How to Can Pickled Beets

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Pickled beets are as nutritious as they are delicious, and they make a unique addition to any meal. Learn how to can pickled beets using this recipe from United States Department of Agriculture's "Complete Guide to Home Canning," the ultimate guidebook on how to can safely.

Pickled beets make use of a large beet harvest and helps store them long into winter months. The unique flavor will surely make these a staple in your pantry! 

To learn more about canning and food preservation, check out Jackie Clay’s article The ABCs of Canning and Roberta Bailey’s Learn to Can for Homegrown Flavor.  

The following is an excerpt from the Complete Guide to Home Canning by the United States Department of Agriculture (2009). 

Pickled Beets Recipe  

Yields approximately 8 pints.


7 lbs of 2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter beets
4 c. vinegar (5 percent)
1 1/2  tsp canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions (2 to 2 1/2-inch diameter), if desired


Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30minutes). Caution: Drain and discard liquid.

Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions.

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag.

Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process, using the timetable below. 

Variation: Pickled Whole Baby Beets Recipe

Follow above directions but use beets that are 1 to 1½  inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted. 

Recommended Process Time for Pickled Beets in a Boiling-Water Canner

Hot-pack beets into either quart or pint jars and process the number of minutes specified below based on your altitude.

0 to 1, 000 feet above sea level: Process pickled beets for 30 minutes.

1,001 to 3,000 feet: 35 minutes

3,001 to 6,000 feet: 40 minutes

Above 6,000 feet: 45 minutes 

Photo by Fotolia/Louella Folsom