Cebollas Curtidas (Mexican Pickled Onions)

Total Time
1hr 20mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 10 mins

Posted for Zaar World Tour 2005. Pickled onions are served alongside meat dishes all over Mexico, but you can serve them with anything you want, like me when I make this recipe! Will last in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. The lime juice, zest and grapefruit make something called sour orange juice. I've never heard of it, can't buy it in the store and I wouldn't want to experiment with regular orange juice to make it! The beet juice is used to turn the onions red(der). Serving size is a guess. Chilling time is included in cooking time. From a special issue of Saveur, The Best of Tex-Mex Cooking.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Put beets in medium saucepan and add garlic, bay leaves, vinegar and 4 cups water.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Put onions in a medium bowl. Strain hot beet cooking liquid over onions and set aside to rest until onions soften slightly, about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain onions and return to bowl. Add sour orange juice (or lime juice, lime zest and grapefruit juice) and salt to taste and toss well.
  5. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.
Most Helpful

Hi! The recipe is wonderful! I´m from Mexico and I just wanted to say that we have an orange that is actually sour. We call it "naranja acida" (sour orange). It´s skin is like an normal orange but has a lot of lumps in it and the color is a bit more green. We make juice out of it too! But we add sugar, because it´s realy sour. The recipe works perfect with limons or limes. Thanks for sharing Mexico´s recipes to the world!

Mariana SB July 16, 2009

Excellent, Very close to what I had in Mexico. I sliced mine too thin though and they were a little stringy, will go a little thicker on the next batch. Thanks for the great recipe!

Anniesthisnthat November 21, 2008

Oh my, these are fantastic!!! I made this morning and just sneaked a bite and they are DELICIOUS-reminds me of the Yucatan-can't wait to serve them! I made recipe exactly as written and I must stress the importance of slicing onions as thin as possible. Thank you, Kumquat, for a great recipe! Made for the Think Pink Tag Game In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, October 2008.

Mrs.Jack October 14, 2008