Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Is There a Difference?

Written by August Buck
Updated: July 10, 2022
Image Credit julie deshaies/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:

Whether you are an avid home chef or simply want to learn more about plants, do you know all of the differences between a golden beet vs red beet? These often misunderstood root vegetables deserve some attention, especially if you aren’t sure what makes them so unique compared to one another!

In this article, we will compare and contrast all of the things you need to know about golden beets and red beets. This way, you’ll gain a full understanding of both of these roots in case you want to cook with them. These two veggies may be more similar than you first thought- but let’s find out in what ways now!

Comparing Golden Beet vs Red Beet

Golden Beet vs Red Beet
While there is no scientific classification difference between these two beet varieties, golden beets are inherently yellow in color, while red beets are red.

A-Z-Animals.com

Golden BeetRed Beet
ClassificationBeta vulgarisBeta vulgaris
DescriptionGolden yellow in color, with large edible leaves sticking out from the ground. Has distinct rings inside of the beet itself when slicedDeep red or purple in color, with large edible leaves sticking out from the ground. Frequently bleeds on things when cut into, and has rings when sliced
UsesCulinary uses are nearly identical to red beets, but golden beets are slightly sweeter for the chef who’s curious!Many culinary uses include roasted in salads or sides, soup, vegetable sides, pickled beets, and much more. Also used to dye food items naturally.
Hardiness Zones2-112-11
Taste and TextureFirm and crisp texture with a mildly sweet, earthy flavor. Often compared to walnuts in terms of their earthiness and nutty profileFirm, slightly slimy texture, with a rich earthy flavor. Slightly bitter compared to golden beets, but pairs wonderfully with other vegetables and flavors

Key Differences Between Golden Beet vs Red Beet

golden beet vs red beet
Red beets are more frequently used compared to golden beets.

TalyaAL/Shutterstock.com

There are a few key differences between golden beets vs red beets. While there is no scientific classification difference between these two beet varieties, golden beets are inherently yellow in color, while red beets are red. In addition, golden beets have a slightly sweeter flavor compared to the deep and earthy red beet. Finally, red beets are more frequently used compared to golden beets.

Let’s take a look at all of these differences in more detail now.

Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Classification

There is no technical classification difference between golden beets and red beets. They are both classified as beta vulgaris, though the number of different varieties or types vary from one another. For example, there are at least a dozen different types of red beet, and nearly as many golden beet varieties as well. There are also white beets available, but this is the third and final color that beets come in.

Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Description

golden beet vs red beet
Golden beets are always going to be a yellow or golden color, while red beets are always a deep red or purplish hue.

LifetimeStock/Shutterstock.com

Given the fact that golden beets and red beets are essentially the same plant, you may be wondering how their physical descriptions differ. The primary difference? They are different colors, and it is obvious if you compare red beets and golden beets side by side. The leaves that sprout above ground look nearly identical to each other, depending on the variety, but the root or bulb appear very different.

For example, golden beets are always going to be a yellow or golden color, while red beets are always a deep red or purplish hue. They both have unique and attractive rings inside of the root once sliced, making beets an eye-catching addition to any salad, no matter if you choose golden or red!

Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Uses

golden beet vs red beet
Besides use in a culinary capacity, red beets are also utilized in various dyeing processes, especially with food, while golden beets are not often used for this.

Ollinka/Shutterstock.com

Both red beets and golden beets have similar uses in the world, though red beets are used far more commonly than golden beets are. If you choose to use either of these two vegetables in a culinary setting, their flavor profiles are similar enough to use interchangeably. However, golden beets have a slightly sweeter flavor compared to the deep and earthy red beet, so this is something to keep in mind if you want to cook with them. 

Besides use in a culinary capacity, red beets are also utilized in various dyeing processes, especially with food, while golden beets are not often used for this. This is likely due to the fact that red beets bleed far more than golden beets do, which is also something to keep in mind if you plan on cooking with either of them! 

Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Hardiness Zones

Both red beets and golden beets have identical hardiness zones, which is essentially where they grow best. Depending on the variety, you may find that some beets prefer different zones, but golden beets and red beets grow best in hardiness zones 2 through 11. You may even be able to grow beets year round if you live in zones 9 or 10!

golden beet vs red beet
Many people report that the golden beet has a slightly sweeter flavor compared to that of the red beet.

julie deshaies/Shutterstock.com

Golden Beet vs Red Beet: Taste

Arguably the primary difference between golden beets and red beets has to be their flavor. The taste of the red beet differs slightly from the taste of the golden beet, though you may not notice unless you are doing a side-by-side taste test. However, many people report that the golden beet has a slightly sweeter flavor compared to that of the red beet. 

Just doesn’t stop the red beet from being the most popular beat used around the world, both in a culinary capacity and in a practical one. However, the golden beet is a wonderful alternative to the red beet if you are seeking something less earthy and bitter. The golden beet has a lovely nutty profile, with more natural sweetness compared to the rich depth of flavor offered by the red beet.

Share this post on:
About the Author

I am a non-binary freelance writer working full-time in Oregon. Graduating Southern Oregon University with a BFA in Theatre and a specialization in creative writing, I have an invested interest in a variety of topics, particularly Pacific Northwest history. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping along the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my home kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast iron skillet.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.