Quick Pickled Beets and Onions

Quick Pickled Beets and Onions

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Marinating Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
142 Calories
0g Fat
32g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 142
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1225mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 10mg 50%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 727mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Beets are wildly popular in Eastern European cuisine. Featured in multiple recipes but also served on their own as a side dish when pickled, beets are a beautiful addition to a cold plate alongside some charcuterie, cheese, and bread. Our quick recipe for pickled beets and onions will yield some delicious vegetables that can be kept in the fridge and served as a snack, or as an addition to salads, or as a base for dips or spreads. Since this recipe is quick-pickled and isn't processed using the hot- or cold-pack method, it is meant to be eaten within a few weeks of making it.

Although many cooks complain about handling and cooking with beets (yes, gloves are encouraged), beets are a nutritious root vegetable that should appear on your plate more often. Whether eaten raw or cooked, beets bring vibrant color to soups, rice, or stews. High in fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium, a cup of raw beets brings 148 milligrams of folate into your diet, almost a third of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults. Plus, contrary to common belief, their caloric content is moderate, with just 59 calories in the same serving size.

If you have a surplus of beets, pickling is the best way to retain their flavor and enjoy them for weeks to come. Besides, you are controlling the ingredients that go in them and know you won't be going overboard with sodium and sugar, like store-bought pickled beets. This classic combination adds a sweet and tangy touch to other dishes, like wraps, sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs. Serve them alongside fried or hearty foods to bring some brightness and freshness to your plate.


For the Beets:

For the Marinade:

  • 2 medium red onionsjulienned

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2/3 cup water

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Beets

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Uncooked beets

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

    Boiling a pot of water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add beets, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well.

    Beets in a pot of water

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skin.

    Remove the skin from the beets

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Place beets in a nonreactive bowl and set aside.

    Peeled beets in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Make the Marinade

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Marinade ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a small saucepan, combine onions, sugar, vinegar, salt, and water. Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat.

     Combine onions, sugar, vinegar, salt, and water in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Simmer 5 minutes and make sure that the sugar and salt are fully dissolved into the water.

    Onion mixture in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Quick Pickle the Beets

  1. Pour the hot marinade over beets and then allow the beets to cool to room temperature.

    Onion marinade and beets in a bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Cover the beets well and refrigerate for several hours, or ideally overnight, before serving.

    Cover the beets well and refrigerate

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. If you prefer, divide the beet and onion mixture into individual jars for easy storage.

    Beets and onion mixture placed into jars

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.

    Quick Pickled Beets and Onions in jars

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Enjoy.

Beets Do Stain!

It is important to note that beets will naturally stain your hands, cutting boards, wooden spoons, and other cooking instruments. If you are very concerned about staining, wear an apron to protect your clothing and wear rubber gloves when handling the beets. But if it's too late, here are a few tips on how to get rid of the stains:

  • If the stain already happened on fabric, don't allow it to dry. Dip whatever got stained in a cup of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of bleach. Let it soak for a minute and wash it as you normally would.
  • If the beets stained wooden surfaces like spoons or cutting boards, scrub them with a mixture of lemon juice and coarse salt. Use half a lemon to scrub a generous amount of salt on the surface and then rinse and wash with dish soap as you'd normally do.
  • If you have pinks hands, also use a half lemon to scrub them. Repeat as needed and rinse with warm water and hand soap.
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beets, Raw. FoodData Central. United States Department of Agriculture.