Pickled Red Onions

2 Jan

pickled red onions

The hardest part of moving, for me, is adapting to a new kitchen. Here, I only have a two-burner electric stove and a tiny sink (far too small for the amount of dirty dishes I produce), alongside a small square of counter space. I’m doing my best to adjust my habits, planning ahead to make sure I’ll have a burner free and being extra strict about cleaning dishes as I go. But, unlike my last place, there’s a full-sized refrigerator, so I have room again to stock up on little goodies like these pickled red onions. The onions still have a crunch to them and retain some of their characteristically strong taste, but the bite is mellowed by vinegar and sugar, with hot peppers tossed in to add a lingering kick of spiciness. They’re surprisingly addictive, and I find myself reaching for them over and over, an amazing addition to salads and sandwiches and great complement to all sorts of beans and meats. I like how versatile their simple flavor is, fitting in with a variety of cuisines – anything from Mexican (perch them atop tacos) to Indian (use as a side to balance rich curries) to Greek (sprinkle on a salad with feta). Although my favorite might just be snacking on them plain, something I can’t resist doing any time I open the refrigerator and spy them.

pickled red onions

Pickled Red Onions
Yield: about 2 cups


  • 1 cup rice vinegar*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 – 3 hot peppers, thinly sliced**
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

*White vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work.
**Adjust based on the size and heat of the peppers used, or omit altogether for a non-spicy version.


  1. In a medium pot over high heat, combine 1 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 2 Tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt, and bring to a boil, stirring.
  2. Add 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced, 1 – 3 hot peppers, thinly sliced, and 1 – 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, stir together, and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Once cooled, transfer the onions into a jar or other storage container, and keep refrigerated. The onions are ready to use immediately but will continue improving in flavor over the next few days.

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  1. Chana Masala | sel et sucre - January 23, 2013

    […] on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only […]

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