Classic & easy pickled onions

I am an absolute sucker for pickled onions, be it red, white, tiny ones or regular ones. I absolutely fucking love’em. Here’s the super easy basic recipe I use for everything – with variations.

Pickled onions adds beautiful colour, a nice acidic contrast, and crisp, crunchy freshness to a dish. If you look around on this site, you’ll quickly see a pattern.

This is not a set recipe, and you’ll have a lot of flexibility. Here are some guidelines:

  • Use white wine vinegar for white onions
  • Use red wine vinegar for red onions

Use apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar to impart their unique flavor, but be aware they will dull the colour of the onion. Malt vinegar and honey is a fantastic combo, but the colour isn’t as crisp and pristine as with white or red wine vinegar.

The “recipe” I use is as follows: 1 part sugar, 1 part vinegar, 3 parts water. For example:


  • 1-1.5 red onion
  • 50 ml sugar
  • 50 ml red wine vinegar
  • 150 ml water
  • pinch of salt


Cut off top and bottom of your red onion, halve it from top to bottom, then finely slice each half from top to bottom.

Next stuff the onion into a suitable lidded jar of around 500 ml. Bring the remaining ingredients, the pickling liquid, to a boil, and then carefully pour over the onions. Put the lid on the jar and let sit on your kitchen counter to cool.

When cool, put the jar in the fridge, and let it sit for at least 24 hours to pickle. It is usually best after 3 days, as the raw onion flavor will be gone.

PS: For pearl onions and other tiny onions, check out Mini Masterclass below for details.


This basic recipe with a very clean flavor opens up for unlimited variations. For starters, this is neither a very sweet, nor very sour pickle. If you like it quite acidic, add 1 extra part vinegar. If you like it sweeter, just add 1 more part sugar.

Wanna add some middle eastern flavors? Add allspice, bayleafs and black pepper. Wanna add a bit of cick to it? Add a few cloves of garlic and chili? Wanna make our amazing Viking Falafels? Add allspice, bayleafs, juniper berries and mustard seeds.

Zero waste tip

You can store these in an unopened jar for a few months. After opening the jar it’ll keep well for at least one month.

Mini Masterclass

When dealing with those beautiful, tiny onions, you’ll soon discover they are a bitch to peel. Trick is to bring a big pot of water to a rolling boil, then dump those tiny fuckers into that water.

Let it come to a boil again, and then dump then into a colander over your sink, and then dump them straight into ice cold water. This will make the still fiddly job a whole lot less tiresome.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *