These quick and easy pickled red onions are made with no sugar. They are so delicious and they make a wonderful addition to any meat or poultry dish.
Pickled red onions are very easy to make. I make them often because I really enjoy their unique flavor. I like them even better than these very tasty (and easy to make) quick pickles.
The ingredients needed to make this recipe
You’ll only need five ingredients (plus water) to make these tasty pickles:
- Red onion
- White vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaves
- Whole peppercorns
How to pickle red onions
Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. It’s a very easy recipe. Here are the basic steps:
- Place sliced red onions in a jar.
- Pour a hot liquid made of water, vinegar, salt and spices on top.
- Let rest for a few hours.
How quick pickling works
Quick pickling, or vinegar pickling, is a pickling method of heating up an acidic solution of vinegar, water and salt, then immersing vegetables in the solution.
The acidic solution changes the flavor and texture of the vegetables, and also acts as a preservative.
There’s no sugar in this recipe
Most recipes call for adding sugar – some for lots of it, some just a teaspoon. I’m trying to eliminate sugar as much as possible these days, so I do not use any sugar in this recipe, and I don’t think that’s a problem at all. These onions are absolutely delicious.
Can I use a vinegar other than white vinegar?
Yes! You can use red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or cider vinegar. White vinegar changes the color of red onions and turns them pink, as you can see in the photos.
So if you prefer a darker color, red wine vinegar is a good option. Apple cider vinegar might cause the red onions to darken a bit too much. But they will still taste good.
Onions are very healthy
Onions are rich in important antioxidants known as polyphenols. Research says that polyphenols from onions, turmeric, red grapes, and green tea lowered a marker for inflammation in the body.
Since chronic inflammation is extremely damaging to our bodies, it’s a very good idea to consume foods that lower inflammation.
What to serve with pickled red onions?
They are wonderful when paired with just about any meat dish you can think of. I like to serve them with grilled meats, so I often serve these pickled red onions when I make grilled chicken breast or grilled skirt steak. They are also good with slow-cooked pot roast.
Why not just buy pickled red onions?
One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s so easy. It requires a minimal amount of work and the results are so good.
It’s also good to make homemade pickles because store-bought ones often have not just sugar, but also preservatives and even added food coloring!
It really irritates me, the junk that some food manufacturers put in our food. The more we can rely on homemade food, the better. And while sometimes homemade takes time and effort, this is not at all the case with these pickled red onions.
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in a sealed glass jar, for about a week. They rarely last that long in our house. Since red onion pickles go so well with so many dishes, we go through them pretty quickly.
Pickled Red Onions
- 1 large red onion
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 6 whole peppercorns
- Peel the onion and slice it into thin, 1/8-inch slices. Separate the slices and place them in a jar large enough to accommodate all of them (a 1-quart jar should work).
- In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Add the bay leaves and the peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt dissolves.
- Turn the heat off. Pour the liquid over the onions. With a wooden spoon, press down on the onions to make sure they are well-covered. Close the lid and allow to sit at room temperature 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week.