1-2-3 Pickled Onions


Pickles, pickles, pickles! Pickle everything. What does it not make better?

Okay, probably a few things, but I adore a pickle. The only irritating thing is the wait, so what could be better than a recipe that you can throw together whilst you cook the meal that will be ready in time for you to eat? Miraculous!

Think of this more as a guide than a recipe. It’s based on using the kind of spirit vinegar that’s widely available in Sweden, which is 12% acidity. In the UK, almost all supermarket vinegar is typically around 5-6%, so you could just leave the water out of this recipe and make up the liquid volume with more vinegar. The main thing is to end up with a solution of about 4-6% acidity. Sorry if all that’s a bit number-ish, but it should make sense once you’re working.

You need enough pickling liquor to cover the onions. I used about a 2tbsp of vinegar, three of sugar and six of water. Make as much or as little as you need though.


Basically though, the recipe is

  • 1 Part Vinegar (12% acidity)
  • 2 Parts Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Parts Water

Thinly slice a red onion and put in a bowl, jar or Tupperware container, put the sugar, vinegar and water into a pan and stir over a medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved, pour over the onions, then put in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. That’s it, nothing more complex. You can keep the pickle in the fridge for as long as you need to, but I find they’re nicest, retaining a little pep and bite, within the first few days.


We had these onions to sit on top of fish tacos, for which they’re absolutely perfect, but they’re also really great for:

  • Sandwiches (particularly anything with cold meat or fish)
  • Salads
  • As a cold side for roast meat or vegetables
  • Baked potatoes
  • Noodle soup

…or pretty much anything else you can imagine them with. They are hugely versatile.

You can also use the pickling liquid for anything else you feel like, of course. Really anything goes.


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