Yucatan Style pickled onions: Cebollas encurtidas estilo yucateca

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

Both white and purple pickled onions are served as condiments in the Yucatan. The purple variety is generally served with cochinita pibil, and both Yucatan style pickled onions make great additions to sandwiches. Blanching them for a few seconds first takes some of the sharpness out of the onions, making them good for people who like raw onions but find them difficult to digest. In the Yucatan, either spices or habanero chiles are added to the onions. The habaneros are extremely hot, and I prefer the spiced version, but try adding a thinly sliced habanero if you like a very hot condiment.


  • 2 large white or purple onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon whole allspice
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup fruit vinegar
  • ½ cup bitter orange juice (or use half sweet orange juice and half fresh lime juice)
  • salt to taste

Immerse the onions in boiling water for a few seconds to blanche them. Rinse immediately in cold water. Drain and place the onions in a nonreactive bowl or glass jar.

Add all remaining ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and preferably overnight, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.

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Published or Updated on: October 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006


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