This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Tis the season to pickle and jar the summer's garden bounty. These pickled beets and onions are both sweet and tangy; there's nothing better than reaching for homemade pickled veg to brighten up your favorite salad, sandwich, or charcuterie board.
Also, try this recipe for ginger pickled beets for some extra zing!
In this recipe, boiled beets and pearl onions are pickled in a brine of apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, fresh ginger slices, and star anise. This creates a delicious semi-spicy, somewhat sweet combination, since the maple syrup and ginger complement and balance each other so nicely.
Benefits of pickling veggies
If you haven't pickled veggies or done any canning before, here are a couple of reasons why you're on the right path:
- Pickling vegetables helps preserve them for much longer. As long as your veg is submerged in the vinegar mix, it will prevent any bacteria from growing, so they keep for a long time.
- They add a burst of tart flavor to many dishes, or you can eat them as a snack right out of the jar.
- It's simple and inexpensive to preserve your veggies by pickling them. This is an excellent way to keep your shelves stocked with nutritious vegetables throughout every season.
Let's talk about the ingredients you'll need to make these spiced pickled beets and onions:
- Pearl onions: these onions go by many names, like cocktail onions, picklers, baby onions, and button onions and they may be labelled as such at your local grocery store. Pearl onions are great for this recipe because they are smaller and sweeter than a white, yellow, or purple onion.
- Beets: The jewel-toned gems are the star of the show. They are earthy and sweet, and when pickled take on a tangy flavor, too.
- Apple cider vinegar: This will be the main pickling agent. Apple cider vinegar isn't as strong as white vinegar, but will still act to preserve the pickled vegetables and add that essential acidic taste.
- Maple syrup: To balance out the acid, add maple syrup to the brine. There is a mild maple flavor in the brine, and the natural sweetness comes through.
- Water: You'll add some water to the brine to dilute the strong acidic taste.
- Black peppercorns: Use whole peppercorns (instead of cracked pepper) to add a fresh peppery taste.
- Salt: Just a teaspoon of salt will help balance all the flavors and add a bit of saltiness to the brine.
- Star anise: If you've never cooked with star anise before, you can find it in the spice isle. They are a beautiful, star-shaped spice that taste something like licorice.
- Fresh ginger: Add several slices of fresh ginger to your boiling pot of brine. The ginger, maple syrup, and star anise pair so well together.
How to make pickled beets and onions
- Sterilize the Jars: Don't skip this step. It's important to make sure that any bacteria isn't transferred to the vegetables you'll be putting in them. To do this, put the jars into the oven to sterilize them. Leave them at full temperature for 10 minutes.
- Cook the Onions and the Beets: Boil the pearl onions first then remove their skins. Keep the same water to boil the beets until soft.
- Make the Brine: Add the vinegar, maple syrup, water, peppercorns, salt, star anise, and ginger slices to a pot and bring to a boil. Keep it hot until ready to add to the jars. It's important to keep it hot so that it will seal the jars shut.
- Fill the Jars: Add the beets and onions to your jars and then pour the hot brine over top. Add the lids and listen for a “pop” to know that they are sealed properly.
If you're an avid canner, you may be familiar with the boiling-to-seal method. For this pickled beets and onions recipe, you can seal the jars by boiling or the way we've instructed here, by pouring hot liquid into hot, sterilized jars which will seal themselves. Either method works great.
You can eat pickled beets and onions right out of the jar as a snack if your heart desires! Or, you can try some of these other ideas for serving pickled beets and onions:
- Salad: Slice the beets and add the onions to a beautiful pumpkin spinach salad or add them to your go-to salad to change things up a little. Might we suggest adding some feta cheese – delish!
- Sandwich: Slice the beets and onions and add to a crusty, hearty sandwich, perhaps with some goat cheese and arugula. Or add them to a burger, like this chicken feta spinach burger.
- Charcuterie: A great way to serve your pickled veg is to add it to a gorgeous charcuterie spread. Add a couple toothpicks or way for people to pick them up easily and it'll disappear before your eyes!
- Fish: Dice up the pickled beets and onions and serve it as a topping or side to a beautiful piece of fish, like this pistachio crusted salmon.
How soon can I eat pickled beets?
Let the jarred pickled beets and onions sit in your cupboard for 2 weeks before consuming. This will allow them to pickle nicely before you crack into the jar.
How to store pickled beets
If unopened, you can keep them in the pantry. Once they're opened you should move them into the fridge.
How long do pickled beets last?
They will last sealed and unopened in the pantry for 12+ months. Once opened they will last in the fridge for 1-3 months.
Are pickled beets good for you?
Pickled beets have many of the same health benefits as the fresh variety. They are rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and iron.
- 10 pearl onions
- 3 lb small beets
- 1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 whole star anise
- 6 2-inch slices of ginger
- Sterilize jars by placing the washed jars into a cold oven and then turning the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the jars in the oven for 10 minutes at full heat and then open the oven door and let them cool.
- Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and add the pearl onion. Boil them for 5 minutes then use a slotted spoon to remove them – reserve the water. When the onions are cool enough to touch, remove the skins.10 pearl onions
- Add beets to the onion water and cook until they are soft when pricked with a fork, about 20-30 minutes.3 lb small beets
- While the beets are boiling, add the vinegar, maple syrup, water, peppercorns, salt, star anise, and ginger slices to a small pot and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and boil hard for 3 minutes. Keep the brine hot until you're ready to use it.1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar, ¾ cup maple syrup, ¾ cup water, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 whole star anise, 6 2-inch slices of ginger
- Drain the beets and set them aside until they're cool enough to handle. Peel the skin from beets, cut off the top and bottom, and quarter them.
- Fill the hot sterilized jars with the beets and onions, packing them in tightly. Divide the ginger and star anise evenly between the two jars. Pour the hot vinegar liquid into the jars until it covers the beets and is within ¼-inch from the top of the jar.
- Seal jar and allow to sit for 2 weeks in your pantry.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.