Mexican pickled onions are a delicious side dish perfect to accompany a variety of dishes such as tacos, stews, and Mexican snacks. They are also very easy to prepare and can be ready in about 10 minutes!
What are Mexican pickled onions?
Mexican pickled onions are a very simple Mexican preparation that elevates any dish to the next level. This preparation includes the onions cut into thin rings and marinated in a mixture of lime juice, vinegar, and spices.
As time passes, the onions acquire a consistency that is tender on the inside but still crisp on the outside, very typical of pickled vegetables, like chiles en vinagre.
Cebolla desflemada, cebollas en vinagre, cebollas encurtidas and cebollas rojas en escabeche are just some of the Spanish names by which this preparation is known all over the country.
There are various ways to make Mexican pickled onions (cebollas en vinagre) that depend on the state where they’re prepared.
How To Make Red Pickled Onions
Start by cleaning the onions, you can use any type you prefer just make sure they’re not too old because vinegar can bring out some weird flavor and smell on old onions.
Now, cut the ends of onions and slice them into 0,11″ (0.3mm) thick rings. Or you can also cut them into half-moon slices if that’s easier for you.
Place them into a medium bowl, season with salt and oregano, and then add the lime juice. If you don’t have limes, use lemon juice instead.
Mix water and vinegar and pour them into the bowl. Mix thoroughly to coat perfectly the onions.
Allow them to marinate for about 5 to 10 minutes and serve them with your favorite dishes as suggested below.
Useful Chef’s Notes
How to serve
- Top some Mexican dish: Like chicken tostadas, adobo pork ribs, picadillos sopes or even entomatadas!
- Add them to a salad: You can add those to Salpicon (shredded beef salad) or to coditos salad for a tangy touch.
- Tacos: Of course, tacos are the first option when it comes to this simple dish, I love to top my tacos dorados or cheese crispy flautas.
How to store
- Thanks to the vinegar, cebollas en vinagre store perfectly for two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
- But, if you want to keep them for much longer, I recommend that you sterilize some jars and use them to preserve the onions. Just remember that once the jar is opened, you should keep the pickled onions in the refrigerator and consume them within a week.
- If you made a large quantity of this recipe and want to keep them in jars (without sterilizing them), you can add more vinegar and top with one or two tablespoon of olive oil. The oil will create a protective coating on the onions and helps to keep them longer.
- Remember to always take onions with a clean fork or spoon to avoid cross contamination that could possibly spoil the onions.
More Mexican Side Dishes To Try
- Chiles Toreados – Sauteed chili peppers and onions.
- Mexican Cabbage Salad – Pickled cabbage with carrots.
- Pineapple Pico de Gallo – The classic pico de gallo recipe with a sweet twist.
Mexican Pickled Onions
- ½ lb red onions (sliced into thick rings)
- 1 lime (juice)
- dry oregano (to taste)
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water (room temperature)
- salt (to taste)
- Place onions, oregano, salt and lime juice into a medium bowl.
- Mix together vinegar and water and pour it into the bowl.
- Mix everything for one minute and adjust with salt and oregano if needed.
- Let it marinate for 10 minutes and serve.
- These Mexican pickled onions can be eaten straight away after being prepared, but if you want to enjoy their flavor 100% and bring out that marvelous bright color, I recommend that you let them marinate for at least a whole day. You will see that the taste becomes even more delicious.
- If you’re lucky enough to get Mexican oregano, use that one, because it definitely tastes different (and more delicious, in my opinion) and is perfect for this recipe.
- You can prepare this recipe with any type of onions such as white, golden, red (purple), or even spring onions.
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