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Pickled Onions: the sweet and tangy recipe for pickled red onions

Total time: 20 min + chilling time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 20 people
By Cookist


Red onions
100 ml
1/4 cup
1 tsp

Pickled onions is a condiment you should have in your fridge at all times. Why? Because it’s just what you need to take your tacos, burgers, and salads to the next level. This is an easy and quick recipe. In fact, so easy, you’ll be wondering by you ever bothered with store-bought pickled onions.

These Pickled Red Onions are sweet and tangy, and add just the right amount of crisp to a dish. The pickled onions are made with vinegar, water, salt, and turns a bright pink. This is because the onions contain molecules called anthocyanins, which are very sensitive to acids. Simply mix together the ingredients, allow to sit for a few days and enjoy on tacos, burgers, or sandwiches!

These red pickled onions are so much tastier than anything you'll find in a supermarket. Once you discover just how easy pickled red onions are to make at home, you'll never buy store-bought pickled onions again.

Pickled Red Onion Ingredients

There are only 4 ingredients in this easy recipe for pickled onions. In addition to red onion, you'll need vinegar, saltwater.

Apple cider vinegar is the go-to for this recipe because of its mild apple flavor, but white vinegar, red wine vinegar, and others types will all taste great.

How to make Pickled Onions

After slicing the red onions into thin slices, they are mixed with the brine, which consists of water, vinegar, and salt. The onions are left to sit in the fridge for 3 days, which gives the brine enough time to work its magic. The red onions are now ready to enjoy!


Tips for making Pickled Red Onions

If you want to make the pickled onions to enjoy immediately, cook the onions in the brine until soft, then bottle.

For pickled onions, use red onions or Vidalia onions, White onions will be too sharp tasting. Make sure to slice the onions thinly. Use either a chef’s knife or a mandoline.

Use regular distilled vinegar or a mixture between apple cider vinegar and distilled vinegar.

For sweetness, add your favorite sweetener. Sugar is most common, but honey will add a subtle layer of flavor, as will maple syrup. Of you can use stevia or erythritol if you're looking to cut down on your sugar intake.

Because of the acidity from the vinegar, the onions will become softer, but will still remain somewhat crunchy.

The longer you leave the onions in the vinegar mixture, the more intense their flavor will be.

You can slice the onions a little thicker for a bit more crunch. If you do, let them pickle for at least 1 hour before tucking in.

Pickled Onion Variations

Spicy pickled onions: add coriander and cumin seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and celery seeds to the brine.

Mexican pickled onions: add sliced jalapeno, and coriander and cumin seeds.Nordic pickled onions: add fresh dill, caraway seeds, and peppercorn seeds.

Indian pickled onions: add fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and fresh cilantro.

How to use Pickled Onions

Add your homemade pickled red onions to just about any savory dish to give them a delicious tangy twist. They're amazing on sandwiches and burgers, as a pizza topping, in tacosburritospaninis, and barbecued meats such as BBQ chicken or barbecue ribs.

Use pickled onions anytime you'd use regular onions like mixed into a frittata, over a salad, in a wrap – anything goes!

How to store Pickled Red Onions

Store the Pickled Onions in the fridge for up to 2 months. They can be eaten immediately, but will develop more flavor as time goes by.



Cut the onions in half and then into slices. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline.


Fill two sterilized glass jars with the chopped onion.


Add a tablespoon of salt into each jar.


Next, pour vinegar. Top the bottles with water.


Refrigerate for 3 days and then they will be ready to enjoy.


Pickling is an age-old form of food preservation, and pickled foods are said to be good for the digestive system.

Make sure to sterilize the bottles and lids properly before you start filling them with the sliced onions and brine mixture.

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