These red wine vinegar pickled onions are insanely easy to make. The recipe does not involve fermentation and uses vinegar to provide that characteristic acidic taste. They make the perfect addition to sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a fool-proof quick pickle recipe, which means that you don't need to let the onions ferment for several weeks.
- Quick pickling is a great way to preserve onions for an extra 2 weeks if they are about to go bad.
- It's very versatile as you can vary the flavor by adding different herbs and spices.
- Pickled onions are the perfect condiment to bring your sandwiches, wraps, and salads to the next level by adding a subtle crunch and tart flavor.
Key ingredients and substitutions
- A large red onion, or two small ones.
- Red wine vinegar. You can substitute it with sherry vinegar which has a slightly sweeter taste, or with white wine vinegar.
- Granulated sugar. You can use cane sugar or white sugar to balance the acidity. Pure maple syrup would work, too.
- Sea salt is key to making the flavors pop.
- Spices, such as cloves provide the absolute best flavor. A bay leaf, black peppercorns, cumin, and fennel seeds also make a great addition. You can even add fresh herbs (e.g., a sprig of thyme or rosemary) or some of your favorite dried herbs mix (e.g., salad spice mix, Greek spice mix).
STEP 1: Add water, red wine vinegar, salt, and sugar to a small saucepan. Give it a gentle stir.
STEP 2: Heat over medium heat until salt and sugar have completely dissolved.
STEP 3: Cut the raw onions into very thin slices. Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife. I like using a chef's knife.
STEP 4: Add the sliced onions to a glass jar. I'm using these 16 ounces Weck jars but Mason jars would work great, too.
STEP 5: Add the vinegar brine and spices to the jar. I'm using cloves, a bay leaf, and some black peppercorns. Make sure the onions are completely covered with pickling liquid.
STEP 6: Close the jar airtightly and let it come to room temperature. Place it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes if serving right away. I find that it tastes best after at least one night in the fridge.
You can store these red wine vinegar pickled onions in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 14 days. Always make sure the onions are completely covered in vinegar brine.
If they feel slimy or if some onions were not covered with pickling liquid, it's best to throw them out. Onion pieces that were not submerged in vinegar are prone to bacterial growth.
What to eat with pickled red onions?
- Pickled onions make the perfect topping for sandwiches (e.g., smashed chickpea sandwiches).
- They taste AMAZING on avocado toast with a little olive oil and coarse sea salt.
- Try substituting caramelized onions on a burger with pickled onions, it's incredible!
- They add a beautiful color to breakfast tacos.
- Personally, I love them in wraps (check out this edamame and avocado wrap recipe).
- Potato salads, cucumber salads, and green bean salads also pair well with pickled red onions.
Frequently asked questions
I highly recommend using a tall glass jar. Make sure it's large enough for the onions to be completely submerged in vinegar. There should be a little space between the onion slices and the lid. I always use 16 ounces (500 ml) Weck jars.
Although you could use white vinegar, I recommend sweeter kinds of vinegar such as white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar to substitute the red wine vinegar.
You can serve them as soon as they have cooled down completely (20 minutes to 1 hour). For best results, I recommend leaving them in the fridge overnight.
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Red Wine Vinegar Pickled Onions
- Add the water, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt to a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- In the meantime, remove the outer layer of the onion and cut it into very thin slices with a sharp knife or a mandoline.
- Add the onion slices, bay leaf, cloves, and black peppercorns to a 16-ounces (500 ml) glass jar.
- Pour in the vinegar brine. Make sure the onions are completely submerged and close with a lid. Let it come to room temperature.
- Place it in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- You can store these red wine vinegar pickled onions in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 14 days.
- Always make sure the onions are completely covered in vinegar brine. Onion pieces that were not submerged in vinegar are prone to bacterial growth.
- If they feel slimy or if some onions were not covered with pickling liquid, it's best to throw them out.
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