Pickled Red Onions

Pickling has been a major preserving technique since practically the beginning of time. It was often used when there was plenty of produce so that it could be saved when there was a time of need. Pickling is done by using hot vinegar, herbs, spices and sugar to add flavor and also prevent bacterial growth which prolongs the shelf life.


Vinegar: You can experiment with the variety of vinegars available in stores to make the flavor of you pickled onions more complex. If you want to make an Asian inspired pickled onion mix, you could use rice vinegar. If you plan to use your pickles primarily to pair with heavy dishes like beef or any other red meat it would be cool to pickle the vegetables in red wine vinegar since red wine goes well with red meat.

Herbs/Spices: Here is where you can really get fun with things. There are so many options, for example with that Asian inspired pickles, you could use star anise, ginger, cloves and red chili peppers. I currently use McCormick’s pickling spice blend which consists of mace, ginger, bay leaves, coriander, mustard seed and more. All of these different spiced give the pickled onions a very complex and tangy flavor.

Sweeteners: There are options here as well, you obviously have sugar, but you can also opt for maple syrup, honey, hot honey (chili infused honey), date syrup etc. These will add some sweetness to your pickled onions to balance out the tart from the vinegar.

You can enjoy these pickles onions, on tacos, sandwiches, add it into your slaw, steak, burgers and so much more! Also you can substitute the onions and use this recipe to pickle other vegetables like carrots, peppers, cabbage, or cucumbers.

Red Onion, sliced to your liking1 Medium
Water1/2 cup
Distilled White Vinegar1/2 cup
Sugar2 tablespoons
Salt1 teaspoon
McCormick Pickling Spice2 teaspoons
Yields 2 cups Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 5 Minutes


  1. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pickling spice together in a pot, bring it to medium heat and let it simmer for five minutes.
  2. While the pickling solution is simmering, pack the onions in a mason jar 1-pint mason jar or two 8 oz mason jars, when the pickling solution is done simmering pour it carefully into the jar(s).
  3. lightly tap the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles (the presence of oxygen will cause spoilage). Let the pickles onions rest on the counter until it reaches room temperature, which should take about 30 minutes.
  4. Not you are done, you can use it now or save it by covering and refrigerating for later use. It will last in the fridge for about 3 weeks.


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