How to Pickle Onions

Katie Goodman | Good Life {eats}
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Ever wonder how to pickle onions? It's easier than you think, and SO tasty!

Pickled Red Onions Photo

I recently posted on Instagram that I had just made pickled red onions for the first time. I had no idea how easy this was, otherwise I would have been making them for a long time!

Making pickled onions really only takes a couple of minutes - it probably took me longer to photograph them than make them, and writing this post about pickled onions definitely took longer than the actual pickling did.

How to Pickle Onions

Vinegar

In this recipe I used a mixture of malt vinegar and red wine vinegar, but you can experiment with other vinegars as well, such as white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. I would stay away from regular white vinegar as I think it would be a little too strong.

Sugar

Sugar isn't necessary but I think that it helps to balance to vinegar. In this recipe I chose to use some maple syrup. It was an easy addition since it was already in liquid form. You can try honey, agave, or just regular sugar as well (make sure you dissolve that into the vinegar).

Other Flavors

I had some fresh rosemary on hand so I added a few very small sprigs of that along with some salt, fresh garlic cloves, allspice berries and peppercorns. Other herbs, such as oregano, bay leaf, or thyme would work. Get creative! Want something spicy? Try adding some dried peppers. Want something holiday-esque? Try dried orange peel and cloves.

How to Store

Pickled onions are best stored in glass containers, such as a mason jar. I love my Weck Jars so I used one of those. Keep them in the refrigerator after preparation and in between uses. They won't last indefinitely since you're not actually canning anything in this recipe, but with the vinegar's acidity a batch of pickled onions will last at least a couple of weeks - if you don't eat them sooner that is!

I'm really glad that I learned how to pickle onions because they've been a great addition to a lot of recipes. It just gives the overall flavor of the meal a little extra oomph if you know what I mean. And they were a HUGE hit - not a bite left over - with my friends at the cheese party I hosted. I paired them with thin sliced roast beef and some horseradish cheddar.

Pickled Red Onions Picture

How to Use Pickled Onions

There are so many uses for pickled onions. Some of the ways I've been enjoying them lately are on deli style sandwiches, on a big crusty roll with shredded BBQ chicken in salads, as an accompaniment to a cheese tray, and on tacos, like this recipe for lemon pepper tacos with cilantro-lime slaw.

Have you ever pickled onions? How do you eat them?

Pickled Red Onions Recipe

      32 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Red Onions, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Malt Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Peppercorn
  • 1/4 teaspoon Allspice Berries
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, small
  • 3 cloves Garlic, peeled

Directions

  1. Prepare a pot or kettle of boiling water.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the vinegars, syrup and salt in a glass measuring cup. Stir to combine and dissolve the salt. Add the remaining seasonings (peppercorns, allspice berries, rosemary, and garlic) Set aside.
  3. Set a small strainer inside a medium bowl. Place the onions in the strainer. Pour the boiling water over the onions. Carefully (using an oven mitt if needed) lift the strainer out of the bowl. Discard the hot water.
  4. Add the onions to your desired glass container. I used a medium sized glass Weck canning jar. Pour the vinegar mixture over top of the onions, gently mixing to distribute the flavors.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using. Keep refrigerated in between uses. Onions will keep for approximately 2 weeks.

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Katie Goodman

About Katie

Katie's been blogging over at Good Life {Eats} long enough that we think she's an expert in, well, everything! She's our local How-To gal, with some family meals and snacks thrown in too.