Roasting transforms beets from something crunchy into something silky and tender, and brings out the beet's sweeter side.
Roast beets are a year-round staple in our house, fantastic for tossing in salads, quick pickling, or making into fritters. We roast several at once by wrapping them in foil and tucking them into the oven to cook alongside braises, bread, or whatever else we might be cooking. Then the beets are ready for whenever we need them. Here's a step-by-step guide for roasting perfectly tender beets every time.
Beets don't have to be roasted, and are actually quite good thinly sliced and eaten raw. But roasting transforms beets from something crunchy into something silky and tender. Though it requires a hot oven, I prefer roasting over boiling or steaming because roasting concentrates the beet's flavors and brings out its sweeter side.
This roasting method works for any kind and any size of beet. Pick beets that feel hard in your hand, never soft or squishy. If you have the choice, pick bunches with their big leaves still attached. Those greens wilt down beautifully and can be added to stir fries, frittatas, pasta dishes, or anywhere else a little extra green might be welcome.
Once roasted, beets will keep refrigerated for up to a week. I keep them in one big container and slice off just what I need for whatever I'm making.
What are your favorite ways to use roasted beets?
How to Roast Beets in the Oven
What You Need
Beets, as many as you have for roasting
A sharp knife
1. Heat the Oven: Heat the oven to 400°F. This is a flexible cooking temperature; if you're using the oven for cooking something else, beets can be cooked at that temperature. Beets will cook more slowly at lower temperature and more quickly at higher temperatures. At higher temperatures, check more frequently for scorching (see Step 3).
2. Prepare the Beets for Roasting: Slice off the beet leaves close to the tip of the beet, leaving yourself enough to grip. Save the beet greens for another purpose. Scrub the beets thoroughly, then wrap them loosely in foil. No need to dry the beets before wrapping. Small beets can be wrapped together, but it's easiest to roast large beets individually.
3. Roast the Beets: Transfer the wrapped beets to a baking sheet (to catch drips in case the beet juices leak). Roast for 50-60 minutes. Check the beets every 20 minutes or so. If they are starting to look dry or are scorching on the bottoms, dribble a tablespoon of water over the beets before re-wrapping. Beets are done when a fork or skewer slides easily to the middle of the beet. Small beets will cook more quickly than large beets.
4. Peel the Beets: Let the beets cool enough to handle. Hold one of the beets in a paper towel and use the edges of the paper to rub the skin away. The skin should peel away easily; if it doesn't, the beets likely need to cook for a little longer. Peel the remaining beets.
5. Store the Beets: Beets can be stored whole or sliced for up to a week in the refrigerator.
(Images: Emma Christensen)