These quick pickled red onions are a delicious way to add a little extra flavor to any dish. With just five ingredients that you probably already have around your kitchen, you can pickle these onions in no time!

Pickled Red Onions in a jar

Are you looking for a way to add a little more flavor to your salads, tacos, sandwiches, hot dogs, chilis, or even your adult beverages? Then look no further! You’ll want to put these easy quick pickled red onions on everything.

Once you learn how to quick pickle vegetables you’re going to want to try it with every vegetable you can. It is quick, easy, and uses just a few simple ingredients that you most likely already have.

These tasty onions go great with some pickled jalapenos and pickled radishes on my tacos and I’ve mixed them with pickled cauliflower and harissa chicken for an awesome taco bowl lunch.

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ingredients to make Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Red onion – Thinly sliced. You can use a mandolin or simply slice it by hand.
  • White Vinegar – You can also substitute rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
  • Water
  • Sugar – This helps balance out the acidity in the vinegar. You can use any sweetener of your choice (even maple syrup!), use a sugar substitute, or leave the sugar out all together if you wish.
  • Salt – We use Kosher salt for all of our pickled vegetables. For every 1 cup of vinegar add 2 teaspoons salt. We suggest kosher salt or sea salt. If you use iodized salt it can make your brine cloudy and turn your onion a dark color.

You can add other spices, fresh herbs, and seasonings to this pickled onion recipe to give it different flavors. Try adding peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, or any mixture you would like. You can add a pinch or a pour!

Get creative, try different combinations, and see what you like!

I also love adding jalapenos and garlic to make them a little spicy. They will turn a beautiful shade of pink as they pickle.

Want to learn more. Check out our guide on How to Make Quick Pickled Vegetables!

mason jar with Pickled Red Onions


Step 1 – Prepare onions. Peel and halve the red onion. Thinly slice the onion using either a mandolin or a sharp knife. Place in a wide-mouth one pint mason jar. 

Step 2 – Make the brine. In a small saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium high heat. 

Step 3 – Put it together. Once the brine boiling remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before pouring it over the onions. Screw the lid onto the mason jar and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. 

Best Container to Use

We recommend glass wide mouth pint jars. The glass won’t react with the vinegar and they are durable and reusable with air tight seal.

Speed Up the Process

Similar to our quick pickled cucumbers, you can make pickled red onions even faster in the microwave!

This is a super easy method for making a small batch of pickled red onions quickly when you decide you want some to go with your meal and you don’t have any in your refrigerator.

For making a smaller batch, follow these instructions:

  1. Peel and cut half of a red onion into thin slices.
  2. Place onion slices in a microwave safe bowl with 3/4 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute. Stir together and push as much of the onion into the liquid as possible.
  3. Place in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from the oven and let the onions sit and cool until you are ready to use them.

You can make a full batch the same way using the full batch recipe. Just microwave for 30 seconds, stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds. Pour the onions into a jar and let cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.

Pickled Red Onions on a black fork
How Long Does It Take Pickled Red Onions to be Ready?

When they are ready is totally up to you. They can be ready thirty minutes after you place them in the refrigerator, but for the best flavor give them 1 – 6 hours. It’s all based on your tastes so give them a try at different times until you figure out what you like best.

How Long Do Red Onions Last in Vinegar?

These will be good for up to one month in the refrigerator. You must store these in the fridge. Since they aren’t canned the traditional way they are not shelf stable and cannot be stored at room temperature.

Are Pickled Red Onions Good For You?

Red onions have many health benefits. They are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and multiple vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and calcium. They are very good for cardiovascular health, allergies, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, and help prevent against cancer. It will also lower your cholesterol!

They are also good for people with diabetes as the chromium they contain helps to control sugar levels in the body. This also makes them an excellent choice for anyone trying to lose some weight! One ounce of red onion is only 11 calories and has zero fat which makes them an excellent addition to any meal when you are dieting.

The vinegar used in the pickling process does not take away any nutrients from the vegetable, but may add some extra health benefits. Vinegar helps with digestion, blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and lowers your cholesterol!

Different types of vinegar have different health benefits, so check the nutritional information on the type of vinegar you use to see what good things it is doing for you!

What Do You Do With Pickled Red Onions?

They are a great addition to Almost any food. Salads, grain bowls, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, potato salad, pizza, burritos, chicken dishes, even as a topping for steak. They add a bright, tangy flavor to anything!

Our favorite dishes to try include:

a jar filled with Pickled Red Onions

Looking for More Pickled Vegetable Recipes?

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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Pickling Time:: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins

Pickled Red Onions

1 large Red onion 1 cup White Vinegar 1 cup Water 1 tablespoon Sugar, this helps balance out the acidity in the vinegar but you can leave out sugar or use a sugar substitute if you prefer. 2 teaspoons Kosher salt


  • 1 large Red onion
  • 1 cup White Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar, you can leave out sugar or use a sugar substitute if you prefer.
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt


  • Peel and cut red onion in half. Thinly slice onion and place in a 1 pint wide-mouth mason jar.
  • In a small saucepan combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Stir together and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Once boiling remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before pouring over the onions.
  • Screw the lid onto the mason jar and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.


The onions are red within 30 minutes but the flavor will develop over time and you’ll get the most flavor after several hours of pickling.
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy pickled red onions, pickled red onion recipe, pickled red onions, quick pickled red onions