Instant Pot Beets take 20 minutes to cook in your pressure cooker which is so much faster than any other method! If the long cook time is what’s been holding you back from enjoying this incredibly healthy, robust, and gorgeous root vegetable, now’s the time to get back onboard friends! This easy-to-follow recipe results in fork-tender beets every time ready to be used as a side dish, in desserts, in soups, salads, and even as a snack on its own. It doesn’t miss a beet!
This recipe is a fantastic way to learn how to eat healthy using an Instant Pot. Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian side dish or Instant Pot tips for how to cook beets without the mess, I’ve got you covered!
Table of contents
Easy Instant Pot Beets
Beets are a healthy, naturally gluten-free whole food whose natural sugars are brought out when cooked which makes them one of the sweetest and best-tasting root veggies out there! I love beets. I could eat them roasted, boiled, pickled, you name it. I love to purée them for desserts, to toss them in smoothies, or dehydrate or bake them into chips. My all-time favourite way to eat beets is in borscht, the best, most delicious soup.
As a Ukrainian growing up, I remember my grandma boiling beets for hours on the stove, then cooling them on the balcony for a few more. Beets took a day to make in 1990 and while I love beets as much as the next person, there is no way I am doing that! That’s why beets in the Instant Pot is a game-changer for me. It will be for you too!
Beets are amazing in soups and salads, and not just because of their earthy and robust flavor, but because of their immune-boosting, nutrient-dense qualities that help to naturally detox the blood and liver. This easy-to-follow guide on cooking the beets perfectly every time will get you a beautiful and tasty side dish in just over 20 minutes! No more boiling for hours on the stove and no more cooling for hours on a balcony. Ok, that last part might not have been something you would have even considered doing, but you get what I mean.
Cooking beets in the Instant Pot allows you to keep as much of the nutrients in as possible because they never actually touch any boiling water. Cook until they’re fork-tender and peel so easily, revealing that stunning red colour. The next time you buy beets with the intention of doing something with them and then forgetting, this is the BEST recipe to keep on hand. It’s a quick and easy way to add delicious beets to any meal.
Why This Beets in Instant Pot Recipe Works?
- Less Mess. If you’re wondering how to cook beets without making a huge mess, this is it! We know they stain, there’s no way around that, but cooking them in an Instant Pot contains it.
- Budget Friendly. This recipe makes a lot at once, which is great for batch cooking and meal prep which we all know is a huge money saver.
- Delicious! Beets are just generally a beautiful and great tasting side dish no matter how they’re prepared.
- Quick and easy. Beets take a long time to cook on the stovetop. The pressure cooker does this in a fraction of the time.
- Healthy. The health benefits of this hearty vegetable are made even more abundant with the help of the Instant Pot. They never touch the boiling water which means as much of the nutrients as possible are contained.
- Freezer-friendly. Make lots, freeze the rest. It makes things even easier down the road when you have them already cooked!
Ingredients for Pressure Cooker Beets
All it takes is 2 simple ingredients to add to the pot. Once the beets are cooked to perfection you can then season them and use them as you like!
Beets: I use about 2 lbs of medium to large beets. The large ones I cut in half to make sure they cook evenly. Wash and trim the root and leafy parts. Don’t throw out the greens, you can use them!
Water: Added to the bottom of the pot to create steam. Just a cup of water will be enough to cook the beets.
How to Cook Beets in Instant Pot
If you are new to Instant Pot, check out my Instant Pot guide. Still on a fence? Check out which Instant Pot I recommend buying based on your lifestyle and family size and how it is different than a slow cooker. Also, keep this handy guide on how to clean your Instant Pot nearby.
- Prep beets. Wash and scrub well, trim roots and greens, and cut larger beets in half/quarters to match smaller ones. I also invest in organic beets because they sometimes appear on the Dirty Dozen list. Even when they don’t make that dreaded list, I still prefer to buy organic.
- Cook beets: Add 1 cup water, trivet or steamer basket (so it’s easier to remove) and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Release pressure right away.
- Beets are done when a knife inserted in the middle goes in smoothly, like butter.
- Cool off beets under cold running water for a few seconds, drain them and then add a little bit more cold water until safe to handle. The goal is to remove beets from hot Instant Pot to cool off faster.
- Peel beets by holding a paper towel and scrubbing beets with it over the bowl or sink. Peel should slide right off. People sometimes use gloves to avoid getting the red colour on their hands, however, I am not a fan of using plastic gloves for environmental reasons. You can compost paper right with the last peels.
What to Look For When Buying Beets
- To get the most bang for your buck, look for beets that still have a bright green stem. Not only does it tell you it’s still fresh but you can use that stem as an ingredient in soups, salads, and more.
- When buying red beets (yes, beets come in other colours too!), they should be a deep dark red, unblemished outer skin and should look robust.
- They should still have the large root attached. Not little hairs which are an indication that it is getting old.
- Last, smaller beets are sweeter and will typically need less cook time. Medium-large beets will take a little longer but in the end, you’ll get more out of it.
Tips for Best Results
- The choice to peel the beet is up to you. It’s possible to eat it, but some find it to be much like eating the skin on a russet potato. It’s not great.
- Use a trivet or steamer basket for easy removal of pressure cooker beets from the pot. It will be hot!
- The skin should peel off easily, however, they do stain so be careful. If you’re like me and don’t want to use disposable gloves, peel off using a compostable paper towel. Alternatively, you could just use a vegetable peeler.
- Beets should be fork tender. Don’t be afraid to close the lid and cook for a few extra minutes if need be.
- When beets are fresh they are typically sweeter. The earthier deeper flavor comes from beets that are slightly older. It doesn’t mean they can’t be eaten, it’s just good to be aware of the difference in taste when you want to use them in other recipes.
Tip: Beets will be very hot to the touch. Be very careful taking them out of the pot. If you are not using a steamer basket for easy lifting, make sure to use tongs to lift them out one by one.
Despite possibly having a harder time getting your hands on some golden beets, if you can, grab them! They’re essentially the same as red beets, however, they are sweeter. You can definitely use them interchangeably if you’re ok with that difference. Use the same cooking method for both!
It is possible, however, frozen beets are generally pre-cooked. Sometimes all it takes is to thaw them and they’re ready for use. You can also use them as part of a recipe in the Instant Pot, or use the pressure cooker to heat them through.
While steaming them is the best way to keep as much of the nutrients from getting lost during the cooking process, the difference is slight enough to know that no matter how you eat your beets, they’re always going to be good for you! Each method results in a different texture and has so many different uses in a variety of recipes.
Serving Recommendations for Steamed Beets
- Salad: I absolutely adore a beet salad with arugula and feta. My goodness, so simple and yet delicious!
- Side dish: You can always serve pressure cooker beets as a side dish with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil, a sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper. That’s how we ate them in Ukraine. Or stir in fresh garlic. Come on, garlic makes everything better in a world of a Ukrainian.:)
- Quickly marinated (pictured): Cook, chop and toss beets in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and grated garlic clove. Beets can be refrigerated like this in airtight container for up to 10 days. Then toss with a handful of toasted pine nuts in a skillet and fresh dill. Beets with goat cheese and pine nuts is a variation on this!
- Snack: Make a creamy hummus and serve with raw veggies and crackers for dipping.
- Dessert: Beets can be used in desserts, much like zucchini is used in these healthy zucchini brownies. They add flavour, moisture and colour to things like cookies, brownies, cakes, and more!
- Beet greens: Once you’re done using up your steamed beets, don’t forget to use those greens! They are slightly bitter along the same lines as kale, chard, or collard greens so you’ll want to sauté them in a bit of oil with a simple salt and pepper seasoning. A little minced garlic and red pepper flakes for heat. Squirt a little lemon juice on it and you’ve got a quick and easy super healthy side dish to your side dish!
Making Instant Pot Beets in Advance
Storing: You can refrigerate pressure cooker beets for up to 5 days. Peeled or not peeled, sliced or whole. I like to get the mess out of my way right away and store prepped beets for easy and quick meals. Make sure the container is airtight, so beets do not dry out.
Freezing: Cooked beets freeze so well. I would cut them up to how you intend to use them after thawing. Then freeze in any resealable container or Ziploc bag (remove as much air as possible) for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot chickpeas
- Instant Pot applesauce
- Instant Pot spaghetti squash
- Instant Pot black beans
- Instant Pot brown rice
- Instant Pot corn
- Instant Pot steamed vegetables
- Browse all healthy Instant Pot recipes
Instant Pot Beets
- Up to 5 lbs beets I used 2 lbs
- 1 cup water
- Wash beets and trim off the root part and the leafy and top part.
- I used medium to large beets. To make sure they cook evenly, I cut large beets in half.
- Close the lid, turn pressure valve to Sealing and cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes.
- Release pressure immediately using Quick Release method and open the lid.
- Test beets for doneness by poking with the knife. If the knife pierces flesh without much resistance, beets are ready. It should feel like cutting soft butter. If not, close the lid and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Cool off beets under cold running water for a few seconds right in the basket. And then a little bit more until safe to handle. If not using steamer basket, use tongs and remove into a bowl. The goal is to remove beets from hot Instant Pot to cool off faster.
- To peel beets, use paper towel or parchment paper and scrub beets with it. Peel should slide off. I am not a fan of using plastic gloves for environmental reasons.
- Your beets are ready. Enjoy as a side dish or make a beet salad.
Store: You can refrigerate cooked beets for up to 5 days. Peeled or not peeled, sliced or whole. Make sure the container is airtight, so beets do not dry out.
Freeze: Cut them up to how you intend to use them after thawing. Freeze in resealable container or Ziploc bag (remove as much air as possible) for up to 3 months. Thaw on a counter for a few hours or in fridge overnight.
- Make salad: I absolutely adore a beet salad with arugula and feta. My goodness, so simple and yet delicious!
- Serve on a side: You can always serve cooked beets as a side dish with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil or toasted sesame oil, a sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper. That’s how we ate them in Ukraine. Or stir in fresh garlic. Come on, garlic makes everything better in a world of a Ukrainian.:)
- Quickly marinated (pictured): Cook, chop and toss beets in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and grated garlic clove. Beets can be refrigerated like this in airtight container for up to 10 days. Then toss with a handful of toasted pine nuts in a skillet and fresh dill.
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