How to Make Perfect Pickled Red Onions

To achieve a well-rounded meal, you need to hit on every note, including fat, salt, and acid. The right pickled vegetable (or fruit!) can provide the perfect counterbalance to a heavy meal. Red onions are an easy place to start. To get that desired tang, follow the steps below for how to make perfect pickled red onions! 

What You Need

First, you’ll want to round up all your ingredients. Pickled red onions are vegan and gluten-free, and the ingredients list is short and sweet. Obviously, you’ll need a red onion, so head to your local grocery store – or better yet, your local farmer’s market – and grab yourself some gorgeous red onions. To create your pickling brine, you’ll need white vinegar, distilled water, cane sugar, and salt. You may want to add a bit of spice to the mix. If so, you’ll need peppercorns or chili flakes. Finally, some type of seed to add a bit more nuanced flavor to the pickles is always a welcome addition. You can choose mustard seed, fennel seed, celery seed, dill seed, or skip this part altogether. It’s up to you! 

  • 1 large organic red onion
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1 TBL sea salt
  • 2 TBL cane sugar
  • 1 tsp peppercorns or chili flake (optional)
  • 1 tsp mustard, fennel, celery, or dill seed (optional)

You’ll also need a mason jar of sorts. This recipe makes about 1 liter worth of brine, so getting a quart mason jar is a good idea. You could also split it into 2 pint mason jars, if you’d rather go with a smaller jar.

How to Pickle

  1. First, it’s brine time. Combine the vinegar, distilled water, cane sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute, stirring frequently. 
  3. Once all components are dissolved, pull the brine off the stove and let cool. 
  4. Thinly slice the red onion and place slices into mason jars. 
  5. Pour cooled brine over onions.
  6. If you’re using them, add your peppercorns/chili flakes, and seeds.
  7. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour.
  8. Once cooled, seal jars and place in the fridge.
  9. Wait 1-24 hours, depending on how “pickled” you want the flavor to be.
  10. Enjoy!

Using Your Pickles

Once you’ve waited for your onions to pickle, the fun part arrives – eating them! You may be wondering what to use your pickles in and the truth is, the options are endless. Throw them on top of tacos, add them to a salad, a roasted vegetable bowl, or stack them on a sandwich. Anything that needs an extra punch of flavor is a perfect vessel for pickled red onions, so be prepared for them to run out soon. Your friends may start asking you how to make perfect pickled red onions – they’re that good!

Don’t miss this post on how to make the perfect smoothie bowl!

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