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Spicy Pickled Onions

John Kernick

Yield: Yields about 1 quart.

These onions are a great addition to a cheese plate. Make them at least 5 days before serving to allow the flavors to develop.


  • 3/4 lb. (3 to 3-1/2 cups) fresh or frozen small white or yellow pearl onions (1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter), thawed if frozen
  • 1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small fresh hot red chile, such as cayenne or piquin, stemmed, or a large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 10
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 0
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 5
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


  • If using fresh onions, have a bowl of ice water at the ready. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the onions and blanch until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to the ice bath and let cool. To peel, snip off the tip with kitchen scissors and remove the papery outer layers. Set the onions aside. (If using thawed frozen onions, skip this step.)
  • Pack the onions into a clean 1-quart glass jar. In a 3-quart saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup water and the vinegar, garlic, allspice, sugar, bay leaf, ginger, cloves, chile, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  • Carefully ladle the vinegar mixture over the onions in the jar. Let cool to room temperature, then cover with the lid. Refrigerate for at least 5 days to let the flavors develop.

Make Ahead Tips

The onions will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator.


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