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roasted beets versus boiled beets

I recently came across a recipe for roasted beets -- just wrapping them in tin foil and roasting for an hour and half. I've always boiled my beets in the skins, cooled them, and then pushed off the skins when they were cool. They I sliced them and either used them cold or baked them for a few minutes with herbs. Does anyone know if there is any difference in these two techniques?

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  1. I think they have a slightly nice flavor roasted. That said, I usually roast them for no more than 45 minutes - I start to check after 30 minutes. I toss them with olive oil and salt in a loaf or cake pan, add a splash of water, and then cover with foil.

    1. Another nice way to roast them is to mix with large chunks of carrot and then garlic, olive oil, S&P and fresh rosemary...spread in a single layer UNCOVERED and roast at 400 for about 25 minutes or so, stirring a bit.

      1. In my opinion, roasted beets taste sweeter than boiled beets. I usually add some salt, pepper and olive oil while roasting in foil packets, usually no more than an hour, depending on size.

        1. With few exceptions, I roast beets; sometimes also in case where recipes call for boiling them. I think the beets have a better flavor when roasted. A(nd I also think the preparation is easier.) You can also include some of the stem, as the bitter flavor is diminished. I think how long you roast the beets depends on their size. I do nothing more than trim the stems, rinse off the excess dirt, and wrap in foil and place on a cookie sheet. (I season the beets in their final preparation -- if eating "just roasted", I don't even need salt.) At 425, it can take 30-60 minutes, possibly longer--check with a sharp knife. Let the beets cool for a few minutes, then use paper towels to rub off the skins.

          I use this same preparation for my 15-month old, but let the beets cook until they are very tender so that they will puree easily.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JFC

            <I use this same preparation for my 15-month old...>

            I had to read that twice to make sure you weren't throwing the kid in the oven.

          2. Roast with fin herbs, salt and pepper, garlic, a little balsamic vinegar and oil. Use the juices that they release and make a viniagarette to put over some bitter greens and a little goat cheese.


            1. I don't boil or roast beets, I fry them. My beet of choice is the golden ones, and sliced about a quarter inch thick and fried in olive oil they turn a nice brown. I then remove those, add in the chopped beet greens and saute until tender. Add a little chopped garlic, salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic, combine with the beets and you have a warm salad or side dish. Put it all in the frig until chilled, top with feta or goat cheese and you have a cool salad. (I really hated beets until I discovered the golden ones and this cooking tachnique.)

              3 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                I've noticed that some people who don't like beets will like the golden beets. I love beets and really didn't enjoy the golden beets. I find them too sweet (tasted like carrots to me) and missing the earthiness of a purple beet.

                I prefer beets boiled with just a little butter and salt to finish. Any cooking method that adds sweetness is just over the top to me. Beets are sweet enough as they are (except for the big fat overgrown ones; they can be a little bitter).

                1. re: Sooeygun

                  That's why I like the golden ones. That earthiness of the purple ones is just too much for me.

                2. re: escondido123

                  Very interesting never thought of frying beets.

                3. I love roasted beets, cold or hot, but I got to say that boiled beets can be great too. It's all about making the boiling water sweet, salty, and tangy like a pickle brine. Any vinegar will do, but sherry vinegar is really nice with beets. Then add plain sugar until its a little sweet and a good bit of salt. If you boil them this way, it's better to peel them first. They're a bit harder (and messier) to peel when they're raw, but they'll turn out better that way.

                  You can use the pickled beets cold in salads or warm with things like sausages. The other bonus is that they'll keep well in the brine for a least a week, if not more.

                  1. I've roasted beets just once and we didn't care for them that way. I do the same,boil them, slip off the skins, then usually add some salt,maybe a little sugar, and then I put vinegar on them. Or just eat them plain. I'm going to have to go look and see if I have any beet pickles left.

                    1. I agree with many of the above - both way can be great! Boiled with a little vinegar is excellent, but roasting with olive oil, herbs, and sometimes potatoes is good, too. For roasting, I typically peel and quarter, rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and roast uncovered at 400 for 40 minutes or so. They can get a little more dry than the boiled or roasted in foil method, though.

                      I know the question was roasted vs boiled, but I also really like frying them in a little duck fat (really, what's NOT good fried in duck fat?). The idea from Alton Brown's Red Flannel Hash (diced beets and potatoes in duck fat - awesome!)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MarkInNM

                        As I posted, I've been frying the golden beets for years now. But duck fat....never thought of that. But with tomorrow being Farmers' Market day and I have duck fat in the frig, it looks like we have a perfect union. Thanks!

                      2. I used to boil them til I discovered that roasting makes them so much better. Cut off all but 1 inch of the top and the "tail" at the bottom, wrap in foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or more depending on size at 425. They're sooooo good.

                        I like to slice them, add sliced sweet onion, olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper for a great little side salad. Resting in the fridge this way only makes the flavors meld and the dish so much better.

                        1. When I roasted them , no one liked the way they looked and wouldn't eat them. I probably did something wrong. One year, our beets were very original. The deer pulled some up and ate the whole thing. Others they just bit the top of the beet. I had to cut all the tops of the beets off because they had deer bites in them. We're used to them eating the apples, corn, other veggies, but this was the first with the beets.

                          1. I love ALL firm vegetables roasted - cauliflower, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, potatos, sweet potatos....... And leftover roasted vegetables make a really nice soup.

                            1. i do a combo... sort of. i either steam, or nuke in the micro if i'm pressed for time, til just slightly tender. then i make three slices into each beet, not all the way to the bottom. i wedge a sprig of rosemary in each cut. i spray with a little shpritz of olive oil, then wrap in foil and roast at 375 F til they're done to my liking. sometimes 20, sometimes 40 minutes depending upon the beets and the day. often times i then sprinkle with chives and feta or goat cheese depending upon who i'm serving them too...

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Emme

                                Yeah, I was wondering if I was the only one who steams beets but that is my preferred method. I peel and cut them up first so the steaming doesn't take long and doesn't leach too much from them. Then I generally marinate them for use in my salads. I know roasting beets is the thing now but I personally don't think beets need to be sweeter. In general though, I am much more sensitive to sweetness than most people.

                                1. re: Lady_Tenar

                                  what do you marinade them in? I have experimented with beets - but it seems like a bit of orange zest or something would go well?

                                  1. re: sparky403

                                    Usually, just a mixture of red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and a little honey. (I know I said I'm sensitive to sweet but it doesn't so much make the beets taste sweeter as it just balances acidity of the vinegar and adds an extra layer of flavor.) Sometimes I do add a little fresh-squeezed orange juice or zest though, if I have good oranges around.

                                  2. re: Lady_Tenar

                                    I also choose steaming over the other methods mentioned. I like the cleaner taste of a steamed beet. Steamed beets work well if you want to prepare in an Eastern European style of grating them with a coarse grater (after steaming) and then toss with a mayo or sour cream, horseradish and dill mixture. Yum!

                                    1. re: ChervilGeorge

                                      Mmmm, horseradish would be good. I often dress my steamed beets in a mixture of yogurt and dill but I've never tried adding horseradish. I will now though!

                                2. The majority of the nutrtitional value is lost when the beets are boiled versus roasted.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: yasmingarcia73

                                    A long roast will destroy a lot of nutrition too, though. Not many people realize this.

                                  2. Delicious when boiled, but more so when roasted. The beet flavor and sweetness is concentrated during roasting, as opposed to loss through osmosis when boiled, unless the cooking liquid is well seasoned. I very lightly oil unpeeled beets, add a good handful of thyme sprigs to scent, a few skin on garlic cloves, some kosher salt, cover with foil and roast @ 425° until tender.

                                    A friend of mine tops the beets with a few teaspoons of anise seed prior to roasting. Throw in some orange peel or a cut up peel on orange or even a small dose of dill seed.

                                    I prefer to roast first, even when eventually adding the beets to a sauce or pickling brine.

                                    1. What about the pressure cooker? You leave the root and nubby end of the leaves on (no vitamin or flavor loss) and just cook for 25 minutes. Done. (less energy used too). Kuhn Rikon makes safe, easy to use pressure cookers...we would never boil or roast again (unless they were part of a root vegetable dish).

                                      1. I will stick to boiling after roasting beets once. The skin on the boiled beets peels off very easily, not so with the roasted beets.

                                        1. I like them both ways. However, if I need to keep the beets around for a recipe I am better off boiling them and peeling them after as you do.

                                          However, if I am just looking to use up some beets, roasting is my preferred method. I skin and quarter them ahead of time, and I find the roasting concentrates the sweetness and makes them shrivel a little bit. I find those little roasted beet quarters addictive and we tend to pop them like candy when they're cool enough to eat! So they never last long ;)

                                          1. I roast beets-roasting is easy to do and skins come off easily.
                                            Not too big of a clean-up with roasting and less chance of beets bleeding out.