Canning Beets

Though time consuming, home canning beets is actually a simple process. Beets are a vegetable that you either love or hate. Personally I love em.

You will need to know how to use a pressure canner.  I've been asked for processing times using a hot water bath. However Beets are a low acid food, botulism is a risk and pressure canning is the only safe option.

Canning Beets: A Step-By-Step Guide


Gather your canning supplies


  • Beets
  • Canning Salt - optional
Canned beets - The process is fairly simple, but may take a little longer than other vegetables you’re used to canning. Step by Step guide, with tips and tricks included at!

Canning Beets instructions

Wash your beets. Cut your stems to a minimum of 2 inches.  A little longer is good too. Leave on the tap root.  Leaving the tap root and some of the stems helps the beets to maintain their color.  It won't prevent all color loss, but it does help. 

Cook beets in simmering water until beets are tender and skins will slip off.

This will take a while. You'll just need to watch. It always takes longer that I think it needs to. Anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes.  Shorter if your beets are small, longer if they are big.  An easy way to see if your beets are ready, is to scrape a spoon against the beets while cooking. When the skins scrape off easily they are done.

  • If you often have a variety of sizes of beets. Try to sort them according to size. Cook those of similar size together. The larger ones will take a little longer to loosen the skins.

Use this time to get your jars and pressure canner ready. Canner should have about 3 inches of hot water and jars should be clean and hot. See pressure canning for more detailed explanation.

Your beets are done when they are cooked through but still a bit firm.  The easiest way to tell when they are done is to use a utensil to scrape t he skins.  They should peel easily. 

canning beets with a pressure canner.  SimplyCanning.comCooked beet. See how the skin is peeling?

Remove your cooked beets and place in very cold water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, use your hands to slip the skins off.

The skins should just peel away with a little rubbing. Use a knife for the stubborn spots. Cut off the tops and tap roots at this point as well.

Slice or chop your beets to the desired size. If you have smaller sizes(1-2 inch size) it is nice to pack them together in a jar whole. If I'm canning larger beets I either slice or cut into chunks.

Add canning salt to jars if desired. 1/2 teaspoon to each pint and 1 teaspoon to each quart. As you skin and slice your beets pack them into hot canning jars, leaving 1-inch head space.

Remove any air bubbles. There are plastic tools sold to do this step. But any plastic utensil might work. Maybe the handle of a spatula?  I like to use a simple plastic orange peeler to push down into the jar and gently move things around.  This releases any bubbles that may be trapped. 

Cover the beets with boiling water. Again leave a 1-inch head space. I usually use a tea kettle to pour the boiling water into the jars.  You can also use a pot of water and a ladle... but the tea kettle makes much less mess.  And I'm all about less mess!  How about you?

Wipe the rims clean.  This is important.  You don't want any food particles or residue to get between the jar and the lid.  It may affect the seal. 

Finally place your lids on your jars with a screw band. Snug is fine, you don't have to crank down hard. 

Fill canning jars.
Remove bubbles.
Wipe the rims clean.

I usually do our beets in pints which you see here.  And since I'm doing pints I can stack the jars in my canner to make two layers.  This allows me to process double the amount at the same time!  Love saving time this way.  Be sure you have a rack between your layers if you choose to do this.

For more details follow pressure canning instructions.

Don't be surprised if you beets lose some color when you are canning beets.

Leaving the tap root and stems when you boil your beets will help reduce this, but they almost always lose color when you process them.  Unfortunately there is not much you can do about it.  It is just a fact of home canning. 

Process in a pressure canner.

Hot pack pints - process for 30 minutes
Hot pack quarts - process for 35 minutes

Adjustments for Pressure Canner
Altitude in Feet Dial Gauge Canner Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 11 10
1001-2000 11 15
2001-4000 12 15
4001-6000 13 15
6001-8000 14 15
8000-10,000 15 15

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