Pickled Red Onions Recipe
Pickled Red Onions should be a staple in any kitchen. With only 6 simple ingredients you can turn ordinary red onions into this tangy, sweet topping that gives a nice crunch to various dishes!
Pickled red onions are definitely a staple in our house. If you love having homemade ingredients like this at home you should check out this fresh basil pesto too!
Pickled red onions go with just about anything! They are great to cut trough the richness of a meal or bring in a zingy freshness.
Use them to elevate your salads giving it some acidity and a nice crunch. Add them to sandwiches for that little extra flavor, serve it with a hearty meat dish like burgers or serve them on a charcuterie board. One thing is for sure tough, there is no tacos Tuesday without this delicious topping!
MAKE IT A MEAL
Make a tacos bar with all fixings including these pickled onions! All you will need are:
- Refried Beans
- Tomato Salsa
- Homemade Tortillas
- Filling like chicken, beef, lentils, cauliflower, beans, etc.
To make pickled red onions at home you will need 6 basic ingredients
- Red onions: Make sure you use fresh onions and cut away any blemishes. You do not have to use red onions, any kind of onion works. They are just the prettiest looking ones and in my opinion the best tasting ones too.
- Pepper: Use whole pepper corns of your choice.
- Salt: Use any salt you have around. We usually have Himalaya salt in our kitchen but you can use kosher salt, sea salt or any other salt.
- Sugar: White sugar will give the onions a slight sweetness that goes so well with the tanginess of the vinegar. You can adjust the sugar amount depending on how sweet or tart you like your pickled onions
- Vinegar: Any kind of vinegar can be used except for balsamic & malt vinegar. My favorite is white wine vinegar but you can also use rice vinegar, distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or even a mix of different vinegars. Apple cider is the sweetest of them all, so if you like it more sweet this will be your go to.
- Water: The water dilutes the string vinegar. Traditionally you heat up the water and vinegar to pickle your onions. Many recipes these days no longer do this step, as this recipe contains sugar the traditional method is my preferred way as it will dissolve the sugar easily.
How to make pickled red onions at home
It really could not be any easier to make pickled onions. There is no cooking involved and barely anything to clean up afterwards.
You will need a jar with a a lid that tightly seals the jar. Before using your jar make sure to sterilize it first. Here is a post explaining you the different ways to do that.
This would be the perfect opportunity to re-use your old jars. Recycling jars is not only cheaper but also better for the environment. We always keep some jars around for homemade jams like this plum jam or this mint extract.
This is how it is done:
Thinly slice your red onions. You want the slices to look like little moons.
I recommend using a mandolin to quickly cut them and get uniform slices. A sharp knife works just fine tough.
Add them to the jar.
Don’t be afraid to really stuff the jar with the onions. If you have more space you can add more onions. In the end you just have to make sure they are fully submerged in the liquid. Once pickled they will soften and therefore use less space in the jar.
Boil your water using a kettle. Alternatively boil it in a pan real quick.
Add the vinegar and the water to a measuring cup and mix. Pour most of it into the jar keeping a bit on the side. This will make it easier to stir.
To really make sure the sugar and salt dissolve well you could add them to the measuring cup now and mix till they are both dissolved. Then pour the whole mixture into the jar.
Add the pepper to the jar.
Add the salt of your choice.
Add the sugar.
Close the lid and shake the jar well. If you are not sure if the lid is tight enough that the liquid stays in the jar then simply stir it well with a spoon.
Pour in the rest of the water vinegar mixture in the jar. Close the lid, give it a last quick shake and let sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better the taste! I usually let it sit over night.
Keep your pickled onions in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Make sure your jar is clean before you fill it. Here is a post explaining you how to properly sterilize your jars.
For storage I recommend a jar with a rubber sealed top like the one in the photos. It seals the jar well and keeps the red onions fresh over a long time. Any other glass container like a mason jar works well too. If you do not plan on keeping the onions long and only make a small batch then you can also use a normal bowl or even a plastic container. Simply put cling film or wax paper on as a lid while letting it ferment.
What to do with pickled onions?
There are so many ways to use you pickled red onions. They are super versatile and give your dishes a nice pop of color and acidic freshness.
Here are some ideas for you to try:
- Mexican: My favorite way to use pickled onions is for any Mexican dish, especially tacos. There is no tacos Tuesday without them. Here is my favorite tacos recipe!
- Greek: They also go super well with Greek dishes. The acidic onions pair so well with the feta cheese.
- Sandwich: Serve them in a yummy sandwiches or on a toast. They go so well with avocado toast or this egg salad on toast.
- Salad: The onions are a great addition to any salad. Even better if it is a Greek style one.
- Meat: A hearty meat dish is even better with some pickled red onions! Put them on your burger with some coleslaw or serve them on a charcuterie board with some cheese.
- Breakfast: Try adding them to your eggs in the morning! Make breakfast burritos, add them to your scrambled eggs, there are so many options!
- Pizza: I haven’t tried this one yet but one of my lovely followers on Instagram suggested me to try this!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I pickle any onion?
A: You can pickle any onion. However, only red onions look that pretty and they taste the best.
Q: Can I cut my onions in a different way?
A: Yes, you can cut your onions however you want them to. Our family prefers them in the small slices as these are perfect for toppings on all dishes. Plus if you cut them this way you can stuff more onions into the jar.
Q: Can I leave out the sugar?
A: You can leave out the sugar. However, the slight sweetness will be missing in the flavor in the end and make the acidic onion flavor will be stronger. You could try using apple cider vinegar as it is naturally sweeter than just white vinegar.
Q: Can I quick pickle red onions?
A: Yes, this is possible. Quick pickling means you do not heat up the water and vinegar. Usually you need to wait longer to get the full flavor when using only cold ingredients. The hot water and vinegar help infusing the flavors and melting the sugar and therefore is my preferred way.
If you want to quick pickle your red onions simply add all ingredients to the jar, shake well and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, better 24h.
Q: Can I make a small batch or a big batch?
A: Yes, you can simply adjust the amount with the buttons in the recipe. Making big batches in a big jar works totally fine. However, we recommend using several jars as it is more convenient.
Pickled Red Onions Recipe
- Glass Jar (ex. mason jar)
- Sharp knive or mandoline
- Measuring Cup
- 2 medium Red Onions peeled
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 250 ml White Vinegar
- 200 ml Water
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Pepper
- Thinly slice your red onions. You want the slices to look like little moons. I recommend using a mandolin to quickly cut them and get uniform slices. A sharp knife works just fine tough.
- Add the sliced onions to the jar.
- Boil your water using a kettle. Alternatively you can boil it in a pan.
- Add the vinegar and the water to a measuring cup and mix well.
- Mix the sugar and salt into the water-vinegar mixture and stir till dissolved.
- Add the pepper to the onions.
- Pour the liquids over the onions making sure the onions are completely submerged.
- Close the lid and give it a good shake so everything is mixed well.
- Let your onions sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer they infuse the better their taste! I highly recommend letting them sit in the fridge over night.