Learn how you can cook whole beets in the microwave in just 15 minutes. The beets come out tender and easy to peel to use in salads, dips, or as a delicious side dish.
I am a big fan of beets and I love creating a variety of recipes with them. And again, when I decided to make my favorite beet salad to enjoy with my dinner, I realized that I was out of cooked beets. And they take about 30-40 minutes to boil.
Of course, I could buy already precooked beets in the grocery store, but it means I need to get there, and to be honest, they do not taste as great.
I prefer cooking beets myself. Luckily, this time I remembered a faster way to prepare them - in a microwave. They come out perfectly sweet, and tender and you will need only 15 minutes.
Microwaved beets are very versatile because you can use them to make salads, soups, sandwiches, pancakes, desserts and so much more.
Boiling them whole is the best and the longest way to cook them if you want to preserve their color, flavor, sweetness, and nutrients.
But a microwave will give you the same result, but much faster.
That's why, if I need a perfectly cooked beet for making one of my favorite recipes without delays, I use the microwave method.
It is the fastest way to cook them whole. I hope you try it too and one of our favorite recipes with this delicious vegetable.
How to use cooked beets
It may come as a surprise, but cooked beets are incredibly versatile and can be used in so many dishes beyond just salads, at least in my kitchen.
Their sweet and earthy flavor, coupled with vibrant color, makes them a unique addition to numerous recipes for any course of the meal.
- Salads and dips: German beet salad, Ukrainian vinegret salad, herring under a fur coat, arugula and beet salad, Turkish beet salad, beetroot hummus.
- Mains: beetroot risotto, pasta with beet sauce, beetroot patties.
- Breakfast: beetroot pancakes, beetroot waffles.
- Dessert: chocolate beet cupcakes with cream cheese icing
For full information on ingredients and quantities please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Beets: choose the same size beets for even cooking. The smaller the beets, the sweeter they taste once cooked. Larger beets will take about 15 minutes, while smaller ones about 10 minutes to cook.
- Water: always add water to the bowl, so the beets do not dry out, but steam instead.
- Salt: optional, for seasoning if serving as a side dish.
How to microwave whole beets
Cut off the beet greens if present. You can discard them or use them in soups and stews. Wash and scrub the beetroot well under cold water, to get rid of any dirt.
Place beets (or a single beet) in a microwave-safe dish and add about 1 cup of water. It should be enough to cover them halfway and the beets need to be in a single layer.
Now, use another microwave-safe dish or a microwave-safe lid and cover the bowl with beets. I used a smaller bowl as a lid. You can also use plastic wrap to cover them.
Make sure there are tiny openings or gaps to allow steam to vent, allowing pressure to dissipate while cooking.
Place covered beets in your microwave oven and cook them on high between 10-15 minutes. The time can vary depending on the size of the beets and the type of the microwave.
Smaller beets take about 10 minutes to cook and larger ones about 15 minutes. Insert a fork or a knife to check. If it goes in easily, the beet is cooked. If not, microwave it for another minute or more.
After it is cooked, cover it back and let it rest for about 10 more minutes. Now, you can peel and serve it as a side dish with olive oil and salt, or use it in other recipes. Once you cook them a few times in a microwave, you will know the exact cooking time that works for you.
How to microwave diced beets
I do not often cook diced beet, as it loses its bright color and sweetness when cooked peeled or diced. But If you happen to have peeled and cubed beets, you can also use the microwave to cook them.
Place peeled and diced beets in a microwave-safe bowl, and add about ¼ cup of water. Cover the bowl and microwave them on high for about 5 minutes or until tender.
- Always add water to the bowl for cooking the beets in a microwave.
- If cooking more than one beet, make sure they are the same size.
- Adjust the time depending on the side: large: 15-17 minutes, medium: 12-15 minutes, small 10-12 minutes.
- If you like the beet very tender, add about 2 minutes of cooking time.
- Check if done, by piercing it with a fork. If it goes on easily, the beets are ready.
- Once the microwave beeps, let the beets stay covered for 10 more minutes.
- Use disposable gloves and a glass or plastic cutting board when handling the beets to prevent your hands and kitchen equipment from staining.
How to store and reheat
Cooked beets last in the fridge for about 3-5 days, when stored in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. You can also peel, cube, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Most of the time, I use them cold for salads, but they reheat very well in a microwave if you serve the beets as a warm side dish.
Frequently asked questions
Cooking time for microwaving whole beets ranges between 10-15 minutes, depending on their size and type of microwave oven.
Yes, it is advisable to add approximately 1 cup of water to the bowl when microwaving beets. This helps retain their moisture and preserves their vibrant red color.
You can determine if the beets are done by inserting a fork or a knife into the middle of the beet. It it easily pierces through without resistance, and the beets are cooked and tender. Alternatively, you can scrape the skin off a small area, and if the skin easily comes off, they're likely cooked.
To preserve their color and flavor, I recommend peeling them after cooking. When the beets are cooked, the skin easily comes off.
How to Microwave Whole Beets
- 1 microwave-safe bowl
- 1 microwave-safe lit or plastic wrap
- microwave oven
- 2 medium or small beets
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper (optional, for seasoning)
- Trim the beets greens if they are still attached. Wash the beets thoroughly under cold running water.
- Add washed beets to the microwave-safe bowl in a single layer. Pour one cup of water, just enough to cover the beets half way.
- Cover the bowl with a microwave safe lid or a plastic wrap. Ensure there are small vents or gaps for steam to escape, allowing pressure to release during cooking.
- Place the covered bowl in a microwave oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Smaller beets may be ready in 10 minutes, while medium and larger ones may take around 15 minutes. Pierce the beet with a fork to check if done. If it does not go in easily, continue microwaving in short 1-minute intervals until they are done.
- Once cooked, let them sit covered for another 10 minutes. Open the lid and et them cool down little bit until safe to handle. Peel and serve.