Pickled Beets

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Four


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About


  • 6 medium-sized beets
  • Water to cover
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar


  1. Do not peel the beets. Do not trim off the stem end. Cut off the beet greens about two inches from the top of the beets. The reason for this is as follows: if the beets are cut, the color will drain from them as they cook.

  2. Place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover. The water should cover the top of the beets by about one inch. Add the salt and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Simmer, partly covered, until the beets are tender. The cooking time will vary from about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the age and size of the beets. To test the beets, it is necessary to penetrate them with a two-pronged fork or other sharp instrument. If the tines go in easily, the beets are done.

  3. Drain the beets and run them under cold running water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the beets (the skin slips off easily) and trim off both ends. Slice the beets into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the spices, sugar, pepper, and vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to serve.