Pickled Red Onions

These pickled red onions are a typical garnish in food from the Yucatan peninsula and are most famously used as the topping for cochinita pibil, a delicious slow-cooked pulled pork dish.

I absolutely love these onions for their tart acidic flavor, because they go with everything and their gorgeous color. They sit for 1 to 2 days and during this time the dark purple exterior bleeds off transforming the thin slices of onion into bright magenta strips. Basically, they will make any dish that you make beautiful. I use them to top tacos, in salads, with meat, on eggs and sometimes I just eat them plain.

This recipe is a combination of recipes from Ricardo Muñoz, Dianna Kennedy, Rick Bayless and Patricia Quintana. It calls for bitter orange juice with is a type of orange grown in the Yucatan and used frequently in cooking.   I think that they are pretty hard to find in the U.S. Instead of the bitter oranges you can you limes.




  • 1 large red onion
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 pinch of Mexican oregano
  • 5 cloves of garlic peeled
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of bitter orange juice or lime juice

Cut the onion into thin slices. Heat two cups of water. While the water is coming to a boil quickly toast the oregano, allspice berries and cloves in a pan.

When the water is boiling, pour over the onions and let sit for about 10 seconds. Strain the onions and transfer to a class jar. Add all the spices, the garlic and the vinegar and bitter orange or lime juice. Cover and let sit for at least 24 hours. I personally prefer to wait two days.

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