Mexican Dinner Menu: Recipe for Pickled Red Onions


Friends don’t let friends eat Mexican food without pickled red onions!

Our first Christmas celebration was with friends Greg and Cauleen. I decided on serving up a Mexican theme. Stay tuned for more dishes from this dinner, but for now let’s start out talking about pickled red onions.

So easy and with so much impact, there’s absolutely no excuse not to give these a try. Tart and sweet, add a hot bite from the onions, some heat from the red pepper and these onions bring the Fiesta to any Mexican meal. Scoop a heaping spoonful onto tacos, enchiladas, tostadas or even a hearty serving of pinto beans and you’ve got yourself a new flavor experience.

The first time I had pickled onions was as a topping for fish tacos at a local, now sadly defunct restaurant, Chama, created by my favorite local restauranteur, Sean Yontz. I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread.  Yontz has since opened up a new restaurant, El Diablo, and the fish tacos topped with these beautiful onions live on.

This is my third attempt to duplicate Yontz’s recipe, combining ingredients from several versions I found on the Internet.  I believe I’ve come pretty close.

Recipe for Pickled Red Onions

3/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper (I used 1/4 of a dried ancho chile for medium heat)
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings

In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.

Transfer the onions and the liquid into a covered container and refrigerate. These should keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator.

Pickled Red Onions….They’re What’s for a Mexican Dinner.

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    • says

      So good to hear from you Olga. I decided to try the heat method because of that dried chile. Needed it to steep the flavor abit. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  1. says

    I love the sound of these and even more…the ease. And so pretty too!

    Have you ever thought of asking a chef for their recipe; I go to a couple of restaurants that will provide me with theirs; they appreciate the marketing they get if a blogger includes their recipe and where it came from. Those that resist and think we’ll never ever frequent their place again don’t quite get it!

    Knowing how doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy going out!

  2. says

    Wow, I’ve never had these yummy red onions and I’ve eaten my share of Mexican food. If you think they’re the best thing since sliced bread, then you’ve convinced me that there’s no way I’m going to go on living without them.

    Happy holidays Lea Ann to you and your family.

    • says

      I’ve not seen these onions served in any of the Tex-mex restaurants, but we do see them at Mexican restaurants here. Hope you like them Sam. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. says

    I made pickled red onions a few months ago and they were amazing. They go so well on everything – sandwiches, burgers, tacos…the list is endless. These look great!

  4. says

    I love pickled onions. You got great color on yours. Thanks for the recipes. I do something similar, but you’ve added some additional spices that I think would make them even better.

  5. Vickie says

    These sound soooo good – full of all kinds of things I love! (please excuse the iPad brevity – there is much more to say) Merry Christmas!

  6. says

    I’m making fish tacos for Christmas and these are perfect to go with them! I was thinking cabbage but I like this idea much better. Merry Christmas! xoxo


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