How to make pickled onions in no time

If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of it’s pickles. Gherkins, sauerkraut, beetroot, if it can be pickled I’ll eat it. My absolute favourite pickle however is the humble pickled onion. Crunchy, tangy, and spicy, they’re just the best. If given the chance I could happily eat an entire jar in one sitting.

While it’s easy enough to just go out and buy a jar of pickled onions, It’s far more satisfying to make your own. Unfortunately, the only downside of pickling your own onions is the length of time it takes for them to mature. Waiting for between two to six weeks is interminable, especially for someone as impatient as myself.

Fortunately, there’s another way to get all the zesty taste of my favourite brined veg without any of the waiting: Quick-pickled onions. By cutting the onions into thin slices, you can cut down the maturing period by weeks and have some tangy morsels ready in as little as half an hour.

Not only are these onions easy to make, but they are extremely versatile. While I can happily just east them as is, they are a great addition to salads, pizzas, and a great side at a BBQ or cookout.

Making your own batch of quick pickled onions is remarkably simple and shouldn’t take longer than half an hour. Here’s how to do it:


You’ll need:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

The method:

Fill a kettle with water bring the water to boil, you’ll need this later.

On a steady cutting surface peel and slice the red onion into thin rings.


Peel the garlic and cut into three or four chunks.

In a medium mixing bowl combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, garlic, and chilli flakes.


Mix the liquid until the sugar and salt are fully dissolved.

Separate out the onion rings and place them in colander or sieve.

Quick-blanch the onions by slowly pouring the boiling water over the onions.

Put the onions into a sealable glass jar and pour over the mixture.

Seal the jar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

And that’s all there is to it! The onions should be ready to eat in 30 minutes, but taste better if left to pickle for a few hours.

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