Day 36: Swedish Pickled Beets ♥ (Refrigerator Pickled Beets)

Swedish Beets
One of my favorite recipes on all of A Veggie Venture, pickled beets made with canned beets. These are "refrigerator pickles" and keep for several weeks in the refrigerator without being canned.

~first published 2005~
~recipe & photo updated 2006 & 2010~
~more recently updated recipes~

2005: Delicious! Especially in summer, keep a jar of these on hand in the refrigerator, ready to add to salads at lunch, to plates at supper. They even just look pretty, all ruby-aglisten, waiting to be eaten!

2006 Update: I make these beets ALL the time! Plus I've become a huge fan of beets, some times I'm even called the 'beet queen'! All the beet recipes except this single one start with fresh beets, so it's nice to have one recipe for something so easy and so convenient and, let's not forget, so good. I've also collected quite a few recipes for refrigerator pickles that require no canning.

Swedish Beets
2010 Update: Turns out, I keep a jar of Swedish pickled beets in the refrigerator nearly all the time. It's just so convenient to grab one or two for a quick salad or a vegetable snack. I've never made them with fresh beets, I almost don't want to. Chances are, they'd be better -- they'd be "fresh" beets after all -- but I so love the convenience of using canned beets, I don't want to know! For the last while, I've been serving beets at family potlucks, too, and they're a huge hit. I cut them into chunks and then toss with a little fresh mint, Swedish Beets for a crowd.


Hands-on time: 7 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 8 cups

1 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspooons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 or 5 15-ounce cans beets, preferably chunks or small beets, drained (see ALANNA's TIPS)

1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves allspice

Mix vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper and bring to boil, either in the microwave or in a saucepan, stirring occasionally to lift the sugar and salt from the bottom. Meanwhile, put beets in large glass (see TIPS) container with cover. When liquid boils, remove from heat and pour over beets. REFRIGERATE 24 HOURS BEFORE SERVING.

I suspect the beets will absorb liquid better when in irregular chunks since beet slices tend to stick together. Del Monte sells a 'chunk' product but if you can't find it or something similar, consider chopping the slices into irregular pieces. I'm more than happy with the price and quality of house-brand canned beets from Schnucks, the largest grocery chain in St. Louis. They are small and of excellent quality.
Beet juice stains so glass is preferable. Plus, it looks so pretty in the fridge!
My container actually holds five cans of beets -- and since they keep a long time, I'm happy to have more on hand. For the first few days, however, I turn the jar upside down so the beets on top get 'pickled'.
A commenter suggested adding a cinnamon stick and some allspice -- and so I tried. This adds a 'spice' dimension similar to commercial pickled beets. I "like" it but find the spices a bit much.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

~ My Favorite Way to Roast Beets ~
~ Red Onion Beets ~
~ How to Make a Roasted Beet Salad ~
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes ~
~ Borscht Beets with Sour Cream ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. AnonymousJune 17, 2006

    These are Harvard Beets. The recipe dates back a hundred years or so in the Fanny Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

  2. Hi Anon - I haven't seen that old Fanny Farmer cookbook so don't know her version. I do know that at least in contemporary recipes, harvard beets are cooked in a water-vinegar-cornstarch mixture where Swedish beets are more like a refrigerator-pickle cousin. Thanks for stopping by to open the discussion. If I find beets at the market this morning, Harvard beets is their destiny!

  3. AnonymousJune 07, 2009

    My "recipe" is close - I also add cinnamon sticks and a few all-spice pellets. Tasty!

  4. I add sliced onion and make 1/2 the recipe. 3 cans beets 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup water or beet juice mix 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna