Pickled Beets

A hint of cinnamon makes this pickled beets recipe a winner. If you don't like cinnamon.. just leave it out.  The spices can be adjusted safely but not the vinegar ratios.  

pickled beets

First a quick often asked question.... why the waterbath?

Just below this is the recipe and directions, but first I wanted to address a common question.   Why doesn't this need to be processed in a pressure canner?  

I'm so glad you asked! Because that means you are paying attention and being safe!

When canning beets (not pickling) you need to process in a pressure canner.

But with pickling, vinegar is added and acidifies the beets. This acidity makes them a high acid food.  Therefore, pickled beets can be processed safely in a Water Bath Canner

This recipe is for pints or quarts... but I suggest pints.  

How to Make Pickled Beets

Gather your canning supplies


  • Beets - enough to make 3 quarts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1T whole allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Start by preparing jars, and get water in your canner heating. 

(see Water Bath Canning for full directions)

pickled beets in pint jars


Wash beets- Cut stems to about 2 inches, and leave on the tap root. This will help keep the color when you boil the beets to loosen the skins. 

Skin beets -Cook beets in boiling water until skins will slip off.   

This may take 15 to 20 minutes depending on the size of your beets. It helps to scrape a spoon against the beets while cooking to see when the skins start to scrape off easily. 

  • I often have a variety of sizes of beets. I try to sort my beets and cook those of similar size together. The larger ones will take a little longer to cook. 

Remove from water and cool in very cold water. When cool enough to handle, use your hands to slip the skins off. Use a knife for the stubborn spots. Cut off the tops and tap roots at this point.

Slice or chop your beets to the desired size. I  usually slice or cut into chunks. 

Prepare the pickling solution. 

  • Combine -vinegar, water, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, salt. 
    Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Pack prepared beets into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Cover beets in jars with hot vinegar solution leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife or other small tool. I like to use an orange peeler. 

Wipe rims clean and process according to water bath canning directions. 

This makes 6 pints. 


pints or quarts - process for 30 minutes.  Adjust this time according to your altitude on the chart below.  

Be sure to adjust processing time according to your altitude.

Altitude Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner

Altitude in Feet- Increase processing time

1001-3000- increase 5 minutes

3001-6000- increase 10 minutes

6001-8000- increase 15 minutes

8001-10,000- increase 20 minutes

For more information on why this is important see this altitude adjustments page.

This recipe is adapted from the Ball Blue Book.  

Related Pages

Other Pickle and Condiments

Dilly Beans
Pickled Carrots
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Pickled Peppers 
Pickled Peppers Rings 
Sweet Pickle Relish
Bread and Butter Pickles 
Homemade Ketchup
Pickling Spice Recipe  Simple Pickled Eggs Recipe
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Canning Books by Sharon