Pickled onions are a summer kitchen staple (other summer staples include: a good all-purpose spice rub for easy grilling, and a bright, zingy chimichurri). Although pickled onions are technically raw, the pickling removes most of the “bite” that raw onions give.

Pickled onions add freshness and brightness to almost any dish. Try them in tacos, sandwiches, falafel, schawarma, salads, with grilled meats...and pretty much anything else that finds your fancy.

You can play around with different vinegars to suit your tastes (although it’s best to stay away from the harsher vinegars—like plain white or balsamic) and increase or decrease the amount of sugar. For a spicy version, add a hot pepper, sliced in half, into the jar.


  • 1 purple onion
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar (for a milder taste, use apple cider vinegar)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • Optional: 10 peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic


  1. Slice the onion as thinly as possible in half rounds. (Use a mandolin, if possible, otherwise just slice patiently and thinly.) Separate the rings and press them into a glass jar.
  2. Heat vinegar, water, sugar, and salt until just about to boil. Remove from the heat and add the peppercorns and garlic, if using.
  3. Pour the pickling liquid over the onions. Make sure the onions are covered. Leave to cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate. Let sit at least 24 hours, and up to two weeks.
  4. Pickled onions go well in tacos, sandwiches, falafel, schawarma, salads, with grilled meats...and so many other things.