Grandma's Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets

My Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets are a simple, classic pickled beet that makes just enough to fill a jar or two, depending on the size of the jar. Because Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets are so easy, you can just knock them out when you have a few minutes and there’s no compelling reason to make a bunch. You can pretty much just have them whenever you want them, especially these days when beets are available all year ’round.

Grandma's Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Quick refrigerator pickles like My Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets are a bit different than formal canning recipes to “put up” beets. For one thing, they’re stored in the refrigerator (obvs) and they aren’t processed in a boiling water bath for safe storage at room temperature. If you’d like to see how to go through that process, I can’t recommend a better site than the National Center for Home Preservation, although any reliable canning site is likely to have a larger batch recipe for preserving.

About Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets:

You might have guessed by the name, Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets, that this is the recipe my Grandma, Irene, used, my Mom, Kay, used and now I use. There’s nothing too exotic here, just a beautifully flavored brine that turns into the loveliest color when combined with the beets. The beets, in turn, pick up all the flavor from the spices in that brine.

Besides just eating Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets, or serving them as a tangy side for something rich, I love using pickled beets in salads. And some of my favorite salads have pickled beets. For one, there’s this Irish Pub Salad which is full of all kinds of beautiful things and then there’s my Beet Goes on Salad.  I couldn’t help myself on that name, lol! Btw, the Honey Citrus Vinaigrette in the Beet Goes on Salad? I swear it’s so good you’ll practically want to drink it! Maybe even splash a little on your wrists and behind your ears! I use it a lot.

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Making Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets:

Making refrigerator pickles of almost any kind is really a simple process. You’ll prepare the vegetables (or sometimes fruit) by washing if raw, blanching (dropping for a minute or two in boiling water) or cooking (usually by boiling or in this case of these beets, roasting) and placing them, along with any herbs, spices or aromatics, into sterilized or fresh and preferably hot from the dishwasher jars.

Then you’ll mix up a simple brine (the mixture of vinegar, water, sugar) and heat it to boiling. That super-hot liquid gets poured over your veggies, in this case, beets. On goes the lid and they get stored in the fridge where they will keep, literally, for weeks. If they last that long.

When you make Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets, you will want to make sure all the beets are covered, not sticking above the brine. I just wanted to make sure you could see at least a little of the beets when I took the pictures for this post.

Grandma's Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Roasting the Beets for Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets:

Now, Mom and Grandma both boiled their beets; I don’t know if either of them had ever heard of roasting beets like we so commonly do these days. I think roasting helps preserve all the flavor and the color of the beets. There’s really nothing to it.

To roast beets, wash, remove greens right above the beets, and leave the root end intact. Place on a sheet of foil and wrap well, closing at the top. Place on a pan (just in case they leak) and roast in a 350 degree F. oven for about an hour. Open package carefully, let cool. Slip off skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife and slice or chunk as desired for this recipe.

Saving Money on Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets:

Look for beets in season for the best pricing and don’t be dismayed by the condition of the tops if they aren’t in good shape. The leaves are often unattractive. I don’t waste them, though, if they can be saved. Wash them and use them in salads, smoothies (like my Big, Fat Green Smoothie) or in pesto. They are just as good for you as the beets themselves.

Beets are a favorite of mine, particularly pickled, and I did a pretty comprehensive write up on them that includes shopping for, storing, cooking and nutrition, if you’d like to take a peek. It’s called What to Know About Beets. Beets have lately become a nutritional darling; see what the World’s Healthiest Foods has to say about the Beet.

I often pickle beets, and sometimes other veggies, when I’ve bought too many (I always have good intentions) to eat or use, or time is starting to run out on some of those in my fridge. You do always want to use sound vegetables when pickling but it can be a great save and buy you some time on them, thereby saving you a little cash. If you’d like to see a few other things I’ve pickled, check out Pickles and Related Items at the bottom of the page; just click on any of the photos to take you to the corresponding page.

Grandma's Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets


Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets

A classic refrigerator pickled beet.

  • Author: Irene Elsenbast
  • Yield: 1 jar 1x


  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water (or beet juice if you’ve cooked your beets in water)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon stick
  • 1 small piece bay leaf
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 beets, cooked and sliced


Bring all ingredients except beets to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover and simmer a few minutes.

Add beets to a very clean or sterilized jar, pour the hot brine over. Cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

Keeps six to eight weeks in the fridge.


If you are pickling to can and store, there is a whole different process. This is for the refrigerator, only.

When the beets are gone, the brine can be brought back up to a boil and reused for another batch. It just gets better and better.

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I’ll be sharing Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets at Fiesta Friday #219, hosted this week by Jhuls at the Not So Creative Cook. Do stop by their sites when you have a minute – Fiesta Friday is a fun link up from some of the best bloggers and you’re going to fall in love with Juhl’s site!

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Grandma's Refrigerator Pickled Beets are a simple, classic pickled beet that makes just enough to fill a jar. Because they're easy, you can just knock them out when you have a few minutes. #RefrigeratorPickledBeets #PickledBeets #QuickPickledBeets #Beets

32 thoughts on “Grandma’s Refrigerator Pickled Beets

  1. Mike Kilgallen

    I love pickled food.
    Over the years I’ve tried a few beet recipes, but was never really impressed.
    So, I figured I’d give yours a try. I have a rather large pickle jar and multiplied yours by 5 times. The only thing I added was a medium sized onion cut into slices. Well, after 2 weeks they are EXCELLENT. I really love them.
    I’m going to be adventuresome and try doing some of your other dishes.
    Thank you for my great pickled beets. I won’t have to worry about not eating them before the 6-8 weeks are up. They won’t last that long.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Mike,
      It was so nice to sign in and see your comment today! I am so glad you liked the pickled beets and my Grandma would probably have just shaken her head. I could just hear her say, “What’s all the bother, they’re just beets!” but I know she would have been tickled all the same. I know I am. I am a huge beet fan, too!

      Please do explore and let me know what else you try! I love this little salad (it sounds plain, I know, with beets and goat cheese. It’s even better with pickled beets! You might like it.


      • FrugalHausfrau

        I had forgotten that I already linked that salad and others in the post!! What can I say, I’m a grandma, too, lol!

  2. Joan

    Do you think I can use this recipe for pickled green grape tomatoes? I have an abundance of green tomatoes and I recall loving the spice blends of this recipe. What do you think or should I just make it to find out!!!!!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Joan,I’m afraid that I don’t know anything about pickling tomatoes so that’s something I can’t advise about! I know there are tomato relishes and chutneys that can use green tomatos and if it helps, I’ve had great luck putting green tomatoes in a paper bag, folding the top over and allowing them to slowly ripen in a cool place.

  3. Deborah Wiseman Bauer

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to try it today. My grandma’s name was Irene, too, born in Berlin and came to U.S. with my great grandma and grandpa when she was a young girl.

  4. Lolly

    I made these yesterday. It’s the first time I ever roasted beets. I could eat them plain right after roasting. I did nibble a few. I love canned beets which I assume is pickled beets. I plan on using them in the pub salad for St. Pat’s Day. 🙂 Great recipe.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Lolly! I love those roasted beets! Sometimes the canned are pickled and sometimes they’re plain, just cooked. I’m betting yours were the pickled kind because they plain ones are kinda meh! Have fun with that salad!! 🙂

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Rose, thanks, glad you liked it and thanks too for taking the time to check back and comment! Don’t be a stranger! 🙂

  5. Joan

    This is a very easy-on-the-palate recipe. It is so balanced with the vinegar, sugar, water and spices. I cooked my beets in a stovetop pressure cooker. I made the “brine” exactly as stated. I sliced the beets, added vidalia onions then poured the brine over them. The hints of the spices are just perfect. (I’m saving the leftover brine for pickled eggs.) Very lovely recipe. Thank you.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Joan, thanks for the lovely comment. Grandma would have been pleased to have heard it.

      I love the idea of the addition of the Vidalia onions and I’m a big pressure cooker fan, too! I don’t believe I’ve ever done my beets in the pressure cooker before, though. I don’t know why it never occurred to me. Next time!

  6. So happy you have posted this Mollie – I love pickled beets but refuse to buy them in cans from the supermarket….I usually end up roasting my beets and then blitzing with olive oil…..but my fridge doesn’t have any room for jars left – so next time I’ll be pickling and canning them! Thank you….

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I’m pretty sure this is just cut back from my Grandma’s actual canning recipe, but you’ll want to double check the acid ratio if processing. 🙂

  7. This is perfect. I love beets, but I’m the only one that does at our house. We grow them anyway, so this would keep me from having to eat a huge pile by myself and all at once!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Carlee, it’s the same at my house! My kids never really warmed up to them. So I’ll make a “bunch” of them and then pickle the rest.

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