Ready to make your taste buds dance? These quick pickled white onions are an easy way to elevate your meals – think about sandwiches, salads, (plant-based) hot dogs, and even your favorite avocado toast.
Quick pickles, also known as refrigerator pickles are an incredibly easy-to-make alternative to fermented vegetables. They only require a few basic ingredients and are ready in less than an hour. Plus, they add a bright pop of flavor to any dish.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- White onions have a relatively mild taste due to their high sugar content and are less pungent than yellow onions. You can substitute them with pearl onions or sweet onions if you're looking for an even more delicate flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar has a natural sweetness that pairs really well with white onions. You can however substitute it with another variety of vinegar, such as white vinegar or white wine vinegar.
- Sea salt is key in quick pickled recipes.
- Granulated sugar, such as white or cane sugar work great but maple syrup works, too.
- Spices – I used cardamom pods, black pepper, and cinnamon in this recipe. You may however keep it more simple and replace the cardamom with cloves and cinnamon sticks with bay leaves. Alternatively, check out this pickled onion recipe with dill and mustard seeds.
- Make the pickled onions ahead of time for best results. The onions will have time to absorb all the flavors and become even tastier.
- Add fresh herbs, such as fresh thyme or fresh dill.
- I find that a pint jar (16 ounces, 500 ml) has the best size for pickled onions. It fits 2-3 onions and makes enough for 2-4 people.
Step-by-step instructions (with photos)
STEP 1: Make the vinegar brine. Add the apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat and stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved.
STEP 2: Cut the raw onion into very thin slices. You may use a sharp knife or a mandoline to do so. If using pearl onions, simply remove the outer layer and leave them whole.
STEP 3: Add the sliced onions to a clean jar. I like to use a 16-ounce Weck or Mason jar.
STEP 4: Pour the vinegar mixture on top while it's still very hot.
STEP 5: Add in the spices of your choice. I use cardamom pods, black peppercorns, and a cinnamon stick. Give it a good stir and make sure the onions are completely covered with the pickling liquid. Close the jar with a lid.
STEP 6: Let the onions cool down. Once at room temperature, you can serve them right away or keep them in the refrigerator. I recommend placing them in the fridge for at least 20 minutes prior to serving to make sure they are completely cooled.
What to eat with pickled yellow onions?
- Potato salad
- Roasted green beans or green bean salad
Frequently asked questions
Keep them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Make sure they are completely covered in vinegar brine the whole time and always take out the onions with a clean fork.
No, you don't need to sterilize it when quick-pickling onions. However, you have to store them in the refrigerator to prevent them from going bad.
Pickled White Onions (With Apple Cider Vinegar)
- Add the apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a saucepan. Heat until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved.
- Thinly slice the white onion with a chef's knife or a mandoline.
- Add the sliced onions to a clean 16-oz (500 ml) glass jar. Pour the pickling liquid on top and add in your spices (black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon).
- Make sure the onions are completely submerged in liquid and close the jar with a lid. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
- Place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- You can store the quick pickled onions in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Make sure they are completely covered in vinegar brine the whole time and always take out the onion whit a clean fork.
- If they feel slimy or if some onions were not covered with pickling liquid, it's best to throw them out.