Pickled Onions: My New Culinary Swiss Army Knife

Pickled onions. Photo by Keri White

I have always been a fan of pickled onions — these flavorful slices are often served with tacos and add a briny bite to many other dishes. This time of year, when local produce is scarce, I use pickled onions to jazz up salads, but I have found many other uses for them.

First, the recipe … I prefer to use red onions because they add a nice color on top of the flavor benefits, but if all you have around are yellow or white onions, they work just fine.

1 onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly
¼ cup vinegar — I use white vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

In a sealable container or jar, mix all the ingredients. Give it a shake and, if using within a few hours, leave it out.

If longer, store it in the fridge. These will begin to “pickle” in about 30 minutes and can be stored in the fridge for several days.

Beyond that, the onions take on a very sharp, strong taste, but I bet they won’t last that long!

How to use pickled onions:

  • Strew them over a green salad, and use the brining liquid in place of regular vinegar in the dressing.
  • Chop them finely and mix them into tuna, chicken, rice, pasta, potato or any grain salad.
  • Serve them as a topping with tacos, curries, stews and soups.
  • Add them to sandwiches along with lettuce and condiments.
  • Use the brining liquid in marinades.
  • Top grilled or roasted fish/poultry/meats/veggies/tofu with a generous scoop of pickled onions.
  • Chop them, and mash them into potatoes.
  • Add them to grain bowls.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here