Easy pickled onions

Welcome to the easiest pickles you’ll ever make: lacto-fermented red onions. Tangy, crunchy, packed with flavour, full of good gut bacteria, and simple as anything to make.

If you’re interested in the basics of fermentation, you can find loads of information in our article about making sauerkraut. And if you’re looking for other quick pickle ferments to try, Dilly Beans (or carrots, or asparagus, or snow peas…) are an excellent one to add to the recipe book.


– Peel and chop some red onions and garlic.

– Chuck them in a clean jar.

– Add spices if you want. We used coriander seeds and peppercorn.

– Mix up a 2-3% brine. That’s 1.5-2 tablespoons salt* in 500ml boiling water. Mix to dissolve salt.

– ONCE IT’S COOL, fill onion jar with brine.

– Leave on a coolish bench for 2-4 days. Give it all a stir twice a day.

– Once the onions taste tangy and a bit sour (like a pickle), seal the jar by screwing the lid on tight and keep in the fridge.


– *Use salt with no ‘extras’ in it: pure salt, pickling, kosher, lake, flake, sea – all good. Make sure it’s ground fine before measuring or you won’t get enough.

– You can add herbs if you want to.

– If you have something to weigh down all the oniony bits and keep them submerged (like a fermenting pebble, small plate, glass jar lid, smaller glass jar), use that. It means you won’t have to stir it every day.

– If possible, use jars with plastic, glass or powder-coated metal lids (with that rubbery puff compound which helps it seal – most commercial food jars have this). Don’t use lids that are exposed metal inside, and if you’re using coated metal lids, make sure they have now scratches or dints. Exposed metal allows salt from the brine to get in and cause rust to form, which can taint your ferment.

– They’ll keep for months and months in the fridge.

– Make lots. You’re gonna love them!

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy

You can see we used a glass weight to keep our onions submerged while fermenting.

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