Microwave Beets ♥

White beets cooked in the microwave
What a huge time-saver. If you love beets, you'll want to learn how easy it is to
cook beets in the microwave!

Two lessons for the 'price' of one today.
  1. Yes, the wily world of vegetables includes creamy white beets in addition to beet-red, pale pink and golden beets.
  2. Yes, beets can be cooked in the microwave!
#1 is a mere novelty but #2 is decidedly useful since cooking beets in the oven takes 60 - 90 minutes.

But in the microwave, cooking beets takes just 20 - 30 minutes, completely unattended except for turning. What a time-saver, what an energy-saver. (Does that, um, make these white beets, ummmm, 'green'?)

These beets were delicious, sliced hot from the microwave and topped with a pinprick of butter and a few fresh chives. I may never roast beets in the oven again.

And the technique is especially convenient when cooking for one or two. Need to cook just one beet or two beets? No problem.

The microwave technique is entirely inspired by Adapted from Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka. The book's arrangement is annoying -- rather than using easy A-Z organization, it organizes recipes by vegetable family -- but I overlook that point because the content is so entirely thorough. This microwave technique, for example, is buried in the back. Well, forget that, on A Veggie Venture, microwave beets are going front and center where we can all use it! I've created a new collection of vegetable recipes for the microwave. This time of year, cooking an ear or two of fresh corn in the microwave is just so convenient!

NEXT TIME I will turn the beets themselves (versus turning the container) partway through the cooking time. Re-reading the instructions, that's likely what was meant but I missed it.

SO WHAT ABOUT THE WHITE BEETS? Let's see. They taste like, um, well, beets! They have the texture of, um, well, beets! One source says red beets have the most sugar, the white ones the least; I didn't find a nutrition source to quantify that. It's a little disarming, the white color, a sort of culinary dissonance. It would be great to use white beets in a recipe where the white color could really show off, maybe paired with Brussels sprouts.

WORD TO THE WISE Once cooked, white beets need to be eaten right away, otherwise they turn an unappealing muddy gray color. The taste is fine but the looks leave much to be desired. This is very different from red beets, which I often roast in big batches, then use one or two at a time for a week.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 20 - 30 minutes

Wash beets well. Leave tails intact but trim off the beet greens, leaving about an inch of stem, and set aside. (Perhaps for Greek greens? The greens from these white beets were particularly tasty.)

For small (2 ounce) whole beets -- place in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Cover tightly. Microwave for approximately this long (actual time will vary depending on the beets themselves and the power of your microwave).

Eight ounces total - 8 minutes
One pound total - 12 minutes
1 1/2 pounds - 16 minutes

For large whole beets - - place in a container just large enough to hold the beets. Cover tightly. Midway through the cooking time, remove cover, turn the beets, cover and continue.

1 10-ounce beet - 20 minutes
6 beets (2 1/2 pounds) - 25 to 30 minutes

I cooked three 8-ounce beets in a Corningware dish with a glass cover, cooking for 10 minutes, turning, then another 5.

HOW MANY CALORIES, CARBS & WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS IN BEETS Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw beet: Per Serving: 49 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 11g Carb; 3g Fiber; NetCarb8; 8g Sugar; 88mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 0, PointsPlus 1

~ My Favorite Way to Roast Beets ~
(photo tutorial with tips & tricks)

~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beets with Feta ~
~ Swedish Beets ~
~ more beet recipes~
from A Veggie Venture

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

A Veggie Venture is home of 'beet queen' and 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. White beets? Who knew? Thanks, Alanna.

  2. I thought these were tilapia fillets when I saw these! Looks great, thanks for the tips.

  3. I know about red and golden beets but white beets, that's new. Thanks for the education Alanna.

  4. AnonymousJuly 16, 2007

    How would white beets be in potato salad--I have allergy to potatoes of all the crazy things? At first glance, I thought the image featured beets in parchment paper and I wondered why the red didn't bleed! Alanna, you do great work! There is a book in this!

    Mary from Dakota

  5. AnonymousJuly 17, 2007

    Alanna. We have nominated you for Bloggers for positive Change award.
    See Great Big Veg Challenge for details!
    Charlotte and Freddie

  6. AnonymousJuly 28, 2011

    I'm very sad. I followed the microwave instructions for my regular beets, and I botched it. Beets are kaput :( Apparently, you need to put water in, if the cover doesn't seal shut? Beets are all burnt and dried up. Mac & cheese for dinner?

  7. Anonymous ~ I'm sad too, so sorry about kaput beets. ;-( I supposed it could be a moisture issue but more likely, it's a power issue. Mikes DO vary -- it's why I always mention to watch carefully the first time, in order to learn how it goes in YOUR mike. I hope you'll try again, this is such a convenient way to cook beets.

  8. I adore fresh beets, but detest the endless waiting for them to roast. I found your 'wave recipe via a Google search tonight when I arrived home too late to do roast the large beauties I found a couple of days ago (10 - 12 oz each!) I popped them in the micro while I sautéed the green tops with red onion, mushrooms and a little olive oil. Before you knew it, the beets were tender and I sat down to a delicious meal of my favorite veggies :) Life is good, thanks to your beet waving recipe Alanna!!!

  9. I didn't think beets could taste great any way but by roasting ... until I read your post and decided to try. Very good is an understatement! Nuking is the wave of the future (pun intended)! Here's how I made them: http://ohyoucook.blogspot.com/2012/06/honey-ginger-balsamic-glazed-beets.html

  10. I've never actually cooked beets but this sounds doable so I'll try it.


Post a Comment

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