Sweet-and-Sour Pearl Onions

Cipolline in Agrodolce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

You can serve these Venetian sweet-and-sour pearl onions hot or at room temperature. Note the classic Levantine addition of pine nuts and raisins.


  • pounds small white, yellow, or red onions, each about 1 inch in diameter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • salt


Trim the root ends of the onions carefully, leaving the bottom of each bulb intact. Cut a cross in each root end to prevent the onion from telescoping during cooking. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add the onions and boil until cooked but still firm, 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon their size. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, slip off the skins.

Warm the butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar, vinegar, raisins, and pine nuts. Stir well, cover tightly, and simmer until the onions are completely tender, about 15 minutes longer. Season with salt and transfer to a serving dish.