Learn how to boil whole beets to use in your favorite salad, hummus, and soup recipes. This simple recipe makes their skin slide right off. You’ll learn three different methods to peel boiled beets as well as a few tips to remove those pesky red stains from your hands and cutting board!
Perfect Boiled Beets
Beets can initially seem like an extremely intimidating vegetable to cook and then peel their stubborn skin.
But the simple act of boiling them in a pot of water makes them perfectly soft, tender, and the skin will slide right off!
Yep! No crazy apparatus or kitchen gadget needed to get peeled whole beets to add to your salads or eat as a healthy side dish.
And bonus, this quick method works on both golden and red beets, large beets or small!
Once you learn how to boil beets, you might want to go ahead and boil sweet potatoes, too.
When selecting which beets to purchase at the grocery store there are a few key features you’ll want to look for:
- Smooth and unbruised. Select ones that have little to no cuts or bruises on their skin.
- Hard and firm. Soft and mushy beets have either been damaged during transport or are becoming rotten.
- Fresh leaves. Wilted greens mean the vegetable is spoiling and will not last much longer.
- Similar size. If boiling beets, it’s best if you select ones that are a similar size so they cook within the same amount of time.
Preparing the Beets
Before you can start to boil beets you will first need to prepare them.
To do this, rinse beets under cool running water and scrub them to remove any dirt and debris. (step 1 below)
Cut and remove the green leaves, leaving about 1-2 inches of the stem connected to the beet root. (step 2 below)
Cook’s Tip: Leaving a little bit of the stem intact keeps the red beet juices from leaching into your pot of water while boiling.
How to Boil
Once the beets are prepared it’s time to boil them.
You’ll need a large pot that is big enough to fit all of your beets with at least 4 inches of space beneath them for the water.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt for every 3-4 beets. (step 3 above)
- Boil beets for 20-40 minutes, or until they pierce easily with a fork. (step 4 above)
- Smaller beets will cook more quickly than larger beets.
- Remove the beets with a slotted spoon or pour out the water with the beets into a colander in the sink. (steps 5 & 6 above)
Let the beets cool until they are comfortable to the touch.
There are 3 different ways you can peel whole beets once they are boiled:
- Hold a paper towel in your dominant hand and pull back the skin on the beet to remove it.
- Using a paper towel prevents the red stain from getting all over your hands.
- Use your bare fingers to remove the peel on the beetroot.
- Golden beets do not stain your fingers, so this is the best method to use when peeling those.
- Peel back the skin on the beetroot by using a paring knife.
- This method works best if you have a stubborn peel that is adhered to the root.
What do you do if you tried all of the tricks but still end up with red beet stains all over your hands or cutting board?
Here are a few simple tricks to get rid of those stubborn stains:
From Hands: Squeeze a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice on your hands. Rub them together and let it sit for at least 10 seconds. Rinse your hands with soap and water.
From Cutting board: Sprinkle a bit of salt all over the surface of the board and scrub it in. Rinse the cutting board with soap and water.
Ways to Use Boiled Beets
There are so many different ways you can use peeled and cooked beets. Some of the best recipes include:
In place of the apples in this Fall Harvest Salad.
Purée them up in a Beet Hummus.
As a topping on a Butternut Squash Pizza.
In this French Beet Salad.
How to Boil Beets
Learn how to boil whole beets to use in your favorite salad, hummus, and soup recipes. This simple recipe makes their skin slide right off. You'll learn three different methods to peel boiled beets as well as a few tips to remove those pesky red stains from your hands and cutting board!
- 2-8 beets
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt for every 4 beets you are boiling.
Wash and scrub the beets to remove all dirt and debris.
Cut and remove the leaves leaving 1-2 inches of the stem remaining.
Boil smaller beets for 20 minutes and larger beets for up to 40 minutes.
You’ll know the beets are done boiling when they can be easily pierced with a fork or knife.
Drain beets in a colander or remove from water with a slotted spoon.
Rinse beets under cool water to peel the skin. You can also use a paper towel or knife to remove the skin so you do not get as much of the red color on your hands.
Use beets in your favorite hummus, salad, or side dish recipes.
Meal Prep and Storage
- To Prep-Ahead: It is so simple to boil beets ahead of time to have ready for your favorite recipes!
- To Store: Keep boiled beets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 to 5 days.
- To Freeze: Tightly cover peeled beets in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.