Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red Onions in a glass mason jar flanked by a bowl of cut red onions in a white bowl

Quick and easy pickled red onions! 10-minutes and 4-ingredients is all you need to make a batch of flavorful pickled red onions.

Making Pickled Recipes can be intimidating if you’ve never made them before. From the type of vegetables to the type of vinegar, it can lead to a ton of questions before you even begin.

This pickled red onions recipe is a great one to dip your toes in as it’s short, simple and provides step by step instructions to teach you how to make pickled red onions. Not to mention you’re left with the best pickled onions to grub on.

The ingredients to make pickled red onions: onions, salt, sugar and vinegar.

How To Pickle Red Onions

Only 10 minutes stands between you and a jar of quick pickled red onions. Of course this doesn’t include the recommended hour or marinating time, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Here’s how to make pickled onions:

Step 1. Slice the onions as thin and evenly as possible. I recommend using a Mandoline for best results. 

Step 2. Stuff as many sliced onions as possible into a large jar. We use these glass mason jars (16 oz). 

Step 3. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and water to a bowl and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Step 4. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onions and marinate for an hour before digging. Sure – that’s not a requirement but it does maximize the flavor.

Keep a jar on-hand, along with pickled peppers recipe, pickled banana peppers, and pickled cucumbers.

What is the Best Vinegar For Pickling?

There are quite a few different vinegars that will work when picking vegetables, such as Mexican Pickled Carrots – each has pros and cons. Here are the top varieties:

Distilled White Vinegar

Most commonly used vinegar for pickling vegetables. It’s my preferred go-to vinegar for most vegetables, other than red onions.  

Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar has a very bold flavor and adds a brown tint. It’s best to utilize on produce with a strong flavor that can hold up to it. It’s not my favorite, but it works.

Cider Vinegar

Cider vinegar is a great option. It has a distinct flavor, lends a sweetness to the final product and is probably an ingredient you probably already have. Just make sure to check the acidity level. It MUST be over 5%. An acidity level under 5% won’t properly preserve the product. 

Wine Vinegar

Another great option for picking as it has a delicate flavor and lends just a slight color. As with cider vinegar, you must ensure the acidity level is over 5% to use. We also use this to make Pickled Mustard Seeds.

Pickled red Onions in a glass mason jar flanked by a bowl of cut red onions in a white bowl

Types of Onion

Looking into growing a garden full of onions for pickling? We did some research and the best varieties of onions for picking are: Barletta Silverskin, Small Paris Silverskin, Giant Zittau, Improved Queen, White Queen, Purplette and Covent Garden Pearl.

How Long Does A Jar Last

When property stored, in an airtight container, pickled onions last up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

Uses For Pickled Red Onions

I put picked onions on EVERYTHING. We’re born and raised in Southern California, so load them up on all our Mexican recipes. Think Birria, Carne Asada Tacos, Carne Asada Fries, Steak Picado, Refried Bean Dip and more. You could even toss them in salads (like Ensalada de Papa) and sandwiches (Prime Rib Sandwich). 

Pickled red Onions in a glass mason jar flanked by a bowl of cut red onions in a white bowl

Easy and Quick Pickled Red Onions

10-minutes is all you need to make a batch of flavorful pickled red onions. Keep a jar on-hand to add punch and flavor to your favorite Mexican recipes, taco recipes, eggs and more.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinating: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 14kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $2


  • 1 Large Red Onion (*Note 1)
  • ½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar (*Note 2)
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Hot Water (*Note 3)


  • Slice the onion as thin and evenly as possible. I recommend a mandoline to ensure consistency.
  • Add as many red onion slices into a jar as possible. I recommend a sealable glass mason jar (16 oz).
  • Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and warm water to a medium size bowl and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Pour the vinegar mixture over the sliced onions, ensuring the liquid completely covers the onions. Marinate for at least an hour before enjoying to maximize flavor.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.


Note 1: If you own a mandoline, now is the time to break it out. You want the slices thin and as even as possible.
Note 2: You could use Distilled White Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar in place of the Apple Cider vinegar for a stronger, more pronounced flavor.
Note 3: The water doesn’t need to be heated, but it needs to be hot from the tap. This ensures it’s hot enough to dissolve the sugar and salt.


Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 437mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @foodieandwine or tag #foodieandwine!

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