How to Cook Beetroot: A Comprehensive Guide

by Ella

Beetroot, also known as beets, is a vibrant and nutritious root vegetable that is widely enjoyed for its earthy flavor and numerous health benefits. Whether you prefer them roasted, boiled, steamed, or raw, beetroot can be a versatile addition to various dishes. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the best ways to cook beetroot, exploring different cooking methods, tips for preparation, and creative recipe ideas to make the most of this nutritious vegetable.

Health Benefits of Beetroot:

Before diving into the various cooking methods, let’s explore the health benefits of beetroot that make it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals:


Rich in Nutrients: Beetroot is a nutritional powerhouse, containing essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, and iron. It also contains antioxidants like betalains, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Heart Health: The nitrates in beetroot may help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, promoting heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Digestive Health: Beetroot is a good source of dietary fiber, which aids digestion and supports a healthy gut.


Athletic Performance: The nitrates in beetroot have been shown to enhance exercise performance by improving oxygen utilization and increasing endurance.

Detoxification: Beetroot contains compounds that support liver function and aid in the body’s detoxification process.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The antioxidants in beetroot may help reduce inflammation and support overall immune health.

What to look for when buying beetroot?

When buying fresh beetroot, look for firm beets with smooth, un-damaged skin and a diameter of no more than 6–7cm – any larger than this can indicate a tough, woody core. Try to pick beetroots of similar sizes so they cook evenly.

If possible, buy beetroot with the leaves and roots still attached. The leaves should be fresh-looking and not wilted and the tap root should be firm. Remove the leaves to store but leave the root in place. The leaves can then be used in exactly the same way as chard or spinach and should be cooked within one to two days of purchase while the beets can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Cooking Methods for Beetroot:

1. Roasting:

Roasting beetroot is one of the most popular and delicious ways to cook this vegetable. To roast beetroot, start by preheating the oven to 400°F (200°C). Wash and scrub the beetroots thoroughly, then trim off the tops and tails. Wrap each beetroot in aluminum foil and place them on a baking tray. Roast the beetroots in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Once cooked, allow them to cool slightly before peeling off the skin. Roasted beetroot can be enjoyed as a side dish, added to salads, or used as a colorful topping for pizzas or sandwiches.

2. Boiling:

Boiling is a quick and easy method to cook beetroot. Start by washing and peeling the beetroots, then cut them into uniform-sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Place the beetroot pieces in a pot and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the beetroot for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are tender. Once cooked, drain the water and let the beetroot cool before using them in various dishes.

3. Steaming:

Steaming is a gentle cooking method that helps retain the nutrients and vibrant color of beetroot. Wash and peel the beetroots, then cut them into smaller pieces for even steaming. Place the beetroot pieces in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover with a lid, and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender. Steamed beetroot can be enjoyed as a simple side dish, or you can toss them with olive oil and your favorite herbs for added flavor.

4. Grilling:

Grilling beetroot adds a smoky and charred flavor to this root vegetable. To grill beetroot, wash and peel them, then cut them into thick slices or wedges. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and brush the beetroot slices with olive oil. Grill the beetroot for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until they are tender and have grill marks. Grilled beetroot can be served as a tasty side dish or used in salads and sandwiches.

5. Raw:

Beetroot can also be enjoyed raw, either grated or thinly sliced. Raw beetroot adds a refreshing crunch to salads and coleslaws. To prepare raw beetroot, wash and peel them, then grate or slice them as desired. Mix raw beetroot with other fresh vegetables, greens, and a light dressing to create a nutritious and vibrant salad.

What beetroot goes with:

Beetroot is extremely versatile but its earthy sweetness pairs particularly well with smoked fish, goat’s cheese, blue cheese, steak, duck and game such as pigeon, grouse and venison.

Use beetroot in simple salads and soups or as a stunning side dish. Due to its natural affinity with vinegar, beetroot chutney is a cracking, sharp but sweet accompaniment to cheese, cold meats and pork pies as well as turkey and salmon burgers. Or try Marcello Tully’s recipe for beetroot bread that looks as gorgeous as it tastes.

And for pudding, combine it with chocolate in rich cakes or with lemon in palate-cleansing sorbets or for something even more unexpected, try pairing it with bubblegum for David Everitt-Mathias’s incredible petit four.

Here are some essential tips for cooking beetroots:

Pay attention to the size of the beets. Size matters: tiny beets might be ready in 10 minutes where large ones might take up to 40. Keep checking whichever method you’re using.

Don’t remove the beet skin before cooking. It’s really not necessary and it’s much easier to do so after cooking. Some also find that removing the skin prior to cooking takes away some of the beet’s earthy test.

Add vinegar (or lemon juice) to the boiling water. This is a trick I learned that helps lock in the beet’s beautiful red (or orange color) with just a drop of either vinegar or lemon juice. It works great and you won’t taste the acide.

Be mindful of staining. Yes, beets can be a beast to work with sometimes because of staining. Most of it is easy to clean but stains can be stubborn on cutting boards.

Creative Recipe Ideas:

1. Beetroot and Goat Cheese Salad:

Toss roasted or steamed beetroot with fresh greens, crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and a balsamic vinaigrette for a delicious and colorful salad.

2. Beetroot Hummus:

Blend cooked beetroot with chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil to create a vibrant and nutritious beetroot hummus. Serve it with pita bread or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

3. Beetroot Risotto:

Add grated beetroot to a traditional risotto recipe to infuse the dish with a rich, earthy flavor and a beautiful pink hue.

4. Beetroot Smoothie:

Blend raw beetroot with your favorite fruits, yogurt, and a splash of coconut water for a nutritious and energizing smoothie.

Storing & Reheating

There’s nothing better than having cooked beets the next day. Just keep these storage tips in mind for any leftovers:

Fridge: No matter what cooking method you choose, cooked beets last about 4-5 days in the fridge. Just keep them in an airtight container, and make sure it’s sealed to prevent a mess.

Freezer: Cooked beets also freeze well! Wait until they’re fully cooled, then store them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 5-6 months.

Reheating: For oven-cooked or air-fried beets, reheat them in the same device. To reheat them in the oven, roast them at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until warmed through. In the air fryer, heat them at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway. For boiled beets, warm them in the microwave in 30-second intervals.

FAQ About Cooking Beetroots

Q1. What is the best way to peel cooked beetroots?

The best way to peel cooked beetroots is to let them cool slightly and then use your fingers to rub off the skin. The skin should easily slide off, revealing the tender and vibrant beet underneath. You can also use a small knife to help remove any stubborn bits of skin. Wearing disposable gloves while peeling beetroots can prevent staining your hands. Additionally, peeling beetroots under running water can make the process easier and help wash away any residual stains.

Q2. Should I cut beetroots before cooking them?

Whether you should cut beetroots before cooking them depends on the cooking method you choose. If you plan to boil or steam whole beetroots, it’s best to leave them uncut to retain their flavor and prevent excessive bleeding. On the other hand, if you prefer to roast or grill beetroots, cutting them into even-sized pieces or slices will help ensure even cooking and a more appealing presentation. Additionally, cutting beetroots before cooking can also reduce the cooking time, making them cook faster and saving you time in the kitchen.

Q3. What is the healthiest way to cook beetroots?

The healthiest way to cook beetroots is by steaming them. This prevents the most amount of nutrients from being lost in the cooking process. However, beetroots contain so many nutrients, they are healthy any way you prepare them.


Beetroot is a versatile and nutrient-packed vegetable that can be enjoyed in various delicious ways. Whether roasted, boiled, steamed, grilled, or raw, beetroot offers a unique flavor and vibrant color to a wide range of dishes. By incorporating beetroot into your meals, you can benefit from its numerous health advantages while delighting in its delicious taste. Experiment with different cooking methods and creative recipes to make the most of this nutritious root vegetable and elevate your culinary experience.



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