In the realm of Mexican cuisine, cebollas curtidas add a touch of acidity that can elevate your favorite dishes to a whole new level, making these delectable pink onions a perfect condiment. If you're a fan of pickled veggies, you're in for a treat with this quick and easy recipe for Mexican Pickled Onions.
I believe the secret to the best quick pickled onions recipe is the technique used to make them. The authentic way I learned to make cebollas curtidas, is to treat the sliced red onion with salt and macerate them prior to adding the pickling liquid. This technique has never failed me and I am happy to share it you.
These vibrant pickled onions are not limited to your favorite Mexican dishes; they're versatile and can enhance any fatty or decadent dish in the best way. Some of our favorite uses are on top of fish tacos, avocado toast, enchiladas, flautas, taquitos and tortas. They are also a great addition to a salad, sandwich, wrap, eggs and toast, burgers, hot dogs, and so much more.
These pickled red onions have earned a special place in our hearts, and there's always a jar of them in our fridge, ready to infuse a burst of tangy goodness into our meals. If you find yourself loving this technique and recipe, please drop us a note in the comments. We also love it when you tag us on social @thewholerevolution
Just a personal note to you: If you want to keep it simple, skip adding the aromatics and let the citrus and spice shine, this is honestly my favorite way to enjoy picked onions. But if you want to take it up a notch and add some levels of flavor, check out the optional aromatics in the recipe. Either way I promise you will not be disappointed and you may love this new technique of making a quick-pickled onions.
- Large red onion aka purple onion, thinly sliced onions in half moons
- Piloncillo or coconut sugar - substitute with cane sugar (only use 1 teaspoon) or maple sugar.
- Sea salt
- White vinegar
- Fresh lime juice
- Filtered water
- Mexican oregano
- Bay leaf
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Black peppercorns
- Star anise
See recipe card for quantities.
1. Preparing the Onions: Add the onion slices into a large heat-proof jar or a bowl with a lid.
2. Creating the Pickling Liquid: In a small pot, combine the coconut sugar, white vinegar, lime juice, salt, and water. Cook over medium heat, carefully whisking until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn't come to a boil.
3. Pickling the Onions: Using a muddler or a wooden spoon, give the red onions a gentle smash to kickstart the pickling process. After the five minutes of simmering, carefully pour the pickling liquid over the red onions.
4. Chilling and Storing: Allow the pickled onions to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover the container and refrigerate. These pickled onions will stay fresh for up to two weeks when stored in the fridge.
- Coconut Sugar: If you don't have coconut sugar, you can use cane sugar, pure maple syrup, or maple sugar as alternatives.
- White Vinegar: you can use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
- Red or Purple Onion: Don't have a red onion on-hand, no worries, grab your white onions and red wine vinegar, the color just won't be vibrant, but you will still get a great taste.
- Spicy Red Pickled Onions: Add a sliced jalapeño peppers or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pickling liquid for a spicy kick.
- Herb-Infused Pickled Onions: Experiment with fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or thyme to infuse unique flavors into your pickled onions.
- Sweet and Sour Pickled Onions: Enhance the sweetness by using brown sugar or honey in place of coconut sugar and add a splash of apple cider vinegar for a tangy twist.
- Citrus Pickled Red Onions: use a mixture of lime juice, orange juice and lemon juice
- Large jar must be heat proof (Mason jar) or glass container with tight-fitting lid
- Small pot for the pickling liquid
- Muddler or wooden spoon for smashing the onions
- Cutting board
- Sharp chef's knife
To extend the life of your homemade Mexican Style Pickled Red Onions, store them in the refrigerator with a secure lid or cover in an airtight container. Properly refrigerated pickled onions can maintain their quality and flavor for up to two weeks.
Always start with sliced onions and salt. Take the time to gently macerate your onions prior to adding the pickling liquid.
For a quick and easy way to add a burst of tanginess to your dishes, keep a jar of these pickled red onions on hand. They're a fantastic flavor booster and a delicious addition to have in your culinary arsenal.
To give your pickled onions a spicy kick, you can add a sliced jalapeño or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pickling liquid.
Yes, you can substitute coconut sugar with cane sugar or maple sugar. Each option will impart a slightly different flavor.
The possibilities are endless! These pickled onions are a fantastic addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps, eggs and toast, burgers, hot dogs, and many other dishes. Get creative and enjoy!
Mexican Style Pickled Red Onions - Easy & Quick
- 1 Stovetop
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons coconut sugar sub cane sugar or maple sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 2 limes juice only
- ¼ cup filtered water
- ¼ teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
- Add sliced red onions into a large heat-proof jar or bowl with a lid. Add coconut sugar, white vinegar, lime juice, salt, and water to a small pot. Cook over medium heat, carefully whisking until sugar has completely dissolved, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
- With a muddler or wood spoon, give the red onions a little smash to get things going. After five minutes, carefully pour the pickling liquid over your onions. Add your aromatics of choice. Cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. The pickled onions will keep up to two weeks when refrigerated.
- A quick way to add a little acid to your favorite dishes. If you love pickled veggies, definitely try making your own pickled onions. These are not just for tacos and enchiladas, try them with any fatty or decadent dish. Add them to a salad, sandwich, wrap, eggs and toast, burgers, hot dogs and so much more. These are definitely a favorite in our house and I usually have a jar in the fridge.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
- Cleanliness: Ensure your hands, utensils, and containers are clean and free of contaminants when handling the onions and pickling ingredients.
- Refrigeration: Store the pickled onions in the refrigerator at all times to prevent bacterial growth.
- Use Fresh Ingredients: Start with fresh, quality red onions and check the expiration dates of the other ingredients, especially the vinegar.
- Avoid Cross-Contamination: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw onions and other ingredients to prevent cross-contamination.
- Proper Sealing: Ensure the container or jar used for pickling is properly sealed to maintain the freshness and flavor of the onions.
- Expiration Date: Consume the pickled onions within two weeks of preparation to ensure they remain safe and delicious.