This Pickled Onions Recipe is the best!  Give your favorite meals a huge burst of flavor with these picked onions in just 15 minutes! They keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, but we doubt they will last that long! Video.

This Pickled Onions Recipe is the best!  Give your favorite meals a huge burst of flavor with these picked onions in just 15 minutes! They keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, but we doubt they will last that long! Video.

Pickled Onions give all our favorite foods like tacos, bowls, burritos, and wraps, a massive burst of flavor!  So simple and easy, but the difference they can make to an ordinary meal, can be mind-blowing!

This pickled onion recipe only takes 10-15 minutes and will keep in the fridge for  up to 3 weeks. What a huge payoff! But trust me; I doubt this small batch of pickled red onions will even make it that long… you’ll find a hundred uses for them!

 Pickled Onions Recipe | 35-sec video

 Pickles Onions Ingredients

To make this pickled onion recipe, you really only need 5 basic ingredients; red onions, vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Then you can embellish as you like!

 pickled onions recipe

How to make Pickled Onions

  1. Slice red onions thinly using a sharp chef’s knife or a mandolin.
  2. In a small pot, bring white vinegar,  water, salt, sugar to a simmer. Add the onions and stir for 30 seconds. Turn the heat off, cool on the counter, then store in a clean jar and refrigerate!
  3. Pickled red onions will keep up to 3 weeks in the fridge.


Depending on what you are serving up for dinner, you can enhance the pickled onions with different whole spices, seeds and flavors!

  1. Mexican Pickled Onions: add whole cumin seeds and coriander seeds  plus Mexican oregano to the pickling liquid. Thinly sliced jalapenos are nice too.
  2. Scandinavian Style: add fresh dill, caraway and peppercorns.
  3. Indian pickled onions:  fennel seeds, coriander black mustard seeds, and fenugreek.
  4. Island style: Allspice berries, cumin seeds, peppercorns
Pickled Onions Recipe

A small batch recipe that is fast and easy and will elevate many dishes you already make.

Pickled Onion FAqs

How long do homemade pickled onions last in a jar?

These pickled onions last up to 3 weeks inn a jar in the fridge.

Do you need to soak onions before pickling?

When making quick pickled onions stored in the refrigerator, there is no need to soak the onions first.

What onions are best for pickling?

Red onions and shallots are best for pickling because of their beautiful vibrant color. But any onion can be pickled.

What is the best vinegar to use for pickled onions.

White vinegar or white rice vinegar is best when pickling onions because will both amplify their color-producing bright and vibrant results with a clear pickling liquid- whereas apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar can “muddy” and mute their color.

Ways to use Pickled onions

Pickled onions can be used on tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or burrito bowls, or any any meal you want to add a punch of flavor!

I am so excited for you to try these! Pickled Red Onions will give your favorite foods a burst of flavor!  They pair well with so many  Mexican Recipes and I love them on Indian food – but they really go with almost everything.

More pickling recipes you may enjoy

⭐️ Do you love them? Please rate these for us!



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How to make pickled onions!

Pickled Onions Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 67 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: condiments
  • Method: pickled
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Vegan


This Pickled Onions Recipe is the best!  Give your favorite meals a huge burst of flavor with these picked onions in just 15 minutes! They keep for up to 3 weeks in the fridge, but we doubt they will last that long! Video.


Units Scale

Optional additions:

  • garlic cloves, cut in half
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh or dried herbs (oregano, cilantro, scallions, curry leaves, dill)
  • Jalapeno slices


  1. Thinly slice red onion (you’ll need one cup)
  2. Place the vinegar, water, salt, sugar and whole spices in a small pot on the stove and bring to a simmer. Add the onions, and simmer for 30-60 seconds, stirring. Turn off the heat.  Stir in any of the optional additions above. Let this cool completely.
  3. Place in a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


Vinegar:  White vinegar is more concentrated than other kinds of vinegar.  If subbing other vinegar like rice wine viniegar, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, and you plan on keeping this for 3 weeks in the fridge, I would lower the water by 2 tablespoons. White vinegar will also ensure the clearest-looking pickling liquid and amplify the red onion’s color.

Pickled Onion Variations:

  1. Mexican pickled red onions: add sliced jalapeno and whole cumin seeds and coriander seeds, 1-2 whole clove seeds, garlic, plus Mexican oregano to the pickling liquid.
  2. Scandinavian pickled red onions: add fresh dill, caraway and peppercorns.
  3.  Indian pickled red onions: add fennel seeds, coriander seeds and either fenugreek, cilantro or curry leaves.


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 20
  • Sugar: 3.2 g
  • Sodium: 219.1 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.2 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 0.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg


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    1. Hi Tina, this is not a “canning” recipe- not enough vinegar here to can these and make them safely shelf stable. Designed for storing the fridge. 🙂

  1. Have made these pickled onions several times now and we use them on virtually everything. They’re really good chopped fine and added to egg salad! Thanks for the super easy, quick and delicious fridge staple.

  2. My family and friends like these so much I make a double batch every two weeks. I add a thinly sliced jalapeño and thinly sliced medium carrot plus a small piece of star anise which adds a nice touch of flavor.

  3. Fast & easy, inexpensive, and adds that special touch to many foods. A staple in our fridge (along with preserved lemons, fermented hot sauce, and kimchi).
    Another opportunity to say Thank You Sylvia and Co.!

  4. This is the first time I ever pickled anything and found my way here while making the turkey burgers. I used black peppercorns and a bay leaf with the red onion (and have used rice wine vinegar and white vinegar – both delish!) Yummy and keep a long time in the fridge!

  5. I made a triple batch of these, along with your recipe for pickled jalapeños (from my garden!), and my husband and neighbors loved both of them. We used them on some leftover steak fajitas tonight, and will find many uses for them in the upcoming days.
    I absolutely love your recipes, as I am trying to eat a more plant based diet. I am also originally from the Pacific Northwest (Spokane), and have a beautiful 1 1/2 year old granddaughter named Sylvia, so this site has a special meaning for me! Thanks for the recipes!

  6. My husband loves the pickled onions I make them almost every month!! And they are easy to make. I’ve even made jalapeno pickles!

  7. This is a great recipe! I have made pickled onions many times in my life. I have a friend who made this recipe with a cinnamon stick instead of the spices listed. She said it was good. Have you made this with a cinnamon stick? Please let me know.

  8. I think pickled onions are your #1 recipe. I make it more often than any other recipe. So versatile, they just bring everything up a notch. I’ve used in sandwiches, soups, and an apple chutney sauce. Love it

  9. Should making something so simple really bring so much joy? I feel pretty fancy with a jar of pickled onions or shallots in my fridge that I made myself. Thank you! I’m going to try the pickled jalapenos next.

    1. Haha…Yes Rebecca! It is those little pleasures that are so vital to a happy life. 🙂 Love it.

  10. I did make the pickled onions and they are great and they are fast and simple to make. So far I have added them to sandwiches and have just eaten them just by themselves. Will put in the next salad I make. Make some today they are delicious and you can use them in so many things.
    Thanks Sylvia 🥰

  11. Such joy found in the simplest of things…like these pickled onions. One of many favorite recipes on this site.

  12. Simply brilliant! Brightens virtually any meal – both visually as well as with respect to flavour.

  13. Great taste, super easy to make. My only problem is it did not last 3 days in the fridge. I will make another batch this week but double it. I see all kinds of possibilities. Thanks Sylvia

  14. As promised, these are super easy to make – even easier with a mandolin – and really delicious!

  15. When I make these I alwa,yes think we will have enough for other meals but they all get eaten straight away. Luckily they are quick to make!

  16. All commercial supermarket vinegar is 5% acidity in the US, excluding balsamic and some imported rice vinegars. There are very rare exceptions, but you can check the label. White vinegar is definitely not any more concentrated than any other type.

    1. Ok interesting.. I thought it was at 6% acidity, but maybe that was a particular brand I was using.

      1. I’m curious if you have ever canned this recipe and, if so, what modifications did you make. I’m primarily interested in knowing if they stay crisp.

        1. We haven’t tried canning them. I do know they would lose some of the bright color. But pickles stay crisp when canned so seems like they might? Maybe with a grape leaf (or something with tannin) tucked in the jar.

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