The best condiment you’ve never tried

pickled onions in a jar

If you’ve never tried pickled onions, you may think they sound… weird. Yucky even. But they have a light, sweet-zingy flavor that adds a little spark to anything you top it with. Plus, they are SUPER easy to make!

These are scrumptious on submarine sandwiches! Or try them on/in salads (like my no-mayo tuna salad), drizzled over fresh tomatoes, or include them in your taco bar. They’re also tasty diced and used on various appetizers: deviled eggs, or mini tostadas with guacamole, for example. For the grain-free or Paleo peeps, sliced radish or jicama can stand in for chips.


pickled onion, avocado, radish appetizer

Yes, there’s sugar in this recipe, but it’s really essential to the flavor. If you’re using these as a condiment, the amount of sugar actually ingested is very minimal. You could substitute honey if you like. Maple syrup would ruin the color, though.

Here’s what they look like when freshly made:


pickled onions in a jar

As they steep, the color from the red onions evens out, coloring the rest of the onion and the pickling solution, too. Bonus: When the onions are gone, you’re left with a lovely flavored vinegar to use in slaw or salad dressings. It would be fabulous in my creamy Italian dressing, or dump Ranch.

Pickled onions recipe

For each pint:

1/3 c. rice wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar (you may need a little more, depending on how tightly you pack the onions)

1 T. sugar

2 generous pinches of coarse salt (or 1 pinch of table salt)

3 generous pinches of dried herbs*: rosemary, basil or thyme

ground pepper to taste (three to five grinds, probably)

1 med. onion (any round onion will do, but red onion makes it pretty)

1. Combine vinegar, sugar and herbs in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave on medium for 1 minute, stirring halfway through. At the end, stir until sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Add pepper, and let cool completely. (If you don’t have a microwave, you can do this in a saucepan on the stove top. Just heat it long enough for the sugar and salt to dissolve.)

2. Slice the onions very thin and pack the slices tightly into a well-washed pint jar. Pour the cooled mixture over the onions. Cap and place in fridge for at least one hour. (Note: if the vinegar doesn’t quite cover the onions, add a little more. If it’s way short, make another batch of the vinegar mixture to top it off.)

You can use them immediately, but the flavor will be better after two days or so. Keeps for weeks in the fridge.

(A note to diabetics and low-carb-ers: This is one recipe where I’d go with sugar, honey or maple syrup over artificial sweeteners. Splenda doesn’t always work well with vinegar.)

*Alternative to adding herbs and pepper to vinegar mixture: Use sprigs of fresh herbs (2 to 3 times as much as dry amount called for) and whole peppercorns, including them as you pack the onion slices into the jars. This method will definitely need to steep a few days before use. Makes a pretty gift.

pickled onions recipe


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    1. Hey, Michael, thanks for the comment. I’ve tweaked the instructions to accommodate this situation. Thanks for helping me make it better!

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