This Pickled Red Onions Recipe are made with red onion, water, apple cider vinegar, cumin and bay leaves and made in under 5 minutes.
Pickled onions are a popular condiment that are made by soaking thinly sliced onions in a vinegar-based solution, along with various herbs and spices. The acidic nature of the pickling liquid helps to preserve the onions and add a tangy, flavorful kick that can complement a wide range of dishes.
Pickled onions are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways, such as a topping for burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and tacos, or as a garnish for salads and soups. They can also be used as an ingredient in dips, spreads, and sauces to add a tangy, savory flavor.
In addition to their delicious taste and versatility, pickled onions are also relatively easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients and kitchen tools. They are a great way to use up extra onions and can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks, making them a convenient condiment to have on hand for quick and easy meals.
Red pickled onions are an amazing indispensable ingredient to have in your kitchen. I love the bright pink color, and it’s a great addition to most meals, and deliciously crunchy. They go well on sandwiches, tacos, bowls, avocado toast and salads. It serves as an amazing garnish with a great pop of color. I love making a big batch of this stuff since I love using it on most foods. The vinegar taste on the onions are so delicious and really brightens every dish. Making these pickled onions only takes 5 minutes to make and it is amazing.
We are huge fans of pickled onions, especially on Cochinita Pibil, my favorite meat to use on tacos, gorditas or even empanadas. These really help liven up even the most boring dishes!
If you love this recipe, feel free to try adding these onto Chicken Tinga.
- What are Pickled Red Onions?
- Pickled Red Onions Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Pickled Red Onions
- How to serve Pickled Red Onions
- Pickled Red Onions Recipe Variations
- How to store Pickled Red Onions
- How long do pickled onions last?
- Why do your pickled onions go soft?
- Can you pickle onions for too long?
- Pickled Red Onions Recipe Top tips
- Pickled Red Onions Recipe
- Food safety
What are Pickled Red Onions?
Pickled red onions are thinly sliced red onions that have been marinated in a mixture of vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. The acidic solution causes the onions to soften and take on a tangy, slightly sweet flavor. They are a popular condiment in many cuisines, particularly in Mexican, Caribbean, and Southern cooking. Pickled red onions are often used to add a bright, acidic contrast to rich or fatty dishes, such as tacos, sandwiches, salads, and burgers. They can be made at home or purchased pre-made in stores.
Pickled Red Onions Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Red onion
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Bay leaves
See recipe card for Pickled Onions with Apple Cider Vinegar (Keto) quantities.
How to make Pickled Red Onions
Add onion, water, vinegar, cumin, salt and bay leaves into a small pot.
Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium heat
Then remove from heat and let it cool.
Add into a bowl or jar and refrigerate for 1 hour. Enjoy this Pickled Red Onions Recipe.
Hint: You can add this to chicken, steak, or veggies for an extra kick.
How to serve Pickled Red Onions
- Tacos: Top your favorite tacos with pickled red onions for a tangy, flavorful kick.
- Sandwiches: Add pickled red onions to sandwiches or wraps for an extra burst of flavor and texture.
- Burgers: Top your burgers with pickled red onions for a tangy and refreshing flavor.
- Salads: Use pickled red onions as a topping for salads to add a zesty, acidic contrast.
- Hot dogs: Add a tangy twist to your hot dogs by topping them with pickled red onions.
- Nachos: Sprinkle pickled red onions over nachos for a tangy and colorful garnish.
- Soups: Use pickled red onions as a garnish for soups to add a bright, acidic flavor.
- Rice bowls: Add pickled red onions to rice bowls or grain salads for a flavorful and colorful topping.
- Grilled meats: Serve pickled red onions as a side dish for grilled meats, such as chicken or steak, to add a tangy and refreshing flavor.
Red Onions: I like using red onions for best taste. It also changes to a nice bright pink color which is the bets garnish.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Best to used apple cider vinegar to pickle onions. You can also use white vinegar, rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
Salt: We will add salt to help bring out all the flavors.
Water: I like to add equal parts water and vinegar to have a milder flavor.
Mandolin: For best results, use a mandolin to get finely thin sliced onions. You can also pickle thicker sliced onions - it is up to you and your preference!
Cumin: You can season with whatever you want to add to your brine. I like using cumin or coriander.
Pickled Red Onions Recipe Variations
- Basic Pickled Red Onions: Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and add sugar and salt to taste. Add sliced red onions to the mixture and let sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Spicy Pickled Red Onions: Add sliced jalapeños or other hot peppers to the basic pickling liquid for an added kick of heat.
- Sweet and Sour Pickled Red Onions: Use apple cider vinegar and brown sugar instead of white vinegar and white sugar for a deeper, richer flavor.
- Citrus Pickled Red Onions: Add the juice and zest of a lime, lemon, or orange to the basic pickling liquid for a bright, citrusy twist.
- Quick Pickled Red Onions: Combine sliced red onions with a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a bowl, and microwave for 1-2 minutes until the onions are slightly softened. Let cool and enjoy!
- Chef's knife or mandoline: to slice the onions thinly and uniformly.
- Cutting board: to slice the onions on.
- Glass jar or container: to store the pickled onions. Mason jars work well for this purpose.
- Mixing bowl: to mix the pickling liquid.
- Measuring cups and spoons: to measure the ingredients accurately.
- Whisk or spoon: to mix the pickling liquid.
- Saucepan or pot: to heat the pickling liquid.
- Tongs or slotted spoon: to remove the onions from the pickling liquid.
- Funnel (optional): to transfer the pickling liquid to the jar more easily.
- Kitchen towel or paper towels: to dry the onions and wipe up any spills.
How to store Pickled Red Onions
- Make sure the pickled onions are fully submerged in the pickling liquid, as any onions that are exposed to air can spoil more quickly.
- Store the pickled onions in a glass jar or other non-reactive container, as reactive metals or plastics can affect the flavor of the pickled onions.
- Label the container with the date the pickled onions were made, so you can keep track of their freshness.
- Keep the pickled onions refrigerated at all times, and consume them within a few weeks for the best flavor and texture.
- If you notice any mold or off odors, discard the pickled onions immediately.
How long do pickled onions last?
Pickled onions can last for several weeks to a few months when stored properly in the refrigerator. The exact shelf life of pickled onions can vary depending on several factors, including the ingredients used, the storage conditions, and the level of acidity in the pickling liquid.
In general, pickled onions made with vinegar and salt can last for up to 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. On the other hand, pickled onions made with a higher level of acidity, such as pickled onions made with vinegar and citrus juice, can last for up to 2-3 months in the refrigerator.
Why do your pickled onions go soft?
- Old or soft onions: If you are using old or soft onions, they may become even softer during the pickling process. It's best to use fresh, firm onions for pickling.
- Insufficient salt: If the pickling liquid does not contain enough salt, the onions may become too soft. Salt helps to draw out excess moisture from the onions, which helps to maintain their texture and crispness.
- Insufficient acidity: If the pickling liquid is not acidic enough, the onions may become soft. Acid helps to preserve the onions and maintain their texture. Make sure that the pickling liquid contains enough vinegar or other acidic ingredients.
- Incorrect storage: If the pickled onions are not stored properly, they may become soft. Make sure that the pickled onions are completely submerged in the pickling liquid and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Overcooking: If you are cooking the onions before pickling them, make sure not to overcook them. Overcooking can cause the onions to become mushy and soft, which can affect the final texture of the pickled onions.
Can you pickle onions for too long?
Yes, it is possible to pickle onions for too long, which can result in over-softening and loss of texture. The length of time that onions should be pickled depends on several factors, such as the size and thickness of the onion slices, the type of vinegar used in the pickling liquid, and the temperature at which the pickling is done.
If onions are pickled for too long, they can become mushy and lose their crispness, which can affect their taste and texture. Over-pickling can also cause the onions to become overly sour or tangy, which may not be desirable.
Pickled Red Onions Recipe Top tips
- Use fresh red onions for the best flavor and texture.
- Slice the onions thinly and uniformly, either by hand or with a mandoline, to ensure even pickling and a pleasing texture.
- Bring the pickling liquid to a boil before pouring it over the onions, as this helps to release the flavors and soften the onions.
- Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature before storing them in the refrigerator, as this prevents them from becoming mushy.
- For a more complex flavor, experiment with different types of vinegar and spices. Some popular choices include apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns.
- Add a pinch of salt to the onions before pouring the hot pickling liquid over them. This helps to draw out excess moisture and enhance the flavor.
- Let the pickled onions marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight, as this allows the flavors to develop and the onions to soften.
- Use pickled red onions as a condiment for tacos, sandwiches, salads, burgers, or any dish that could benefit from a tangy, acidic contrast.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove