These Icelandic pickled beets have a sweet and bold beet flavor, only slightly changed by a handful of pickling spices. This recipe includes two ways to pickle your beets: a refrigerator version and a safe-for-canning method. Enjoy your pickled beets on their own, on top of salads, or paired with some vegan artisan cheese.

Icelandic Pickled Beets [Vegan]


3 jars

Cooking Time



For the Refrigerator Version:

  • 5 cups cooked beets, washed, ends and roots left untouched
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon pickling spice

For the Safe-For-Canning Version:

  • 5 cups cooked beets
  • 1 1/4 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pickling spice


  1. Place beets in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and simmer 40 minutes until beets test tender with fork. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Wearing plastic gloves, peel beets.

To Make the Refrigerator Version:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, and pickling spice to a boil. Cover and continue cooking for 15 additional minutes.
  2. In your clean jars or in a large casserole dish, arrange alternating layers of beets and brown sugar. Cover with brine.
  3. Cover with lid, and let cool. Transfer to refrigerator, and let flavors meld for at least 24 hours. The beets will be ready to eat then though their flavor will intensify a bit with every day.

To Make the Safe-For-Canning Version:

  1. Place 3 clean 500 milliliters mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer. Set screw bands aside, and immerse sealing discs in hot, but not boiling water. Keep jars and lids sealing discs hot until ready to use.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, brown sugar, and pickling spice to a boil. Cover and continue cooking for 15 additional minutes.
  3. Pack beets into hot jars within 3/4-inches of the top. Add hot pickling liquid to cover beets, leaving a 1/2-inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Cover with hot sealing discs, and then screw bands just enough to meet resistance, do not tighten all the way.
  4. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining beets and hot brine. When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. Boil filled jars for 30 minutes.
  5. When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed for 24 hours. Do not retighten screw bands!


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