Pickled beetroot

Inlagda rödbetor

Pickled beetroot

With a very harsh climate Swedes had to learn to preserve foods to see them through their long hard winters. Although this is no longer necessary, the Swedes have developed a great affection for the old fashioned ways of preserving, including pickling.

Beetroots are particularly sweet and benefit from being paired with something acidic, which is why Swedes have a long tradition of pickling them.

Pyttipan with fried eggs and pickled beetroot

Pickled beetroots are used as an accompaniment to classic Swedish dishes such as pyttipanna (a kind of Swedish hash/fry-up) and as an ingredient in biff à la Lindström (a classic Swedish burgers). John Duxbury


Recipe summary for pickled beetroots


• The recipe below has been adapted from Morberg lagar husmanskost, but there are many different spices used in Sweden to pickle beetroot. For instance, instead of the spices below you could use:
- half a teaspoon of whole white peppercorns,
- 10 cloves,
- 1 teaspoon of whole white peppercorns and 40 grams of sliced ginger or horseradish,
- 1 or 2 star anise and a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns.

A bottle of Winborg's 12% vinegar

• Swedes normally use a 12% strength vinegar when pickling, but it can be hard to obtain in many countries, so I have suggested using a 5% strength vinegar as it is readily obtainable. If you can find 12% vinegar (Swedes call it ättiksprit), I recommend using it instead. In step 3: replace the 750 ml (3 cups) of 5% vinegar with 250 ml (1 cup) of ättikspirit and 500 ml (2 cups) of water.


1 kg (2¼ lb) beetroot, preferably golf-ball sized
1 tsp   salt
750 ml (3 cups) clear distilled malt (spirit) vinegar (5%)
300 g (1¼ cups) caster (superfine) sugar


10   whole white peppercorns
3   cloves


Beetroots waiting pickling

1. Rinse the beetroots, but leave a short length of the root and the tops on them.

Beetroots being boiled

2. Place the beetroots in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Add the salt and boil until just tender. This will depend on size, variety and freshness and can vary from about 10 minutes up to nearly an hour. They need to have a little bite so don’t overcook them. When they are cooked, drain off the liquid and set aside in case you want to use it later. Leave the beetroots to cool.

Making the pickling solution

3. Meanwhile, boil the vinegar, sugar and spices in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. When it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and leave to cool.

4. Wash a couple of preserving jars, sufficient for about 700 ml (3 cups). Place the jars in a warm oven for about 10 minutes to sterilise them and sterlise the rubber seals in boiling water.

Scrapping the skins off the beetroots

5. When the beetroots are cool, scrape the skins off. Slice the beetroot into 5 mm (¼”) thick slices or leave them whole if they were golf-ball sized originally. Pack them into the sterilised jars, pressing them down to get as much beetroot into each jar as possible.

6. Pour the vinegar mixture into each jar. If there is not enough, top up the jars with boiling water.

Two jars of pickled beetroot

7. When the jars are cold, seal them and leave the beetroot to rest for at least a week before serving.


  printer version.pdf

Phone-and-tablet-h32  phone & tablet version.pdf



SwedishFood.com is run by a not-for-profit company set up to help English speakers around the world who would like to learn more about Swedish food. If you like the site please help us to promote it and bring Swedish food to a bigger audience by following us on:

 Facebook logoTwitter logoPinterest logo

John Duxbury
Editor and Founder