Sugar-Free Pickled Red Onions Recipe

If you're looking to level up your next burger or taco, a tangy forkful of pickled red onions will definitely do the trick. They're easy to make with just a few minutes of active prep time and once made, they will last in your fridge for three weeks. Wellness coach and recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe for sugar-free pickled red onions and says, "I love using onions in my cooking and always have all varieties on hand at all times. Pickled onions are so versatile and give everything you put them on an amped up flavor."

This version doesn't include sugar, so you just get the delicious sour tang, and they are so much healthier this way. "I love to include hibiscus flowers because it adds an earthy tartness that complements the acidity and brings a vibrant color to the jar," Hahn adds. You can add these pickled onions to sandwiches, tostadas, eggs, salads, and even pizza — needless to say, they're incredibly versatile, and much more exciting than plain old red onion.

Gather the ingredients for sugar-free pickled red onions

To make this recipe, start by grabbing a large red onion or two small ones. You'll also need a garlic clove, some apple cider vinegar, pink Himalayan salt, and black peppercorns. "I like to use a coarse, pink Himalayan salt here because it is less processed and doesn't contain any anti-caking agents that standard table salt has. It has become easy to find at most grocery stores." Also, if you don't have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can use white vinegar if you prefer.

There's also an option to use hibiscus flowers, which will not only complement the tartness of the brine, but they'll help give your brine that vibrant pink color. "If you don't want to buy a batch of hibiscus flowers, you can pick up a box of hibiscus tea and use the inside leaves of 4 tea bags," Hahn shares.

Prep the onions and garlic

In this first step, pull out a cutting board and sharp knife. Once the onions are peeled, thinly slice them into rings or half rings. If you have a mandoline, you can use that if you want an ultra-fine slice. "I personally like them a little thicker so they have some crunch," Hahn shares. Dice or crush the garlic. Finally, add the onions and garlic to a small mason jar or any glass container with a lid.

Make the brine

To make the brine, grab a small pot and add in the water, apple cider vinegar, hibiscus flowers, salt, and peppercorns. Bring the heat to medium and stir frequently for 5 minutes. This will help dissolve the salt and blend all of the flavors together.

Pour the brine into the onion jar and refrigerate

Your brine will be a beautiful color and have a nice tangy aroma. Pour it into the jar, over the onions and garlic. Make sure all of the onions are submerged under the liquid so the pickling magic can happen. Put the lid on tightly and stick the jar in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, then your onions will be ready to eat and enjoy. Use them to garnish a burger, salad, or slice of avocado toast — and feel free to get creative. Whatever onions you don't use on your first spin, simply seal them back in the jar and pop them in the fridge for future use.

Sugar-Free Pickled Red Onions Recipe
4.9 from 37 ratings
Jazz up your burger, taco, or avocado toast with these sugar-free pickled red onions.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pickled onions in glass jar with gold fork
Total time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • ½ teaspoon peppercorns
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons hibiscus flowers
  1. Slice the red onions thinly. Dice the garlic. Put these in a glass container with a lid.
  2. Combine the water, apple cider vinegar, salt, peppercorns, and hibiscus flowers (if using) in a small pot. Bring heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Pour the warm liquid over the onions in the jar. Put the lid on and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  4. After 3 hours, the pickled onions are ready to serve. Store any leftovers tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
Calories per Serving 15
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.7 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 1.1 g
Sodium 148.2 mg
Protein 0.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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