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Quick Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled Onions

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Makes about 1/2 cup Servings


  • 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk first 3 ingredients and 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Drain onions before using.

,Photos by Christopher Testani

Nutritional Content

7 Servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 10 Fat (g) 0 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 0 Total Sugars (g) 2 Protein (g) 0 Sodium (mg) 280Reviews SectionGood simple recipe but why in the world is "1 cup of water" not in the ingredients list? Totally missed that it had to go in there when U got around to making it because I saw the ingredients list and remembered that the recipe is pretty much "mix everything together and wait"AnonymousYork, PA07/02/20I made it and it seems that this recipe is for a small red onion, since I used 3 onions but needed to have 5x the pickling liquid! Still, it's very straightforward and tasty and I'm looking forward to putting it on something instead of just snacking out of the containerAnonymousSaint Paul04/21/20Thanks for this. I didn’t have an hour so I microwaved everything for 90 seconds and let them cool down and they made the perfect sandwich topper.Absolutely delicious and easy! Just what I was looking for! I've made this a few times now and if you want a little more tang try going 50/50 apple cider vinegar and white vinegar.Absolutely delicious and easy! Just what I was looking for! I've made this a few times now and if you want a little more tang try going 50/50 apple cider vinegar and white vinegar.AnonymousIslamorada07/06/18

Something funny happened with this recipe. I actually had an entirely different version of it written and ready to post, and then the day before I was going to post it, I made tacos to drop off at my sister-in-law’s house.

She has two young boys, and I was being very conscious of making kid-friendly food. Instead of making these onions as tangy as I normally would, I made them a bit sweeter hoping that my 4-year-old nephew would actually eat some of them.

After trying this slightly sweeter recipe, made with only apple cider vinegar (no distilled white vinegar), and just a little bit more maple syrup, I fell in love! I kept going back for more of these onions and knew that I’d stumbled upon our new go-to version of it.

And yes, Cooper did eat them! Win-win in my book.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 ¼ pounds pearl onions, peeled
  • ½ cup salt
  • 3 cups malt vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice
  • 2 dried chile peppers, crumbled (Optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves

Place the peeled onions in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with cold water. Drain the water into a saucepan and stir in the salt. Bring just to a boil so that the salt dissolves, then cool slightly and pour over the onions. Cover the bowl with a heavy plate so all of the onions stay submerged. Leave onions to stand for 24 hours.

Measure the vinegar into a saucepan. Tie the pickling spice into a cloth and add to the vinegar along with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Rinse the onions and pat them dry. Add to the saucepan with the vinegar. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Pack the onions into sterile jars and ladle the brine over them until they are covered. Add a dried chile pepper to each jar if you like. Seal with sterile lids and rings and store in a cool dark place for at least 6 weeks before opening.

To peel the onions, trim off the root end but leave the onion layers attached. Cut a thin slice from the tops and place onions in a non-reactive bowl then cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 4 minutes, then drain. Skins should be easier to peel with a sharp knife.

Why I always have Pickled Onions in my fridge.

A day without pickled onions in my fridge is a sad day..
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Quick Pickled Onions Recipe

This recipe, from Raleigh, North Carolina chef Cheetie Kumar, makes vividly colored and flavored pickled onions that go with so many dishes, from curries to soups to tacos. &ldquoIt&rsquos strange how such a simple pickle has so much flavor and transforms into an electric hot pink color,&rdquo says Kumar. A salt rub helps break down and tenderize the raw onions down a bit and seasons them as well. And a marinade of fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar gives them a punchy acidity. Kumar adds ginger as well, for a spicy note. &ldquoIf you love the taste of raw ginger, you can dice the ginger into the onion mixture. I like the subtle heat it leaves behind after marinating and remove it and the pepper once the onions are finished pickling,&rdquo she says. The onions only require two to three hours of pickling in a ziplock bag at room temperature. Turn the bag occasionally as the onions sit to ensure that they are evenly pickled throughout. Once they are done, store them in the refrigerator and use within two days for the best taste and texture.

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  1. In a mixing bowl (preferable with a spout) measure and add sugar, salt, vinegar and warm water. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. Add sliced red onion to a jar or bowl. Pour pickling liquids over top.
  3. Submerge the onions and let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
  4. Use or refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.

Quick Pickled Onions - Recipes

Easy Quick Pickled Onions will instantly upgrade just about any dish. We love them on salads, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, pizzas, tacos, eggs and more.

With nearly 8 years of recipes, Tasty Yummies is filled with lots of main dishes and side dishes, special occasion recipes, treats, easy weeknight meals and loads of simple how-tos, but I am always trying to check back in with the staple foods that continuously make appearances in my own kitchen, that might be beneficial for you guys, too. The foods that are on repeat and that I continue to come back to. The ones that offer the most bang for the buck, in terms of flavor vs time involved to prepare.

Quick Pickled Onions are pretty high up on top of that list. Quick Pickled Onions, more specifically quick pickled red onions, these are something I love to have on hand for a pop of flavor and crunch whenever I need it. They are great on top of salads, wraps, burgers, shredded chicken or beef, tacos, pizzas, veggie bowls, on chili or soups and so on.

The nice part of Quick Pickled Onions is that they bring the crunch that fresh, raw onions do but the flavor is far more mellow and less intense. It doesn’t hang on your tongue the way that raw onions can.

When it comes to Quick Pickled Onions, the red onion is my favorite. White Vidalia onion is also really lovely. Yellow onion works but I find that it’s just a bit harsher of a flavor.

The Vinegar

I personally prefer apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, the red wine also really brings a nice vibrant color to the onions. You can also use rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, but best to avoid white distilled vinegar, it’s just far too an intense flavor. You can also use a splash of citrus like a squeeze of fresh lime juice or lemon juice, to layer the flavor.

Keep It Simple

I make my Quick Pickled Red Onions just with the vinegar, the onions and a little salt. If you want to season with a little sugar for some sweet balance to the vinegar, go for it. I personally don’t find that it’s necessary and I try to minimize unnecessary sugar in my life. You can also experiment with honey or maple syrup or other sweeteners, just start with very little and adjust from there.

If you want you can also add spices like peppercorns, allspice or cloves, bay leaves, fresh herbs or chili flakes, etc,

How-to Make Quick Pickled Onions

All you do is cut up your onion into slices. With a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer. You can also dice but I personally like the slices and rings better for layering on top of things. Add the onions to a glass jar or bowl. Next pour enough vinegar on them to cover the onions. That’s it. Then you give the vinegar a little time to do its job, it reduces the compounds that bring the typical intense flavor of a raw onion. While marinating in the vinegar the onions soften slightly and you are left with a pleasant burst of bright, tart flavor.

At a minimum, this takes about 15 minutes, though I like to leave for 30 minutes to an hour for THE BEST flavor.

Quick Pickling Other Vegetables

Check out my full how-to for quick pickled vegetables of any kind. These use a more traditional spiced brine, but it’s simple, easy and produces really great results, without the time of traditional pickling.

Super Quick Pickled Onions

So I included these super quick pickled onions in the Cuban Sandwich recipe... and LOVE them on that sandwich. But it turns out I love them on pretty much all the things I ever make. Ever.

Sandwiches, burgers, paninis, rice bowls, salads. Pretty much anywhere I would put red onions. Which if you know me, you know is EVERYTHING.

So they’re getting their own post. So I don’t have to keep explaining how they’re tucked inside the cuban sandwich post. This is sort of a thing I’m learning-as-I-go— over here in blogging land.

These onions though. They make my store bought chicken burger right here (obsessed with the Don Lee ones from Costco) all fancy and extra delicious. And since they’re always hanging out in a jar in my fridge now, they add so much to a meal for zero extra work! I’m a fan.

And they couldn’t be easier, throw together your vinegar, sugar, salt and water.. shake it in a jar, or whisk in a pyrex, and add a bunch of sliced red onion. Let it sit while you make your dinner and that’s it! Store in the liquid in your fridge for up to two weeks… maybe more but mine never make it past three days. Ha.

Sometimes I just throw new onions in the same liquid, that’s how lazy I am. So if I can pickle, you can pickle. But I’ll admit, they don’t pickle as well that way, so it’ll hold me over until I can drain and start fresh. Don’t sleep on these! Easiest way to elevate ALL THE MEALS.

How to make Quick Pickled Onions

Slice 1 red onion into thin rounds. Place the onion slices in a heat-proof container – I used these weck jars.

Heat up all of the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Then, pour the liquid over the onions. Cover them and let them come to room temperature on the counter – about 30 minutes.

Feel free to dig in at this point. BUT, you can also put them in the fridge and let them absorb more of the brining liquid.


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