DIVAS ON A DIME: Whip up quick pickled onions in minutes

By Patti Diamond

These pickled onions come together quickly and make a great addition to many dishes. (www.JasonCoblentz.com)

How about a recipe that’s embarrassingly easy to prepare, is ready in minutes, costs next to nothing and adds amazing flavor to many of your favorite meals? We’re talking about homemade quick pickled onions.

Once you start making these pickled onions, you’ll always have a jar waiting in the fridge to add a kick to every meal.

Now, I rarely go to the effort of properly “canning” things. But refrigerator pickling? I’m all about it! Why? Because it’s easy.

It’s practically instant gratification. This is one of those mindless things you do when the other food is cooking, in between talking on the phone, folding laundry and feeding the dog.

Quick pickling onions is as simple as marinating the onions in a brine made with water, vinegar and sugar then serving.

This is not a recipe for preserved, canned red onions, and therefore this is not recommended for long-term canning storage.

Since variety is the spice of life, you can modify this recipe by using various onions and different vinegars and sweeteners.

Your vinegar choices can be plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red or white wine vinegar.

Sweeteners include granulated sugar, light and dark brown sugar; you could even use honey or molasses.

You can use any kind of onion and be successful with this recipe.

My favorite is red onion because they turn a beautiful shade of pink.

But if sweet onions are in season, this recipe really lets them shine.

Sweet onions, including Vidalia and Walla Walla Sweets, are less pungent than regular onions and have a natural sweetness that lends itself to this style of pickling.

This is also great when a recipe calls for half an onion and you’re left with an orphaned half an onion.



1 heaping cup onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Optional: 1/2 tablespoon fresh or dried spices, herbs and/or pickling spice blend

Thinly slice your onions and place them in a large glass canning jar or 3 cup or larger glass measuring cup. To prepare the brine, pour the vinegar and water into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients (salt, sugar and optional spices), bring to a simmer and pour right into the jar with the onions. Put a lid on the jar and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes or overnight. The longer you let them set, the “pickle-ier” they will be. Keep your pickled onions refrigerated in the brine, and they’ll last 2 to 3 weeks.

If you’d like to add flavors to your onions, you could add whole black peppercorns, jalapenos, red pepper flakes, whole garlic cloves, fresh herbs, fresh ginger or bay leaves.

What can you do with pickled onions? You put a tangle on a taco, a bunch on a burger, a smattering on a salad, a heap on your hummus, a pile on a pizza, a knot on your nachos or an assemblage on a sandwich.

You can also chop pickled onion in a food processor with sour cream or mayonnaise to make a quick dip or sandwich spread. Make a chilled appetizer serving onions massed on top of softened cream cheese with crackers for a summer barbecue, and a jar of quick pickles always makes a lovely hostess gift.

With summer in full swing, you’re never more than 15 minutes away from crisp, cool, take-all-the-credit pickled onions. I hope you agree, that’s a pickle you don’t mind being in.


Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com


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