Pickled Shallots

These pickled shallots are appealing not just because they’re quick and easy but because they’re pretty and pink and lend a burst of welcome acidity to just about anything. Just rice wine vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt make them a cinch to whip up, too.

A Mason jar filled with pickled shallots, submerged in brine.

These pickled shallots are pretty instant in terms of gratification, seeing as they take just 6 hours of pickling time in your fridge, as opposed to several weeks on your pantry shelf, and your reward is unexpected bursts of acidity in all the right places—cheese plates, salads, tacos, sandwiches, burgers, omelets (we could go on but we’d much rather you let us know in a comment below how you fancy these pink lovelies).–Michael Anthony

Pickled Shallots

A Mason jar filled with pickled shallots, submerged in brine.
These pickled shallots are appealing not just because they're quick and easy but because they're pretty and pink and lend a burst of welcome acidity to just about anything. Just rice wine vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt make them a cinch to whip up, too.
Michael Anthony

Prep 10 mins
Chill 6 hrs
Total 6 hrs 10 mins
Condiments
American
16 servings
20 kcal
5 / 4 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 5 shallots
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Directions
 

  • Halve each shallot lengthwise and pull apart the layers to form petals. You should have about 2 cups. Place the shallots in a medium bowl.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the shallots and cover them with a plate to keep them submerged. [Editor's Note: The shallots may not be completely submerged, but that's okay.] Let cool to room temperature.
  • Cover the bowl (as well as the plate) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Transfer the pickles and liquid to a container, cover, and refrigerate for up to several weeks.  
5 / 4 votes
Print RecipeBuy the The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Notes

*Can I substitute white vinegar for rice wine vinegar in my pickled shallots?

In this recipe, Michael Anthony uses unseasoned rice wine vinegar because of the complexity it brings to the pickled shallots. With only 5 ingredients, rice wine vinegar bumps up the flavor of the shallots—which can be somewhat subtle. Distilled white vinegar is the go-to for pickling and can be used, but in this instance, you'll find that your shallots will lose a lot of the nuances brought out by a more delicate-tasting vinegar.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 20kcal (1%)Carbohydrates: 4g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Sodium: 71mg (3%)Potassium: 26mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 4mgIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I made this pickled shallots recipe a week ago and am already dangerously close to finishing them off. These are as easy and delicious as can be with 10 minutes of actual work involved. The use of unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar is key here. It has a smoothness and lack of acidic bite that brings out the flavor of the shallots perfectly, making for a sweet and subtle pickle that can be tossed into any dish.

We've been using them on everything. I've tossed them into green salads, grain salads with crunchy vegetables and feta cheese, omelets, melted cheese on toast, I even diced them into a bowl of warm miso soup. They've added just the right bit of punch to everything they've met. These pickles are a keeper for sure!

Vinegar lovers will enjoy this quick pickled shallots recipe, which turns the shallots a lovely pink after preserving. They provided a tangy counterpoint to harissa-spiced turkey burgers and should be a great accompaniment to any kind of pulled pork sandwich or barbecue beef sandwich. The pickles are pretty heavy on the vinegar flavor, though, so people who aren't vinegar fans will want to keep that in mind and maybe adjust the ratios in the recipe.

Measuring 2 cups of shallot petals was a little tricky. Unless they're nested inside each other in the measuring cup, there was a fair amount of open space in the cup due to their shape. I didn't pack them down, and three shallots gave me 2 generous cups of petals. It may have been too many, as they rose a little above the top of the pickling liquid at first. Eventually, with a plate weighing them down as they softened, they were all submerged.


Originally published April 22, 2014

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Comments

  1. Re pickled shallots: you say “ Halve each shallot lengthwise and pull apart the layers to form petals”. Do you actually mean pull apart each “petal” from the root totally, or just “separate “ from the root and leave each half intact???

    1. Thanks for requesting that clarification, Debbie. You’ll want to pull each petal from the root totally.

  2. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe! Its so nice to have a recipe for something pickled that only takes six hours from start to ready-to-eat. Is there any benefit to letting it pickle longer? Will the flavor be better? I know sometimes people let pickles and other vegetables pickle for up to a few days or even longer. Thanks for the response, and thank you for the great recipe!

    1. You’re so very welcome, Billy! If you let the pickles go a touch longer they may take on a slightly more pickled flavor and may soften a little more. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  3. I improvised some months back and put chopped up shallots in a jar and covered with plain white vinegar. I used part of them in a salad that afternoon and finished the rest off within the week. The vinegar tamed that rough raw taste of the shallot and added tang. when I finished the shallots I made salad dressing with the vinegar. I know this isn’t proper way to pickle, but it was quick and easy and added a flavor punch to savory dishes. Shallots in any way shape or form are wonderful!

  4. I know ramps are fairly common in the Eastern States but does anyone know if we are luck enough to have them growing in Washington State? When I mow in early spring i sometimes get a wonderful mild onion smell coming from something looking like a chive and wonder if that could be our ramp.

    1. if your cutting the stuff that comes up all over my garden here in NJ in the spring, I’m pretty sure they are wild chives. Leaves are thin, hollow, tall – they look like store bought chives and taste stronger and tougher. Ramps have a broader, softer rather shorter leaf.

      Hope this helps.

    2. Carol Ann, let’s see if any of our readers can help. I think that scent your smelling is wild chives. Ramps have a much wider, flatter leaf than chives.

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