Pickled Red Onions Will Add A New Dimension Of Flavor To Your Burgers

Burgers are hearty, delicious crowd-pleasers that are easy to make and simple to customize. This versatility is taken even further when you look beyond the patty to its toppings. Burger accouterments come in endless permutations — so many that it can be hard to decide which to use yourself. If you're looking to try a new topping this cookout season, pickled red onions can take your burger to the next level.

The purpose of any good burger topping is twofold: to deliver an extra punch of flavor to your dish and add a layer of texture to each mouthful. Pickled red onions reign supreme on both fronts. When it comes to flavor, the vinegary, sweet bite of the onions cuts through the savory quality of the meat, creating a more balanced taste. However, their texture contribution is what really makes them special. When prepared correctly, this topping is refreshingly crunchy but with enough give that it does not take away from the tenderness of a good patty.

How to quick-pickle onions

Red onions are easy to pickle, even on short notice. All you need is a pot, vinegar, sugar, and water. You will want to add 3 parts vinegar to every 1 part water and about 1 tablespoon of sugar per onion. Thinly slice your onions, then add them to the pot with the sugar and enough of your liquids to cover the onions entirely. Heat the mixture gently, stirring until you can see all the sugar has dissolved. 

At this point, you can transfer the mixture to any clean container and allow it to cool. The best practice is to let the onions sit for a few hours to reach their best flavor and texture. You can store them in your fridge for up to 4 weeks. Once you are comfortable with the traditional method, tweak the process to your taste. Add peppercorns and a bay leaf for a more savory take, or swap the sugar for grenadine to get intensely colorful pickled onions. Finally, if you or your guests have dietary restrictions, you can make sugar-free pickled onions by using apple cider vinegar and removing other sweeteners.