Quick Pickled Red Onions

Quick Summary

Pickled Red Onions are tangy, sweet, and add flavor to salads, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, and more. They are easy to make at home, you only need 5 ingredients! We ALWAYS have a jar in the refrigerator!

quick pickled red onions in a jar

Do you want to know my secret to making almost any savory recipe better? Pickled Red Onions!

That’s right, finish your favorite savory dish with pickled red onions to add flavor, color, and texture. Pickled red onions are tangy, sweet, a little crispy, and add the perfect pop of pink! They are milder than regular raw onions and have the BEST flavor!

And don’t worry, they are super EASY to make. You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of hands on time. The onions will take about 30 minutes to marinate and pickle, but you can watch a show or take a nap while they are marinating:) There is no cooking or canning involved!

I ALWAYS have a jar in our fridge, they are a staple condiment at our house. We use them on tacos, salads, sandwiches, eggs, enchiladas, taquitos, avocado toast, and MORE! I am telling you, they make almost everything better.

Once you start making pickled red onions, you will be hooked for life. They make every dish extra special.

ingredients to make pickled red onions

5 Basic Ingredients

  • Red Onion– the star of the recipe! I love the vibrant color of red onions, after they are pickled they turn a pretty pink color. Make sure you cut the onion in thin, even slices.
  • Vinegar– I like to use apple cider vinegar because I like the flavor. Regular distilled white vinegar works, but it is tangier, just make sure you don’t use cleaning vinegar. You can even use rice vinegar for a mild flavor or red wine vinegar for a slightly fruity flavor. You can even mix vinegars. Apple cider and red wine vinegar are nice together.
  • Water– use hot water to dissolve the sugar and salt. You don’t have to boil the solution on the stovetop, this is a quick and easy recipe! No cooking involved!
  • Sugar– you need sugar to tone down the acidity and pungent vinegar flavor. I use granulated sugar, but you can use honey or pure maple syrup.
  • Salt– to enhance all of the flavors.
slices of red onion on a cutting board with knife

How to Make Pickled Red Onions

  • Cut the onion in half to create half-moons. Use a very sharp knife or mandoline to create uniform, thin slices. You want the slices to be about 1/8-inch thick so they can soften and pickle quickly. You don’t want thick slices.
  • In a medium jar or bowl, combine the vinegar, hot water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
  • Add the red onion slices and stir, making sure the onion slices are covered. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. The onions will be ready to eat when they are bright pink and tender. 
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in a sealed jar or container for up to 3 weeks.

Reuse the Brine

Pro tip, if you eat the onions quickly, you can reuse the brine. Add more sliced red onions to the mixture and start again.

You can also try pickling other sturdy vegetables like sliced radishes, carrots, or small cauliflower florets.

If the brine is cloudy or has a bad odor, discard and start with a fresh batch. I never reuse the brine more than once.

Variations

I love plain pickled red onions, but if you want to add some extra flavor, here are some options!

  • Add ½ teaspoon or 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns to the jar for a peppery flavor.
  • Add fennel seeds, mustard seeds, or cumin seeds.
  • Add 1 or 2 peeled, smashed garlic cloves to the jar for a garlicky kick!
  • Stir in few sprigs of fresh herbs like dill, thyme, oregano, or rosemary. Your jar will be so pretty!
  • Add a few jalapeño slices for a little heat. Alternatively, you can add a few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes.

How to Use Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions can be used in so many recipes and dishes. They make almost everything taste better!

  • Salads– top your favorite salads with pickled red onions for a major flavor boost.
  • Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, nachos, and MORE!- so good with any Mexican dish!
  • Chili– the perfect garnish for a hearty bowl of chili.
  • Bowls– create a grain, veggie, or protein bowl with all of your favorite ingredients and mix in some pickled red onions.
  • Egg dishes– add them to scrambled eggs, omelettes, egg casseroles, migas, frittatas, shakshuka, etc. They brighten up any egg dish.
  • Sandwiches, wraps, & burgers– guaranteed to make ANY sandwich better!
  • Italian sausages & hot dogs– such a great topping for sausages and hot dogs!
  • Pizza– add them to a slice of your favorite pizza! The BEST!
  • Avocado toast– sprinkle a few pickled red onions on top of a simple piece of avocado toast and WOW!
pickled red onions in jar

FAQ

How long do pickled red onions keep for?

Store pickled red onions in a jar or airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. If you add fresh herbs, they are only good for 1 week.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double or triple the recipe. Keep the ratio of the ingredients the same. You can divide the onions between several jars or use one large jar.

Do I have to boil vinegar for pickling red onions?

This is a quick pickle recipe so you don’t have to boil the vinegar. Make sure you use hot water to dissolve the sugar and salt. Also, I don’t like to boil the liquid mixture because it softens the onions too much. I like my pickled red onions slightly crunchy.

More Easy Condiments

Quick Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions are tangy, sweet, and add flavor to salads, tacos, sandwiches, bowls, and more. They are easy to make at home, you only need 5 ingredients! We ALWAYS have a jar in the refrigerator!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, can use honey or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • To slice the onion, cut it in half to create half-moons.  Use a very sharp knife or mandoline to create uniform, thin slices. You want the slices to be about 1/8-inch thick.
  • In a medium jar or bowl, combine the vinegar, warm water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
  • Add the red onion slices and stir, making sure the onion is covered. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator in a sealed jar or container for up to 3 weeks.

Notes

Keep pickled red onions in a jar or air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 16kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 0.5g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 292mg, Potassium: 37mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Quick question, when storing in the fridge, are the pickled onions stored in the brine or do I dump the brine after they are done marinating? These look interesting! Thank you!

    1. Don’t dump out the brine! You need to store the red onions IN the liquid in the fridge. I hope you love them!