Pickled Beets Recipe (With Fall Spices!)

Don’t think you like beets?  You might like pickled beets because they taste like an explosion of fall spices distributed through a sweet and vinegary brine packed with flavour.  GREAT on salads.

Moody photo with a dark background featuring a black plate filled with dark red pickled beets and mason jars filled with beets.

Skip right to the recipe.

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pickled beet.

Unless you’ve kissed someone in front of the Eiffel tower, while cherry blossoms rain out of the sky.  That’d probably win out in the “you haven’t lived until”  contest over the pickled beet thing.

But pickled beets are pretty darn good. I bet they’d taste even better while in Paris. You could clink your fork into the mason jar while wearing a luxurious but casual, all cream, down to the ground dress  designed by your best friend Ralph Lauren, who presented it to you at sunset, on horseback, while vacationing at his ranch. That you’re considering buying.  Once you get back from Paris.

Now that I think of it, pickled beets are kindda shit, compared to all the other great things that could happen in one’s life.

Let’s try this again. Pickled Beets! They’re better than an open wound!

Good. Glad we got that straightened out.

There are a few variations of pickled beetroot and I like the ones with sugar, vinegar and autumn spices. They have a similar taste to my bread and butter pickles. And I mean similar. Not the same. This pickled beet recipe is different but similar. 

This year I tried a new pickled beet canning recipe because … shock of all shocks … I was finding my old recipe a bit too sweet.  I guess my tastes have changed.  Or sugar has become sweeter in recent years.

I assume since you’re here, and you’re still reading, you too have an interest in pickling some of these suckers. Maybe you like them, or maybe you’ve never tried to make them, or maybe you’re going to the Eiffel Tower soon and figure you should bring a jar. Regardless of what the reason is, you’re in the right place.

Because I am right now, at this very moment, going to share my most recent Pickled Beet recipe.


Looking down on a scarred black cutting board covered in chopped beets and one whole beet with the skin on.




  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Cook 10-15 pounds of beets.  I normally roast beets but for this many I find boiling them easier.
  3. Mix brine ingredients together.
  4. Peel and chop beets.
  5. Add beets to brine and simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Pour beets and brine into jars and process.

That’s it.

Cooked beets with the skins removed on a black cutting board.

The easiest way to remove the skins is to cut the tip and root off, then rub the skin off with a paper towel.  The skins should just come right off.  Since this is real life, there will be the odd stubborn one.  Those ones are assheads and you can either throw them at someone or use a knife to get the skin off.  Or throw them at someone.


Chopped dark red beets on a black background with sun shining on them.

You can either quarter or slice your beets.  I like to quarter them.

A ladle made out of bamboo lowering pickled beets into a wide mouth mason jar.

If the quarters are too big, cut the quarters in half.

Bamboo ladle pouring dark red brine into a jar of pickled beets.

Even if you don’t happen to like the taste of pickled beets I almost feel like you should make them based on how pretty they are.

Cleaning the rim of a mason jar filled with newly pickled beets.

Don’t ever forget to wipe the rim of your jar when you’re canning. One little drip will ruin any hopes of getting a proper seal.  Then you’ll cry.

Removing the air bubbles in a mason jar with a plastic stick prior to canning.

If you don’t have one of these little metal sticks, grab one here.  They’re made for picking up the sealers out of the hot water and they’re great.  If you don’t have any of the handy canning stuff, get this whole kit.  You get the magnetic stick, a can grabber, funnel and a bunch of other stuff.



Are Pickled Beets as Good For You As Raw Beets?

Beets are really high in antioxidants (they’re on the top 10 list in fact) But when you pickle them they lose a percentage of their antioxidant qualities.

Plus of course, pickled beets are filled with sugar which isn’t what most people would consider a healthy addition to a vitamin packed vegetable.

So no, pickled beets aren’t as good for you as fresh beets. If you’re looking for the BEST health option, raw or roasted beets are your best choice.


Canned Pickled Beets Recipe

How to make and then can pickled beets to store all winter long.

Pickled Beets

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Canning/Preserves
Cuisine: Yummy
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 10 lbs beets
  • 3 cups water
  • 7 cups vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher or pickling salt


  • Cook and peel beets.
  • Cut into quarters.
  • Mix together remaining ingredients in large pot.
  • Add quartered beets to brine in pot and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/2" from top with beets.
  • Fill with brine to 1/2" from top of jar.
  • Remove any air bubbles in jar.
  • Wipe rim clean.
  • Secure with seal and screw band.
  • Process beets 30 minutes in hot water bath.

How to Use Pickled Beets

Red pickled beets on a plate.

There are a lot of different pickled beet recipes out there and there are a LOT of different ways to process them.  Up until a few years ago I always just jarred them in hot jars, covered them with hot liquid and called it a day.  It’s always worked fine for my family.  But now that I have a blog  I have to be responsible and suggest methods that might not kill my readers.  Because I lose enough readers every month simply by offending them.  I can’t start actually killing them off now.

So I decided to give them a 30 minute water bath for your benefit. Do you need to refrigerate pickled beets?  Not if you process them.  Will eating a pickled beet make you think you’re dying when you poop the next day?  Yes.  Pickled beets will make your poop look like its bleeding.  Will pickled beets turn your urine red?  You’d have to eat a lot of them, but yes. It’s possible.

Kissing in front of the Eiffel tower while it rains cherry blossoms?  Technically also possible.  Thankfully.


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Pickled Beets Recipe (With Fall Spices!)


  1. Pat says:

    Beets as a side dish with perogies! MMMM.
    Yes, Karen, you are so right about the processing in the hot water bath. For years my mother and I made her beet “relish” recipe which did not call for the processing and no one ever got sick. Over the past few years we have been adding that part with all the new information on what is in our food now and how the canning process has changed. If you ever take a “Food Safe” course, that’ll make your eyes pop and reconsider how you are dealing with food.

  2. White says:

    My preference with pickled beets (any/all pickles, actually) is the amount of “bite”.

    Two things can adjust that bite:
    1) “Pickling vinegar” = 7% acetic acid, not 5%
    2) Adding a small “hot” pepper to each jar

    Question: do you wear gloves when peeling/handling the cooked beets? If so… wimp :)

    • Karen says:

      White – I don’t wear gloves when handing blindingly hot peppers, so no. Definitely not with beets. The stains rub/wash/wear off after less than a day so it doesn’t bother me none. :) Plus if you get hungry you can always suck on your fingers throughout the day. ~ karen

  3. I have to admit I have never tried a beat in any form in my entire life. I don’t think I would go out and buy them to try but if I am ever somewhere they have beats for offer I might just give one a try.

  4. CBuffy says:

    Mmmmmmmm. Home canned pickled beets and macaroni and cheese. Food of the GODS!!!

  5. Susan says:

    Oh rats, I’m just too much of a realist. My cream-coloured Safari outfit ended up with pickled beet juice splatters on it. I’m one of those people who keep going out and buying white summer tops and wear them once before splattering them with something. Am I the definition of an optimist?
    Since I gave up cooking for Lent one year and forgot to start again, I don’t pickle any more but there is a lady down the street who keeps me supplied with pickled beets and gluten-free mustard pickles. She is a friend indeed because I sure do love those pickles.

  6. Beets taste like you are chewing the dirt right out of your garden. Ok – I confess- I have never tried a picked beet.
    My hubs recently started to sneak them into our juicer and make our daily juice with beets too. I’m suddenly in love with them. Still mad at him for tricking me -but beets are YUM. Don’t tell him. Shhhh.

    • Karen says:

      Lynne – Does he cook the beets or raw for the juicer? We did raw but the fella didn’t wash the beet so it really did taste like dirt in the smoothie. Plus it of course was raw. It was quite gross in fact. ~ karen!

      • I had to ask him. Now he knows I like the juice. I usually make a gross face, and don’t confess that I am secretly in love with the beet addition in the juice. I have spent way to many years telling him that beets are the grossest thing on earth.
        He juices them raw, {but peels them first}. It makes the juice such a brilliant color and makes it taste sweet ( hiding the other stuff that he puts in there, and doesn’t want to tell me about either).

      • Debbie says:

        We got this recipe off “The Chew” with raw beets. It is soooo good! I think peeling the beets is the trick to make them good raw. (Wear gloves!)
        Beet Slaw
        1 lg. beet peeled, and grated (use a processor)
        1 Tbs. EVOO
        1 Tbs. dijon mustard
        juice of 1 lemon
        1 Tbs. horseradish
        3 green onion sliced
        salt and pepper
        Whisk together the oil, mustard, and lemon juice. Toss in the remaining ingredients.
        This is so delish! Try it!

      • SuzanneLH says:

        My kind of pickled beats! Though I love sweets, not so much sweet beets…

  7. Barbie says:

    LUB me some beets! Any kind! I also can beets every year and we usually always have enough to last until the next garden produces more. I also canned golden beets this year….not pickled. Golden are so good in salads! YUM!
    My recipe is much the same as yours.
    I certainly hope you are growing some beets in your garden…can’t remember….sorry. :)
    PS: I tried to pressure can them one year! NO NO NO! They turned out completely mushy! I don’t think beets are suppose to be pressure canned. I lost a whole batch and was so mad at myself! :(

  8. Meagan says:

    This might elicite a “My prayers are with you” remark but I wouldn’t object to a detailed post on processing. That’s the part of canning that freaks me out. Otherwise I’d have a pantry full of zucchini salsa, jams and pickles!

  9. Karol says:

    I haven’t eaten a beet since I was 9 when my dad lovingly shoved them down my throat, because, he said “who doesn’t like beets?” That was a hundred years ago, and now I don’t have to eat anything I don’t like. And I don’t like beets. The only thing I eat that is pickled is a pickle. They do however, make a beautiful dye.

  10. Langela says:

    Just yesterday I read a blogger who roasts her beets with carrots. I am not one for pickled beets. That is the only way I’ve ever had them. I also don’t like sweet pickles. I have been almost convinced to try them unpickled at some point to see if I can handle them that way. Otherwise, Ralph is on speed dial along with my travel agent. I may be taking a trip soon.

  11. Mary Werner says:

    No better way to make your poop fashionably pink!

    • Shauna says:

      Ha ha, that sounds like a fashion that would have been written into The Hunger Games (yes, I’m one of the bazillion that read these in a week).

  12. Arlene says:

    How did you know? I was just about to strangle my friend – for her coveted Pickled Beet recipe… when you post, what I believe to be the same recipe I would have gone to jail to get….
    Thanks — I too have gone over to the dark side –the dark purple side — can’t live without a jar in my fridge.
    thanks a mil :)

  13. Darlene says:

    Instead of using the spices (by the way I work for McCormick Spice Co) try using red hot cinnamon candies! You will love that flavor!

  14. Melody Madden says:

    Pickled beets are one of my all time favs …. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  15. Denise says:

    Just to clarify my reason for reading is NOT “I assume since you’re here, and you’re still reading you too have an interest in pickled beets.” You are just too funny REGARDLESS of the topic. So, even though I have no affinity for beets except for an awesome beet soup I had once, I still drop by for a chuckle or two every day! Thanks. Kinda like “Karen! Better than Prosac!”

    • Karen says:

      Thank you ma’am. That’s my goal. If you don’t like the topic you better be entertained by something else at least. ~ karen!

      • anne says:

        how many quarts does your recipe make?

      • anne says:

        hi karen how many quarts does your recipe make?

      • Karen says:

        Hi Anne! Sorry! I missed your original comment. I actually just ran down to my original recipe card from years ago and I haven’t marked how many quarts! But from what I remember it doesn’t make a ton. Probably 6 or 7 half quart jars. ~ karen!

  16. magali says:

    This seems like an appropriate post to tell you that I finally have a birch wood french rolling pin! My sister got it for me for my birthday. I have yet to try it, but I love to touch the soft wood! I can now make my very first home made pie crust… and I can give a pie to Ralph Lauren as a token of my appreciation.

  17. Deborah says:

    um…..you forgot to mention HOW IN THE WORLD WE GET THE PINK STAINS OFF OUR SKIN after peeling and chopping/slicing so many beets…. last time I did them and then had a manicure appt the girl refused to waste her precious time trying to compete with pickled beet juice on my nails…. :P

    • Katie Schneider says:

      This! I was raising my eyebrows at daringly dumping delicious beets in a jar over your lovely non-vibrant-pink countertops! Do you have any stain-remover secrets?
      I wear gloves when peeling beets…

  18. Moe says:

    Your recipe sounds a lot like mine except I use pickling spice tightly wound in cheesecloth and I simmer my beets in liquid a lot longer. I love beets too every way except with balsamic vinegar sprinkled over them. I don’t know why people think that stuff tastes good. If it ain’t sweet, I ain’t eatin it. :o)

  19. Shannon Clarke Devine says:

    Hi Karen

    As I live in South Africa and have been on a safari or two I must tell you that the beets sound far more scary!!


  20. Belinda says:

    Yum! I love beetroot (that’s what we call them in lil’ ol’ New Zealand) and if you want to try something that I’m told is pretty unique to my corner of the world, then next time you’re having hamburgers (the ones that are homemade, with salad stuff in em) throw in a couple of slices of pickled beets. Can’t be beaten! Especially if there’s a fried egg going on in there, too ;)

    • Karen says:

      Wait. What?! A fried egg and pickled beets on a hamburger? Wait. What?! ~ karen

    • Mary W says:

      I don’t understand what you meant by “salad stuff in them”. What salad stuff do you put IN them and how? – chopped up fine, smooshed up. Never heard of this before. In my neck of the woods we layer onion, pickles, lettuce, cheese, and tomato on top with some other stuff like bacon or avocado or whatever. But you said salad stuff IN them.

      • Belinda Philp says:

        lol – I think there’s a language usage difference here! Hamburgers in NZ (and Aussie) refer to the whole thing (bun, meat, salad, etc) So the salad goes ‘in’ the burger, Not just the meat patty :) We layer, not some other weird thing!

  21. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    “I have to be responsible and suggest methods that might not kill my readers. Because I lose enough readers every month simply by offending them.” HA – What wimps..if you offend them they better not turn on their TV’s anymore..Or go out in public..or do pretty much anything that involves other people..these people must live in plastic bubbles cause I see & hear a lot more offensive things around me everyday than anything that comes out of your mouth sweetie..Oh Yeah..Love pickled beets!..Yeah..this is how I get when I stay up late..

  22. sherry says:

    thanks for both the recipe and the chuckles:)

    • Mary says:

      I’ve used your pickled beets recipe for the past few years now and must say it is hands down “the best”!!!
      Also, you have a great sense of humor and I really enjoy your posts!!!

      Thanks so much for sharing!!!


      • Karen says:

        Thanks for coming back and letting me know Mary! I didn’t grow enough beets this year for pickled beets and I only have one jar left. It’s Thanksgiving in Canada tomorrow and I’m really struggling with whether to put them out or or not so I can save the for myself, lol. ~ karen!

  23. Bobbi says:

    Pickled beets……..I have noticed them in your menus and have held back but …………yuck !!

    Brussels sprouts to you….pickled beets to me.

  24. SK Farm Girl says:

    My Aunt, who was an accomplished canner, cook, seamstress, gardner and many other things, taught me the simplest way to make pickled beets. Yes, I know there are a gazillion ways to pickled beets, but this truly is the easiest. Once you have parboiled, skinned and cut into bit size pieces, pack your beets into pint jars. Add 1/2 cup white sugar, add pickling vinegar to within 1/4″ – 1/2″ of rim. Run a knife through the “juice” to remove bubbles. Have your lids and rings in boiling water, screw on lids. Shake the jars until the sugar disolves; playing some Reggae and using the jars as shooka-shookas cranks the process up to party notch! Tah-dah that’s it! She never processed them, and she’d been making them for 60+ years and none of us ever got sick. I do, however, keep my stash in the spare fridge!!! Hmmmm . . . come to think of it there are some still down there; gotta go for a midnight raid of pickled beets and tomorrow I’ll think I’m dying!

    • Karen says:

      ell, keeping t hem in the fridge is one thing. Leaving them on the shelf is another, LOL. Also you have to be careful when doing things like they did in the “olden days”, like 10 years ago or so. :) Through hybridization and genetics and such, our food has changed. Tomatoes for example are far less acidic than they once were which is why they didn’t need to be processed years ago and now they do. ~ karen!

      • Brie says:

        This is such a good point!!!! I hate when people say, “Well we did it this way for years, and I’m still here!”….. This world is a different place, especially in regards to our food. Great post as usual Karen!

      • SK Farm Girl says:

        Point well-taken! A quick bath never hurt anybody! Next batch I will process so as not to kill the next generation of my family – LOL! Thanks Karen and Brie! You are right, our foods are changing and so must we change with them! Cheers!

      • Karen says:

        SK – Trust me … up until a couple of years ago I was with you. Screw it. I’m alive. Then I started looking into and researching foods and how they’ve changed and … well … then *I* changed. ~ karen!

      • Jennifer says:

        Hi! I wish we lived in the olden days! Glad I had Family that were Pioneers! I learned to cook from my Grandmother’s and Mom. Thank God for that.

  25. Nicole says:

    Even though they make me sick, I love beets. Pickled beets were the gateway into my beet eating addiction. Now I like ’em anyway I can get ’em.

    • Karen says:

      Nicole – Well. Maybe they aren’t *actually* making you sick. Maybe you only *think* you’re dying the day after eating beets. When really … you just ate beets. You’ll be O.K. ;) ~ karen

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