Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quick Pickled Onions

          There are some simple things that can add so much flavor to simple foods. One of my favorites is roasted tomatoes but this weekend I made a simple condiment that was just wonderful!!!  In a few minutes and a wait time of a couple hours, I created quick pickled onions and goodness, are they tasty! Such a simple recipe that does incredible things to the flavor and texture of raw onions making a crunchy, sweet and sour concoction that goes great on burgers and sandwiches and in various recipes. I have a confession to make, these taste so great I am eating a few out of a bowl even as I write this J

Now a word about this picture—see the pickle face? I did not plan that and did not even see it till I turned the dish for a different angle. Believe it or not, this was pure serendipity! But it is pretty cute, isn’t it?

         Perhaps you might wonder what made me want to try this recipe. We were having some of our dear friends and one of my favorite people to cook with over for a very laid back dinner of grilled hamburgers, sausages and a few sides on Sunday. Well, just before midnight on Saturday I decided to make potato salad for dinner the next day.  I tasted the potato salad and it needed a bit more oomph. Just because the meal is casual and laid back does not mean I want to serve a potato salad lacking in oomph!  I had already added a bit of vinegar and was contemplating adding onions.  The flavor I was thinking of was something like a pickled cucumber and onion salad I make but I did not want to cucumbers in the potato salad. However, I wondered if there was a quick and easy pickled onion recipe I could make for it. I looked online and saw a few recipes, including one I really liked on David Lebovitz site   

           I didn’t really have to follow a particular recipe because basically pickling is pickling and mostly you need some vinegar, a bit of sugar and a tiny bit of salt and possibly some spices. The thing I love about David Lebovitz’s  recipe is that he heats the vinegar and sugar and then adds the onions to simmer for a few seconds.It is simple and basically one step to quick pickles.  Lebovitz and most other recipes call for red onions. It looks prettier and I would like to try them. But I only had sweet onions and their white color looked better in the potato salad anyway. I think you could use any onion in this recipe as well as any of the spices or not spices at all!

Quick Pickled Onions

2 red, white or sweet onions—any onion you have on hand can work
1 cup white vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar or even just more white vinegar, May use red wine vinegar for red onions
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
Optional spice- 3-4 allspice berries, 1 Bay leaf, 4 peppercorns, 1-2 small red chilies or pinch of  red pepper flakes—use any of these or none!

Slice onions into rings, thin or up to medium thick

In a non- reactive pan (stainless, enamel) heat up vinegar,  sugar, salt, spice stirring often to dissolve sugar. Bring to a good boil then lower heat and add onions.

Stir and simmer onions for about 45 seconds. Remove from heat and let onion cool completely. Put onions and all the liquid into large jar or plastic container and refrigerate.

Use onions within a week or two but they are best the first week.

These onions are great on burgers, sausages, sandwiches, hot dogs or tacos. They are wonderful in potato salad, cabbage dishes, rice, vegetables, Potato recipes, salsa, pulled pork or beef (BBQ, smoked, or Mexican style).

Here is our little "family" dinner with the midnight potato salad, roasted sweet adn spicy yams, hamburgers and sausages, roasted potato and onion and salads.


  1. OMG I want these right now! I have red onions but no sweet onions. No sweet onions in Australia that I've ever seen.

    Your onions sound so good!

    1. Well, red onions are even prettier so that would be great! Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. now that's a proper hamburger, wow! i love pickled onions, i keep a jar of baby silverskins in my fridge to snack on when watching tv (i've just realised as i type how wrong it sounds!) i'd like to try pickling my own some day. pickle face made me smile.

  3. They are so good homemade- wait till you try it. I like them better than jarred, at least the ones we have here in the US.I couldn't stop snacking on these until they were gone :-) Glad you like the pickle face! It was a happy surprise.

  4. LOL... love the pickle face!! I love onions any way they come.. raw, pickled, caramelized and grilled. I love the pickled dimension they give your burger. Mmmmm!

  5. Thanks Ramona, glad you like it! I love onions, too. I think I have some kind of onions included in my dinner recipes at home more than just about any other ingredient. Thanks so much for commenting!!

  6. Ha! Love the pickle face :) And love the recipe. Sounds fantastic!

  7. I've been thinking about getting into the pickling phase, and this may just push me over the edge! I bet that really freshens up a burger!

  8. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmy! Thanx x 3!