Pickled Red Onions are a simple and delicious recipe that are great any time of the year as a topping or add in to a variety of dishes. They are something friends kept asking me to make, but I kept procrastinating. I already make a pickled vegetable relish that contains onions, so I couldn’t understand what was the big deal about pickled onions. I thought they were pretty, but I wasn’t sure why I needed them. I should say that I wasn’t sure why I needed them until I tasted pickled red onions at someone else’s house. They were included in the toppings for tacos. One taste, and I was hooked. They were sweet, sour, salty, and garlicky. I may have even eaten some of the pickled red onions by themselves as a side dish. They were that good. So what if people stared? I was doing research for a future recipe. Totally justified behavior, right?
It took me a while to reverse engineer them, and create just the right balance of sweet, salty, and sour, but now that I’ve perfected them, creating a pint sized jar of pickled red onions has become a monthly task. I have to do this to ensure we always have them on hand. Sandwiches and tacos just aren’t the same without them.
What you will need to prepare pickled red onions
From the Pantry:
- Pepper Corns
- White Vinegar
From the Root Cellar:
- Red Onion
Pickled red onions are made from things that we always have on hand in our pantry. I admit that we don’t always have red onions on hand because we don’t use them as much as we use yellow, brown, or white onions, but it’s a simple matter to pick up a red onion, or two, during my weekly trip to the grocery store. I’m sure I could also make this recipe from brown, yellow, or white onions if I don’t have a red onion, but the red onions are so pretty.
How do you make pickled red onions?
This is really a simple process. The most time consuming part of making the onions is slicing the onions and peeling the garlic.
1. Slice the red onions and peel the garlic.
2. Put them in a glass bowl or other non reactive container.
Once the onions are sliced and the garlic peeled, place them into a glass bowel. I like to do this in my two cup glass measuring cup because it has a nice spout for pouring later in the process.
3. Mix together the brine ingredients and bring them to a boil.
The next step is to mix up the brine by bringing the vinegar, salt, sugar and black pepper corns to a boil on the stove, stirring frequently to ensure the sugar and salt are dissolved.
4. Pour the brine over the sliced onions and garlic.
Once the brine has boiled, Pour it over the onions and garlic in the bowl. I love this part because the warm brine intensifies the color of the onions.
5. Ensure the onions are submerged under the brine.
The next step is to use a spoon to ensure that the onions are all submerged in the brine, the you need to set a timer for ten to fifteen minutes and walk away. (I put a saucer over the top of the measuring cup to make sure that nothing fell or flew into the brine.) The spoon and pan that you use for this need to be non-reactive. I use stainless steel pans, but a glass pot works well, too.
6. Allow the onions and garlic to marinate in the brine for several minutes.
After the onions have set in the brine for about 10 minutes, they begin to shrink, and the color intensifies. I think they’re so pretty at this stage.
7. Store the onions in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
The next step is to pour them into a jar. Actually, I use a non-reactive fork to scoop them into the jar and pack them down, then I pour the brine over the top. You should allow the onions to cool to room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator.
You can begin to use the onions right away, but they have better flavor if they’re allowed to sit in the brine in the refrigerator for a few days. The longer they sit, the more pronounced the garlic flavor becomes, and we love the taste of garlic.
How do I use picked red onions?
Pickled red onions are delicious as an addition to nachos, hot dogs, salads, wraps, tacos, sandwiches, burgers. and even Asian inspired bowls. (I have used them in all of these places.) They add a tangy, pickled, taste that always leaves me wanting more. These easy pickled red onions are really amazing.
I love that simply adding pickled red onions to a sandwich can make even a simple sandwich, just meat and bread, taste amazing. They really are a must have condiment to have in your refrigerator, and they will keep for about a month if properly stored in the refrigerator. (Of course, they don’t always last a month in my house, but if they did...)
The only down side to these onions, is that the longer they sit in the brine, the more of the color leaches from the onions. It doesn’t affect their taste. In fact, the flavor intensifies the longer they’re in the brine. They just aren’t as pretty.
Have you ever tasted pickled red onions? How do you like to use them? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you make these, let us know how your recipe differs from ours, too. A traditional pickling brine could contain no sugar, and sometimes, pickle recipes contain whole allspice, mustard seeds, and bay leaves, too. The variations could be endless. Leave a comment to let us know your favorite version.
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Easy Pickled Red Onions
- 1½ – 2 cups red onion (This was about one medium red onion for me.) sliced about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. ($0.44)
- 1 large clove garlic ($0.09)
- 1 cup white vinegar ($0.17)
- 3 Tbl white sugar ($0.03)
- 2 tsp kosher salt ($0.01)
- ½ tsp black pepper corns ($0.05)
The following nutrition information is calculated for a two tablespoon serving of pickled onions (one-eighth of the jar) prepared according to the recipe above.
Disclaimer: Nutritional information is calculated using online tools such as those available at cronometer.com or verywellfit.com. We make every attempt to ensure that the information is calculated correctly, but this information should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. In addition, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition-fact sources, databases, and the algorithms used. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful. Under no circumstances will PattyCakesPantry.com be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information provided.