Pickled Red Onions – Easy, Quick, 5 minutes hands on! | with video

Learning how to make pickled red onions is SO easy – it only takes five minutes and you probably have all the ingredients! You’ll love having a jar of these in your fridge for tacos, avocado toast, and more!

Image of Pickled Red Onions in jar with fork next to it

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know from my stories that I’m obsessed with these. OBSESSED. As in three meals a day obsessed.

PS: If you don’t follow me on Instagram, consider hopping over and checking it out! You’ll see some behind-the-scenes stuff on my stories!

The first time I made pickled red onions was for my daughter’s birthday party right after we moved into our new house (seriously, two weeks after). We did a taco bar with all the fixings because I seriously have no boundaries. I made corn casserole, homemade refried beans, cilantro lime rice, from-scratch margaritas, and more. One of the things I decided to make on a whim were these onions. Pickled onions are fabulous with Mexican food! I was so surprised to see them disappear SO quickly! Faster than the cheese, you guys! I can’t say I blame people, I love these pickled red onions on almost any Mexican dish and tacos are no exception.

Now, when you open my fridge, you’ll often see a jar of these. Once you learn how to make pickled red onions, you won’t stop making them either. They’re on my agenda to make today, actually — they’re so easy! One of my favorite ways to eat them is on top of avocado toast. It really livens up the avocado toast and the tangy pickled red onions are the perfect contrast to the rich, creamy avocado. I also love them on tacos, of course, as well as on grilled chicken, or just about anything else I can think of. Perfect on sandwiches and wraps, too. Oh, and pizza! 

Learning how to pickle red onions is SO easy - it only takes five minutes! You'll love having a jar in your fridge for tacos, avocado toast, and more! Get the EASY method on RachelCooks.com!

How to Make Pickled Red Onions

It’s so easy, folks!

  1. Slice the red onions as thin as you can! I use a mandoline for this (this is the mandoline I have). Not only does it get them super thin, it also gets the job done insanely quickly. Fast is my friend.
  2. Stuff all the red onions in the jar of your choice. A bowl will work too but I like a jar for storing them in the fridge.
  3. In a measuring cup, stir apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water to dissolve the sugar and salt and dilute things a bit. Pour the pickling mixture over your sliced onions and let them set for an hour.
  4. After an hour, I cover them and stick them in the fridge. They’ll keep in the fridge for a couple weeks!

Notes about vinegar:

  • My preference is always apple cider vinegar. I typically have it on hand and I like the subtle sweetness it adds.
  • You could also use a white wine vinegar or another light tasting vinegar. I wouldn’t recommend balsamic for these.
  • If you’re in a pinch, plain distilled vinegar will work.

FAQ: Can you make pickled red onions without a mandoline?

Absolutely! Slice them as thin as you can to get them to pickle quickly but if you don’t have a mandoline or want a slightly thicker slice, a good sharp knife and a steady hand will work just fine!

FAQ: Can you pickle other vegetables using the same method?

For sure! Try these pickled radishes.

 

Learning how to pickle red onions is SO easy - it only takes five minutes! You'll love having a jar in your fridge for tacos, avocado toast, and more! Get the EASY method on RachelCooks.com!

PS: I got my jar out of Target’s dollar bin (I think) but these would work too.

 

How to Pickle Red Onions

How to Pickle Red Onions

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Learning how to make pickled red onions is SO easy - it only takes five minutes and you probably have all the ingredients! You'll love having a jar of these in your fridge for tacos, avocado toast, and more!

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup hot or warm water

Instructions

  1. Slice the red onions as thin as you can. I use a mandoline.
  2. Stuff all the red onions in the jar of your choice. A bowl will work too.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour this pickling mixture over your sliced onions, making sure they are immersed in the liquid, and let them set for an hour. After an hour, cover and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 14 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 399mg Carbohydrates: 3g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 0g
RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.
Verdict: Hey, did I mention I’m obsessed?
Husband’s take: Ben steers clear of raw onions so he hasn’t tried these, despite my urgings and ravings.
Changes I would make: Nada.
Difficulty: So stinking easy.

 

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101 comments

  1. There is a fish grill restaurant nearby that had these in their salsa bar but with a bit of habanero. I used one onion and 5 shall habaneros. It is crazy hot and super delicious! Maybe next time not so many habbies, makes my eyes water just opening the jar!

    Rating: 5
  2. I ended up making this in two batches because I only had small jars. I made the first jar according to the recipe, but in the second jar I added some peppercorns and some red pepper flakes. Both are very tasty and great on a sandwich. Question: If you end up not having enough brine for two small jars would you add more water or more vinegar to top them off? What other spices do you think would work?

    Rating: 5
    • Love the additions you made! Some other popular additions for pickling are coriander seeds or mustard seeds. You could also get a little more creative and add bay leaves, star anise. cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, whole garlic, fresh ginger slices, fennel seeds, or cumin seeds. If you are just a little short of the pickling brine, I would top them off with water. If it’s significant, I’d make a third batch of the pickling brine since it’s easy and inexpensive. Hope that helps! Glad you liked them!

  3. I love pickled onions. What size jar do you use? Thanks.

    • I’m traveling right now and I’m not actually sure what size jar I use (I got the jar I use out of the target dollar section). I would guess it’s probably about 12-16oz, though.

  4. I was looking for something to jazz up the shrimp tacos I was making, and boy did this recipe do it. So happy! Thank you so much.

    Rating: 5
  5. I always wondered how they made this recipe. I would just use lemon,sugar and salt. It was always pretty good but, wasn’t what I really wanted. When I found your recipe I was so excited lol. Bought the items, came home and put it together and the next day omgosh ate them with lime beans and ham and some delicious corn bread. I couldn’t have been happier. Thank you so much for your recipe…

    Rating: 5
  6. We had pickled red onions on a salad at a restaurant and they were so good I had to make them myself. Your recipe is fantastic and fantastically easy, thank you! I figured there was no way I could wait the hour, ha. I only used a cup of the mix in my jar of onions. So I did a brief pickling with the remaining half cup! A little bit of red onion, some broccoli slaw and a chopped up beet we cooked today all got.dunked into the vinegar mix and soaked for a few minutes while I made a salad. (The only substitute is I used Swerve instead of sugar.) The briefly-pickled veggies were delicious! And I now have that half cup of extra to use as salad dressing or for more pickling. Can’t wait to try the onions after they fully marinate!

    Rating: 5
  7. Completely amazing.   Additive loved them.  

    Rating: 5
  8. Can you use brown sugar? 

  9. I make these all the time and they last way more than 3 weeks. Pickling was a traditional method of keeping vegetables for months.

    Rating: 5
  10. Wow, live alone and am making third batch.Really tasty could just have a dinner of onions..delicious on salad and nearly everything else.

  11. Hello! Just made this recipe today although the ratio of liquid to finely sliced red onion didn’t match. Maybe I used too big of a red onion?! I had to make three times more the apple cider mix to submerge all the red onion in the jar. Is that okay? 

    • Hmm, could be you just had a large (huge!) onion, or it could have to do with the shape of your container. Mine are really packed into the jar I use. But yeah, it’s completely okay to double or triple the pickling liquid. :)

  12. Second time making these. Wouldn’t change a thing. 

    Rating: 5
  13. I can’t believe how wonderful these are!!! I’ve never been a big fan of red onions because they are so strong ( I actually pick them off when they’re served in a restaurant). But, I just want to eat these up any way I can!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!

    Rating: 5
  14. I made these pickled red onions for my family tonight for our Cinco de Mayo pulled pork tacos and my were they a hit!  The teenagers loved them and my husband wants me to make more!  I think I will be making these again and again and again! Thank you for your recipe :-) 

    Rating: 5
  15. Perfect recipe just the right amount of salty sweet and acid!

    Rating: 5
  16. Hello Rachel, How many red onions would you plan for making tacos for 10 people ? thanks

    Rating: 5
    • One goes quite a long ways! I’d say one is probably almost enough, but maybe two to be safe (so double the recipe). I made them for a party and I was shocked how quickly they went, they were such a hit with everyone!

  17. Love this recipe! I make it all the time!

    Rating: 5
  18. This recipe is AMAZING, not only because these onions are so tasty and go with literally everything and are so low calorie, but because they are so easy to make ! Thanks Rachel!

    Rating: 5
  19. Thank you for this amazing recipe. I made thisnlast week when visiting my partner (she lives abroad) and we had them with tacos and on salads. I just came home and made a jar for my fridge – so easy to make and so delicious! Am also considering making some for a big family gathering next week, maybe 3 times the recipe in a big jar – the colours are stunning and this will look great on a buffet table! Thank you again!

    Rating: 4
  20. Just came back to check your recipe and make some more of this must-have condiment. I try to keep a jar in the fridge at all times. Even my picky teenagers love it and will complain if we don’t have some for tacos, wraps or salads.

    Rating: 5
  21. Can you explain alittle more about step 3. “After an hour cover them.” What do you mean by cover them? Do you keep them in the jar?

    Thanks!

  22. Okay…this might be a dumb question, but coarse kosher salt or table salt?

  23. I just made this today! I wanted some pickled red onion for my copycat Panera Bread Spinach Salad that I love so much! When I started to create my own recipe, I quickly found out pickles red onions is not something I could just buy from my grocery store! I was pretty bummed out. So decided to search for a recipe and after looking at several recipes, I decided th make this one and boy am I happy I did!!I followed the directions exactly, although I think my red onion was bigger than normal and produced 3 cups of thin sliced onions. I bought a large size mason jar at my grocery store and set out making the onions. It’s been sitting in the fridge for about 3 hours now and I just had to sneak a taste…let me just say the flavor is right in par! It’s lightly salty, lightly sweet and just enough vinegar. It’s a perfect balance and I can’t wait to try it on my salad for lunch! I can only imagine how much more flavorful they will be in the next couple of days! Thank you so much for this recipe, it was SOOOOO easy and the flavor is outstanding.

    Rating: 5
  24. Can you canned them without ruining them with the excess heat?

  25. Rachel, bravo! What a great idea! Love this. I’m sure this is incredibly delicious!

    Rating: 5
  26. RACHEL, , thank you very much! I really liked the recipe, I took it to my recipe book)

    Rating: 5
  27. Question, can you eat after an hour or in two to three weeks.

  28. These were so quick and yummy.My husband has been adding them to everything.

    Rating: 4
  29. Easy to make. Very tasty. Nice on a salad.

  30. Can this same pickling brine be used to pickle other things, like purple cabbage?  

    Rating: 5
  31. I made them tonight and can’t wait to try them.  I am going to make fish tacos with it and Cole slaw.  I was out of Cider Vinegar which I would have preferred, but I used my white wine vinegar.
    I will let you know how the come out.  So happy and love your website.

  32. I have never pickled red onions (though I think they’re one of my favorite foods), however I have marinated red onions with balsamic vinegar and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. May not necessarily work for pickling, but always worth a try as red onions are just so delicious I imagine it would be difficult to mess them up:) also, may help with cutting some sugar from recipe as balsamic already has a lot of sugar. 

  33. I needed a pickled red onion recipe and this was the 1st one I found so I went with it. So quick, simple and delicious – this one is a keeper!

  34. Made this but sliced up a super hot pepper and some garlic in it. DELICIOUS!!!!

    Rating: 5
  35. Would stevia be ok to sub for sugar?

  36. Red wine vinegar works well too. 

  37. Love this recipe. It is super simple and the results a re fantastic. The tangyness of the onions go great on slow smoked pulled pork or chicken.

    Rating: 5
  38. An hour is sixty minutes, not five.

    • Don’t be a jerk… it’s obvious to everyone else in the world that she meant five minutes to MAKE them… most pickled things take way longer than an hour until they’re ready to eat. If it really bothers you that much to wait, maybe you should just buy them instead.

    • P. NYM, how about we treat eachother kindly and with a little bit of respect especially when commenting on a recipe that was provided to you for free. Also, if you look at the title of the recipe, it states 5 minutes hands on. Most educated people would understand that “hands on” means the time in which it takes to initially make something which doesn’t include bake time or pickling time in this case. I would strongly urge you to keep rude and uncalled comments to yourself or educate yourself before commenting. Respectfully, this is my go to recipe for pickling red onion that I use on so many things! Thank you so much for sharing!

  39. Do you think these would work with less or no sugar?
    I will prob try it but thought i would ask.( Doing whole30 and sugar is one of my problem foods.)

  40. I can see these delicious onions added to home made cole slaw, and I’d like them with fried chicken, chicken salad and fried chicken–and on a hamburger, too.

    I may add a few allspice berries to the jar when I make it, to add a bit of spice flavor.

    I think a jar of these wonderful onions would make great christmas gifts!

  41. Hi! I had pickled red onions for the first time last night at a Mexican restaurant and I was hooked immediately! I’m going to try your recipe but the ones I had were a little on the sweet side and I liked that. Can you taste the sweetness in your version or should I increase the sugar a little? Thanks!

    • Hi Denise,
      I haven’t tried these with additional sugar, but my guess is that it would achieve that taste you’re looking for! As the recipe is written, I wouldn’t say they taste sweet, and I’m fairly sensitive to sweet things. Let me know if you try it!

  42. Can I reuse the vinegar mixture for the next batch?

    Rating: 5
  43. Yes!! I love pickled onions! Can’t wait to do this!!!

  44. I can’t wait to make this recipe. Which one is better, Hot water or warm water?

    Rating: 5
    • Warm to hot out of the tap (you don’t have to heat it). It just needs to be warm enough to help dissolve the sugar and salt so you’re not stirring forever. :)

  45. I love pickled onions so much. They add a tangy and almost sour taste that you can’t really get from many other condiments. I love how quick and easy this recipe looks. Can’t wait to try it! Thank you for sharing.

    Rating: 5
  46. sounds delicious and easy

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