Beet powder is a versatile ingredient with a wide range of culinary and health applications.
Made from dehydrated beets that have been ground into a fine powder, beet powder retains the vibrant red-purple color and earthy, sweet flavor of whole beets.
From adding visual appeal and nutrition to dishes to promoting heart health and athletic performance, beet powder can be used in many beneficial ways.
How Beet Powder is Made
Beet powder starts with whole, fresh red beets. These beets are washed, trimmed, and then dehydrated either by oven baking or air drying. Once completely dried, the dried beet chips are ground into a fine powder using a food processor or high-powered blender.
Beets have a high natural sugar content, so the powder is prone to clumping. To prevent clumping, manufacturers may add a small amount (less than 1%) of an anti-caking agent like maltodextrin. And that's how those vibrant red bits of beet powder are born!
Adding Vibrant Color with Beet Powder
One of the biggest benefits of beet powder is its ability to instantly add vibrant, natural red color to foods. The rich color comes from betalain pigments present in beets. Beet powder can add drama and visual appeal to a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Here are some ways to harness the color power of beet powder:
- Bake pink cake or cupcakes - Just a spoonful of beet powder can give your cake batter a bright fuchsia hue. Red velvet cake was originally dyed red using beet powder or beet juice.
- Make colorful pasta - Mix some beet powder into your pasta dough, ravioli filling, or gnocchi batter to create stunning red hues.
- Pink up desserts - Add beet powder when whipping up ice cream, pudding, pancakes, or yogurt for a vibrant color kick.
- Dye cocktails or smoothies - Blend some beet powder into your next smoothie or cocktail for drama and added nutrition.
- Replace synthetic food dyes - In baked goods, icings, juices and more, beet powder offers a natural alternative to artificial red food coloring.
Using just a small amount of beet powder can add striking, natural color. A little goes a long way towards transforming visually bland foods into eye-catching treats.
Nutrition & Health Benefits
In addition to adding vibrant color, beet powder nutrition is another major reason to add it to foods. Beet powder provides concentrated amounts of the same vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in whole fresh beets. Some of the top nutrients and health benefits offered by beet powder include:
- Dietary nitrates - Beets are rich in nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide to relax blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure.
- Antioxidants like betalains - These plant pigments act as anti-inflammatories and support detoxification.
- Vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium - Important for immune function, cell repair, bone health, metabolism and heart health.
- Iron and calcium - For healthy blood and bone density.
- Fiber - Promotes healthy digestion and gut microbiome.
Research suggests that thanks to its unique nutrient profile, beet powder offers these evidence-based health benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases blood flow and oxygen delivery
- Boosts stamina and exercise performance
So don't be fooled by its vibrant color - beet powder offers some powerful nutrition and wellness advantages!
Flavor Uses in Food and Drinks
In addition to nutrition and color, beet powder brings its own unique earthy, sweet flavor to foods and beverages. Here's how you can harness that flavor in your kitchen:
- Add to veggie burgers - Mix in up to 1/4 cup per pound of veggie burger mix.
- Toss with roasted veggies - Sweet, earthy beet powder complements roasting flavor.
- Blend into hummus - For a nutrition and flavor boost.
- Season meat rubs and marinades - Its subtle sweetness works well in savory rubs.
- Mix into granola or oatmeal - For an earthy flavor twist.
- Sprinkle on salads - Fresh lettuces love the sweet earthiness.
- Add depth and color to pasta sauce - Better than plain tomato sauce!
- Stir into vinaigrettes - Brightens up the flavor.
- Sweeten and dye cocktails - Swap in for grenadine or other sugary liqueurs.
The flavor potential doesn't stop there. Get creative with adding beet powder into soups, smoothies, curries, baked goods and more for flavor and nutrition.
Key Takeaway: Thanks to its bright color, earthy sweet flavor and dense nutrient content, beet powder has become a versatile and popular ingredient.
Creative Ways to Cook and Bake with Beet Powder
From breads to brownies, beet powder brings vibrant color, tender texture and moistness to all kinds of baked goods. Some tasty ways to bake with beet powder:
Beet Powder Baking Uses
|Muffins & quickbreads
|Bright color, moist texture
|Chewy texture, color
|Cakes & cupcakes
|Color, moisture, structure
|Frostings & fillings
|Homemade food coloring
|Replace artificial dyes
When baking breads like sandwich loaves, the natural sugars in beet powder encourage faster rising for better oven spring and lift. The powder also retains moisture. This makes beet bread incredibly soft with fantastic texture.
Beet powder brings similar benefits to muffins, pancakes and other baked goods. And using beet powder means avoiding artificial dyes. Try working up to 1/4 cup beet powder into your next baking recipe for maximum visual impact and added nutrition.
Athletes Love Beets for Performance
Due to their natural nitrate content, beets have become a popular performance-boosting superfood among athletes. Consuming beets can improve oxygen circulation, increase muscle efficiency, boost endurance, and speed recovery.
Research confirms that compared to placebo groups, athletes who consumed beet juice or beet powder supplements before workouts enjoyed these performance perks:
- 16% longer endurance
- Lower blood pressure
- Less exertion during exercise
- Increased power output
- Quicker sprint times
The performance advantage stems from dietary nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide to relax blood vessels. This leads to better circulation during workouts. More oxygen-rich blood reaches muscles, allowing them to work more efficiently.
Many performance supplements now contain beet powder or juice. But beet powder on its own can provide an affordable, all-natural way for athletes to enhance workouts.
How to Use Beet Powder
Interested in harnessing the vibrant color, nutrition, and performance advantages of beets? Here are some tips for cooking and baking with beet powder:
- Start small - Add just 1/2 to 1 teaspoon at first, adding more to reach desired color intensity.
- Mix, don't dump - Thoroughly incorporate powder to evenly distribute color and flavor.
- Consider flavor impact - In some recipes, too much beet flavor can overpower.
- Try smoothies first - They easily blend in color, flavor and nutrition.
- Boost banana bread - Beet powder loves baking with banana!
- Play with patties - Veggie, bean or grain patties love beets.
- Make pink sports drinks - Athletic beet performance in a bottle!
Have fun with experimenting by adding beet powder to more foods and drinks. Its color and nutrition can brighten up the flavor and health profile of just about anything.
How much beet powder should I eat per day?
There's no official recommended daily amount, but 1 to 3 teaspoons per day can provide color, flavor and concentrated nutrition. High-performance athletes may consume 1 tablespoon or more. Start small and work upwards to find your preferred dosage.
Does beet powder need to be refrigerated after opening?
An unopened bag of beet powder can stay fresh in a cool, dry pantry for up to a year. After opening, for maximum shelf life and flavor store beet powder in the refrigerator. It will keep for 8 to 12 months chilled.
Can I substitute beet powder for fresh beets?
Yes! One teaspoon of beet powder contains the juice and nutrients from one whole beet. When using beet powder instead of chopped beets, use a 1:1 ratio.
What's the best way to incorporate beet powder into smoothies?
Smoothies offer an easy way to add beet powder. For one serving, start by blending 1 teaspoon powder with frozen fruit, juice and/or milk. Increase powder amount to reach desired flavor and color intensity. Straining removes texture variations if the bits of powder are undesirable.
What do beets taste like?
Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor that's slightly tart. When using beet powder, go light on the amount added until you adjust to the flavor. Overdoing beet flavor can overpower a recipe. Adding acidic ingredients like lemon or ingredients like cocoa can help balance out beet flavoring.
Can I bake with beet powder instead of using food coloring gels orpastes?
Yes, absolutely! In baked goods especially, beet powder gives items like cake batter or icings a naturally vibrant hue while avoiding artificial colors. Use about 1 teaspoon per cup of dry ingredients like flour or 1 tablespoon per 1 cup icing sugar. Adjust to reach desired color depth.
Is beet powder just for coloring food or does it provide nutrition?
Beet powder offers concentrated amounts of the same important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fresh beets. It delivers more than visual appeal - it boosts the nutritional value of foods it's added to. It's an easy way to add nutrition from beets without their high sugar content and carbohydrates.
From adding natural, plant-based color to foods to boosting nutritional content and athletic performance, vibrant beet powder has become a versatile ingredient with a wide range of uses in the kitchen.
Thanks to its health benefits and ability to instantly dye foods, beet powder appears poised to keep growing in popularity.