Home Canning Beets and Pickled Beets Recipes

Pickled beets jar
Canning beets begins by boiling and skinning the beets before hot-packing them into sterilized pint or quart jars. Leave baby beets whole and cut larger beets into 1/2-inch slices or cubes. Process the beets in a pressure canner for 30 - 35 minutes.

What is the Best Way to Preserve Beets?

Pressure canning is the best way to preserve beets for optimum flavor. Canned beetroots retain flavor longer than fresh, frozen, pickled, or dehydrated beets.

Pressure canning is the scientifically approved method of canning plain and roasted beets. Low-acid foods like beets must be canned using a pressure canner to reduce the risk of botulism, which may lead to death.

Two jars of pressure canned beets
Pressure canned beets

Pressure Canning Beets Guide

The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using a pressure canner to can beets. Here are the step-by-step instructions for the process:

  1. Select white, golden, or red beets from your farm or grocery store. They should be freshly harvested, smooth-skinned, firm, and richly colored. The best beets are small beets under 2 inches in diameter.
  2. According to the NCHFP, you’ll need 13-1/2 pounds of root-free and destemmed beets per 9-pint jar canner load. If you use quart jars, have 21 pounds of similarly prepared beets for every 7-quart jar canner load.
  3. Prepare the canning equipment by washing the canning lids, jars, and ring bands in warm soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly and check for cracks.
  4. Submerge pint or quart jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Keep them in hot water until you are ready to fill them with beets.
  5. Cut off the tops of the beets, leaving 1-2 inches of stem for easy handling. Leave the root intact to avoid bleeding. Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands, and scrub the beets with a vegetable brush under running cold water to remove dirt.
  6. Place the cleaned beets in a large pot and submerge them in boiling water. Boil beets until the skins start slipping off freely. This takes 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.
  7. As the beetroots boil, get the pressure canner ready. Place the canning rack inside and add 2-3 inches of hot water. Heat the water to 180°F for hot-packing beets.
  8. Boil a separate, large pot of fresh water.
  9. Take the beets out and cool them just enough to remove the skins. Cut off the remaining stems and roots. Leave baby beets whole. Cut the large beets into 1/2-inch slices or cubes or 1/4-inch pieces for very large beets.
  10. Load the beets into the hot jars, filling one jar at a time.
  11. Use a ladle and canning funnel to add boiling water into the jars leaving 1-inch headspace.
  12. If preferred, add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt to each pint jar or one teaspoon to each quart jar.
  13. Remove air bubbles from the jars using an air bubble remover tool.
  14. Clean each jar rim by wiping it with a dampened paper towel. Center a new canning lid and ring band on each jar and fasten them until finger-tight.
  15. Use canning tongs to load each jar into the canner, ensuring the jars don’t touch each other.
  16. Close and lock the pressure canner lid. Open the canner steam vent and heat the canner on high heat for 20 minutes. Allow it to vent steam for 10 minutes.
  17. Close the steam vent and increase the pressure per your canner type and elevation:

Processing times per elevation for hot-pack beets in a dial-gauge pressure canner:

Altitude (ft)0 – 2,0002,001 – 4,0014,001 – 6,0006,001 – 8,000
Pints (30 minutes)11 lbs12 lbs13 lbs14 lbs
Quarts (35 minutes)11 lbs12 lbs13 lbs14 lbs

Processing times for hot-pack beets in a weighted-gauge pressure canner:

Altitude (ft)0 – 1,0001,001 +
Pints (30 minutes)10 lbs15 lbs
Quarts (35 minutes)10 lbs15 lbs
  1. Turn down the heat slightly when the canner reaches the corresponding pressure. Maintain this level and process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes.
  2. Stop the heat and let the canner cool away from the heat source. Let it depressurize to zero while the vent is still closed. Count five minutes after depressurization. Using an oven mitt, open the steam vent and canner lid, keeping your body safe at a distance.
  3. Use a jar lifter or canning tongs to lift out each jar. Do not tilt the jars or tighten the lids. Rest the jars on a towel-covered countertop away from drafts.
  4. Let the jars cool to room temperature for 12-24 hours.
  5. Remove the screw bands and check that each jar is sealed correctly. If the lid springs up when you press it down, reprocess that jar using a new lid within 24 hours. Alternatively, freeze it and consume the beets in 3-4 days.
  6. Store the properly sealed canned beets at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry place.

Does Pressure Canning Beets Make Them Too Soft?

Pressure-canned beets undergo a two-stage cooking process that softens them. The good thing is that they won’t get too soft. To prevent over-softening, cut large beets into large pieces, such as halves rather than quarters.

A knife slicing a beet into quarters
Slicing beets

Can Beets Be Canned in a Water Bath?

Canning plain beets in a water bath isn’t recommended, but you may can pickled beets in a water bath canner.

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pickled beets in a jar with the lid off

Pickled Beets Canning Recipe

  • Author: Alex
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 pints or 4 quarts 1x


Canned pickled beets are one of the most delicious preserved vegetables around, and best of all can be processed in a water bath canner! Use white vinegar or cider vinegar when making this pickled beet recipe.


  • 7 Ibs fresh beets, small or medium-sized
  • 4 cups 5% vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 3 cups onion, peeled, thinly sliced, or 4-6 small to medium-sized onions (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pickle Crisp per jar (optional)


  1. Cut off the beet tops. Leave the roots and 1 inch of the stems to prevent color bleeding.
  2. Wash the beets in cold water and arrange them by size.
  3. Submerge similar size beets in boiling water and boil for 25-30 minutes until tender. Alternatively, boil beets in a pressure cooker to save on water and cooking fuel.
  4. Drain the beets and discard the water. Do not use this water for canning liquid.
  5. Cool the beets to a comfortable handling temperature and cut off the stems and roots. Remove the skins while the beets are still warm.
  6. Cut the beets into 1/4-inch slices.
  7. Combine salt, vinegar, sugar, and fresh water. Dip a cheesecloth bag with spices into the mixture and boil. The spice mix can have any dried spice of your choice. Try it with cloves, cinnamon sticks, and whole allspice nuts for sweet-style beets.
  8. Add the pre-cooked beets and sliced onions and simmer covered for 5 minutes to acidify the beets. Remove the bag of spices.
  9. Fill the cleaned and inspected canning jars with the beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
  10. Season each pint jar with 1/4 teaspoon salt, if preferred. Top up the jars with the hot vinegar solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace, and de-bubble using a bubble remover tool.
  11. Clean the rims with paper towels dampened with vinegar. Cover the top of the jars with canning lids and screw bands. Tighten the bands until finger-tight.
  12. Process the pints or quart jars in a water bath canner per the process time variations below:

Processing Time Per Altitude

  • 0 -1,000ft: 30 minutes
  • 1,001 – 3,000ft: 35 minutes
  • 3,001 – 6,000ft: 40 minutes
  • 6,000ft and up: 45 minutes

Post Processing

  1. Take the jars out of the boiling water bath gently and lay them on a towel-covered countertop to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  2. Remove the screw bands from the jars and inspect the seals. Ensure the lids do not flex up and down.
  3. Store the canned pickled beets at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry place.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Pickling Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 148
  • Sugar: 25g
  • Sodium: 338mg
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Protein: 1.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0g

How Long Does it Take to Can Beets?

It takes 30 minutes to process beets in pint jars and 35 minutes for quart jars in a pressure canner.

The entire canning process also includes:

  • 30 minutes for prepping the beets and canning equipment.
  • 20 minutes for preheating the canner until it steams.
  • 10-15 minutes for venting the canner.
  • 30-45 to naturally cool and depressurize the canner after processing.
  • 5 minutes for any remaining steam to escape after you open the vent.
  • 12-24 hours to naturally cool the jars.

How Long Does it Take to Can Pickled Beets?

The processing time for canning pickled beets in pint or quart jars in a boiling-water canner is 30-45 minutes, depending on your altitude. 30 minutes apply for 1,000 ft and below, and 45 minutes for locations above 6,000 feet. The total time for canning pickled beets is 1 hour 40 minutes.

Jar of pickled beets being handed to someone
Pickled beets

Is Adding Canning Liquid Necessary for Canning Beets?

Yes, canning liquid is necessary. Beets should be packed into hot jars and topped with fresh boiling water.

How Long to Boil Canning Jars for Beets?

Canning jars for beets must be boiled for at least 10 minutes to sterilize them. Keep the jars hot until they are filled.

Do You Have to Blanch Beets Before Canning Them?

Blanching beets before canning is not necessary because they must be hot-packed. The traditional two-step blanching process requires dipping items in boiling water before submerging them in ice water to cool them. The ice bath interferes with hot packing.

To prep the beets for canning, submerge them in boiling water for 15-25 minutes until the skins start peeling off. Remove them from the water and naturally cool them to a point where you can comfortably peel them without burning your fingers.

Bowl of boiled and peeled beets next to sliced fresh beets.
Boiled and peeled beets

How to Store Canned and Pickled Beets

Once you have safely pressure-canned fresh beets or water bath-canned pickled beets, store them at room temperature in a cool, dry, dark place away from direct heat and sunlight. Label the jars with the contents and date of canning or pickling.

Avoid direct contact between the jars to avoid possible cross-contamination, and do not tilt the jars. Store jars at least six inches off of the ground to avoid pests and temperature fluctuations.

How Long Can Canned Beets Be Stored?

Canned beets have a shelf life of 12-18 months at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Water bath-canned pickled beets have a shelf life of 12 months. Refrigerated pickled beets (no water bath canning after pickling) will last 1-3 months.

It’s best to use canned beets within 12 months and water bath-canned pickled beets within six months for the best flavor. Refrigerate after opening and use within 3-4 days.


Alex has a farming background and cherishes growing, eating, and preserving his own food. He writes to share his homesteading experience with gardening and food preservation enthusiasts keen on canning and dehydration. When he is not writing, you'll find him tending to his vegetables and fruits or trying new recipes.

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