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These pickled red onions are packed with flavor and tang, and will add a delicious zip to any taco, salad, or sandwich.
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Ever since I learned how to make these pickled red onions, they have been a staple in my refrigerator. They are so bright, tangy, a little sweet, and sour. I put pickled onions on everything. They make a perfect topping for your favorite Mexican dish – tostadas, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, burrito bowls, and enchiladas. I also love them on salads, sandwiches, burgers, or wraps. I have also enjoyed them on potato salad, egg salad, and deviled eggs.
Ingredients in Pickled Red Onions
This pickled onions mixture is so easy to whip up, and with super simple ingredients. Here’s all you need for a mason jar full of beautiful pickled red onions:
- Sliced onion – You can pickle other types of onion, but I like using red. If you want to tame the red onion flavor a bit, then you can par-blanch them first. Boil two cups of water and put the onions in a strainer. Pour the boiling water slowly and evenly over the onions and let them drain completely before putting them in your glass jar with the brine.
- Vinegar – My favorite vinegar combo is red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. I like the slightly sweet and also fruity flavor. Also, I think they make the best pink color. If you don’t have those on hand, then use distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar. However, stay away from balsamic vinegar for this recipe.
- Sugar – I use granulated sugar in my recipe. However, you can use honey, pure maple syrup, agave, or any other type of sweetener substitution.
- Salt – You want to dissolve the salt completely so I use fine sea salt so that it dissolves quicker.
Variations to the Recipe
Make these Pickled Red Onions your own! Here is a list of ideas to take your onions to the next level. If you have any other additions you like, then tell us in the comments!
- Garlic Cloves
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Herbs like sprigs of Rosemary, Thyme, or Oregano
- Cumin Seeds
- Mustard Seeds
- Allspice Berries
- Star Anise
- Lime juice
For the perfect quick pickled onions recipe here are some simple tips to keep in mind:
- Pick the right onions – firm, bright purple onions work best.
- Slice the onion very thin – for best results, use a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer.
- Use the proper pickling liquid – make sure to have the right balance of sweetness, acidity and saltiness. Follow our recipe for the perfect blend of water and vinegar.
- For a sweeter flavor, add extra sugar or even honey.
- Extra savory or salty flavor – use kosher salt or sea salt.
- If you prefer extra spicy – add red chili flakes or sliced chili peppers to the pickling liquid.
- Add exra flavors – customize the flavor of your pickled onions by adding any of the flavors listed above. Mustard seeds, coriander, clvoes or black peppercorns are also terrific options.
- Store properly – Keep pickled red onions in Mason jar or other airtight container and store in the refrigerator. You can allow them to come to room temperature before serving, if you like. Pickled onions should stay fresh for up to two weeks.
Make Quick Pickled Red Onions
If you find yourself needing red pickled onions for dinner and you haven’t made them yet, don’t worry! You can make quick pickled red onions by adding heat. Mix the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, but not a full boil. Pour it over the onions and let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
You can use white vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or a combination of all three.
If stored properly in the fridge in an airtight container, these onions can stay nice and fresh for up to two to three weeks.
The pink color comes partially from the vinegar breaking down the red skin of the onion and partially from a chemical reaction between the vinegar and the onion cells. It doesn’t change the taste of the recipe at all.
What to Serve with Pickled Red Onions
Once you’ve got your red onion recipe made, you are going to want to put them on everything! Try them on top of some of our favorites.
How to Make Pickled Red Onions
Pickled Red Onions
- 1 glass jar with lid
- Place the sliced red onion into a glass jar with a lid.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegars, sugar, and salt. Pour warm water over the top. Mix until all the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Pour over the onions until they are all covered.
- Place the lid on the jar. Give the jar a little shake to make sure all the onions are coated with liquid.
- Refrigerate the jar overnight, or until the onions turn pink.
- Mix the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, but not a full boil.
- Pour it over the onions and let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge.
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