CAVA Pickled Onions Recipe

Copycat Cava Pickled Onions Recipe

Onions are a common kitchen ingredient in my house, but they reached a whole new level when I visited a Cava restaurant with my loving husband. I fell in love with their pickled onions and couldn’t wait to recreate them at home.

After many tries and thorough searching, I finally found a copycat recipe that tastes exactly like Cava’s pickled onions. I’m so excited to share this Cava Pickled Onions Recipe with all of you who love these flavorful pickled onions from Cava restaurant.

Let’s learn how to make this delicious CAVA picked onion dish together!

Cava Pickled Onions Recipe
CAVA Pickled Onion Copycat Recipe Pinterest Image

How To Make Cava Pickled Onions?

To make these delicious Cava pickled onions, you’ll start by thinly slicing red onions and crushing garlic. Combine them with vinegar, water, salt, and optional spices, then simmer briefly before transferring to jars. Let them cool and refrigerate for the perfect tangy crunch.

Let’s learn step by step:


  • 2 Red Onions (Spanish Onions), thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Cup (250ml) White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup (250ml) Water
  • 1 ½ tsp (6g) Sea Salt Flakes
  • 3 ½ Tbsp (75g) White Sugar (Optional)
  • 1 tsp (2g) Cumin Seeds (Optional)
  • 1 tsp (2g) Coriander Seeds (Optional)
  • ½ tsp (0.5g) Caraway Seeds (Optional)
  • ½ tsp (1g) Black Peppercorns (Optional)
  • 1 Star Anise (Optional)

Kitchen Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Medium to large heavy-based saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Sterilized jars with lids
  • Stirring spoon

Cava Pickled Onions Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Onions

Start by slicing both ends off the red onions. Cut the onions in half and peel off the outer skins. Next, slice the onions into thin strips. For stability, lay the onion flat when you reach about three-quarters of the way through.

Prepare the Onions

Step 2: Crush the Garlic

Take the garlic cloves and place the side of your knife over them. Press down to crush the garlic. This step releases the garlic’s natural oils, enhancing its flavor and health benefits.

Crush the Garlic

Step 3: Combine Ingredients

Place the sliced onions and crushed garlic into a medium to large heavy-based saucepan. Add 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water to the saucepan. These liquids form the base of the pickling brine.

Combine Ingredients

Step 4: Add Seasonings

Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt flakes to the mixture. This will enhance the flavor and aid in preservation. If you like a hint of sweetness, add 3 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar. The following spices are optional but highly recommended for added depth of flavor:

  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
Add Seasonings

Step 5: Heat the Mixture

Move the saucepan to the stovetop and place it on the largest burner. Turn the heat to high and stir the mixture to ensure the onions are fully submerged in the brine. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Heat the Mixture

Step 6: Simmer and Dissolve

Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for one minute. This allows the flavors to meld and ensures the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Stir occasionally.

Simmer and Dissolve

Step 7: Transfer to Jars

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Carefully transfer the hot onions, garlic, and spices into sterilized jars. Pour the pickling brine over the onions, making sure they are completely submerged.

Transfer to Jars

Step 8: Cool and Store

Allow the jars to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, seal the lids tightly and place the jars in the refrigerator. For the best flavor, let the onions sit overnight before enjoying.

Cool and Store

Serving and Storage

After a night in the fridge, your pickled onions will be beautifully bright pink, crunchy, and full of flavor. They pair wonderfully with a variety of dishes, but maybe not on your cereal (unless you’re feeling adventurous).

This recipe yields about three cups of pickled onions. They will keep in the refrigerator for about one and a half months, but I bet you’ll finish them much sooner!

Serving and Storage

What to Do with Pickled Red Onions?

Once you’ve made a batch of these flavorful pickled red onions, the possibilities are endless! Here are some simple yet delicious ways to enjoy them:

Top Off Your Tacos

Add a generous scoop of pickled red onions to your favorite tacos for a burst of tangy flavor and crunchy texture. They pair perfectly with grilled meats, fish, or even vegetarian fillings.

Upgrade Your Salads

Give your salads a pop of color and flavor by tossing in some pickled red onions. They add a zesty kick that complements leafy greens, roasted vegetables, and creamy dressings.

Sandwich and Burger Enhancer

Take your sandwiches and burgers to the next level by layering on some pickled red onions. Whether it’s a classic deli sandwich or a juicy burger, the onions will add a tangy punch that will have your taste buds singing.

Enhance Your Appetizers

Use pickled red onions as a flavorful garnish for appetizers like bruschetta, crostini, or cheese platters. Their vibrant color and tangy taste will impress your guests and add a gourmet touch to any spread.

Mix into Dips and Salsas

Stir chopped pickled red onions into guacamole, salsa, or sour cream-based dips for an extra burst of flavor. They’ll add a refreshing acidity that balances out rich and creamy textures.

Brighten Up Rice and Grain Bowls

Sprinkle pickled red onions over rice and grain bowls for a colorful and tangy finishing touch. They’ll add depth to your bowl while providing a refreshing contrast to hearty grains and proteins.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common FAQs about Cava Pickled Onions Recipe, that you may need to know:

How long do pickled red onions last?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, pickled red onions can last for about 1 to 1.5 months. Be sure to keep them in a sealed jar to maintain their freshness.

Can I customize the spices in the pickling brine?

Absolutely! Feel free to adjust the spices to suit your taste preferences. You can omit certain spices or add others like chili flakes, mustard seeds, or bay leaves for extra flavor.

Are pickled red onions gluten-free?

Yes, pickled red onions made with the recipe provided are naturally gluten-free. Just ensure that all ingredients used, especially the vinegar and spices, are gluten-free certified if you have dietary restrictions.

Can I use different types of onions?

While red onions are traditionally used for pickling due to their vibrant color and mild flavor, you can experiment with other onion varieties such as white or yellow onions. Keep in mind that the flavor and color may vary slightly.

Can I reuse the pickling brine?

It’s best not to reuse the pickling brine as it may have absorbed flavors from the onions and spices. For safety and optimal flavor, it’s recommended to make a fresh batch of pickling brine each time you pickle onions.

Can I can pickled red onions for long-term storage?

This recipe is designed for refrigerator pickling, which preserves the onions for up to 1.5 months in the fridge. If you’d like to can pickled onions for long-term storage, it’s essential to follow a canning recipe specifically designed for preserving foods safely.

Copycat Cava Pickled Onions Recipe

Cava Pickled Onions Recipe

Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Try this Cava Pickled Onions recipe for a zesty kick to your meals. Easy to make and bursting with flavor! Perfect for tacos, salads, and more.


  • 2 Red Onions (Spanish Onions), thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Cup (250ml) White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup (250ml) Water
  • 1 1/2 tsp (6g) Sea Salt Flakes
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp (75g) White Sugar (Optional)
  • 1 tsp (2g) Cumin Seeds (Optional)
  • 1 tsp (2g) Coriander Seeds (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp (0.5g) Caraway Seeds (Optional)
  • 1/2 tsp (1g) Black Peppercorns (Optional)
  • 1 Star Anise (Optional)


  1. Slice and prepare the onions and crush the garlic.
  2. Combine sliced onions, crushed garlic, vinegar, and water in a saucepan.
  3. Add sea salt flakes and optional spices to the mixture.
  4. Heat the mixture on high until it boils, then reduce heat and simmer for one minute.
  5. Transfer the hot mixture to sterilized jars, ensuring onions are fully submerged.
  6. Seal the jars tightly and refrigerate overnight before enjoying.
Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: per serving, based on 1/4 cup serving size
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 290mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

The nutrition information provided below is estimated using an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered medical advice or guaranteed to be accurate. Please consult a professional for any dietary needs or restrictions.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


To wrap it up, these Cava pickled onions are a must-try for anyone who loves to experiment in the kitchen. With minimal ingredients and straightforward instructions, you can whip up a batch that rivals those from your favorite restaurant.

Whether you’re topping tacos, upgrading salads, or simply snacking straight from the jar, these pickled red onions add a delightful punch to every bite.

So, don’t hesitate to give them a shot – even if it takes a couple of attempts to get them just right. Trust me, the delicious results are well worth the effort. Get ready to add a burst of flavor and crunch to your dishes with these homemade pickled onions!


  • Olivia

    Hi there! I'm Olivia, the passionate home cook and mother of 3 little champ. When I'm not in the kitchen whipping up nourishing meals for my family, you can find me tending to my vegetable garden or enjoying the great outdoors. I love sharing simple, wholesome recipes that bring friends and family together around the table. Cooking from the heart is what it's all about!

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