golden beets

Steaming and Peeling Beets

Steam and peel beets effortlessly with this simple guide. This post also covers a variety of ways to prepare, serve, and store your nutritious steamed beets.


There are three types of beets that I use: red beets, golden beets, and chioggia (candystripe) beets. I use the golden beets most frequently. The candystripe beets are harder to find and I will use them when I see them.

Beets, also called beetroot, are a delicious and healthy root vegetable. They are available all year around. Earthy and sweet when cooked, beets contain many essential nutrients and are associated with positive health benefits.

The red beets are the most common, and I do like them. However, the purple pigment (betalain pigments) in them leaks out and can cause a mess. I will still use them occasionally though.

In this post, we will go through an easy and healthy way to cook beets (steaming beets) as well as the easiest way for peeling beets.

Cooking Beets

Beets can be cooked in a variety of delicious ways, each method offering a unique flavor profile. Two popular methods are roasting and boiling beets.

Roasting beets in the oven can enhance their natural sweetness and earthy taste. Scrub beets and rub with a little olive oil and salt, and optionally wrap in foil. Roast in a 400 deg oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the beets are easily pierced with a fork.

Boiling beets is another easy method. After washing, simply place whole beets in a pot of water and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes until they’re easily pierced with a fork.

Each method offers a distinct taste and texture.

Steaming and Peeling Beets

Steaming beets is another healthy way to cook beets. Steaming uses heat from water, which cooks at a relatively low temperature (212 deg). This is best for preserving nutritional value.

Boiling also cooks at a low temperature. However, nutrients leak out from the beets into the surrounding water. Steamed beets do not have this problem.

Peeling Beets

Peeling beets is a cinch, regardless of cooking method. The method I describe here is very simple and doesn’t involve any tools like a peeler or paring knife.

How to Steam Beets

Steaming beets is easy. Here are the details.

Steaming Beets – Equipment and Ingredients

First, you will need beets. Remove the beet greens if there are any. Wash and scrub the beets. You will be steaming them, so no need to dry them.

how to steam beets with steamer
Golden Beets and Steamer

Second, you will need cookware to steam beets. A steamer set is optimal for this. There is one pot to hold the water, and on top there is a perforated inset that holds the beets and allows the hot steam through. Steamed beets have to cook for about 30 minutes so you need a good amount of water on the bottom.

Steaming Beets Method

Bring the water in the pot to a gentle boil. Put the beets in the perforated steamer inset and cover. That’s it! Check in about 30 minutes. They are finished if they can be easily pierced with a paring knife.

Note that if your beets are touching one another, you will need to move them around during the steaming process. Rearrange them after 15 minutes. The parts where they are touching will not cook otherwise.

How to Peel Beets

This is the easiest and quickest way to peel beets.

Peeling Beets – What You Need

Your beets should still be hot – the skin will come off easily. Let the beets cool just enough so that you can hold them. You can also wear gloves – which I would definitely recommend if you are using red beets to prevent staining your hands.

You also need a bowl or container to dispose of the beet skins and another receptacle to place your final peeled beets.

peeling golden beets with a kitchen towel
Peeling Beets Setup

Finally, you will need a kitchen towel to wipe off the beet skin. The kitchen towel will stain, especially if peeling red beets, so choose a towel with this in mind. If you do not have a towel for this purpose, you can use paper towels. If using paper towels, I would do two or three layers.

Peeling Beets Method

Peeling the beets is simple. See the photos belows. Hold the towel in one hand and the hot beet with the other hand. Use the towel to “wipe” the skin off the beet – you can think of the movement as like you are drying the beet. I wrap the beet completely with the towel, and then wipe the skin off.

Repeat this until until you get all the skin off. It is ok if you can’t remove everything at the ends of the beet – you can remove this later with a knife.

The beets are now ready to go! Now you can either prepare them or store them.

Preparing Beets

Steamed beets are soft and easy to cut. You can simply cut the beet in halves, quarters, or big chunks. You can also cut the beet into slices using a knife or mandoline.

If you want to get even fancier, you can make a beet brunoise by cutting the beet into tiny cubes – see this recipe for beet tartare. Some people who do not typically like beets will enjoy eating finely cubed beets.

Serving Beets

Beets can be served hot by themselves as a side dish. Simply season with lemon or lime juice, some salt and olive oil.

Beets can also be served cold as a salad. Some common pairings are goat cheese, walnuts, truffle oil, parmigiano, and or balsamic dressing. Again, I prefer simply serving them with lemon/or lime juice, salt, and olive oil. I am typically not a big fan of truffle oil, but if you add a few drops, the truffle flavor goes very well with the earthiness of the beets.

A beet tartare is a great way to serve them cold. In the vegetable tartare, you can also add finely cubed zucchini, cucumber, and sliced avocado. You can top with shaved parmigiano.

beet tartare with avocado
Beet Tartare

You can also slice them thinly with a mandoline and layer the bottom of a dish before adding salad (see above).

Storing Beets

To store beets, wait until they have cooled to room temperature after cooking. Cover them in an air tight container, and store them in the fridge for up to three days (including the day that you cooked them).

Other Tips For Preparing Vegetables

Vegetable Brunoise

How to Peel Tomatos – 3 Ways

Best Cast Iron Oil

How To Peel Asparagus

How To Peel Ginger – 3 Ways

Vegetable Recipes

Beet Tartare

Asparagus Tempura

Roasted Chili Corn Salsa

Rutabaga Carrot Puree

Sauteed Butternut Squash

Roasted Eggplant Marinara

Cabbage Fritters

Zucchini Parm

Eggplant Parm

Pan Fried Cauliflower Bites

golden beets

Steaming and Peeling Beets

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Entree, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack, Vegetable
Cuisine American, Asian, French, Global, Italian, Japanese


  • 1 Steamer Pot Set
  • 1 Stovetop


  • 4 whole beets washed and scrubbed; any type of beet (red, golden, or chioggia); though if you use red, things will be messier


  • Prepare beets for cooking. Cut off beet tops, if there are any. Wash and scrub the beets well to remove any dirt or sand.
  • Fill steamer pot with water and bring to boil. Add beets to steamer and cover. Avoid cramming the beets too closely. If large regions of neighboring beets are pressed together, these regions may not cook as quickly. If touching is inevitable, rearrange beets after 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Beets should take around 30 minutes to cook through, depending on size. Use a paring knife or fork to poke through to center of beet to determine whether it is cooked. If it is still hard in the middle, it needs to cook longer.
  • Remove from steamer and let cool down a little but not too much. Peeling the beets is MUCH EASIER if they are still hot. Using a dish towel, grab a beet and rub away the skin with the dish towel – it should come right off.
  • Use a knife to remove the top of the beet and/or any spots where the skin is still attached.
Keyword cooked beets, golden beets, how to peel beets, how to steam beets, peeled beets, peeling beets, steamed beets, steaming beets

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