These flavorful pickled red onions are made with no added sugar. With a prep time of just 15 minutes, they are truly easy to make.
They are so delicious and they make a wonderful addition to any meat or poultry dish.
I love pickles. I think they add so much flavor to almost any meal. Maybe I get it from grandma Chava. One of my fondest childhood memories is having lunch at her place - thick slices of whole-grain bread topped with even thicker slices of briny feta cheese, with fat cucumber pickles on the side.
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.
You'll only need five ingredients (plus water) to make these tasty pickles. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Red onion: I haven't tried this recipe with yellow onions, though it just might work!
White vinegar: White wine vinegar also works in this recipe.
Kosher salt: If you use fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Seasonings: I use dried bay leaves and whole peppercorns. The bay leaves are nonnegotiable - they really enhance the flavor of these pickles.
Making pickled red onions is surprisingly easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your first step is to slice red onions, then place the slices in a jar.
Now, pour a hot liquid made of water, vinegar, salt and spices on top of the onions.
Let them rest for a few hours before serving. That's it!
It's fine to let the onions rest at room temperature for up to 2 hours. But if you'll keep them for longer than that, you do need to place them in the fridge.
Frequently asked questions
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. But you still need to keep these pickles in the fridge.
No. 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 don't use any sugar in this recipe, and I don't think that's a problem at all. These onions are absolutely delicious.
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.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- As discussed above, you can use differemt types of vinegar to alter the flavor and appearance of these pickles.
- Sometimes I add a few peeled garlic cloves to the jar.
- For a nice kick, try adding a sliced jalapeno or serrano pepper to the jar. Make sure to wear gloves when handling hot peppers.
Pickled red onions are wonderful when paired with just about any meat or chicken dish you can think of.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in a sealed glass jar, for about a week. They rarely last that long in our house, though. Since they go so well with so many dishes, we go through them pretty quickly.
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Pickled Red Onions
- 1 large red onion
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups water
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 6 whole peppercorns
- Peel the onion and slice it into thin, ⅛-inch slices. Separate the slices into rings and place them in a jar large enough to accommodate all of them (a 1-quart jar should work). Make sure you use a glass jar that can withstand hot, near-boiling water.
- 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. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to rest and slightly cool for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the liquid over the onions. With a spoon, press down on the onions to make sure they are well-covered.
- Close the lid tightly and allow the jar to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving. Alternatively, you can cool it at room temperature for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until ready to use. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to a week.