Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are one of the most versatile pickles. Its uses are endless: put them in a sandwich or a burger; use as a condiment/garnish on a taco, potato salad, or a grain bowl. It’s an excellent way to introduce acidity and texture as well as a counterbalance against anything rich or heavy. Plus, its vivid pink color is always visually stunning!

This recipe is a simple starting point for any type of pickle. While we use it for red onions in this recipe, it can be used to pickle many other ingredients including cauliflower, fennel, carrots, etc. 

And don't be afraid to experiment and tweak to your liking! Want a bit more complexity? Mix different types of vinegar (champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, etc). Like it a little sweeter? Add more sugar or other sweetener. How about a little kick? Add some red pepper flakes or fresh chiles. A bit more color? Add some dried hibiscus flowers for a deeper reddish color. The possibilities are endless!

Pickled red onions on a small plate

INGREDIENTS*

1 large red onion, 400 grams (sliced)

Pickling liquid
300g vinegar (we prefer champagne vinegar but you can use any vinegar. Pro-tip: combine 2 different types of vinegar for more complexity in flavor)
160g water
50g sugar
10g salt (or to taste)

Optional ingredients to add different flavor profiles and complexity:
Herbs/spices (fresh or dry: oregano, dill, parsley, oregano, etc)
Black peppercorn
Red pepper flakes
Mustard seeds
Bay Leaf

Garlic
Hibiscus

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice red onions. Remove both ends from onion and halve from root to stem. Thinly slice either in half moons (along the equator) or from root to stem (pole to pole) approximately ⅛” to ¼” inch thick. 
  2. Blanch red onions. Bring a medium pot of water to boil to blanch the red onions. This step will help cut the raw onion flavor for those who prefer a milder tasting pickle. If you don’t mind the raw flavor of onions, feel free to skip this step. Once the water is at a boil, submerge onions for about 10-15 seconds. Strain and transfer into a large jar or divide into two smaller jars.
  3. Boil pickling mixture. Whisk all the ingredients for pickling liquid in a pot and bring to a boil making sure salt and sugar dissolve.
  4. Pour hot pickling liquid over onions making sure to cover the onions. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes for the temperature to slightly cool before covering and storing in the refrigerator. They can be used after 30 minutes but taste best after it sits for a few days. This will give it the time to pickle the onions all the way through and for all the flavors to meld together as the onions also release their liquid into the brine. They will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator but will be best within the first week.

Tip: When you finish your pickles, save the pickling liquid to make salad dressings or use for any recipes that call for vinegar! 

* We recommend using weights as a measurement for more consistent and precise results when following recipes.

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