Learn how to make the bright, crunchy, and easy Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions Recipe. Give sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more a “bright pop of flavor.” With only four ingredients, you’ll end up with a sweet and tangy topping for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner.Jump to Recipe
Recipe for Pickled Onions
If you’ve been following me for a while or have been watching my Instagram stories or live cooking sessions, you know I love making dish-enhancing elements such as sauces and sides. This may be my Ukrainian background speaking, but I find that there’s something very special about elevating an entire meal with very simple additions, like Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions.
Pickled onions and vegetables are also a huge nostalgic item for me. Making them brings up fond memories of being in the kitchen as a child, watching my mom and grandma spend time cutting up a variety of vegetables to pickle over the winter. We would bring jar after jar down into the basement with heaps of other yummy varieties.
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions Recipe is ready to enjoy in only FOUR steps! Here’s how it’s done:
How To Make Pickle Red Onions
- Chop your red onion in half and slice thinly into half-circle slices.
- Add them to a bowl, rinse with warm water, and lightly squeeze the onions to drain the excess water.
- Place the onions into a mason or Weck Tulip jar. Add in the salt, warm water, and rice vinegar, and finish by mixing with a spoon or sealing the jar with a lid to shake.
- Refrigerate the pickled onions for at least 4 hours, or for the best results, leave them overnight.
Keep a full jar of Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions in your fridge so they’re on hand when you need to spruce up a meal. This recipe will last up to two weeks in the refrigerator, however, they’re so delicious, they may not even last that long! My family goes through an entire batch in less than a week.
What Onions To Use For Pickling?
My favorite onions to use are red onions and shallots, because of the oink hue they give to your dishes. But here are some others you can play around with or use what you have. If you only have white or yellow onions and happen to have a raw beet, you can add a few slices to give you that beautiful pink hue too.
- Red Onions – my favorite onions to use, you will get great pink color from them.
- White Onions – will be stronger in flavor once pickled.
- Sweet Onions – will add a natural sweetness.
- Shallots – will add a stronger and more pungent flavor to your dishes with a light pink hue.
Best Vinegar For Pickling?
Pickled onions can be used with any variety of vinegar. This is the time to experiment if you want! I suggest using a combination of vinegars, one strong + one more mellow for a smoother tangy flavor.
- Rice Vinegar is my favorite vinegar to use, because of its mild flavor.
- Champagne Vinegar will add a touch of natural sweetness to the onions.
- White Wine Vinegar will also add a touch of sweetness.
- Apple Cider Vinegar will add a little more funky flavor to the onions.
- White Vinegar will give you the strongest flavor, I would use less vinegar to water ratio.
Vegetables For Pickling
This pickling recipe is not exclusive to red onions! As I did as a child, you can pickle almost any vegetable and transform it into a tart, tangy, and sweet garnish. Swap the onions for your favorites, or try any of these suggestions:
- Thinly sliced cucumbers
- Radishes, thinly sliced or quartered
- Carrots, cut into matchsticks
- Cabbage (for this, I add a few cloves of garlic, fresh dill, and a bay leaf)
- Daikon radish, either sliced thinly or cut into matchsticks
Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onion Recipe Tips
- Slice the onions very thinly: The thinner the red onions are, the quicker they will absorb the vinegar and pickle faster. Use a sharp knife or a mandolin to achieve this.
- Rinse your onions: Rinsing the onions before pickling will prevent the onions from being that strong onion flavor. I just squeeze them a bit in warm water and then add to the jar.
- Choose the vinegar wisely: No sugar added rice vinegar is my top choice for this recipe. It’s a very neutral flavor that compliments the red onions, and the finished results are not too sweet. White wine or champagne vinegar are nice alternatives but will taste slightly sweeter. I would NOT recommend using apple cider or white vinegar as they both resulted in an overpowering flavor.
- Be patient: In only four hours, these easy pickled red onions are ready to munch on. However, for the absolute best results, I highly recommend leaving them in the fridge overnight. This way, the onions will soak in all of the flavors and become much more flavorful.
- Make multiple batches at a time: This recipe is extremely flexible. Easily double or triple the batch and seal them in mason or Weck jars. Consider gifting small jars of the pickled onions to friends or family!
- Reuse the liquid: After your first batch is all used up, you can reuse the pickling liquid up to 4 times. Adjust the vinegar, salt and add some hot water to the next batch.
How To Use Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onion Recipe
A jar of Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions Recipe is always on my table, ready to compliment my next meal. They go well with either breakfast, lunch, or dinner! As to not overwhelm you, my quick-pickled onions will allow any of the following recipes to shine:
- Smoked Salmon Street Tacos
- Game Day Taco Salad
- Low Carb Asian Pork Lettuce Cups
- Healthy Taco Bowls With Mexican Beef
- Fully Loaded Keto Deviled Eggs
- Low Carb Mediterranean Burger Salad
- Crispy Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
- Low-Carb Breakfast Bowl
If you make LENA’S KITCHEN PICKLED ONIONS Recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photo’s of your creations is my favorite!
Lena’s Kitchen Pickled Onions Recipe
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- ¾ cup rice vinegar you can sub with white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar only
- 2 cups water hot
- 1 ½ tbsp sea salt
- Chop red onion in half. Peel and slice very thin into half-circle slices. Use a mandolin if you have one.
- Add the onions into a bowl with warm water, and lightly squeeze the onions to release the onion flavor. Drain the water.
- Place the onions into a jar. I use a 35.9oz Weck Jar, or you can use a wide mouth 32 oz mason jar. You want to have enough space for everything to fit. In a measuring cup add the salt, hot water, and rice vinegar. Mix with a spoon. Pour on the onions.
- Let cool on the counter. Then cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours, or leave them overnight in the refrigerator for the best results. (Reuse the liquid up to 4 times. Adjust vinegar and salt each time if needed.)
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