How to Make Quick Pickled Beets and Onions

Pickled beets
stu_spivack / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Marinating Time: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
278 Calories
1g Fat
62g Carbs
9g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 278
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1591mg 69%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Protein 9g
Calcium 102mg 8%
*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 with Eastern Europeans. They are delicious in multiple preparations, but pickling is a great way to use a surplus of beets, retain their flavor, and enjoy them for weeks to come. 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.

Pickled beets with onions make a nice addition to summer cookouts. The sour flavor of the pickled beets can balance any fatty barbequed meat or a juicy burger. During the pickling process, the beets and red onions will release their colorful juices.

A nice ruby red jar of pickled beets and onions with a cute ribbon around the jar makes a wonderful homemade host or hostess gift.


  • For the Beets:
  • 16 baby beets (unpeeled, tops trimmed)
  • For the Marinade:
  • 2 medium red onions (julienned)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup water

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these pickled beets are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and pickling.

Prepare the Beets

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

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

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

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

Make the Marinade

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, combine onions, sugar, vinegar, salt, and 2/3 cup water. Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat.

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

Quick Pickle the Beets

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

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

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

  4. Store refrigerated for up to two weeks.


  • If you are giving this beet and red onion mixture as a gift, remind your recipient that these beets are quick-pickled and must be refrigerated and used within two weeks.
  • 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.
  • These colorful, quick-pickled beets can be served in a number of different ways. They are a nice addition to any charcuterie board (serve them with toothpicks to prevent staining fingers), as a side dish or accompaniment to grilled sausages, or even as a juicy and colorful standard pickle alternative on a sandwich.