Home Dessert Old Fashioned Pickled Onion Recipe

Old Fashioned Pickled Onion Recipe

by Khushi Hossain
Old Fashioned Pickled Onion Recipe

Pickled onions are a beloved staple in many households. These tangy, crunchy delights are not only delicious but also healthy. Here, I will explore the old fashioned pickled onion recipe and walk you through the step-by-step process. 

I’ll cover everything from selecting the right onions to preparing the liquid and adding flavorings. So, if you’re a fan of old-fashioned pickled onions or want to preserve some of nature’s bounty, this informative guide will help you.

Are Pickled Onions Good For You?

Pickled onions are a healthy addition to any diet. It contains few calories, fat, and a high vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. The pickling process can also increase nutrient bioavailability. 

Old-fashioned pickled onions made with vinegar and herbs are healthier than modern canned pickled onions. It’s essential to check the ingredients on store-bought pickled onions. Some brands use artificial preservatives and additives that can harm your health. To avoid oversalting and sugaring, choose brands with natural ingredients.

Homemade traditional pickled onions are a healthier alternative to store-bought ones. Making them at home allows you to control the amount of salt and sugar used. Herbs and spices can enhance the flavor and nutritional value of pickled onions.

So, if you consume pickled onions in moderation and prepare them using healthy methods, they can benefit you.

Main Ingredients of Old Fashioned Pickled Onion

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients.

Onions: The type of onion depends on the season. It’s best to use pickling onions, shallots, or baby onions. It is not larger than 1″ in diameter.

Chilli Pepper: I use a standard red chili pepper in my recipe, but you can make it hotter if you prefer!

Ginger: Root ginger is best, but you can use pickled ginger if needed.

Vinegar: I prefer white wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would also work.

Sugar: I prefer to use caster sugar. It dissolves quickly because of its small grain size.

Salt: Salt is a common ingredient in pickles. It just enhances their flavor. It is best to use kosher salt, but other varieties will also work.

Cinnamon: In my pickle recipe, I use cinnamon as a whole stick. 


  1. Coriander seeds
  2. Mustard seeds
  3. Peppercorns
  4. Cloves
  5. Bay leaves
  6. Dried red chili

How to Make Old Fashioned Pickled Onion

  1. Pour boiling water over all the unpeeled onions in a large bowl.
  2. Allow them to steep in the water for 1 minute, then drain them in a colander.
  3. Cover the onions with cold water again and place them in the bowl.
  4. Remove the onion skins.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the peeled onions and salt. Put on a clean tea towel and allow to sit overnight.
  6. Then, drain and rinse the onions thoroughly.
  7. Let them air dry and store them in sterilized jars.
  8. Fill the jars with onions and pour the pickling vinegar over them. 
  9. In the next step, add all the pickling spices, seal the jars, and allow them to mature for four weeks.

Make the spiced pickling vinegar

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices in a large saucepan. Immediately remove the vinegar from the heat, cover it with a cloth, and let it cool and infuse for 24 hours.

How To Store Old Fashioned Pickled Onion?

If stored in a cool, dark place, pickled onions will last up to a year (sometimes longer). You should consume your onions within 4-6 weeks after opening them.

How to Tell if Pickled Onions Are Bad?

Pickled onions should be discarded if:

They’re moldy: The top part of your pickled onions can grow mold if you don’t fully submerge them. When sauerkraut isn’t brined, the same thing happens. I suggest you discard the entire jar instead of tossing the spoiled slices.

They’re stored for longer than they should: You can keep homemade onion pickles for up to three weeks. After that, assume they aren’t safe to eat. If the onions look fine, toss them.

A leaky jar or a broken seal: The pickle isn’t safe to eat if the jar, can, or seal is damaged. 

The onions smell off: Your pickled onions aren’t good if they suddenly fail the sniff test.

It is of poor quality: After a week or two in the fridge, pickled onions will soften. It is especially noticeable if you use warm (or cool) pickling liquid instead of almost boiling liquid. You can toss them if you don’t like soft pickled onions.

How Long Do Pickled Onions Last?

A homemade old-fashioned onion pickle retains its best quality for one to two weeks. They start to lose their crispness a week or two after those two weeks, but they should still be safe to eat. 

After that, the onions become softer but are still safe to eat.  Keep them in the fridge at all times. Ensure that all the onions are always submerged in the pickling liquid.

They don’t last nearly as long as canned pickles since quick pickles aren’t canned. Since the vinegar and salt add acidity, the onions stay safe much longer than the normal 3 to 4 days.

Regarding storage time, it’s difficult to predict how long onions will remain safe. But I prefer to use them within two to three weeks.

How Much Pickled Onions Should You Eat?

In moderation, pickled onions can be a healthy addition to your diet. Too many pickled onions can cause high blood pressure and other health problems.

It is recommended to consume one serving of pickled onions per day. A typical serving size is one or two small pickled onions or one or two tablespoons of pickled onion relish.

Pickled onions are usually served as a condiment, so it is easy to eat more than one without realizing it. Read the nutrition label if you’re monitoring your sodium intake. There may be some brands with a higher sodium content than others. But I prefer to eat homemade pickled onions with less salt and sugar.

Old Fashioned Pickled Onion Recipe

Old Fashioned Pickled Onion Recipe

Serves: 5 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 30 calories 0.5 grams fat
Rating: 4.3/5
( 3 voted )


  1. Small Onions 1 Kg ( No More 1’’ Diameter)
  2. Salt 50g
  3. Sugar 200g (Caster Sugar)
  4. Red Chili Pepper- 1 Tbsp
  5. Ginger - 1 Tbsp 
  6. Vinegar -1200ml
  7. Cinnamon Stick - 1 Whole
  8. Mixed Spices  -6 Tbsp (Coriander Seeds, Mustard Seeds, Peppercorns, Cloves)
  9. Bay Leaves  - 2 Whole
  10. Dried Red Chili - 2 Whole


  1. Remove the tops and bottoms of the onions. 
  2. Wash them off after peeling. 
  3. Make sure they are completely dry. 
  4. Place them in a bowl and salt them. 
  5. Leave overnight with the cover on.
  6. Dry the onions after rinsing them.  
  7. Make them early, so they stay crisp after pickling.
  8. Get the spices together. Heat the vinegar to melt the sugar and spices, but don't boil it.
  9. Place the onions in sterilized jars. 
  10. Fill the onions with the liquids. Make sure each jar contains some pickling spices. 
  11. Expel all the air bubbles.
  12. Allow the jars to cool before sealing. Let it sit for 4 weeks.

My Secret Recipe Tips

  1. If you want to use malt vinegar and red wine vinegar, you can mix them.
  2. You can also use cider apple vinegar.
  3. For extra heat, add some chili flakes to the pickling spices.
  4. You can also add cumin, dill, and star anise for extra flavor.
Did You Make This Recipe?
How you went with my recipes? Tag me on Instagram at @CuisineTutor


What is the Easiest Way to Peel Pickling Onions?

Cut off the top and bottom (the tunic and root) and then score the top layer with a knife from top to bottom. After that, you should be able to easily peel off the dry outer layer.

How Long Do You Soak Onions in Vinegar?

Depending on what you expect from them. You can eat onions after 24 hours if you prefer a more subtle taste. I suggest waiting at least a week to ensure the flavor goes right through the onion and not just on the outer layers.

Why Do Pickled Onions Go Soft?

Whenever you soak food in liquid, it will become soft. This is because it absorbs liquid, consequently absorbing the flavor as well. 

Final Words

Pickled onions are a classic and delicious addition to any meal or snack. Pickling onions enhances their flavor and extends their shelf life, making them a pantry staple. You can enjoy homemade pickled onions on sandwiches, in salads, or as a tangy side dish.

Following this old-fashioned pickled onion recipe, you can enjoy the zesty taste of homemade pickled onions whenever you want. Additionally, pickled onions can be a great addition to burgers, wraps, roast beef, and barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

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