Pickled Spring Onions Recipe

A few forkfuls of these onions can dress up just about anything, from cheeseburgers to crostini and salads.

A pint-sized jar of pickled spring onions, fresh out of the water bath and ready for long-term storage.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

Why This Recipe Works

  • Pickling spring onions in thin slices gives them a relish-like convenience, adding to their versatility.
  • Briefly simmering the spring onions before canning them makes them easier to pack in the jar, helps infuse them with the flavor of the pickling spices, and ensures their safety for long-term storage.

One of my favorite springtime moments is when the new onions start appearing at the farmers' markets. While generally related to the storage onion we all know, these freshly picked, uncured onions are smaller, sweeter, and more succulent than their elderly brethren. They typically still have their green stems attached, which are also entirely edible. Much like their cousin, the ramp, they let off a musky scent if placed in your refrigerator unwrapped.

A bunch of spring onions placed on craft paper.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

These fresh, spring onions make for good eating. They're great sliced in half and grilled or caramelized until silky and tossed with pasta. They also happen to make an excellent pickle.

Four spring onions on a cutting board, trimmed and peeled.

Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

The thing I like most about pickled spring onions is their flexibility. The great majority of pickled vegetables out there are just one-trick ponies, but this particular pickle can play a number of roles. Dolloped on top of a burger, a basic cookout becomes quite gourmet. Need to bring an appetizer to a party? Toast baguette rounds, add a smear of creamy goat cheese and top with a bit of pickled onion. A bowl of baby arugula becomes a salad with a forkful of pickled onions and a drizzle of olive oil.

You get the picture. If you're planning a Memorial Day barbecue, make sure to add a jar of these pickles to the condiment table.

Before You Get Started

This recipe is scaled to make a single pint of pickles. You're welcome to increase or decrease the recipe as you see fit. You can use plain old storage onions in this recipe, if you can't find bundles of the new ones. They're not as sweet, but they're a doable substitute.

May 2012

Recipe Details

Pickled Spring Onions Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 48 hrs
Serves 4 to 6 servings
Makes 1 pint

A few forkfuls of these onions can dress up just about anything, from cheeseburgers to crostini and salads.


  • 1 bunch spring onions (approximately 1/2 pound once trimmed and cleaned)

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

  • 1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes


  1. Prepare a small boiling water bath canner and one pint jar.

  2. Wash and thinly slice trimmed spring onions into thin rounds. In a small pot, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, celery salt and red chile flakes. Bring to a boil. Once brine is simmering, add onions. Stir to combine and cook until onions are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Sliced spring onions in a ceramic pot.

    Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

  3. Remove pot from heat and funnel onions into prepared pint jar. Wipe rim, apply lid and ring, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jar from canner and let it cool. Check to ensure a good seal once jar is cool.

    The spring onions and brine are transferred to a pint jar with the help of a canning funnel.

    Serious Eats / Marisa McClellan

  4. Let pickles rest at least two days before using. Unopened, this pickle will keep for up to one year in a cool, dark place. Once opened, keep refrigerated and use within 2-3 weeks.

Special Equipment

Equipment for boiling water-bath canning, small pot, pint jar

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
43 Calories
0g Fat
9g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 43
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 272mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 7mg 36%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 125mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)