Pickled Onions


It’s a race against the clock.  Despite giving away a good amount of the 20 pounds of Walla Walla onions I received recently, I’m still left with more than I know what to do with.  I’ve caramelized several onions and used them in this pizza, I’ve sautéed them, tossed them in salads and I still have more sitting on my counter.  After a couple of weeks the onions are starting to look less than their best but they have retained their crispness and are still great to eat.  A few days ago I set aside another several pounds with the intention of making French onion soup but I haven’t found the time.  The best part, though?  Nary a tear fell after slicing 7 – 8 large onions.   But I still need help using these guys up…help!



I did manage to use up a few more by pickling them.  These pickled onions were a cinch to make and I was happy to finally cross the recipe off my to-try list.  My pickled vegetable repertoire is very slowly growing–I’ve pickled garlic successfully–and now I can’t wait to try my hand at green beans or maybe cauliflower.

Since these sweet onions didn’t have a lot of bite to begin with they were ready in a few hours.  However, an overnight wait would be ideal.  Even after a week, they are still crisp and bright.  Where one would expect them to be added to salads and sandwiches, I’ve found myself walking by the refrigerator for a piece or two throughout the week.  They’re wonderful as an impromptu snack but I’ve got enough left over to add to a big salad tonight.




4.8 from 5 reviews
Pickled Onions
Pickled Onions: Your sandwiches and salads will be that much better with them.
Recipe type: Condiments
  • 3 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Few pinches kosher salt
  • Dried bay leaves
  • Few Dried Peppers
  • Black Peppercorns
  1. In a medium pot combine the ingredients from the vinegar to the peppercorns and the bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the onions and bring back to a simmer and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer the onions to mason jars and pour the hot brine over them to cover. Leave to cool, cover the jars and refrigerate for several hours or a day. The pickled onions will keep for a few weeks.
This recipe will be enough to fill three mason jars with brine left over.




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  1. These onions sound delicious, Jean! Love the idea of tossing them on a salad. I have an onion soup recipe that I’ll try to send you – it’s a classic in Calabria and comes together in about 45 minutes. I’m amazed at how flavorful it is even on the first day!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Laura, got your email while I was on my hike–thank you so much! Now I’ve got a recipe to try, yay! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  2. Hi Jean! I’ve wanting to do some pickling but haven’t had time! So, your post today is inspiring for me to see;-) Good for you trying to use up your sweet onions- I would probably be leaving baskets on my neighbors/friends doorsteps;-)

  3. I’ve been getting lots of onions in my CSA Box lately – this would be a great way to use them. I think my kids would like them in sandwiches.

  4. Yum, yum, yum! I can have this condiment with everything – EVERYTHING!

  5. Great idea to use up your onions, I was wondering what you were planning with the huge box that you got. And you even make an onion look good in photos you are quite amazing friend!

  6. How about onion soup ? That could finish a lot of those! I never pickled onions ever .. but I like the idea.

  7. I love pickled onions! perfect in sandwiches as accompaniment to cheese. Yours look delicious.



  8. I loved pickled vegetables and hardly ever do them. Thanks for reminding me! … and I like Rosa’s suggestion for putting them in sandwiches.

  9. Love to see you canning and pickeling! 🙂 These look and sound simply amazing. This is a perfect use for these delightful onions. Love, love the photos. Hope you had a nice weekend!!

  10. Ooh nice Jean. I always saw the pearl onions but I like this version! I am a vinegar based type of a gal so thi sis up my alley vs just salt pickle! 🙂 Great snapshots too! 🙂

  11. Wow! I love onions and use them every day–and Walla-wallas are wondeful–but I’d be at a loss to use 20 pounds of them… Good luck!

  12. I have never tried pickled onions before. I am sure they would be extra good with those onions!

  13. This must be so good with sandwiches. I love the vinegar flavor and this is far better than raw onion in the sandwich or burgers!! Great idea Jean!

  14. Great recipe. I’ve always wondered what to do with onions, this was a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Patricia Salisbury says:

    I see that all of the other comments are dated 2012, which makes me wonder if you are still out there. Just in case you are, can you tell me if there is any food safety reason why these pickled onions have to be stored in the refrigerator? Could I not process them in a water-bath canner, and keep them for a year or so? (One year seems to be the time that food safety “experts” commit to in terms of the shelf-life of home-canned products, but those of us who have been canning for a while are generally of the opinion that properly made home pickles are good for, shall we say . . . several . . . years.)

    • Hi, Patricia. I haven’t logged into my blog in a long time so my apologies for the very late reply. I am not an experienced canner at all so I would defer to your experience in this case. I would have followed the instructions on the recipe I used.

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