How to Roast Beets
Roasted beets are so delicious: sweet, tender and just a bit earthy. Wonderful as a vegetable side dish or meal prep for grain bowls and salads. This post will teach you everything you need to know about how to roast beets so they are tender and perfect each time!
I’m not going to lie: beets are more of a commitment than say, baby spinach. Grate them raw for salads, and it’s pretty messy. Want less mess and have a bit more time?
It’s actually much easier than you think to roast beets, and roasting is my absolute favourite way to prepare them. And the dietitian in me wants to encourage you to give beets a more regular rotation in your meal plan, because plant diversity is so important to the health of your microbiome…and beets are just so nutritious!
With just 5 minutes of prep, you can throw those beets in the oven and the rest is hands free! No peeling, and minimal chopping. Roasting beets in the oven brings out their natural sweetness and creates a silky, tender texture that is delicious as is, or dressed up in your favourite plant-based recipes like my yummy beet arugula salad or even the blushing beet smoothie bowl I created for Eat More Plants Cookbook (but skip the salt if roasting for sweet recipes!)
Hungry? Gather your ingredients!
Are you ready for this 2 ingredient list? It’s just beets and oil. See what I mean about simple?
If you’re eating the beets on their own as a side dish, or using them for savoury recipes, you’ll want to add a little salt and pepper to enhance the flavour…but if you are precooking beets for sweet recipes like muffins or smoothie bowls, skip the salt and pepper.
How to roast beets in the oven so they’re perfect, every time
If you’ve looked at a few ‘how to roast beets’ posts, you’ll notice that they’re all different. Different temperatures, different preparation methods, different roasting times. ARGH!
The reason for this is A) you can actually cook beets at multiple temperatures, B) how long the beets cook depends on how big they are and what temperature you’re using and C) we all have our own way to making it happen.
So, find a method that you like, and go for it! This is my go-to method for making tender roasted beets:
- Step one: scrub the beets really well – I use a dish scrubby cloth – and trim the top and bottom.
- Step two: I like to quarter medium (2-3 inch/ 5 -7 cm) beets so they cook a bit faster as opposed to leaving them whole. Essentially, I like roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wedges. Got small beets from the garden? Leave those whole. For large beets, cut into sixths.
- Step three: place beets on a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. Toss with oil, and if using, salt and pepper. Fold up the foil to make a parcel. This creates moisture retention that helps the beets cook up plump and tender.
- Step four: roast beets for 40-55 minutes, depending on how big your chunks are. Check smaller beets after 30 minutes, and every 5-10 after than based on what you found. We’re looking for fork-tender, not mush! As I’ve written the recipe, mine are usually done in 45 minutes.
- Step five: enjoy beets as is, fancy them up with some toppings or store them for future recipes for up to 4-5 days.
FAQ: Do you have to peel beets before roasting?
Beets are actually very thin skinned so you can eat the peel, as long as you’ve scrubbed them well. How do you know if they’re well scrubbed? The skins look (mostly) smooth and deep red, the scaly brown bits are gone. Skipping peeling reduces food waste, makes way less mess and increases nutritional value (hello, fibre)!
FAQ: What is the best temperature for roasting beets?
Beets will actually roast well in the oven between 375 – 425 F (190 – 220 C). Here’s the deal: the lower the temperature, the longer they take to cook. I roast my beets at 400 F, to drop cooking time below an hour but give them enough time to develop a rich flavour.
What to serve with roasted beets
Once you’ve learned how to roast beets, then you can experiment with how to dress them up!
These roasted beets are truly delicious all on their own, or as part of a grain bowl or salad. Serving as a side dish, and want something extra? Try dressing these beets up for a bit more flavour:
- Orange zest + crushed pistachios + a drizzle of maple syrup
- Grated fresh horseradish + fresh dill
- A drizzle of balsamic vinegar (or reduction) + fresh thyme + vegan feta
- Sliced avocado + a drizzle of orange juice + lots of black pepper
- Plated on a bed of hummus + sprinkled with za’atar
FAQ: does roasting beets destroy nutrients?
It’s true, that certain nutrients like vitamin C and yes, the betalains in beets, are heat sensitive. The longer you cook them, the more these nutrients will degrade…but they do not degrade to zero! Beets are still incredibly nutrient dense when roasted, and one study I read found interestingly that antioxidant activity increased in roasted beets.
Tips, Tricks + Substitutions
- These beets will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- Don’t want to cut the beets? Don’t! They’ll just take a little longer to cook. Check at 40 minutes, and every 10 minutes after.
- Golden or Chioggia (candy cane) beets can be prepared exactly the same way as red beets.
- If your beets have their greens attached, don’t throw them out (unless they’re a mess!). Beet greens can be cooked like kale or chard and they’re super good for you.
More Yummy Beet Recipes
How to Roast Beets
- 1 pound fresh beets, well scrubbed and ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, skip if using beets for sweet recipes
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Cut beets into roughly 1 inch chunks. I typically quarter medium beets, halve small beets and cut large beets into sixths.
- Place beets on a large piece of foil on a baking sheet. Toss with oil, and if using, salt and pepper. Fold up the foil to make a parcel.
- Roast beets for 40-55 minutes total, depending on how big your chunks are. Check smaller beets after 30 minutes, and every 5-10 after than based on what you found. We’re looking for fork-tender, not mush!
- Enjoy beets as is, fancy them up with some toppings or store them for future recipes, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 4-5 days.