Refrigerator Pickled Beets Recipe

Refrigerator Pickled Beets are an easy-to-make dish and just plain delicious.  This recipe is one our most popular ones on What’s Cooking America.  Some people have fond memories of eating pickled beets on their grandparents dinner table.  You may even remember you Mother or Grandmother making and canning beets.  This recipe gives you easy steps to re-create the traditional side dish right in your refrigerator and avoid the canning process althogether.  My husband loves these Refrigerator Pickled Beets!

Since I, personally, do not like to take the time to can vegetables, I always want to either refrigerate or freeze them.

Refrigerator Pickled Beets in a large tan bowl

More delicious Beet Recipes.  Check out this delicious recipe for Pickled Beets and Eggs and photo tutorial on Oven-Roasted Fresh Beets.

Refrigerator Pickled Beets Recipe:
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Refrigerator Pickled Beets Recipe
  • 3 pounds fresh small whole beets (use similar size beets)*
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, sliced in half
Oven-Roasted Fresh Beets:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place rack in middle of oven.

  2. Refrigerator Pickled BeetsUse tender, freshly picked beets.

  3. Wash and scrub the whole beets to clean off any dirt.  Leave the beet whole unless you have some extra large ones (if extra large, cut in half).  Trim off the stems (leafy tops) and ends of the beets.  Please don't throw away those fresh beet greens when cooking fresh beets.  Cook the beet greens and enjoy a delicious and nutritious dish just like your grandparents grew up with.  Learn Beet How To Cook Fresh Beet Greens.

  4. On a large baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil.  Place prepared beets, in a single layer, on top.  Toss lightly with some olive oil to coat the beets.  Place another large sheet of aluminum foil on top of the beets and crunch up the sides of the aluminum foil together to seal.

  5. Place in oven and roast approximately 1 hour or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife.  Remove from oven and take off the top foil.  Set aside to cool enough to handle.

  6. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off.  They should peel easily by hand, but you can use a paring knife if you want.  However, it is wise to use a paper towel or wear gloves to keep the beet juice from staining your hands.


Boiled Fresh Beets:
  1. Refrigerator Pickled BeetsUse tender, freshly picked beets.

  2. Wash, rinse and drain until all traces of garden soil are removed.  Use a small vegetable brush if needed.  Cut off leaves and stems, leaving about 1 inch of the root end.  Reserve beet leaves for a recipe using them.

  3. Place beets in large heavy pan and cover with water over medium-high heat.  Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and drain.  Let beets cool until you can safely handle them.

  4. Once cool enough to hand, peel the skin off.  They should peel easily by hand, but you can use a paring knife if you want.  However, it is wise to use a paper towel or wear gloves to keep the beet juice from staining your hands.


How To Make Pickling Brine:
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and garlic cloves; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar melts.  Reduce heat and let the pickling brine simmer approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let brine cool before adding the cooked beets.


How To Pickle Beets:
  1. Place sliced or whole cooked beet into a large jar that will fit in your refrigerator.  NOTE: I personally like to slice the beets.  Pour cooled Pickling Brine over the beets and gently stir.  Place, covered, in the refrigerator.

  2. Refrigerator Pickled Beets

  3. Let them sit in the refrigerator, maybe stirring once in a while, at least a week before eating them. Give the beets a chance to “pickle” and develop flavor before eating.  These Refrigerator Pickled Beets will last a long time in the refrigerator, probably 2 to 3 months.


Recipe Notes

Refrigerator Pickled Beets* Small beets can be pickled whole.  Larger beets can be sliced in 1/4-inch slices or diced.  In this recipe, I used several different varieties of beets that were varying sizes that I sliced.

Many beets are sold in bunches with the tops still attached, while others are sold with the tops removed.  Look for beets that are firm, round, with a slender tap root (the large main root), a rich, color, and smooth over most of the surface.  If beets are bunched, you can judge their freshness fairly accurately by the condition of the tops.  Badly wilted or decayed tops indicate a lack of freshness, but the roots may be satisfactory if they are firm.

Comments and Reviews

28 Responses to “Refrigerator Pickled Beets Recipe”

  1. Dorothy McEwen

    can you use sugar substitute like splenda to make beet pickles

    • Whats Cooking America

      Hi Dorothy – Changing out the sugar can affect the liquid ratio covering the beets, thus impacting preservation of the beets. If your going to reduce the sugar, I would play it safe and use a tested recipe from a credible source. Here’s a link to a No-Sugar Pickled Beets recipe from the National Center of Home Preservation:

      • Teresa Allen

        I pickle my beets From can beets. I use the little round ones.
        To one can of Beet juice I added two packets of Sweet N Low, 3 Tsp. of Vinegar. Make sure you taste to see if it’s strong enough
        Slice the beets add to juice. Wait at least 3 Days.
        You can always add more Sweet N Low AND Vinegar.

      • Michael

        Teresa, if you are not diabetic, I suggest you ditch the sweet n low as this is pure chemical & will cause GI discomfort & later problems. I dont like to use sugar or any chemical sugar substitute, so I wait till the brine cools significantly most likely to room temperature & then add Raw unpasteurized Honey OR pure maple syrup or coconut sugar which does not spike the blood glucose levels . I have IBS & sugar is a killer to my gut but honey & maple syrup & coconut sugar is safe. If you intend to use garlic I suggest cooking the garlic into the brine to avoid salmonella poisoning which can occur with combining garlic & honey, I know this because I ferment garlic with honey & the process for these 2 items takes about 4-6 weeks to complete. It is worth the little xtra work & expense & you will not get the unpleasant side effects sugar has on the GI Tract. When the beets are gone, I use the brine for eggs & other root vegetables as a quick item to use in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks & Nothing goes to waste 🙂

  2. Alec Manley


    Once you have them pickled, how do you freeze them, in jars?

    • Linda Stradley

      This recipe is for Refrigerator Pickled Beets and are not meant for long-term storage such as the freezer. Since I have never trying freezing them, I can not guarantee their success when freezing. If you decide you want to try freezing the pickled beets, I would freeze them in individual plastic freezer bags (1-quart bags). Let me know how they turn out for you. – Linda Stradley

      • Bo Gavin

        Freeze the beets once cooked before pickling; then pull out what u want and use equal parts of water vinegar and sugar for brine; cover and bring to boil; add beets and bring back to boil then simmer a half hour or so; put into quart jars- cover with brine and refrigerate a week.

  3. Sue M.

    I would recommend freezing the beets cooked (whichever method you prefer ) but not pickling them until you want them.

  4. Roy

    Love this simple recipe. I cut the sugar back to 1/2 cup, added to garlic, and sliced cloves into four. Added 1/2 teaspoon sea salt from the Islands, simmered 12 minutes, chilled in fridge, sliced beets on thick cut setting of mandolin, then added thin sliced 1/2 sweet white onion, sliced then on mandolin, and added some capers to finish. mm mm mmm

  5. SusanE

    I tried this recipe and it was fantastic. It’s simple but has great flavor. Got lots of compliments.

  6. Carol Anderson

    I use commercial canned small whole beets with their liquid. Then add your ingredients, a little less sugar and water by half. Do not access to fresh beets, this works very well.

  7. Deborah Rosen

    Made this today. Looking forward to when they’re ready. Thanks for the recipe.

  8. Deborah Rosen

    I was wondering how your beets turned out and how many jars did you have and how many beets used?

    • Linda Stradley

      I used approximately 3 puns of small beets.

  9. Nancy wertz

    My mother in law adds a tiny bit of red pepper to each jar. Excellent.

  10. cyndi chav

    After they’ve sat in brine for a week, do you leave them in the brine or drain it out?

  11. Cook

    For THIS recipe store them in the pickling solution; the just get better. For other kinds I son’t know. Please read the directions!!

  12. lillian Perry

    How long will they keep in refrigerator?

    • Whats Cooking America

      Per the post guidelines, once you have allowed a week for the pickling process, they can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 months.

  13. Melanie Alexander

    My husband pickled beets for me so I had something I liked that was not process when I had to go through Thyroid Radiation. I had no salt or processed food for 8 weeks. The beets were my saving grace. He made then and froze them and they were delicious firm and better than canned. We now make them for presents at Christmas. I do put some in glass jars but mine for ease of storage for in the bags in the freezer.

  14. Doro Iams

    Am SHOCKED no salt is added.

  15. River Barzoloski

    Sugar doesn’t “melt”. It disolves. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Sandy

    Once pickled beets are gone, can I reuse brine? If so, how long it is good for?

  17. Bo Gavin

    Leave in juice in frig – as long as they last!! They should disappear fairly quickly; I took some to a Thanksgiving dinner and come Easter they were still in his frig so we ate them! Yummy!

  18. Murray

    Can the beets be roasted instead of boiled? I read that roasting retains more nutrients
    Thank you

  19. Louise

    My sister and I used to proses pickled beets then about 4 or 5 years ago she found this recipe and it is the best, we get together every fall and pickle 25 pounds of beets and share with our families and special friends. These are delicious!

  20. Mary Rode

    if I am making half a recipe of pickled beets, should I halve the ingredients in the pickling liquid as well?

  21. CL Perry

    This has been my go- to recipe for years. Very simple and excellent results every time. The hardest part is waiting for them to pickle lol. Definitely get better the longer they sit. Never had a batch last longer than a couple weeks because they are that good!


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