I love Refrigerator Pickled Beets as they are super easy to make and they can last up to 6 weeks. This delicious condiment is great to have on hand readily available to serve as a side, tossed in salad, filled in bread to add a touch of flavour, or I just enjoy them on their own as a healthy snack!
Refrigerator pickled beets are different from traditional canning recipes, which involve the process of sterilising the jars, processing in a boiling water bath, and then storing at room temperature.
To be honest, I’ve actually not really gotten my hands on proper shelf stable canning techniques yet. Although, I am really keen on learning about canning and hopefully be able to share what I’ve learnt with you here in the near future.
So, for this refrigerator pickling technique, you simply cook the beets either by boiling, steaming or roasting, slice or cube them, make the brine, and fill the jars with beets and the brine, then store in the refrigerator. They will last up to 6 weeks, which is much shorter than traditionally canned recipes, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get through them earlier than this, unless you’re making a big batch. I tend to make smaller batches like one or two jars at a time, because these are so easy and quick to make.
Once your beets are cooked, these pickled beets are made in practically no time. I’ve used red beets but golden beets are also great in this recipe.
You can cook the beets any way you like, boiling, steaming, pressure cooking or roasting. I usually steam my beetroots with their skin on, as they cook relatively quicker than boiling or roasting, while retaining their beautiful colour.
I love apple cider vinegar for the brine for the health benefits and taste, but you can also use regular white vinegar or rice vinegar.
As for spices and herbs, I’ve left it rather simple with the addition of just some fresh dill which adds a delicate aroma and flavour to the beets. I enjoy the simplicity; sometimes it is all that’s needed.
You can of course add spices or herbs to your liking—peppercorns, mustard, coriander seeds are good choices in pickles in general. Red pepper flakes can add a nice kick if you like a little bit of heat.
Can the recipe be made with less or no sugar?
In comparison with other recipes out there, I’ve significantly reduced the amount of sugar in this one. I like my pickled beets slightly on the sour side as I think the sugar in the beets is quite enough to balance the flavours. For my taste, I even reduce it a little more than what the recipe calls for, but I wouldn’t omit the sugar completely, although you’re welcome to try and see how you like it. On the other hand, some may not like the vinegary taste, so feel free to add more sugar if you prefer sweeter pickles.
How soon are pickled beets ready to eat?
Although you can eat them right away, I recommend letting the beets pickled for at least a few hours before eating them. They are best after a couple of days and get even better after that. The flavours are enhanced if you leave the jar for 24 hours on the counter, before refrigerating.
For how long can refrigerator pickled beets be stored?
Beets pickled by this method of food preservation will last in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Always use a clean utensil, fork or spoon, to remove the beets from the jar to avoid contamination and spoiling the beets earlier than they would usually keep for.
Beets are available year round, which couldn’t make me happier, as I can make this pickle as often as I like. They are great to serve as part of any meals, tossed in salad or just on their own as a snack.
If you like this Refrigerator Pickled Beets recipe, you might also like this Spiced Beet Relish recipe.
- 3 small-medium beetroot (I used red but yellow is also good)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup golden cane sugar or demerara sugar
- Pinch salt
- 3 - 4 sprigs fresh dill
- Steam or boil the beets with the skin on for about 10 - 15 minutes until soft. See notes.
- Once cool enough, peel the beets. Slice or cut into cubes, depending on your preference.
- Place beets and fresh dill in a clean or sterilised jar.
- Place the vinegar, water and sugar in a saucepan. Warm it until all sugar is dissolved, then bring to a gentle boil.
- Turn off the heat. Pour the hot vinegar into the jar and cover the beetroot completely, leaving about 2cm or an inch of headspace.
- Place the lid on and leave the jar on the counter for at 12 to 24 hours before refrigerating.
- After at least 12 hours of pickling, the beets are ready to serve. Use within 6 weeks.
Steaming the beets is faster if they are cut in halves.
I don’t recommend cutting the beets if you are boiling them, as too much of the colour will bleed out.
If you wish to sterilise the jar (although not necessary for refrigerator pickling), place it in a large pot of water and boil for about 10 minutes. Or place it in the oven at 200 C / 400 F for 10 minutes. Remove and let it cool.
When you’ve finished off the beets, the brine can be brought back up to a boil and reused for another batch.
Make sure all the beets are completely covered with the brine during the pickling process. This keeps everything safe and edible.
As a reminder, this recipe for quick refrigerator pickled beets is NOT shelf stable and must be stored in the refrigerator. If you are pickling to can and store on the shelf, it is a different process altogether. This method of preservation is for the refrigerator, only.
Here are a couple of recipes where these pickled beets and beet juice can be used for: