Pickled onions: probiotics
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Cebollas Encurtidas (Pickled Onions)

This recipe has its origins in Ecuador: It’s a vinegar-pickled onion. In Ecuador, it calls for cebolla paiteña, a smaller and spicier onion than those we get in the United States. “Our fermented adaptation is delicious,” says author Kirsten Shockey.
Course: Snack
Keyword: fermented vegetables, pickled onions, pickles, probiotics, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 1 quart
Author: Kirsten Shockey



  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (optional)


  • With a stainless-steel knife, trim onions by making shallow, cone-shaped cuts on both ends. Peel away the papery outer layers of skin and any damaged or discolored layers. With the same knife or a mandoline, thinly slice onions crosswise to make rings. Transfer to a large bowl, and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of the salt, working it in with your hands. Taste, and sprinkle in more salt as needed to achieve a salty flavor that’s not overwhelming. Add lime juice and optional zest to increase flavor.
  • At this point there is brine building at the bottom. Press your onions into a jar or crock. More brine will release at this stage, and you should see brine above the onions. Top the ferment with a quart-sized ziptop bag. Press the plastic down onto the top of the ferment, and then fill it with water and seal; this will act as both follower and weight.
  • Set aside on a baking sheet to ferment, somewhere out of direct sunlight, and cool for 7 to 14 days. Check daily to make sure onions are submerged, pressing down as needed to bring the brine to the surface. You may see scum on top; it’s generally harmless, but if you see mold, scoop it out.
  • You can start to test the ferment on day 7. It’s ready when the onions are translucent, have lost their sharp bite and are pickle-y tasting without the strong acidity of vinegar.
  • Store in jars, leaving as little headroom as possible, and tamping the onions down under the brine. Tighten the lids; then store in the fridge. This ferment will keep, refrigerated, for 18 months.


Excerpted from Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.