Cookbooks · cooking · Preserving

Sweet Pickled Onion Rings

I love Robert Rose cookbooks, over the years I have received and reviewed a number of them and haven’t had a bad one yet. So to my surprise, Kirk showed me a book at Costco last week and asked if I had it. No, I didn’t and how had I missed this one?

The Complete Book of Pickling: 250 Recipes from Pickles and Relishes to Chutneys and Salsas was published in 2009, so I can see how it slipped by me. At that time I had kind of turned my eye on canning (which was dumb really, as I was still teaching others how to do it!). The past year has been a turn-around for me, with feeling inspired to create. And even though it is midway through fall and not when one thinks of canning, the thought of sweet pickled onion rings had my mind wandering. The onions are often my favorite part of bread and butter pickles. To have a jar just of them? Sure, why not. Well, maybe if I had thought it out a bit I might have found another recipe. The part where I’d be peeling and cutting pounds of onions didn’t enter my mind as I was drooling about my awesome pickles I’d be eating soon. Hah.

And being the cheap-o I am, I brought home a bag of small onions (which are called for in the recipe), and I was reminded why I pay the extra $ for sweet onions for day-to-day cooking. Wow. After crying up a storm, reeking up the kitchen at 7 pm and crying more, I did get out of it 10 pint jars of onions. Maybe the tears were worth it 😉 I figure with canning and pickling that it is worth the effort and messes for flavors I would never find in a store. If you like pickling, check the book out – you will find something to fall in love with. But maybe splurge on the pricier onions 😉

PS: I did adapt the recipe in one way – I doubled the recipe. If I was going to cry, I was going to get a ton out of it! The recipe is presented for a normal batch.

Sweet Pickled Onion Rings


  • 3 pounds small onions (2-3″ size)
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar, preferably organic
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp pickling salt
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 5 cups apple cider vinegar


Fill a large canning pot about ¾ full with water, heat over medium-high as you work.

Jars & Lids –

Wash and rinse the jars; put them into a big stockpot; cover the jars with water and bring to a boil; turn off the heat. Let stand in hot water until you are ready to fill.

Wash the bands and lids, bring a saucepan of water to boil, add the lids and rings, let sit until you are ready to use. (Use new lids each time, bands can be reused.)

Onions –

Peel the onions, trim the ends and cut crosswise into ¼” slices. Separate into rings in a large bowl.

Combine sugar, mustard seeds, salt celery seeds, turmeric, cloves and vinegar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often until sugar and salt are dissolved. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Pull the jars out of the hot water, drain quickly, place on a clean kitchen towel and pack onions in to 1″ below the top. Sterilize a ladle in your canning pot, fill the jars with the hot vinegar to ½” below the top. Release any air bubbles with a sterile plastic spatula or chopstick, add more vinegar as needed. Take a new paper towel, dip in hot water and wipe the rims. Put a lid on, finger tighten a band around.

Add the jars to a canning basket, lower in the canning pot. Bring water up to a rolling boil, process for 10 minutes with the lid on. If you need more water to fully cover the jars, take it from the stockpot you sterilized the jars in.

Turn off heat, let the jars sit for 5 minutes with the lid off. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter, set on a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave undistributed till cold (overnight). Check that the lids have all popped, if any have not, store in refrigerator, use within a month.

Pickling takes time – don’t open your pickles right away. Let them sit in a cool and dark corner of your pantry and do their magic for at least a couple of weeks.

Makes about 5 to 6 pint jars. Pickles are usually good for a year+ when sealed and stored properly, once opened store in refrigerator for up to a month. And be sure to write on the lids what you canned and when! You’ll be happy you did 😉


6 thoughts on “Sweet Pickled Onion Rings

    1. I’d say as a snack 😉 Or better – on a veggie burger – that is what I am waiting for! I can also see dicing them up and adding to potato salad 🙂

  1. I have made this recipe & loved the taste & flavour of the pickled onions so much! I topped them on a meat burger & they where fantastic, a home made meat burger,of course!

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