Y'all, I love pickled onions and jalapeños! They're spicy-sweet-tangy and add an amazing kick and umami flavor to all kinds of dishes.
These aren't proper pickles. They're refrigerator pickles, which means that you do have to store them in the fridge. But it also means that you don't have to sterilize anything or do a lengthy hot water bath canning process!
This recipe is based on my recipe for pickled red onions, and it is an absolute breeze to make. Just stuff your veggies in the jars, boil your brine, pour it on, and you're done.
Like most refrigerator pickles, pickled onions and jalapeños get tastier the longer they marinate in the brine, so I like to make them at least a day ahead, if possible.
Ingredients and substitutions
- onion - I'm using red onion, but you can also use white or yellow onion to make this.
- jalapeños - You can use similar hot peppers, like Serranos, if you like.
- apple cider vinegar - This brings that tanginess to the pickles and helps preserve them.
- water - You don't want to make your brine with all vinegar, because it will end up too strong.
- salt - Salt adds to the tanginess and helps preserve the onions and jalapeños.
- sugar - I love how sweet contrasts with the acidity and salt in this recipe! You can reduce the sugar to as little as two tablespoons, if you want a less sweet pickle, but I do recommend using at least that little bit of sugar. Remember that you don't drink the brine, so a lot of the sugar actually stays in the jar.
- garlic - Adds such a nice flavor to the brine, and those pickled garlic pieces are a treat all to themselves!
How to make pickled onions and jalapeños
Stuff the onions and jalapeño slices your mason jars.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat them until they boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This should only take a few minutes.
Turn off the stove, and immediately pour the hot brine into your jars. The heat from the brine will soften the onions and jalapeños.
Screw the lids onto your jars loosely, and set them on the counter to cool. Once they're cool enough to handle, you can tighten the lids and stick the jars into the fridge.
- When you're stuffing your jars, try to get an even mix of onions and jalapeños in there.
- Once the brine boils, work quickly. You want it very hot, so it will soften the onions and jalapeños.
You can eat these as soon as they're cool enough to handle, but they're even better if you can wait about 24 hours, to give the onions time to soak in that beautiful brine!
Your pickled onions and jalapeños will keep for one to two weeks in the fridge. I recommend writing the date on the jar, because I hate playing, “When Did I Make These, Again?”
Frequently asked questions
Refrigerator pickles - also called quick pickles - don't need to be hot water bath canned, and you don't need to worry about sterilizing jars and other equipment. The trade-off for that ease is that you need to store these in the fridge. They generally last from one to three weeks.
More ways to use jalapeños
Pickled Onions and Jalapeños
- 2 cups sliced onion - Red, yellow, or white is fine.
- 2 cups sliced jalapeños
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 cloves garlic - sliced in half lengthwise
- Stuff the onions and jalapeño slices your mason jars.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan, and heat them until they boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This should only take a few minutes. Turn off the stove, and immediately pour the hot brine into your jars. The heat from the brine will soften the onions and jalapeños.
- Screw the lids onto your jars loosely, and set them on the counter to cool. Once they're cool enough to handle, you can tighten the lids and stick the jars into the fridge.