How to Make Quick Pickled Red Onions in 15 Minutes!

These Quick Pickled Red Onions are downright addictive! If you’ve ever wondered how to make pickled red onions, this recipe is easy, only needs a handful of simple ingredients and is done in 15 minutes.

a jar of pickled red onions

Easy Homemade Pickled Red Onions

Welcome to one of my favorite condiments in the whole wide world.

Pickled Red Onions.

This refrigerator version is so easy, and takes only about 15 minutes to make! The onions are crispity crunchity and perfectly tangy sweet. They last for weeks in the refrigerator (if you can keep your fingers out of the jar!).

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a jar of these pickled onions in your fridge at all times.

ingredients for pickled red onions - red onion, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, salt, sugar, chili flakes, allspice

Pickled Red Onions Ingredients

This is one of the quickest, absolutely easiest recipes ever.

All you need are four base ingredients to make pickled onions: red onion, vinegar, salt, and sugar.

I’ve played with the base ingredients just a bit, which adds some fun and another level of flavor. Here are the ingredients I use for my pickled red onions recipe:

  • Red onion – One large onion or two small ones.
  • Apple cider vinegar – This vinegar lends some sweetness.
  • Red wine vinegar – This vinegar adds a bit more depth.
  • Kosher salt – Just a teaspoon is all you need.
  • Sugar – I use white sugar. But I know that people also substitute honey, maple syrup, or agave.
  • Ground allspice – Only 1/8 teaspoon. I LOVE what this does for the flavor!
  • Red pepper flakes – Just a pinch, for the ultimate irresistibility!
thinly sliced red onions

How to Pickle Red Onions

Making pickled red onions couldn’t be any easier! Here is how to do it:

  • Slice the onions: Slice your red onion into half moon slices about 1/8 inch thick. Use a very sharp knife or mandoline for this.
  • Simmer the pickling mixture: In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar with some sugar and salt on the stovetop.
  • Add some spice & the onion slices: Sprinkle in a bit of allspice and a few red pepper flakes, then add in your onion slices.
  • Pickle: Let the mixture cool completely.
  • Chill: Then pour into a glass container, cover tightly, and refrigerate until chilled.

And this is how to pickle red onions. Easy-peasy!

pickled onions in a jar with a wood serving spoon

This Recipe Will Make You a Pickled Red Onion Fan!

I’ve seen many friends and family members turn up their noses at pickled onions, saying “I don’t like raw onions.”

But I beg everyone to try these.

The pickling process transforms the onion slices into just the most wonderful thing, erasing that raw bite that so many people find offensive. The onions are softened just a bit, bright and tangy. You must taste these quick pickled onions to believe this for yourself.

two jars of pickled red onions, 1 jar is thin-cut and the other jar is thick-cut
Small bowls filled with pickled red onions

Want to Make these Pickled Onions Your Own? Here Are Some Variation Ideas:

There are many, many ways to customize your own pickled onion recipe:

Slice the onions thick or thin. I tend to mostly slice the onions about 1/8″ thick, to get some toothsome “crunch” factor. But on occasion I like to use my mandoline to create ultra thin, almost frilly, slices. They’re super pretty and delicate, perfect for making salads extra lovely. In the photos above, you can see the difference in sizes.

Use different vinegar. My recipe calls for a combination of apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar. But you could try white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar, too.

Make it spicy. This recipe calls for a “pinch of red pepper flakes”, which gives the pickled onions just the slightest hint of heat. If you really like to “feel it”, though, add a slice or two of habanero or jalapeno pepper to kick it up another notch or two. Or just add more of the red pepper flakes.

Make it peppery. Add a few whole peppercorns or some freshly ground black pepper to the jar.

Make it garlicky. Add a clove or two of fresh garlic. Smash the cloves or thinly slice them to impart even more of that garlic goodness.

Make it herby. I especially love the allspice that this recipe calls for. But you could mix it up by adding other dried herbs, such as oregano, bay leaf, or ground cumin. You could even use fresh herbs – think basil, mint, rosemary, parsley, and cilantro – but fresh herbs won’t last as long in the pickling process, only up to a week.

Jar of quick pickled red onions

How Long Do Pickled Red Onions Last?

How long do they last or how long will they keep? They probably won’t last long because everyone is going to gobble these up! But they will keep for up to a month when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

How to Use Homemade Pickled Onions

Once you have a jar of these pickled red onions in your fridge, there are countless ways to use them!

Add them to carnitas. Without a doubt, my number one way to serve these onions is with carnitas. My favorite way is tucked into a carnitas taco, where their zesty bite contrasts brilliantly with the tender, rich pulled pork (shown below). Pickled onions are great with almost any Mexican meal – think tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and platters of baked nachos!

Carnitas in a red crockpot

Add them to salads. I LOVE pickled red onions on my sister’s Taco Salad with Creamy Taco Salad Dressing.

Stuff them into sandwiches and wraps. They’re fabulous on egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches. And on simple avocado toast – the sharp contrast between the onions and creamy avocado are undeniably wonderful.

Top your burgers and hotdogs. Definitely keep pickled onions on hand during the grilling season. Top your Juicy Lucy Burger with some tangy onions for the best cheeseburger ever!

Eat them with eggs. Pickled onions are awesome with eggs, especially a plate of huevos rancheros. I also like to add them to a fried egg sandwich with mayonnaise. And deviled eggs are super fun with some diced pickled red onions sprinkled over the top!

banh mi meatballs with pickled onions

Add them to most any Asian dish. The bright onions go great with Asian flavors. Check out these banh mi meatballs (shown above) and this banh mi salad.

Korean beef and rice in a bowl

They’re also pretty wonderful with Easy Korean Beef (shown above) and my Egg Roll in a Bowl.

The possibilities are truly endless!

pickled onions

Looking for More Pickled Vegetable Recipes?

I loooooooove pickled vegetables, and it just doesn’t get much better than quick refrigerator versions. I’ve quick-pickled celery, carrots (our youngest daughter’s favorite!), squash, and the most beautiful medley of mixed veggies.

My mom’s easy recipe for sweet refrigerator dill pickles is also a longtime favorite. I especially like them on slow cooker sloppy joes. They’re also super awesome to have one hand during the grilling season. The pickles pair wonderfully with all kinds of grilled goodness. Just think about how wonderful they’d be next to a crispy-skinned Beer Can Chicken!

Like this easy recipe? Save it to Pinterest!

Pinterest image for pickled red onions
pickled onions in a jar

Quick Pickled Red Onions Recipe

This recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. The pickled onions are awesome with so many different meals - you'll quickly become addicted to having them on hand at all times!

Yield: about 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Slice the top and bottom off the onion and then slice onion in half, from top to bottom. Remove the outer peel. Lay the cut surfaces of the onion onto the cutting board, and then slice into half moons about 1/8" thick using a very sharp knife. I also recommend using a mandoline for slicing the onions, especially if you like super thin or very even slices.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve, then remove pan from heat and whisk in allspice and red pepper flakes.
  3. Carefully add sliced onion to the pan and gently stir to combine. Let mixture cool completely at room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour into a glass container (I like to use a large canning jar), cover tightly with a lid, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. The pickled flavor will intensify over time, but it's good to go after resting overnight in the refrigerator. This recipe is for refrigerator pickling only and needs to be stored in a refrigerator. Enjoy for up to one month.

Notes

from a farmgirl's dabbles

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 24Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 147mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles.

This post was originally published June 2014 and has been a popular reader favorite. Some of the photographs and text were updated May 2017.

We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. See our disclosure policy for more info.