This pickled red onion recipe is so easy that you can make it in just 10 minutes! It will definitely add that kick, crunch, and tangy complement of condiment to your favorites such as sandwiches, burgers, and tacos. For me? This side is one of my go-to’s for any BBQ dish I bring to a cookout. Plus it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals!
Pickling has been around for thousands of years and a necessity to help preserve food for a long period of time. You know during those times they didn’t have refrigerators to keep their perishables and it was one way to keep their food from spoiling. The fermentation process creates good bacteria, which is why it’s so common in a lot of traditional food preparation techniques. I personally just love any side of the pickled dish. The balance of acidity in my dishes – especially eaten with my smoking recipes, it’s my taste bud’s cookout heaven!
Today, we commonly do pickling for gastronomic satisfaction. A sweet and tangy onion condiment that’s perfect on almost anything that you can add it into!
They are bright, crunchy & super delicious! These pickled onions don’t only taste good, but they can also brighten up your dish which for me is a must in food presentation.
So as I like to personalize my pickled onion recipe, I added a touch of pepper flakes to give it that hot and spicy kick to the already great tasting condiment…and Boy it was perfect! Once I served it with tacos (Grilled Jerk Chicken Tacos) for a snack…or (Smoked Turkey), my family devoured everything so quickly (even faster than making this recipe!) haha! I can’t blame them though because it’s really delicious!
What Is Pickling?
Preservation – Pickling is the process of preserving or extending the shelf life of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar. Foods that are pickled include vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Benefits Of Pickling
- Good Source of Bacteria – The fermentation process is a good source of bacteria that can help balance and maintain beneficial gut flora.
- Antioxidants – They also contain antioxidants and many of the nutrients present in the vegetables that are pickled.
- Can Be Soothing – The high concentration of electrolytes in the pickled onion may have a role in soothing restless leg syndrome. Who woulda thought?
What Do You Need To Pickle Onions?
- Red Onion – They are a bit like yellow onions in flavor when cooked, and slightly milder when served raw.
- Water – adding it will balance the vinegar solution base for pickling.
- White Vinegar – giving the onion a pleasantly tart pop of flavor.
- Granulated Sugar – contributes sweetness to the vinegar solution.
- Garlic – tart and pungent flavor addition to the vinegar solution.
- Salt – works as preservative and seasoning for the pickled onions
- Black Peppercorns – if freshly cracked before adding to the vinegar solution, it will release intense flavors when the centers open for the first time and oils excrete from each peppercorn too. Learn more about black pepper here.
- Pepper Flakes – adding a bit of spice and heat to the solution.
- Mustard Seed – mellow-tasting, a little spicy, and slightly sweet.
- Thyme – (optional) but I like to add this for that extra savory kick and aroma. You can check it out here (Thyme)
- Vinegar Varieties – such as red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white wine vinegar can be used as substitutes.
- Pink Peppercorns as a substitute for black peppercorns. They have a sweet and mild flavor and make a colorful addition to many dishes. Learn more about peppercorns Hummus.
- Other Herbs and Spices such as thyme, dill, chives, tarragon, and ginger can be added for a much “lemony” bold taste.
- Shallots can also be a replacement for red onions, it has a milder flavor and a hint of garlic taste.
Pickling Tips And Tricks
- No Metals or Plastic – Be sure to store your pickled onions in a glass or ceramic container. Most metals will react with the vinegar, and plastic containers will absorb the flavor.
- Boiling – your vinegar mixture will help combine the flavors of your ingredients.
- Distilled White Vinegar has a mellow aroma, tart acid flavor and does not affect the color of the light-colored thus retaining the color of vegetables and fruits.
How Long Do Pickled Onions Last?
Pickled onions are best consumed within the first week upon storage, but they keep for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.
What Do You Do With Pickled Onions
- Use as a condiment to top tacos, bean dishes, and rich mayo-based salads such as potato salad and coleslaw.
- Salad partner –Its tart flavor makes it a complementing ingredient into lettuce salads and grain salads.
- Perk up food – Their bright pink color, crunchy texture, and piquant flavor will perk up almost any dish.
- Sandwich it! They’re also perfect for serving with sandwiches especially those with rich meats, like this pulled pork recipe.
More Simple Home-Made Recipe
How To Make Pickled Onions?
Prep + Preserve
- Prepare onions. Peel and thinly slice onions to make onion rings then set aside. (Photo 1)
- Simmer the vinegar solution. Add all the ingredients together (except the onions) in a pot and bring the mixture to a simmer for 8 minutes. Then quickly blanch the onion rings in the hot vinegar mixture.(Photos 2-3)
- Transfer the pickled onion. Pour the simmered vinegar mixture over the onions once it’s cooled down. (Photo 4)
- Cover and preserve. Put the lid on and store it in the refrigerator. I recommend eating pickled onions after a day of preservation.
- 2 cups or 200 g red onion peeled, and thinly sliced
- 1 cup or 8fl oz water
- ½- 1 cup 4-8 fl oz white vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp or 25.20-37.80 g granulated sugar
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 tsp or 34.14 g salt
- 2 tsp or 4.66 g black peppercorns cracked
- ½ tsp or 1.65 g pepper flakes
- 1 tsp or 3 g mustard seed
- 1 sprig thyme optional
- Peel and thinly slice onions to make onion rings then set aside.
- Add all the ingredients together (except the onions) in a pot and bring the mixture to a simmer for 8 minutes. Then quickly blanch the onion rings in the hot vinegar mixture.
- Then transfer the onions in a glass jar. Pour the simmered vinegar mixture over the onions once it’s cooled down.
- Put the lid on and store it in the refrigerator. I recommend eating pickled onions after a day of preservation.
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