This recipe, from Raleigh, North Carolina chef Cheetie Kumar, makes vividly colored and flavored pickled onions that go with so many dishes, from curries to soups to tacos. “It’s strange how such a simple pickle has so much flavor and transforms into an electric hot pink color,” says Kumar. A salt rub helps break down and tenderize the raw onions down a bit and seasons them as well. And a marinade of fresh lemon juice and red wine vinegar gives them a punchy acidity. Kumar adds ginger as well, for a spicy note. “If you love the taste of raw ginger, you can dice the ginger into the onion mixture. I like the subtle heat it leaves behind after marinating and remove it and the pepper once the onions are finished pickling,” she says. The onions only require two to three hours of pickling in a ziplock bag at room temperature. Turn the bag occasionally as the onions sit to ensure that they are evenly pickled throughout. Once they are done, store them in the refrigerator and use within two days for the best taste and texture.


Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Recipe Summary test

10 mins
2 hrs 10 mins
1 1/2 cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Toss together onion slices and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Transfer onion mixture to a ziplock plastic bag. Add chile, ginger, lemon juice, and vinegar, and seal bag, removing as much air as possible. (If desired, chile and ginger may be wrapped and tied securely in a double layer of cheesecloth before adding to ziplock bag.) Turn bag to coat onions in lemon juice mixture.

  • Lay ziplock bag flat on a work surface, and let stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally. Drain onion mixture; discard chile and ginger. Use onions immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use, up to 2 days.