Pickled Red Onions

I am a serious hoarder when it comes to recipes and food photos. This is partially because I started taking pictures of food for myself and to learn the craft of photography. It's a fun hobby and the intent wasn't originally to publish. Though I really enjoy putting together the content for Chic Eats. Then there's the high curiosity quotient. When I'm writing these posts, The Google ends up devouring my time like The Nothing and things get a little wordy. Food science, nutrition, techniques - so much to learn, so little time.

Creative constraints are a good way to shake things up so I've decided to start a Recipe Card series. Posts are shorter in nature and offer an opportunity to feature simpler dishes that I plan to reference down the road.

In terms of this inaugural Recipe Card, I have attempted to make pickled red onions a few times but wasn't ever satisfied with the results. I came across Chef Alex Stupak's rendition in Tacos and am pleased to say that I finally found a winner. These pickled onions are easy, wonderfully aromatic, and seem to go with everything. They also last for several weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.

Red Onions at Weiser Family Farms - Santa Monica Farmers Market

Recipe Tips

I recommend letting the mixture marry up in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, overnight is preferable.

Original vs. Adapted

I made two minor adjustments to Chef Stupak's pickled red onions.

  • Doubled the sugar.
  • Added a fresh cayenne pepper for a little heat.

Farmers | Artisans

I make an effort to source my food from local California artisans with a special focus on the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Below is a list of the talented folks who contributed to this dish.

    Schaner Farms / Red Onions


    Ingredients (Adapted from Tacos)

    • 4 medium red onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 1 dried bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon flake-style salt
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 fresh cayenne pepper (optional)


    • In a cast-iron or non-stick pan, toast the peppercorns, bay leaf, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds until fragrant.
    • Combine the sliced onions and toasted seasonings in a glass storage container that's large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Note: I find that it's difficult to get the vinegar smell out of plastic.
    • Combine the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer and then immediately turn the heat off. Swirl the pan until all of the sugar and salt is dissolved.
    • Pour the hot mixture over the onions, add the cayenne (if using), cool completely, then seal and refrigerate.
    • UPDATE: Another option is to add the vinegar, salt, and sugar directly to the large glass storage container before adding the spices and onions. Microwave in 30-second increments until the mixture is hot enough for the sugar and salt to dissolve. Then add the onions and spices. This eliminates a dish from the process.


    Pickled red onions will last for several weeks refrigerated in an airtight container.

    bowl of pickled red onions

    Related Posts