Spiced sweet & sour pickled beetroot

Spiced sweet & sour pickled beetroot

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(10 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr, 20 mins


Fills 1 large kilner jar
Forget crinkle-cut versions, this light pickle is sweet and rich - perfect with cold meats, salads and punchy cheeses

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal52
  • fat0.5g
  • saturates0.1g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre1.4g
  • protein1g
  • salt0.1g
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  • 1kg small-medium sized raw beetroot



    A favourite in 1970s British salads (cooked and pickled in vinegar), beetroot is a root…

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 2 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 3 cloves



    A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

  • 2 allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
    Balsamic vinegar

    Balsamic vinegar

    bal-sam-ick vin-ee-gah

    True Balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena, in Emilia Romagna, Italy, and is made…

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Trim the leaves and most of stalks off the beetroot, leaving a stump of stalk on each. Wrap the beetroots individually in pieces of foil and place on a baking tray. Roast for 1 hr 15 ins or until the point of a sharp knife can be easily inserted then leave to cool.

  2. Unwrap, peel and trim the stalks away from the beetroot. Leave the small ones whole and cut larger ones in half and pack them into a large sterilised kilner jar.

  3. Tip the sugar, white wine vinegar, 200ml cold water the spices and bay leaves into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and bubble gently, stirring, for 2 mins until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the balsamic if using.

  4. Carefully pour the hot vinegar, spices and bay over the beetroot (you might not need it all) and leave to cool uncovered. Once cool pour the olive oil over, seal the jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month.

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Comments, questions and tips

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20th Jul, 2018
This is the third year that I have made this recipe. This is the best beetroot recipe I have found. It tastes so good. I highly recommend trying it.
30th Aug, 2016
Oops, forgot to rate. Also mention that I have used the hot water bath for 15 mins for preserving so it lasts longer :-)
30th Aug, 2016
I've just made this with some overgrown beetroot cut into cubes. Wow, the vinegar tastes lovely and so much nicer than the harsh versions of pickled beet you buy in the supermarkets. I added a dessert spoonful of mustard seeds and a few chilli flakes for a little kick. Its good and not too overpowering. I can't wait for it to mellow but I'm sure one jar will be eaten VERY soon!
HollyMak's picture
9th Jun, 2016
Made this last year and it was lovely, I'm here to get the recipe again so i can make it this year. We sealed our beetroot using the hot water bath method and was enjoying the beetroot for over 6 months, wish we had made more. It was even more delicious after a few months.
30th Aug, 2014
Absolutely delicious! First time I've pickled anything but certainly not the last. The balsamic vinegar really adds a lovely taste.
scaryjane's picture
16th Sep, 2014
This is my first attempt at growing and pickling beetroot :) so far so good. Its now in the jars cooling...the vinegar tastes fab.....can't wait for it to be cold to taste! 28th July:- this is absolutely brilliant ....so much better than bought. I've even sown more beetroot seeds, think we're going to need quite a few jars :) UPDATE - 16th Sept '14 After the last batch, which was lovely but the overriding taste was the star anise I've left it out this time and replaced the star anise with a half teaspoon of pickling spice. The cooled liquid now tastes as I thought it would....... just hope my other half agrees :)
25th Aug, 2013
I am new to pickling and looking for some help - when the instructions say "seal the jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month" does that mean it is a month before eating , or that they only keep for a month ? Thought pickles lasted longer ? Thanks for any advice in advance
19th Mar, 2015
Good point emmatg, what was the outcome?x
sirlene's picture
3rd Jul, 2013
How do I add this (or any other) to "My collection"? In the old site version was very easy to make it but the new one has no opion at all! I hope I will not need to creat a new collection for the same subject!
27th Mar, 2013
Ok, I am just adding the star rating for this. If you like beetroot I would suggest you give it a go. A very good way of using up gluts of beetroot.


31st Mar, 2015
Hi - I'm also confused about the last comment. Does it mean the pickle should be left for a month before opening, or that the finished product only lasts for a month? Many thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
20th Apr, 2015
Hi SandyDowns, thanks for your question. Once made the pickled beetroot will last a month if stored in the fridge. Hope this helps. 
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