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Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett Photo by: Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Bread-and-Butter Pickled Onions

Dialing back the sugar in the versatile brine lets the natural sweetness of the onions and vegetables shine in these quick and easy refrigerator pickles.

Southern Living MAY 2013

  • Yield: Makes 3 pt.
  • Hands-on:20 Minutes
  • Total:10 Hours, 10 Minutes


  • 1 pound sweet onions, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric


1. Toss together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Transfer to a colander; drain 20 minutes. Pack into 3 (1-pt.) jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top.

2. Bring vinegar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until sugar dissolves. Let stand 5 minutes.

3. Pour vinegar mixture over onion mixture in jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Cool completely (about 20 minutes). Cover with lids, and chill 8 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Try These Twists:

Bread-and-Butter Pickled Onions with Green Tomatoes: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting green tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for cucumbers.

Bread-and-Butter Pickled Onions with Radishes: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting radishes, cut into 1/4-inch slices, for cucumbers; white vinegar for cider vinegar; and celery seeds for turmeric. Add 2 fresh tarragon sprigs to each jar just before covering.

Bread-and-Butter Pickled Onions with Carrots: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, for cucumbers; a serrano pepper for red chile pepper; and cumin seeds for mustard seeds.


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Bread-and-Butter Pickled Onions recipe