These easy Boiled Beets, which don’t even require peeling before you cook them, are one of our go-to easy vegetable recipes to share with the kids. You can make them with any variety, and they work well to cook ahead and serve throughout the week.
First of all, I realize that beets are a somewhat polarizing vegetable in that people often love them or hate them. My husband and I land firmly on the love them side of the fence—beets are naturally pretty sweet, when cooked they have a soft texture that’s easy for kids to eat, and they taste ridiculously good with a little butter and salt.
Which means I am delighted to share this easy method for cooking them.
This boiled beets recipe takes about 30 minutes and is mostly hands-off—and it’s a good one to make ahead to reheat later.
This is one of our favorite vegetable recipes for kids, and for ourselves.
Ingredients You Need
To make this recipe, you can use either golden beets or red beets.
I like this method with both varieties and use whichever we have access to.
Red beets are often more available in regular supermarkets—you may only see golden beets at certain times of the year at farmer’s markets—but they both have similar flavors and they cook up identically.
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this simple boiled beets recipe for toddlers or as a baby-led weaning baby food. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.
- Wash your beets and cut off the stem and the root ends. Cut into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. You do not need to peel them.
- Add to a medium or large saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to about medium to keep at a simmer until soft.
- Drain and rinse under cold water and slip off the skins with your fingers.
TIP: Toss with butter and sprinkle with salt. You can use olive oil instead of butter if you prefer.
What to Pair with This Easy Veggie Side
We love boiled beets with burgers, hot dogs, almost any chicken dish, dinner salads, and sandwiches. (Related: We’ve been doing more sandwich nights lately, which is such a great dinner option…even if you need to serve the components deconstructed for your toddler.)
What are the benefits of golden beets?
When serving beets to kids, the biggest benefit to golden beets is that they are MUCH less messy. The color of red beets is wonderfully vivid, but it has the tendency to stain hands which I’ve learned that my kids don’t like very much.
Golden beets are less likely to leave their color everywhere. Both varieties have fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and a little iron and, in large pieces, are a great option for baby-led weaning.
TIP: You can add these to your favorite family meal like chicken nuggets!
Beets Baby Food
You can quarter or halve beets so they are in large segments, cook them as directed here, and offer as a baby-led weaning food. They are a wonderful option when cooked until tender. You can also puree the cooked beets into a simple beet puree to serve as a Stage 1 baby food, or you can mix it with quinoa, yogurt, Avocado Puree, or even Chicken Puree as a Stage 2 or 3 baby food.
How to Store
Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Warm slightly before serving or you can serve cold or room temperature.
Best Tips for Success
- The pieces of chopped beets should be relatively the same size so they cook evenly.
- Let the beets cool down for a few minutes so they are easy to handle with your hands. You can slip the skins off under cold running water to speed the process along.
- Cut the beets into slightly smaller pieces for your kid’s serving if needed.
- Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled goat cheese, or crumbled feta cheese to add more flavor.
- If you have any leftovers, consider adding them to a salad for yourself. I love them over greens with feta, sunflower seeds, and hard-cooked egg or chopped chicken.
- To serve as a baby food, either halve or quarter the beets lengthwise so they are a good shape for baby-led weaning (for any meal, even a BLW breakfast) and offer once cooked and cooled. Or add the cooked beets to a blender and puree into a flavorful baby food.