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Whole30 Pickled Onions

$2.92 Recipe/$0.37 Serving

Whole30 pickled onions are such a great way to add a pop of flavor and color to any meal!

Pink pickled onions only take a few minutes to make and are great with so many different meals! Naturally vegan, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, low carb and Whole30 friendly, you are going to want to keep a jar on hand at all times!

Forkful of pickled onions out of the jar.

Why you will love this recipe

  • You will never want to add raw onions to a recipe again! Pickling onions takes away that harsh, bitter onion taste and leaves you with crispy, crunchy onions that will add a fresh zing to any meal! Great for topping tacos, eggs, burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.
  • No canning equipment needed! These quick pickled onions are made in the fridge so you don’t have to deal with pressure cooking the cans! Just bring the liquid up to a quick boil and pour over the onions. Once cooled, you place the onions in the fridge and they will last about 2 weeks to a month!
  • These Whole30 friendly pickled onions are made without any added sugar! Most recipes call for a teaspoon or two of sugar or honey, but I find that I really enjoy the flavor without any added sugar! The onions have an underlying sweetness once you remove that bitterness with pickling!
  • Pickled onions are a great way to use leftover onions from other recipes! Never waste your onions again!
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Ingredients

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Red onions
  • Peppercorn (optional)
  • Mustard seeds (optional)

How to make pickled onions

Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a fast simmer, right before boiling.

Slice the onions thin, using a sharp knife and add the onions to a large mouth glass jar. If you are adding any seasonings (like the peppercorn or the mustard seeds), add them on top of the onions.

Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions. You may need to press the onions down with a spoon to get them all fully submerged in liquid.

Allow the glass to cool to the touch and move the onions and pickling liquid to the fridge. Store onions in the liquid in the fridge for 2 weeks to up to a month.

Steps on how to make homemade pickled onions.

What other flavors could you add

I personally love the flavor the peppercorn and mustard seeds add to the Whole30 pickled onions. Some other great flavors you could add include:

  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cumin seeds
  • Allspice (just about 1/8t tsp)
  • Thinly sliced garlic
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro
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Best jars for storing pickled onions

I love a good mason jar! I keep the wide mouth quart size mason jars stocked in my pantry for pickled onions. I like that the wide mouth jar is easy to fill and the mason jars are pretty inexpensive.

I have also used Weck jars to store pickled red onions as well. However, I don’t always love the clips on the side of the Weck jars, so I like to use those more for things like overnight oats or storing leftovers.

Glass jar of Whole30 pickled red onions.

Best ways to use pickled onions

Once you try quick pickled onions, you are going to believe me when I say you can add them to almost anything. However, some of my favorite ways to use them include:

  • On top of tacos, burritos, nachos, any kind of Mexican flavored dish
  • On top of eggs. Any kind of egg, including deviled eggs and hard boiled eggs! They add such a nice crisp fresh flavor that compliments the eggs so well!
  • On top of burgers or hot dogs
  • In sandwiches and wraps on salads. Really anywhere you might normally use fresh red onion, try pickled red onion in its’ place!
  • On top of grilled fish or steaks served with creamy cilantro slaw for a low carb dinner!
  • In pasta salad

Common questions

Do you store the pickled onions in the fridge with the pickling liquid?

Yes! The pickling liquid is where all the flavor is at and the longer the onions sit in the liquid, the better the flavor!

Do you need to let the liquid cool before putting the onions in the fridge?

Yes! First you want to be careful handling the glass jar because it’s incredibly hot after adding almost boiling liquid. You want the liquid to start to come down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge so you don’t crack the glass and so the onions have a chance to really do their magic before getting cold. The hot vinegar softens the onions and helps take away the bitter flavor from raw onions.

Can you make these shelf stable?

I do not have any expertise in canning, but my research shows that these could be canned, but you would need to do the pressure canning method (you cannot just boil the jars).

Are pickled onions and marinaded onions the same?

No. Marinaded onions soak in a olive oil + vinegar solution, typically with some other seasonings on the counter to mellow out the acidic bite from the onions. Often I use salad dressing to quickly marinate raw onions before adding them to a salad.

Pickled onions are soaked in a hot, vinegar and salt solution until they pickle, much like you would a cucumber to turn them into pickles. These onions have more of a zing from the vinegar.

Can you use less salt?

Salt is part of the pickling process. Some people use more and others use less salt, it depends on your personal preference, but you will need some salt. Follow the recipe as written the first time and adjust the salt from there once you know how the end product tastes!

Vinegar being poured over onions for pickling.

Do you have to use red wine vinegar?

No! I prefer the flavor though, which is why I use it! You can also use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or white wine vinegar instead.

Do you have to use red onions?

No, this recipe would also be delicious with sweet white onions. You could also use yellow onions as well but they may not get as sweet when pickled.

Tips on slicing onions

Slicing onions can be a less than fun job in the kitchen. If you are like me, you will likely shed a tear or two!

When making pickled onions, I prefer them to be relatively thin, but not see through. Cut the onion in half from root to stem. Peel off the outer paper. Lay the onion flat and cut off the tip at the top. Carefully slice down into half-moon shapes until you get to the stem. Discard the stem and repeat with the other side.

Another option to getting perfectly sliced onions, use your spiralizer! Once you spiralize the onion, take your knife and cut the onion pieces down into smaller pieces so they are easier to grab once pickled.

Other people like to use a mandolin; however I would never recommend that because I cut a big chunk of my hand with one cutting onions and it’s not a fun time. Take your time and use a knife instead!

Sliced red onion on a cutting board.

How to remove onion smell from your hands/fingers:

I learned this trick years ago. Did you know that you can get garlic and onion off your hands by rubbing them on anything stainless steel! I have a big spoon that after my hands are washed with soap, I will rub my hands all over the spoon to get rid of the lingering onion smell.

Substitutions

  • Red onion: Sweet white or yellow onions
  • Red wine vinegar: Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or white wine vinegar cut with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Peppercorn/mustard seeds: These are for flavor and are optional. You can easily omit them without replacing them. You can also use the “other flavor ideas’ above for substitution ideas.
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Glass jar of pickled onions with a forkful of onions.

Whole30 Pickled Onions

$2.92 recipe/$0.37 serving
Quick pickled onions are the perfect topping, adding a tangy crunch to any dish! Made in just minutes and stored in the fridge, it's so easy to always have pickled onions on hand! This recipe is naturally gluten free, Whole30, low carb, and keto friendly!
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Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pickled red onions, quick pickled oinions
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 6 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the vinegar, water and salt to a small sauce pan. Heat over high heat until right before boiling turn off the heat.
  • While the vinegar is coming up to temperature, carefully peel and slice the onions into thin half moons.
  • Add the onions to a large mouth pint size mason jar. Add optional peppercorns and mustard seeds on top.
  • Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions. Press down with a spoon to fully submerge the onions. If needed, add more water so onions are fully submerged in liquid.
  • Once cooled to room temperature, add a lid and store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Other flavors you can add:
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cumin seeds
  • Allspice (just about 1/8t tsp)
  • Thinly sliced garlic
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno
  • Fresh rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro
Substitutions:
  • Red onion: Sweet white or yellow onions
  • Red wine vinegar: Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or white wine vinegar cut with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Peppercorn/mustard seeds: These are for flavor and are optional. You can easily omit them without replacing them. You can also use the “other flavor ideas’ above for substitution ideas.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
18
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
Fiber
 
1
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
1
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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