Quick Pickled Red Onions Recipe (10 minutes + 4 Ingredients!)

GFGluten Free

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Want to make your own Pickled Red Onions? All you need is 10 minutes and 4 common ingredients with this easy-to-follow recipe!

I’ve always been a pickle girl. Whenever I visited my Grandparents as a kid, they’d always buy an extra jar of mini dill pickles for me to snack on…all. by. myself.

My love for pickles has only grown with maturity, and now I crave those crunchy, salty, tangy, and slightly sweet condiments in anything and everything! (Well, almost). And once I learned how easy it is to make your own pickles at home? I’ve had a jar of pickled something in my fridge ever since.

small glass dish of pickled red onions with white spoon on wood cutting board

Today I’m going to show you how to make the best Pickled Red Onions! While pickling cucumbers can be hard to find in some stores, I’d be willing to bet that your grocery store always has Red Onions. These babies are crunchy, delicious, and the perfect topping in salads, on toast, and more! 

The best part? All you need are 4 simple ingredients and 10 minutes. So, let’s get right into it!

ingredients for pickled red onions on wood cutting board

Step One: Slice Your Red Onion

knife with sliced red onion on wood cutting board

You’ll need 1 medium-to-large onion for this recipe. Personally I prefer my onion slices to be a little on the thicker side, so I opt to chop my onion by hand. If you want them to be thinner, I would recommend using a mandoline!

You can also dice your Onion if you prefer smaller pieces, but I like to stick with half or quarter rings. They’re also a lot easier to take out with a fork later.

Step Two: Stuff it in a Jar

glass mason jar stuffed with red onion pieces

That medium-large onion we just talked about? It’ll fit perfectly into a quart-sized mason jar. If you don’t have one on hand you can use another glass tupperware or bowl, but I find that a jar works best for this process (and for storing later!)

Whatever you use, please use glass. We’ll be pouring hot (boiling) liquid into it later, and you really don’t want to be doing that in plastic.

Step Three: Prepare the Pickling Liquid

vinegar and water in white pan with salt, sugar, and black peppercorns on the side

Red onions are great and all, but the reason these taste so good? The pickling liquid! Luckily for us, it’s a simple combination of:

  1. Vinegar: you can use either Apple Cider Vinegar or regular ol’ Distilled White Vinegar for this recipe! I’ve made it with both, and slightly prefer to use ACV as I find it has more depth of flavor.
  2. Salt: a good pickle is always salty, but salt helps to preserve our pickles too! You can use any variety you’d like, but try to use one that is iodine-free, as this can mess with the pickling process. Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, or Pink Himalayan Salt are all good options 🙂
  3. Sugar: a little goes a long way – I like my pickles to be tangy, so I use a bit less than other recipes out there. You only need 2 tsp total! You can really use any sweeter you’d like here. Cane sugar, coconut sugar, or even maple syrup/agave all work and taste about the same.

Bring all of these ingredients (with a little bit of water) to a boil in a pot or pan, and stir until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved. You can also add in extra seasonings if you like! I usually stick with black peppercorns (and sometimes mustard seeds), but you can also toss in some garlic cloves, fresh herbs, or a chopped jalapeño if you like things extra spicy.

Step Four: Pour, Chill, and Refrigerate!

jar of fresh pickled red onions next to jar of week-old pickled red onions

Pour the hot marinade into your mason jar or glass container, then let the onions sit on your counter until they cool to room temperature. It’s okay if a little bit of onion sticks up over the marinade – the onions will soften and decrease in size after a few minutes, at which point you can push them down with a fork or spatula.

As you can see in the photo above, the purple outer portion of the onion will gradually dissolve into the pickling liquid, which will dye your onions a uniform pink color over time! Not only are these onions tasty, but I think they’re pretty dang pretty too 🙂

Step Five: Use Liberally, and Often!

large mason jar and small glass dish of pickled red onions on wood cutting board

Now for the fun part — put those pickled red onions everywhere! Honestly, they’re good with just about anything, but I particularly love to pair them with fresh salads and creamy foods (like avocado or mashed potatoes). The crisp texture and acidity provide a nice counterbalance to all that richness.

A Note on Storage: these pickled red onions will keep in the fridge for about a month…if they last you that long 😉 They’re the most crispy within the first week of making them, and will gradually get a little softer with time.

Want to make your own Pickled Red Onions? All you need is 10 minutes and 4 common ingredients with this easy-to-follow recipe! #pickledonions #budgetfriendly #glutenfree #redonion | frommybowl.com

And that’s about it, friends! The process of quick-pickling is incredibly easy, and the best part is that once you learn how to do it with one crunchy veggie, you can pretty much do it with any! I also love to make my own pickled radishes, jalapeños, and carrots. The possibilities, however, are pretty much endless 😉

Looking to put those pickled onions to good use?

They go great on top of these Falafel Burgers Mushroom Veggie Burgers, and even this (Best Ever) Hummus. And if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Quick Pickled Red Onions

Want to make your own Pickled Red Onions? All you need is 10 minutes and 4 common ingredients with this easy-to-follow recipe! 

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 7 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 medium-to-large red onion
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 tsp kosher, sea, or pink himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (optional, but recommended)
  • Optional add-ins*: 3-5 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 chopped jalapeño, or 1-2 tsp fresh herbs


  1. Slice your onion into half or quarter-sized rings. I prefer to slice mine to be about 1/4″ thick, but that depends on personal preference. Use a mandoline if you’d like your slices to be more uniform and/or thinner.
  2. Break up the onion slices and stuff them into a quart-sized glass mason jar.
  3. Prepare the pickling liquid by adding all of the remaining ingredients (see notes for add-ins) to a small pot or pan over high heat. Stir the mixture together to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once the liquid comes to a boil, carefully pour it into the glass mason jar and let it sit on your counter until it cools to room temperature. The onion pieces will gradually soften and shrink with time – if any stick above the liquid in the beginning, press them down with a fork 5-10 minutes later.
  4. Seal your jar, then store in the fridge for up to one month. These pickled onions will be the most crispy within the first week, then will gradually soften with time. Serve as desired.


  • On extra add-ins: I like to add my hard spices (like black peppercorns or mustard seeds) in with the pickling liquid while it’s heating up. Otherwise, add your softer add-ins (like garlic or fresh herbs) into the jar with the raw onion.
  • On sweeter: you can use any sweetener of your choice here. Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Maple Syrup, or Agave are all great options

Keywords: quick pickled onions, red onion recipes, easy pickles recipe, quick pickles

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. This recipe was very easy to follow. Well-written instructions. And the result was fantastic!! I doubled the recipe, and the pickled onions lasted about 3 weeks. I put them on salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. So yummy!! Making another batch today – this time making 4 onions, so I can share with some friends. Thanks for the easy & delicious recipe!!

  2. These were sooo easy! And so delicious! I used ACV and they turned out great! Now I want to pickle everything! 🙂

  3. I asked about one or two red onions recently, but I have answered my own question. There is no way two onions would fit in the quart size mason jar, so it must be just one red onion. In the video it looked like two were chopped, but I must have been mistaken.

    1. Glad you figured it out so quickly on your own! Typically a regular sized red onion fits inside the quart mason jar. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Yummy! Def making this another staple recipe. Maybe next time I can add fresh Italian oregano leaves to it? Not sure what your opinion is on that but I did see in add ins fresh herbs optional. TIA!

    1. Haven’t tried fresh oregano but it definitely sounds intriguing! There’s tons of possibilities, let us know what varieties you end up trying!

  5. Found your Youtube channel recently! Love your recipes. Cant wait to try these!! Can I use white onions instead? and also does this recipe work for beets, carrots, cucumbers? Thanks.

  6. I made these the other day, followed the recipe exactly (I used apple cider vinegar) and I have added them to every single one of my dinners this week! They are so good!!

    1. Store it in the brine! Just like when you buy a jar of pickles, the brine is what helps preserve them and also build up the flavor when it sits! Sometimes we use the excess vinegar to make salad dressings and such when the onion is all gone.

  7. This is my third time making these pickled onions! It’s now our family’s go-to pickled onion recipe and we can’t get enough of them! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  8. I make these on a regular basis to make sure I always have a jar in the fridge. This is one of my favourite recipes, it’s so easy and quick! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    1. It’s such a great go to for topping on random things – salads, avocado toast, eating it straight.. haha.

  9. Hi! Making these now. How long do I have to wait to eat them? Have you ever eaten them slightly warm because you couldn’t wait?

    1. Haha yes, all the time! They’re best after they cool completely but you could eat them as soon as 10-15 minutes afterwards.

  10. Hi Caitlin, I did your recipe today and it is so good that I’m almost done with my jar of picled onions 😉
    I was wondering what can I do with the brine? Can I reuse it for pickling again? Thanks for you answer. Take care. Cle

    1. Hi Cle! I wouldn’t re-use it again for more onions (it’s better to use fresh). I like to use it in place of vinegar in salad dressings and pasta salads! I even mash it with avocado for my avocado toast.

  11. It’s been way too long since I’ve had picked onions. Honestly, I miss them a lot! They were around quite often when my mother was on a kick with making cucumber salads. I would love to try this recipe with another type of onion, maybe sweet onions for a different flavor?

    1. You definitely could do some other onion types. We’d be interested to know how it works out for you if you try it!

    1. Sure, you could try pickling all kinds of stuff. Some of the larger, denser vegetables might take a little more time.