Harvard Beets are an amazing old-fashioned recipe that you will fall in love with. This is easy to make after you roast beets, and is a fantastic side dish.
I am a huge beet lover. My favorite way to eat them is roasted on my salads, but the possibilities are endless. Every single time I post my instructions on social media for how to roast beets, readers ask me if I have a good recipe for Harvard Beets.
Harvard Beets is an old school recipe that starts with roasted beets. You then make a rich sauce for them with sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and water. After adding the beets to the sauce you season it with cloves, butter, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. The result is a rich and delicious side dish that you will fall in love with.
How to Make Harvard Beets
This harvard beets recipe comes together in one saucepan in a few simple steps. For the full recipe including all ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Make the sauce. Bring the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and water to a boil and then simmer.
- Add the roasted beats. Simmer the beets and cloves in the sauce for about 30 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Taste and season as needed.
Buying and Storing Fresh Beets
When buying beets at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, here are few things to keep in mind:
- Look for a bunch of beets in which the beets are all relatively the same size. This will allow the beets to cook at the same rate.
- Beets are one of the easiest veggies to buy because it’s hard to find one that is bad.
- Beets keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Roast Beets
This recipe for harvard beets starts with roasted beets. You can do this ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator to save prep time when making Harvard Beets. I have a whole post on roasting beets, but here is a brief summary of preparing and baking them:
- Cut off the top and bottom roots and scrub the beet well to clean off any debris.
- Wrap each beat in aluminum foil and bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Pull them out of the oven, unwrap them, and peel off the skin.
How To Roast Beets
Using Canned Beets
This recipe can also be made with canned beets. They are already roasted, so you will be able to skip that step. Ensure that the beets you are buying are just beets and don’t contain any other ingredients. Drain them well before using them in the recipe.
Please note that this recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of raw beets. This is the equivalent of 478 grams or 1 pound of cooked beets.
Store any leftover harvard beets in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat portions in a small saucepan or in the microwave. As with all leftovers, use your best discretion.
Freezing Harvard Beets
Harvard Beets freeze beautifully. Freeze them in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then gently reheat on the stove top. You might want to consider freezing them in individual portions so you only need to thaw what you are going to eat.
What to Serve with Harvard Beets
There are so many recipes that would pair perfectly with this great side dish. Here are just a few that I love.
- Crockpot Pork Chops: Start these at the tail end of the cooking time for your pork chops for a great slightly sweet balance to this delicious dinner.
- Spatchcock Chicken: While your chicken roasts away, you can whip up some beets. They will be perfect alongside the chicken and veggies.
- Salisbury Steak: I just love the idea of serving two old school recipes, that have been tested and hold up today, next to each other. Perfection!
If you try this Harvard Beets recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar (66 grams)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (7 grams)
- 1/3 cup white vinegar (78.86 ml)
- 1/3 cup water (78.86 ml)
- 1 1/2 pounds beets roasted and cut into bite sized pieces (680.38 grams)
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (14.1 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (.66 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash black pepper
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. You should see consistent small bubbles.1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 1/3 cup water
- Turn the heat down to low, add the beets and cloves to the liquid, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.1 1/2 pounds beets, 3 whole cloves
- Add in the butter, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm.1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, dash black pepper