Cost of Living

A Pickled Onion Walked Into a Jar

Onions are notorious for making us cry but usually it’s when you cut them. This quick, easy, and slightly spicy Pickled Onion Recipe is so good it… well I think you get the joke from here. What’s not a joke? The fact that you can keep them around (stored in the fridge in an airtight container) for up to two weeks!

There are so many dishes you can balance out with these on hand, they are worth making every few weeks. Just think, slow roasted pork, yes. Butternut squash black bean tacos, yes. Making eggs dishes exciting, turning potato salad into “homemade” heavens yes. Hamburgers, brats, GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES… yes, Yes, YES!

Ok bordering on food porn. Taking it down a notch… not, queue closeup!

Simmer Onion for 8 Minutes
Simmer Onion for 8 Minutes

This is a simple, easy, nonjudgemental recipe. Don’t like heat, leave out the red pepper flakes. Not the perfect onion slicer, no worries, we’re not talking perfection here, we’re talking simple, easy, tasty pickled heat.

Pickled Red Onion Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 Medium Red Onion, sliced fairly thin
    • Sliced in half moons, go for the rings, whatever you like, trust me no ones going to judge your shape.
  • 1 Cup Dry Red Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar Packed
    • Light brown is fine as well just less complex flavor but no ones watching anyway!
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns
    • Toss ’em in whole, no grinding necessary
  • 1 Tablespoon of Mustard Seed
  • 2 Teaspoons of Red Pepper Flakes
    • Optional but really, who doesn’t like a little unexpected heat?
  • 2 Teaspoons of Salt
    • Go coarse if you’ve got it


  1. Toss everything together in a pot EXCEPT the onions.
  2. Over a low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Turn up the heat, add your onion slices and bring to a boil.
  4. Return to a simmer for a gentle last 8 minutes on the stove.
  5. Kill your heat, remove to another burner and allow things to cool down a bit before jarring.
Simmer Onion for 8 Minutes
Simmer Onion for 8 Minutes

Notes on Jarring:

  • Using kitchen tongs, a fork or two spoons, transfer your cooled onions to a jar.
  • This step is optional but since biting into whole black peppercorns is a little less than pleasant and picking around them in the jar later is tricky, I recommend the bother here. Strain the pickling liquid before or as you place it in your jar with the onions. Mustard seeds soften and are fine but the peppercorn, no matter the kind, try reducing as many as you can before they hit the jar.
  • Think of a few in the jar as cute for display, not for eating.
Straining Recommended
Straining Recommended

Ball Jars work great here. If you stuck to a medium red onion, everything fits in nicely and will be downright attractive served with nothing more than a little ole fork sticking out!

Pickled Onion Walked Into a Jar
Pickled Onion Walked Into a Jar

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