Pickled Red Onions


Pickled Red Onions

A Savory Opinion

Red Onions

“Because the day had been hot, Lee set a table outside under an oak tree, and as the sun neared the western mountains he padded back and forth from the kitchen, carrying the cold meats, pickles, potato salad, coconut cake, and a peach pie which were supper. In the center of the table he placed a giant stoneware pitcher of milk.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck


Lemon Thyme

Onions, garlic and shallots are constant companions in the kitchen. My savory cooking would be very dull without assistance from alliums. Pickled Red Onions bring bright, fresh notes without much effort. Making a quick refrigerator pickle yields a huge boost of flavor from combining the savory notes of the onion with the zippy flavors of a pickle. All this amazing flavor without any fat or cooking. And they last for a week in the refrigerator. My favorite way to enjoy the Pickled Red Onions is on sandwiches, burgers, tacos and salads. Anything that needs a spark of flavor will benefit from the Pickled Red Onions.


Red Onion

This recipe has infinite possibilities. There are so many variations, even in the way the onion is prepped. Red onions are a favorite, yellow or white can be used. Sweet onions, such as Maui or Vidalia are wonderful. The vinegar can be switched too. Champagne or rice wine vinegars will yield a mellower and sweeter pickled onion. Apple cider vinegar works too. Regular white vinegar is too sharp and best saved for other uses. The sugar and garlic are optional, but advised. Even the peppercorns and herbs can be changed. I used lemon thyme because it is a favorite and what needed pruning in the garden.

1 red onion
1T fine grain sea salt
1t sugar
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1t whole peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme or lemon thyme
1C white wine or champagne vinegar
  1. Slice the red onion into 1/8-1/4 inch wide rings, and cut rings in half if desired. Place the sliced onion in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Toss the onion to cover all the slices with the salt and sugar. Let the onions rest for 30 minutes.
  2. When the onions change from crisp to limp pack them in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The onions don’t need to completely fill the jar. Pour any accumulated liquid from the bowl into the jar too. Nestle the onions tightly into the jar with the garlic, peppercorns and thyme. Pour enough vinegar into the jar to fully cover the onions and refrigerate. The onions can be used as soon as they are made, but will have a mellower and more complex flavor after being in the jar for a few hours. Overnight is even better. The onions will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.


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24 Responses to Pickled Red Onions

  1. Thanks for the recipe, Deb! My husband is crazy for them. We love to put them in sandwiches and also on top of meat dishes.

  2. What a great recipe Deb, pickled onions add so much flavor to almost anything. Just like you I add them to sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs. Your photos are fabulous.

  3. Organic cider vinegar all the way for me! And a pinch of sugar is non-negotiable. 🙂 Lovely images, Deb.

    • Deb says:

      I just found some local, apple cider vinegar that will be used in the next batch. Thank you for commenting Kellie!

  4. Carol Sacks says:

    Perfect end-of-summer idea, Deb! Love the photos, too.

  5. I absolutely ADORE pickled red onions! They’re so good on EVERYTHING! I put them in salads and sandwiches and even on top of tacos! Oddly, I’ve never bothered adding any garlic to the mix – I bet it makes them even better! I’m definitely going to have to give this recipe a try!

  6. valentina says:

    What beautiful onions! I try to never be without pickled onions in the fridge. I love them in salads and sandwiches! Hard to have a “plain” onion after these, I think. 🙂

  7. mjskit says:

    It’s been ages since I’ve had pickled onions and I love them. Thanks for sharing this recipe because the time has come to make my own.

  8. Ala says:

    First off, Deb, I have never been so enamored with a photo of an onion in my life! This recipe looks absolutely gorgeous. Second, I really love pickled anything on top of a pita and some good homemade hummus, so I’m definitely saving this recipe for my next hummus bar adventure. Hope you’re having a lovely end of the week!

    • Deb says:

      Your wonderful comment brightened my day Ala! Thank you so much! Haven’t tried pickled onions with hummus, a must do for the weekend.

  9. Beautiful pickles, Deb! I’ll be making a batch soon, to be sure 🙂

  10. I love red onions and I know I’d go crazy over these – they’d be great on my vegetarian hummus sandwich!

  11. Mary says:

    Deb, I have never ‘pickled’… and I love pickles. My daughter and I have talked so much about it and even went so far as purchasing some pickling spice. I’m not a big raw onion eater but I think I could find lots of uses for these tangy onions.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for commenting Mary! Pickling the onions takes away the sharpness that is found in raw onions. Choosing a red or sweet onion also helps!

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