Does a Beet’s Color Affect its Flavor?

We tasted three common varieties—golden, red, and Chioggia—to find out.

While many supermarkets offer only red beets, there are many varieties of beets in different colors. We tried three of the most common: red beets, golden beets, and Chioggia beets (easily recognizable when cut by their concentric red and white circles). We sampled the three types of beets three ways: raw, roasted, and in our Marinated Beet Salad with Oranges and Pecorino.

Overall, tasters found the golden beets “less sweet” than red beets, with a stronger earthy flavor; one taster commented that they tasted “carrot-like.” In contrast, the Chioggia beets were “mild,” with a “bitter aftertaste,” but they got bonus points for their striking appearance when raw (the markings fade to a solid pink when roasted).

One plus is that neither golden nor Chioggia beets stain your hands and cutting board as dramatically as red beets do, making them neater and cleaner to cook with.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Golden beets are less sweet than red beets with a stronger earthiness, while Chioggia beets are milder.

RED BEETS: Sweet and “mineral-y”

GOLDEN BEETS: “Carrot-like” and less sweet

CHIOGGIA: Mild, almost bland

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