-)))

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this simple recipe for pickled beets inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Refrigerator Pickled Beets ♥, made with canned beets or fresh roasted beets, no canning required, keep for weeks in the fridge. Vegan. Low Sugar. Low Cal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: at least 24 hours
Makes about 14 (small batch) or 70 (large batch) small pickled beets
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (assumes Morton's)
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can beets, preferably small beets (see TIPS)
  • 1 cup (220g) water
  • 1 cup (230g) apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (assumes Morton's)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of cloves, optional
  • 4 or 5 15-ounce cans of beets, preferably small beets

In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and cloves to a boil.

While the pickling liquid heats, drain the beets. If the beets are large, cut into bite-size pieces, irregular chunks are better than even slices (see TIPS). Place the beets in a large glass container with a lid (see TIPS). Pour the hot liquid over the beets. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, up-ending every so often if the beets aren’t completely submersed.

ALANNA’s TIPS Refrigerator Pickled Beets are "refrigerator pickles" – this means that they’re not preserved in a traditional canning process for long-term unrefrigerated storage. Look for small canned beets. My local grocer (for St. Louisans, that’s Schnucks) sells a house-brand of canned beets about an inch and a half in diameter, they’re perfect. There are cans of sliced beets too but I don't recommend them – the slices stick together, that means the beets don’t pickle evenly. That said, I have great luck cutting the small whole beets into halves or quarters. The irregular shapes leave space in between for the pickling juices. Or for something akin to a beet relish, cut up either whole beets or sliced beets into a small dice, it's especially nice for salads. Beet juice stains so that’s why glass is important. My eight-cup glass jar holds a full five cans of whole or halved small beets. That might sound like a lot – and it is – but Refrigerator Pickled Beets keep for weeks and weeks so it’s easy to eat a few bites every few days. For parties, toss drained Refrigerator Pickled Beets with a few fresh herbs, they’re surprisingly popular! Or in summer, toss the beets with fresh mint and blueberries. Ooo-la-la!

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per small beet (assumes half the pickling liquid is absorbed by the beets): 10 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 58mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 0 & PointsPlus 0 & SmartPoints 0 & Freestyle 0 & myWW green 0 & blue 0 & purple 0 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 10 beets.
Adapted from a 1964 issue of House & Garden, as published on Epicurious as Swedish Pickled Beets. Since 2005, Swedish Pickled Beets have been a top-visited recipe on my food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.

Wanna Be a Beet Princess? More Beet Recipes!

~ beet recipes ~
Beet Recipes & Ideas ♥, Savory to Sweet. Recipes, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.
Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) ♥, extra hearty with sausage and a swirl of sour cream but also especially earthy and delicious as a vegetarian borscht.

Beet Pesto, another healthy vegetable spread ♥ Gorgeous Color. Budget Friendly. Quick to Make. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Fat. Vegan. Gluten Free.

My Favorite New Way to Roast Beets, another time-tested technique ♥ A Veggie Venture.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I have gained a much greater appreciation for beets over the past couple of years, and would love to try my hand at pickling some. What a lovely "bridge" recipe!

  2. You know my mother is visiting, but you may not know that if she's in the kitchen when I am draining things she's likely to scream "Wait! Don't throw that out!".
    Last week it was the marinated artichoke/lemon/olive juices that came out of the slow cooker when making chicken (we used that liquid to marinate stew beef and made tasty tender tacos with it).
    Years ago it was pickle juice.
    Remembering that pickle juice made me, last fall, fish out the last of a batch of pickled CSA farm share beets and replace them with thinly sliced (Benriner, thank you AGAIN for that!) CSA farm share turnips. YUM! If you've had those pink pickled turnips on a shawarma at a Lebanese restaurant, you'll like these. I love them on a grilled cheese sandwich, and will be posting that recipe in a few weeks.
    Excellent 'it's Spring both meteorologically and equinoxically, why is it so cold out?' recipe, Alanna!

  3. Have you tried your recipe with fresh roasted beets?

  4. I made mine with roasted beets......cut out the salt and pepper and used a pinch of ground cloves instead. They were wonderful!

  5. Lorraine ~ Aii that is such such good news! Especially because I have three roasted beets in the fridge that I haven’t done anything with and a quick pickle will save them. Thanks so much for letting me know!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna