Learn how to cut beets in this straightforward step-by-step guide. Once you master a few simple techniques, you’ll be ready to add this nutrient-dense root vegetable to a wide variety of dishes like salads, smoothies, veggie chips, and more.
What Are Beets?
Beets are root vegetables that grow as round bulbs under the soil. They also have long, leafy, and edible greens that protrude above the ground. Garden beets are the most common variety, and they are known for their deep red hue with sweet, earthy flavors.
There are a number of ways to prepare them — steaming, roasting, and even grilling! Once you learn how to cut beets, you’ll be able to add them to so many of your favorite recipes!
How to Cut Beets
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how to cut beets for certain recipes, wonder no more! These are three common cutting techniques — circles, half moons, and cubes. Sharpen your knives, and let’s get slicing!
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Step 1: Trim and peel
First, thoroughly rinse and scrub the beets (a vegetable brush works great for this), then dry them with a paper towel or dark tea towel. Since they already taste quite earthy, you may also want to peel them. To do this, trim both stem and root ends using a sharpened chef’s knife. With a vegetable peeler or paring knife, work your way around the beet to remove the skin.
You can also steam or boil the beets first, then remove the skins. Typically, I peel them raw for roasting and peel them cooked for steamed or boiled beets (full guide to cooking beets here).
Step 2: How to cut beets (3 ways)
Option 1: Half moons
Turn the beet onto one of the flat sides, then cut it in half. Lay each half down, then slice into half-moon shapes. You can go as thick or as thin as you’d like for these.
Keep a firm hold on the beet while slicing it and make sure your fingers are a safe distance away from the knife! Thinly sliced beets are perfect for salads, veggie chips, spring rolls, or carpaccio.
Option 2: Circles
Turn the beet on its side, and firmly grasp one side of it with your non-dominant hand. Using a chef’s knife, slice it into circles as thick or as thin as you’d prefer.
This type of cut is great for roasting. Drizzle the circles with some olive oil and a sprinkle of your favorite seasonings, then bake them until tender!
Option 3: Cubes
Turn the beet onto one of the flat sides, then cut it into thick slices. Lay each slice flat, and cut it vertically (middle photo). Rotate the slice 90 degrees, then cut it into cubes.
Cut the beet cubes as small or as big as you’d like, depending on the recipe you’ll be using them in. Cubed beets are an all-purpose cut. They’re great for steaming, boiling, smoothies, roasting, and more!
Tips for cutting beets
When you’re working with beets, the following tips will help make your life a whole lot easier and prevent waste:
- Use a sharp knife: Beets are rock solid in their raw form, so ensure sure your knife is freshly sharpened before starting.
- Use a firm grip: Make sure you’ve got a firm grasp on the beet while you’re cutting it. Also, it’s best to cut beets (and other produce) with the flat side facing down.
- Save the greens: If your beets come with the greens still attached, trim them away and save them for salads, smoothies, or juices!
How to prevent beet stains
If you’re not careful, your kitchen, cutting board, skin, and clothes could end up with a tye dye makeover! Don’t worry, here are a few ways to prevent beet stains or remove them if you do end up with a pink mess:
- Wear gloves: If you need to be somewhere nice after cutting beets, you might want to wear gloves. If not, just scrub your hands with a bit of lemon juice — it works wonders!
- Protect your clothes: Either wear an apron or old clothes that you don’t care about.
- Don’t use wood: Use a cheaper silicone cutting board to prevent beet juice stains on your nice wood cutting board. If you only own a wooden board, stains can be removed with coarse salt and lemon juice.
Storing Cut Beets
Beets are an excellent vegetable to have on hand. Here are a few ways to store beets once you’ve cut them:
- Fridge: If you’ve already cut your beets, store them in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
- Freezer: Beets require blanching before freezing to preserve their nutrition and flavor. All you have to do is boil the cut pieces for 2-3 minutes. Once they’re blanched, add them to a bowl of chilled water for another 2-3 minutes. Drain and dry them completely, then keep them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 6 months.
How to Use Beets
After you learn how to cut beets, you need to decide which method is best for the dish you’re preparing. Here are a few ideas on when and how to use each shape:
- Cubed: Try them in a roasted beet radish salad or Israeili couscous salad with beet and feta.
- Half moons: Throw some thinly sliced raw beets in citrus-based salads like this summer strawberry salad.
- Circles: Cut them up for a butternut beet and ricotta galette.
You can peel beets before or after cooking them. It’s usually easier to peel them raw before roasting them. If you boil or steam them whole, the skin comes off much easier.
Yes, it’s recommended to peel beets before blending them to remove any remaining dirt. If you don’t mind the flavor, you can leave the skin on.
- 1 beet
- Trim and Peel: Rinse and scrub the beets, then dry them with a paper towel. Trim both stem and root ends using a sharpened chef’s knife. With a vegetable peeler or paring knife, work your way around the beet to remove the skin.
- Option 1: Half Moons: Turn the beet onto one of the flat sides, then cut it in half. Lay each half down, then slice into half-moon shapes. You can go as thick or as thin as you’d like for these.
- Option 2: Circles: Turn the beet on its side, and firmly grasp one side of it with your non-dominant hand. Using a chef’s knife, slice it into circles as thick or as thin as you’d prefer.
- Option 3: Cubes: Turn the beet onto one of the flat sides, then cut it into thick slices. Lay each slice flat, and cut it vertically (middle photo). Rotate the slice 90 degrees, then cut it into cubes.