Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

How to Make Pickled Beets

How to make pickled beets

The pickled beet recipe I prefer to use can be found in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. I’ve tried pickled beet recipes that called for onions and other things, but they all seemed too complicated for my bunch. I’ve found simple is often what works best for us.

Pickled beets recipe
The recipe calls for 3 quarts of beets or about 24 small ones. None of the beets that we grow are ever the same size. I have gigantic beets and little bitty ones too.

Along with the beets you’ll need:

2 cups of sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

I cook and peel them like Miss Cindy taught me to do years ago. It’s so much easier to peel them after they’re cooked.

I slice the cooked beets and then see if I have 3 quarts. Sometimes I end up with 6 quarts. If I do, I doubled the recipe and it works out perfect. *The measurements below are for a single run of pickles using 3 quarts of beets.

Old time recipe for pickled beets

In a large stock pot combine: sugar, cinnamon, whole allspice, salt; vinegar, and water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. The ball recipe says to remove the cinnamon sticks at this point, but I leave them and just make sure one doesn’t go into the jars as I finish the pickles.

While the pickling mixture is simmering sterilize your jars. The Deer Hunter likes to heat his jars in the oven, I prefer to use a dishpan full of simmering water.

Pack the sliced beets into the jar;  Ladle hot pickling mixture in the jar leaving a 1/4 inch headspace; attach lids and rings.

Canning pickled beets
Process pints and quarts 30 minutes in a boiling water canner.

How to can pickled beets

I have beets in the garden ready to pickle, I hope to accomplish that task next week sometime. Do you like pickled beets? The Deer Hunter and I love them-the girls not so much. Chatter and Chitter say pickled beets taste like dirt. I say I know they do but I still like them!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Margaret Carter
    August 16, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Has anyone tried buying canned beets in the grocery aisle and then make pickled beets out of them??

    • Reply
      August 16, 2021 at 2:08 pm

      I haven’t tried that method. But hopefully someone who has will share information about it.

    • Reply
      Jo Fortunato
      September 8, 2021 at 9:38 am

      Yes, I do my pickled beets this way all the time. Very simple, nothing fancy. I buy 6 cans of beets, cut the beets in bite size pieces and place in a pot, I also put about 2 cans of the beet juice or more in the pan also. Add 2 cups white vinegar and 1 cup granulated sugar and I boil about 5 minutes. And place in canning jars, that are cleaned and sitting in hot water. Seal tight and cover overnight for tops to seal. Thats it and they are delicious and no fuss.

  • Reply
    Stephen Suddarth
    July 1, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Love beets, always did. When I was little I would have a couple helpings with supper, then I’d empty the bowl after everybody was done. One day I started peeing red, so my folks took me to the Doc, I was the first born so they might not have been as experienced then, the Doc took a look at me, then asked my Mom ” has he been eating beets ?” That was it – he was right.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    One of our best family stories involves pickling beets. My mother’s pressure canner blew, which resulted in picked beets and juice all over the kitchen. I mean everywhere. We had to take the stuff out of the cabinets and wipe everything. My dad had to repaint the kitchen, ceiling and all. We laughed about it for years, and my mom continued to can beets and green beans even after the incident. I miss her, and her beets.

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    May 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I love pickled beets, they are one of my favorites! My husband doesn’t like beets, I say that’s okay, the more for me! If beets taste like dirt then I need to get my spoon and go outside and eat up! Silly girls!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    The earthy taste is what I like most about beets, especially in winter. This is such a nice, easy recipe – thanks for posting!
    Have you ever heard of Harvard Beets? I buy a jar now and then. They have a thick, sweet sauce.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 23, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I got foundered on Beets when I was little, and ain’t eat ’em since. I agree that they’re good for you and I use to eat dirt also. I grew a whole row for my friend a few years ago and he pickled ’em.
    When I can stuff like tomatoes and green beans, I do like the Deer Hunter, heat a bunch of empty quarts in the oven, after washing. Works fine for me…Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I love pickled beets. Especially the baby ones in a salad. I ate dirt as a child but don’t remember what it tasted like but if is is anything like beets I might try a bowl today.
    I don’t have a problem eating food that has been dropped in the dirt. Heck, ain’t that where it came from in the first place.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    May 23, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Ask the girls how they know what dirt tastes like.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    May 23, 2016 at 9:17 am

    We really like pickled beets.We used my mamaw Lewis’s recipe which also has sugar in it.Did you ever eat some of the store bought beets without sugar?They’re awful.
    Now the gurus tell us they are a health food.Heck,we liked them before they found out.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 23, 2016 at 8:56 am

    We love beets. They do have a taste hard to explain… maybe “earthy” If you will ! I think homemade pickled beets are the best. The sugar, vinegar and spices give beets a distinct flavor no other pickles have. Since we have some problems growing beets here, we would opt to buy them for roasting and canning.
    Nowadays, I also buy our pickled beets. Finally, after trying many different brands, I found quart glass jars of (near homemade) pickled beets at Costco. They are canned in quarters. It doesn’t take us long to finish off a jar, especially in the summer with sandwiches! No, they aren’t cheap, but I have to take all other expense into consideration just for the two of us!
    Don’t forget to hard-boil a few eggs and drop in the pickle juice after eating the pickled beets. Put them back in the refrigerator for beautiful pickled eggs In a couple of days! Most men love these!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Your post/recipe about the way you roasted beets encouraged me to cook them your way! However,
    we continue to have problems finding fresh beets in the produce isle, except in the spring.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 23, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I love pickled beets! We never grew beets when I was a kid, so all I have had were store-bought, so probably nowhere near as good as home-canned.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2016 at 8:42 am

    One of my favorites is pickled beets. I never thought they tasted like the Earth, but then I can’t remember eating dirt.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 23, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Beets taste of the earth to me whether they are pickled or not. The Deer Hunter has loved pickled beets since he was a toddler. It always amazed me how much he liked them pickled but would not eat them at all without the pickling.
    The Ball Canning book is always my first stop for canning unless I have a family recipe. I don’t do that last step of processing in water. I always use it with Green beans but usually not with other things.
    I love pickled beets too!

  • Reply
    Mary L. Briggs
    May 23, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Thank you for the recipe, Tipper! I’ve never canned beets and would like to try it this summer.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 23, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I do like pickled beets but have not eaten them in years and years. Beets were a staple in my Grandma’s garden. I don’t think we ever ate the tops as greens. I keep teasing about growing them in my fall garden.
    I have used beet juice to make rose colored pickled eggs. They are a lovely rosy color.
    I remember once my Grandma had sat on the porch and peeled a whole dishpan of beets. On the way into the house she dropped them into the dirt. I expect we picked them up and washed them off and pickled them just the same.

  • Reply
    May 23, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Bickled peets are good too.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

    This seems like a rather easy, simple-to-do recipe. Thanks!

  • Leave a Reply