Pickled Red Onions

Want to jazz up your next salad or bowl? Add pickled red onions! Tangy & sweet, they're the best way to give almost any dish a bright pop of flavor!

Pickled red onions

Pickled red onions have been an indispensable ingredient in my kitchen for years. Not only are they a gorgeous, vibrant pink, but they’re tangy, sweet, and a little crunchy. I like to say that they give sandwiches, salads, bowls, and more a “bright pop of flavor,” and though Jack makes fun of me for how often I use that phrase, I can’t think of a better way to describe them.

Try making a batch of quick pickled red onions, and you’ll see what I mean. Top a few onto an otherwise good sandwich or salad, and it’ll become great. Their vinegary, zippy taste adds an irresistible extra dimension of flavor, brightening and sharpening the other elements of the dish. You only need a few minutes and 5 ingredients to make this pickled onion recipe, so give them a try – you’ll add them to everything!

Pickled onion recipe ingredients

How to Make Pickled Onions

To make pickled red onions, you’ll need 5 basic ingredients: red onions, white vinegar, water, cane sugar, and sea salt. 

First, thinly slice the onions (I recommend using a mandoline for quick, uniform slicing!) and divide them between two jars. Then, heat the vinegar, water, cane sugar, and salt over medium heat, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. This will only take a minute or so!

Let the brine cool slightly, and pour it over the sliced onions. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature before covering them and transferring them to the fridge. Your onions will be ready to eat when they are bright pink and tender. This could take anywhere from 1 hour to overnight, depending on the thickness of your onions.

Pickled onion recipe

Sometimes, I’ll add a few peppercorns or garlic cloves to the jar along with the onions to make their flavor a little more complex. I like to change up the vinegar too! I particularly like a mix of white wine and rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are a fun tangy combination. These variations are great, but they’re totally optional; your quick pickled onions will be delicious even if you stick to the basic recipe!

Pickled Red Onions

What to Do with Pickled Red Onions

As I said above, pickled onions are my favorite way to add a bright pop of flavor to almost any dish. Most simply, they’re excellent on avocado toast, but your options don’t end there. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use them:

Do you have a favorite way to use pickled onions? Let me know in the comments!

Pickled onions

If you love these quick pickled red onions…

Try my roasted red peppers, roasted tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, or pickled chard stems next!


5.0 from 1 reviews

Pickled Red Onions

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Pickled red onions add a sweet & tangy pop of flavor to salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more! Once you make them, they'll keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 small red onions
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • ⅓ cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
optional
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice the onions (it's helpful to use a mandoline), and divide the onions between 2 (16-ounce) jars or equivalent. Place the garlic and peppercorns in each jar, if using
  2. Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 1 minute. Let cool and pour over the onions. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then store the onions in the fridge.
  3. Your pickled onions will be ready to eat once they're bright pink and tender - about 1 hour for very thinly sliced onions, or overnight for thicker sliced onions.

10 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Fay
    09.24.2019

    Can you make this with Stevia or honey? Can’t use sugar

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.24.2019

      Hi Fay, you can skip the sugar, but they will just be much tangier. I haven’t tried pickling with Stevia. I think honey might give it a honey taste – if you try honey, I’d use much much less. Hope that helps!

  2. Jen
    09.24.2019

    I make a batch of pickled onions at least once a week and put them on pretty much everything — eggs, sandwiches, tacos, salads, cheese plates, etc. My favorite combo is adding whole clove & bay leaves. Adds a really lovely flavor!
    I have also made it successfully subbing maple syrup for the cane sugar, for those that don’t do sugar.

    • Natalie
      09.25.2019

      Thanks for sharing that about maple syrup, Jen. Great info, and the other additions sound good too

  3. Cynthia Whipkey
    09.24.2019

    How long are they good for in the refrigerator?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.24.2019

      I keep them for about 2-3 weeks.

  4. Patricia
    09.24.2019

    Hi

    How long do they last in the fridge?

    • Patricia
      09.24.2019

      Don’t worry – I just spotted it – thanks

  5. Sandra
    09.25.2019

    Absolutely addictive 😋

  6. Kathy
    09.25.2019

    Is it distilled white vinegar?

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.