We love using beets in cooking: they are super nutritious and give any dish a little sweetness and a burst of gorgeous color. Today, we want to show you how to cook Instant Pot beets to lock in all the nutrients. You can use fresh, unprocessed veggies and stop relying on canned beetroot. We will also share a few of our favorite recipes for using up pressure cooked beets.
Why use beets in cooking?
Beets are very nutritious! For a vegetable that is so low in fat and calories, beets pack a lot of vitamins (especially folate), minerals and antioxidants. This root veggie is detoxifying and helps to keep your liver in tip-top shape; it is also known for anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Plus, beets are delicious and easy to include in your diet. You can eat cooked and raw beets, use them in salads, dips, soups, pasta, risotto, juices and more. They are perfect for vegetarian and gluten-free diets.
What are the benefits of cooking your own beets?
Yes, it might seem more convenient to buy pre-cooked beets that come in a can or a jar, but why would you do that when you can purchase fresh, local, organic beets from the market and cook them yourself. Fresh beets will have more nutrition, no additives or preservatives; plus, buying fresh beets means you will be supporting your local farmers and use less packaging. It’s a total win!
And while cooking beets on the stovetop might seem like a lengthy affair, using the Instant Pot will speed up the process and lock in more nutrients in the finished beets as none of them will end up in the cooking water. Instant Pot allows you to steam the beets much quicker.
How to cook Instant Pot beets
This is a super simple method to pressure cook beets without boiling them in water. You can use any size Instant Pot and all you need is water and a trivet to place the beets on.
You don’t even need to wash the beets unless they are covered in dirt. Simply cut off the leaves and stems (you can wash those and use them in soups and juices). Place the trivet inside the pot and add a cup of water. Place the beets over the top, as many as you can fit. You can also overlap them. I like to cook a large batch and then store some of them in the fridge and freeze the rest for later.
Smaller beets need less cooking time and if you have a variety of sizes in the pot, you have to decide on the average time. Here are approximate cooking times for different cooked beets results.
For soft, easy to cut through beets but with a little chew:
- Small beets: HIGH pressure, 15 minutes, natural pressure release.
- Medium beets: HIGH pressure, 20 minutes, natural pressure release.
- Large beets: HIGH pressure, 25 minutes, natural pressure release.
For semi-soft with a little crunch in the middle:
- Small beets: HIGH pressure, 10 minutes, natural pressure release.
- Medium beets: HIGH pressure, 15 minutes, natural pressure release
- Large beets: HIGH pressure, 20 minutes, natural pressure release
If you’re cooking mixed-sized beets, we would suggest 15 minutes, HIGH pressure with natural release and you would get some soft beets and some semi-soft or you can cut the large beets in halves.
Handling & Storing Cooked Beets
Beet juices will stain your fingers (and any fabric, chopping board or kitchen counter) bright pink. You can wear kitchen gloves while handling the beets OR you can peel them under running water.
When slicing beets on a cutting board, we recommend placing a piece of parchment paper over the top. If the board or the kitchen bench do get stains, you can remove them with a bleach-water solution. If you wipe them quickly enough, you might avoid stains in the first place.
Can you freeze cooked beets?
Yes, you can freeze cooked beets and it’s pretty simple. Once the beets are cooked, allow them to cool completely. You can place them in an ice-water bath to speed up the process.
Once cool enough, peel off the skins and cut off the tops and roots. You can freeze them whole, cut them in halves, slice or chop the beets up into cubes. Spread them out on a flat tray, sheet or plate and place in the freezer to flash freeze for about 1 hour. This will prevent the beets from getting stuck together while freezing.
Once the beets are almost fully frozen, transfer them into freezer bags. Beets will keep for a long time but are best used within 6 months or so. Some people recommend vacuum sealing them due to their high water content, which will prevent freezer burn. You can also simply remove as much excess air from the freezer bag as possible and seal it very tight.
Defrost the beets in the fridge overnight or in a microwave and then use as you would any regularly cooked beets.
Recipes Using Instant Pot Cooked Beets
Lovely and sweet, beets pair well with sea salt to enhance their flavor as well as lemon juice or vinegar. They go well with sharp aromatics like garlic, onions and ginger and warm, earthy spices like cinnamon and cumin.
Because they are soft and sweet, beets work well with salty ingredients like feta, goat’s cheese and bacon and crunchy foods like nuts and seeds. Goat’s cheese, beets and walnut salad anyone?
Here are some tasty ways to use up Instant Pot cooked beets:
- Serve drizzled with olive oil, balsamic and sea salt as a simple side dish.
- Puree cooked beets with nuts, prunes and garlic for a gorgeous beet dip.
- Slice or chop and use in salads and buddha bowls.
- Add to smoothies.
- Add diced beets to risotto, soup, stew and pasta dishes.
- Saute with garlic for Instant Pot creamed beets (perfect as a side dish).
- Try these cooked beets with lemon and almonds.
- Add to couscous or quinoa for a nutritious plant-based meal.
Quick and easy method to cook Instant Pot beets which allows you to lock in all the nutrients and use up homemade, soft beets in a variety of dishes.
5–6 beets (we used a variety of sizes)
1 cup water
Instant Pot trivet