Pickled Beets Recipe

For Test Kitchen director Robby Melvin, it's not Thanksgiving until his Granny's "old-school" relish tray hits the table. The tray is packed with a colorful array of pickled vegetables, including beets. Here's his updated take on her recipe, flavored with dried oregano and thyme and a tangy apple cider vinegar brine. When shopping, look for small to medium-size fresh beets.

Cream Cheese-and-Walnut Stuffed Celery
Photo: Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
10 serves


  • 1 1/2 pounds small red beets (about 5 beets)

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 onion)

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns


  1. Trim beets, leaving root and 1-inch stem; scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain completely. Cool 5 minutes; trim roots, and rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices; place in a large bowl.

  2. Stir together vinegar, water, sugar, onion, thyme, salt, oregano, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour hot liquid over beets; cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

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