Skip to Content

How to Pickle Beetroot (Gran’s Tried and Tested Recipe!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Where I make a small commission on purchased items, at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure for details.

Ever wondered how to pickle beetroot at home? It’s super simple and it tastes a million times better than shop bought! This is my Gran’s trusted recipe, that’s been perfected over many years of trial and error.

Trust me, just like with my homemade sweet chilli jam, you won’t want another sandwich without it! Read on for the full recipe and tips, plus how to sterilise jars.

A bunch of whole beetroot complete with leaves covered in soil on a dark grey metal tray with a light brown linen napkin resting at the side and a hand holding it. There is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, an empty pickling jar and a couple of stacked grey metal plates with a wooden fork on top in the background. Set over a brushed grey backdrop.

Funny story – When I was little I was the fussiest eater EVER. I basically only ate 3 things. Chocolate (obviously), coleslaw and beetroot. I didn’t even like pizza. I know, what a weirdo right?! So I’ve had a very close relationship with beetroot from a really young age. 

My Gran grows lots of delicious fruits and vegetables in her garden, one of them is beetroot. It’s pretty much the only vegetable I make a point of knowing when it’s in season – just so I can get my hands on a jar of the good stuff!

Especially knowing I can make tasty delicious batches of beetroot chutney and apple and beetroot salad with it!!!

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot topped with a fork, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

I’m not joking, my Gran’s pickled beetroot is like currency in my family! It generates jealousy of the highest kind when you know someone else has a jar and you don’t. It really is that good!

Come to think of it, so does her epic ham and cheese quiche. She’s basically a legend!

There’s something about it that’s so special, shop bought genuinely doesn’t even compare! (The same applies to pickled onions) It’s so soft and delicate, with a punchy yet sweet flavour. I haven’t bought a jar since tasting it and that was a long time ago.

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot with a hand reaching in with a fork to take a piece, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

Because my Gran is unbelievably awesome, I asked her what her secret recipe was… and she told me!

This made me CRAZY happy as I now have not one, but two jars of the best pickled beetroot in my house and I get to share the recipe with you!

Close up view of a white plate filled with pickled beetroot topped with a fork, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

Which vinegar is best for pickling?

According to Gran, it has to be malt vinegar. Over the years she’s tried various vinegars and this is the one she always comes back to.

How long before pickled beetroot is ready to eat?

Most people say to leave your pickled beetroot sealed in a jar for at least 2 weeks before opening and eating. Personally, I’ve opened a jar within a few days and it’s still tasted absolutely delicious!

I see no reason why there should be a time limit – if you want to eat it, open it and enjoy!

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot with a hand reaching in with a fork to take a piece, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

What you need to know

In this section of the post, I’m going to share relevant and helpful information that both myself and my Gran have learned over the years of pickling beetroot.

While all of it is valuable and worth a read, if you don’t have time to read it allmake sure you read the tips on how to pickle beetroot section.

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot topped with a fork, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

What ingredients do you need to pickle beetroot?

There are just 3 ingredients required to make pickled beetroot. That’s all!

  • Whole Beetroot – Try to use beetroot that is all similar in size and that are not really small or really large, but somewhere in between.
  • Vinegar – My Gran swears by using malt (brown) vinegar as opposed to white. I trust her completely as it always works out so delicious!
  • Sugar – Soft light brown sugar gives a slightly more caramelised flavour here but if you don’t have that, most sugars will get the job done fine.
A bunch of whole beetroot complete with leaves covered in soil on a dark grey metal tray with a light brown linen napkin resting at the side and a hand holding it. There is also an open jar of pickled beetroot and a couple of stacked grey metal plates with a wooden fork on top in the background. Set over a brushed grey backdrop.

How easy is it to pickle beetroot?

It really is very simple to make your own pickled beetroot. All you really need is time, there’s actually very little hands on with this!

  1. Wash the beetroot and trim the stems
  2. Place in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil
  3. Simmer with a lid on for 1 hour
  4. Dissolve a little sugar into vinegar over a low heat
  5. Peel the skins off the beetroot and slice thinly
  6. Place the beetroot into sterilised jars and cover with hot vinegar
  7. Seal and allow to cool completely

See, nothing to it! For a more detailed recipe, keep scrolling to the recipe card at the end.

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot topped with a fork, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

Tips on How to Pickle Beetroot

As with any recipe, no matter how simple, we are all human and we all make mistakes! Here’s a few helpful pointers so you can nail it first time.

  • Use a toothbrush to wash your beetroot before cooking. It’s gentle enough that it won’t break the skin but does a perfect job of removing all the dirt!
  • Make sure your beetroot is nice and soft before you slice it. This is what sets this pickled beetroot apart from the shop bought versions.
  • Try and peel the skins while the beetroot is still hot. If the beetroot and vinegar are hot, they will seal better in the jar.
  • Don’t forget to remove any rubber seals before sterilising your jars! (I’ve done this before and trust me, it’s messy and STINKS!)
  • Fill the jar as close to the top as you can. This helps the beetroot keep better over time.
A white plate filled with pickled beetroot topped with a fork, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves, some sliced bread and a hand holding a piece of bread in the background.

How to Pickle Beetroot – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Here is what you will need to fill approx 1 x 500ml Jar. (There may be enough for a 250ml jar too, depending on the size of your beetroot.)

Ingredients

  • 550g (19.4 oz) of Raw Whole Beetroot
  • 270ml (1 + 1/8 Cup) Malt Vinegar
  • 3 – 4 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar

Essential equipment

  • Large Lidded Saucepan
  • 500ml Preserve Jar
  • Small Saucepan
  • Sharp Knife

Beetroot cooking instructions

First, trim the beetroot stems (550g | 19.4 oz raw whole beetroot) to about 1″ and give them a good wash. I like to use a toothbrush as it’s perfect for getting into all those nooks and crannies!

Washed whole beetroot with the stems trimmed on a chopping board with a knife

Now place them into a large saucepan (that you have a lid for).

Washed whole beetroot with the stems trimmed in a large saucepan

Then cover them with cold water to about an inch above the tops, and place over a high heat.

Washed whole beetroot with the stems trimmed in a large saucepan covered with water

Bring it to the boil…

Whole beetroot in a large saucepan of boiling water

Then reduce the heat to a simmer and pop a lid on. Leave to simmer for 1 hour so the beetroot gets nice and soft.

Whole beetroot simmering in a large saucepan with a lid on

How to sterilise your jars

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 180°C/374°F and wash your jar(s) in hot soapy water.

When there is about 15-20 minutes left on your beetroot timer, place your preserve jar(s) onto a baking tray with the lids off/open. Don’t forget to remove any rubber seals!

Clean jars on a baking tray ready to be sterilised in the oven

Place them into the centre of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. This is all you need to do to sterilise your jars.

Just make sure you don’t touch the inside of the jars with anything other than the beetroot/vinegar, or it will no longer be sterile.

How to make the pickling vinegar

Meanwhile, with about 5-10 minutes to go, pour the vinegar (270ml | 1 + 1/8 Cup)) into a small saucepan and set over a low/medium heat. 

1 tbsp at a time, add around 3-4 tbsp of sugar and stir through until it’s dissolved. If you can brave it, have a taste to check the sweetness is to your liking. Although, brace yourself – this is gonna tickle your throat a bit! (Well, it is pure vinegar!)

Vinegar and sugar being heated gently in a small pan over a low heat

Keep this hot (but not boiling) until you’re ready to bottle your beetroot.

Prepare your cooked beetroot

When the hour is up, drain the beetroot.

Whole cooked beetroot in a large saucepan

Then, as soon as you can handle them, remove the beetroot from the pan and peel the skins off. They should slip off very easily.

Whole beetroot having their skins peeled off on a chopping board
Whole beetroot with their skins peeled on a chopping board

Now thinly slice the beetroot using a sharp knife.

Sliced cooked beetroot on a chopping board with a sharp knife

How to bottle your pickled beetroot

While everything is still hot (the beetroot, vinegar and jars), fill your jar(s) as full as you can with sliced beetroot.

Sliced cooked beetroot in a sterilised jar

Then pour over the hot vinegar and fill it as close to the top as you can.

Sliced cooked beetroot in a sterilised jar

All that’s left to do is seal the lid and allow it to cool. 

Everything needs to be hot when you do this because they expand when hot. Then, when things cool, they shrink. This is how the jars seal.

A white plate filled with pickled beetroot with a hand reaching in with a fork to take a piece, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background.

That’s all there is to it! Unopened, your beetroot will last in a cool cupboard for up to 1 year. Once opened, it will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Let’s be honest though, it’s addictive and is never gonna last that long anyway!

Other recipes you might like…

A bunch of whole beetroot complete with leaves covered in soil on a dark grey metal tray with a light brown linen napkin resting at the side. There is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, an empty pickling jar and a couple of stacked grey metal plates with a wooden fork on top in the background. Set over a brushed grey backdrop.

Have you made this recipe?

Will this gorgeous pickled beetroot be making it’s way into your home? I’d love to know if it is!Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

Loved this recipe? Pin it!

A bunch of whole beetroot complete with leaves covered in soil on a dark grey metal tray with a light brown linen napkin resting at the side and a hand holding it. There is also an open jar of pickled beetroot and a couple of stacked grey metal plates with a wooden fork on top in the background. Set over a brushed grey backdrop. A text overlay says "how to pickle beetroot".
A white plate filled with pickled beetroot with a hand reaching in with a fork to take a piece, on top of a wooden chopping board. Set over a brushed grey backdrop there is also an open jar of pickled beetroot, a light brown linen napkin, a bowl of salad leaves and some sliced bread in the background. A text overlay says "how to pickle beetroot".
Close up of a bunch of whole beetroot complete with leaves covered in soil on a dark grey metal tray with a light brown linen napkin resting at the side and a hand holding it. There is also an open jar of pickled beetroot and a couple of stacked grey metal plates with a wooden fork on top in the background. Set over a brushed grey backdrop.

How to Pickle Beetroot (Gran's Tried and Tested Method!) - Printable Recipe

Yield: 1 x 500ml Jar
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Want to know how to pickle beetroot? This soft and delicate beetroot pickled in a sweet yet punchy vinegar is my Gran's trusty recipe that's been developed over many years!

Ingredients

  • 550g (19.4 oz) of Raw Whole Beetroot
  • 270ml (1 + 1/8 Cup) Malt Vinegar
  • 3 - 4 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar

Essential Equipment

  • Large Lidded Saucepan
  • 500ml Preserve Jar
  • Small Saucepan
  • Sharp Knife

Instructions

  1. Trim the beetroot stems to 1" and wash them well.
  2. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and put a lid on. Simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, sterilise your jar (see below).
  5. Pour the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar to taste and keep hot (but not boiling) until your beetroot is ready.
  6. When the beetroot is cooked, drain the water and peel the skins off.
  7. Thinly slice it with a sharp knife then fill your hot jar to the top with beetroot.
  8. Pour over the hot vinegar (as close to the top as you can) and seal.

How to Sterilise a Jar

  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 180°C/374°F and make sure your jar is clean. (Washed in hot soapy water.) Place your jar on a baking tray, with seals removed, and bake for 20 minutes.
  2. Seal while your jar is still hot for best results.

Notes

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the 'What you need to know' section (especially the 'Recipe tips' part!) for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe.

Unopened beetroot will store in a cupboard at room temperature for up to 1 year.

Store opened beetroot in the fridge and consume within 3 months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 56mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 1g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned kitchenmason.com into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

David

Monday 20th of May 2024

Hi Emma, I've just finished my first batch, I'll try them in the morning. A hint, slice them on a mandolin, it is so much faster with an even cut. Talking about cuts, if you use a mandolin be sure to use the slide, when I first used mine I just held the Potato in my hand, it took the top of my thumb right off!! That wouldn't have been so bad had I been slicing beetroot but I was making crisps and nobody likes red crisps.

Emma

Monday 20th of May 2024

Hi David. Using a mandolin is a great idea - but absolutely safety first! I hope you were ok!! Emma x

Debbie

Wednesday 3rd of April 2024

Hi Ive just made your pickled beetroot. I had just over 2.6kg of raw beetroot. How much vinegar should I have used? I found I ran out of my vinegar syrup & quickly had to make more (which still wasnt quite enough). Im excited to taste once it's cooled down.

Emma

Saturday 6th of April 2024

Hi Debbie. 2.6kg of beetroot is about 5 times the given recipe. So I would have made 5 times the amount of sweetened vinegar to go with it :) Emma x

Sue Heddle

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Made it today because we can't buy beetroot anywhere (I got lucky and found some fresh.) Does it have to stand or is it good to go right away?

JANETTE

Saturday 13th of April 2024

@Sue Heddle, Omg I know right no beetroot on the shelves I bought my own fresh beets and i started preserving beetroot "Old fashioned and delicious"

Emma

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Hi Sue. I tend to make mine in batches. So have some I've let stand for a few weeks, and some I've eaten straight away. It honestly doesn't taste very different to me. So you'll be fine to eat some now if you can't wait :) Emma x

Annette Erdtsieck

Monday 11th of March 2024

ok followed all instructions but crikey, that pickling juice was SO strong of vinegar!!!! I wanted to emulate the tinned beetroot we buy in Australia which is tangy but sweet. if it ends up too sour, can I change it after pickling?

Emma

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Hi Annette. Yes, the pickling juice is very strong on this recipe. We tend to have jarred beetroot here in the UK, which is usually pickled in sweetened vinegar. I don't believe tinned beetroot is available here, so I'm not sure how you could adapt the liquid to what you're trying to achieve, as I haven't tasted it. Sorry I can't be of more help this time! Emma x

Rhonda Barbeler

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Just made a triple batch of these as there is a beetroot shortage in Australia atm. I added malt & white vinegar to make up the triple amounts. Also added approx. 50 mm of caramelised balsamic vinegar to the brine & braved the vinegar liquor & tasted it. OMG it is delicious. Can't wait to tuck into them.

Emma

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Hi Rhonda. I'm so happy you love my Gran's recipe! Absolute LOVE your addition of caramelised balsamic vinegar - what a delicious idea! Emma x

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe