My refrigerator is a bit...condiment and relish-heavy. Dijon mustards and pepper pastes share space with chili crisps, pickled onions and capers.
And now...these quick pickled red onions have elbowed their way onto the limited square footage of my tiny European refrigerator shelf. They are the perfect condiment to add balancing zing to salads, tacos, tostadas, avocado toast and even grilled cheese.
Try these pickled red onions on a Homemade Mexican Caesar Salad!
Topping out at five minutes to prep and 30 minutes to sit quietly and entertain themselves while pickling, these gorgeous gems are quick and easy and give you endless possibilities to up your flavor game.
Ingredient for Mexican Pickled Onions
- large red onion
- whole garlic clove
- apple cider vinegar
- coarse sea salt
- sugar or stevia
- hot water (not boiling)
Begin by using a sharp chef's knife to peel and slice a large red onion (or two small red onions).
I prefer to cut the onion in half, then lay each half cut side down on the board, giving a stable foundation to cut the onion into very thin, ⅛-inch thick half moons.
Add one peeled garlic clove and the sliced onions to a small mason jar, or other glass container with tight-fitting lid.
Next, heat ½ cup of water in a large, heat safe measuring cup. Microwave for about a minute, until hot, but not boiling.
Remove from microwave, add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar or stevia. Stir to dissolve. Add ¾ cup apple cider vinegar to the warm water mixture and stir to combine.
Add the warm pickling brine mixture to the glass jar of sliced red onions and garlic clove. Ensure onions are submerged in the pickle brine.
If eating within an hour, set jar aside on the counter to complete its pickling process. If preparing for future meals, refrigerate until serving.
FAQs and Tips for making Quick Mexican Pickled Onions:
When vinegar is warmed, it gives off an aggressive, pungent odor. If you've ever worked closing shift in a restaurant, you'll recognize the smell because your grill cooks probably used vinegar to clean their grills.
If the smell bothers you, I recommend adding the vinegar to the warm water and pouring the mixture over the red onions near your stove while your stovetop vent is running.
This is such a quick recipe to make and this 5-minute prep is the hardest part. Soldier through, team! You can find a million uses for these Quick Mexican Pickled Onions (or cebollas encurtidas), but let's not sleep on the pickley vinaigrette.
I've added a little bit of vinegar from my pickled onion jar as a delicious addition of acid anywhere that I might add a squeeze of citrus, including guacamole, salsas, sautéed shrimp and even salad dressings. I'm telling you, these purple monsters are a workhorse!
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FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Absolutely! There are various ways to season the vinegar mixture for quick pickled onions, including adding allspice berries, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, Mexican oregano, ground black pepper or red pepper flakes.
When I traveled in Denmark, they served delicious pickled onions with fresh herbs like dill along with caraway seeds. Endless possibilities!
I do recommend some type of sweetener to round out the flavor of the vinegar and the onions. My favorite way to sweeten this red onion recipe is with stevia, my go-to sugar substitute. But honey or even maple syrup could work here. Whatever makes your taste buds happiest.
So many options would work in this easy recipe. Plain old distilled white vinegar will add a more aggressive punch of acid to the dish.
Almost any type or combination of citrus juice could work, including lime juice, lemon juice and even bitter orange juice. White wine vinegar and red wine vinegar will also work.
One of my favorite combinations would be a combination of apple cider vinegar and the juice of one lime, along with the spices in the recipe. <chef's kiss>
Rumor has it that homemade pickled onions can last 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. But good luck keeping them around that long.
Of course. As a rule, red onions are a bit more stringent than white or yellow onions, and they also have a higher sugar content, making them a perfect match for this tangy condiment. But if you prefer white or yellow onions, feel free to substitute. You may get a milder flavor, but it will still be delicious.
Certainly! Or tripled! This recipe makes a fairly small batch-appropriate to serve as a condiment for several family meals. If preparing for a larger dinner party or Cinco de Mayo fish taco extravaganza, break out the large jar and the industrial sized vinegar bottle and go to town.
Carrots, radishes, jalapeno peppers and habanero peppers have all seemed thrilled to cuddle up in the same pickling brine with these red onions. Let me know in the comment section if you try anything else!