How to Make Quick Pickled Red Onions

Have these Quick Pickled Red Onions on hand to punch up the flavor in your favorite recipes. From salads to burgers and everything in between. So easy to make and ready in just 30 minutes!

Pickled red onions in a jar with a copper fork on top.


 I’m going to be totally honest here and say that I feel like this is a total sham of a recipe here. It doesn’t seem like something you’d need to know but I started keeping a list of things that people ask me how to do….how to make pickled eggs….how to remove a stain….how to baste a turkey….how do I make pickled red onions….and I figured that maybe I should be answering these questions here.

Because….even if I know how to do all those things there are those of you who may not. And even I Google seemingly simple things like how to remove gum from your jeans. 🙂 (solution: rub an ice cube on it until it hardens then peel off.)

So, one of my favorite things in restaurants when I order a salad or a sandwich or even a burger are those pretty, pink pickled red onions that seem like just a pretty garnish but pack a huge flavor punch in anything they’re added to. I mean, they’re seriously addicting!

overhead shot of pickled red onions in a blue and white bowl on a white towel.


A great way to use up leftover red onions or to top your favorite taco recipe, pickled red onions (also known as Mexican Pickled Onions) are super simple to make with just an easy pickle brine.

This method for quick pickling onions has them ready in just 30 minutes and, believe me, you’ll be making these just about every week.

The first time I made Pickled Red Onions I followed a recipe that had tons of ingredients….like a bunch of spices and herbs THEN I had to wait 24-48 hours for them to be ready.

When I decide I want a salad with pickled onions I’m usually not planning it 48 hours in advance so I decided to simplify the recipe and make it in less time… 30 minutes. I used the same method as I did these Quick and Easy Bread and Butter Pickles. The flavor is perfect with a hint of sweetness and a little tartness.

I didn’t add any of the pickling spice as I did for the pickles but I did throw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme just to add another subtle layer of flavor. You can totally add whatever herbs you have on hand or just skip them altogether.

pickled red onions in a jar with a white lid.



Making quick pickled onions is super easy to do and only takes about 30 minutes. 

Peel and slice the onions into thin rings.

Stuff the onion slices in a clean jar.

Boil the vinegar, water, sugar and herbs.

Pour the liquid over the onions.

Seal the jars with the lid.

Rest the onions for 20 minutes or overnight.

If you want to make your onions more like the pickled onions you find on tacos in Mexican restaurants, you can add the juice of one lime to the pickling brine before bringing to a boil. 

Mexican pickled onions in a blue and white dish with a copper fork.



Pickled onions will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. BUT believe me when I say, they won’t last that long because you’ll be putting them on everything.


Even though this recipe is quite easy, following these simple tips will ensure they’re perfect every time.

  • Vinegar – I like to use apple cider vinegar but you can really use any light colored vinegar you have on hand. White distilled vinegar will work well but have fun experimenting with other varieties like white balsamic, red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, too.
  • Slicing – Be sure to slice your onions as thin as possible so they pickle quickly. A mandoline works very well for this and while I use this mandoline, this handheld version works exceptionally well for much less money.
  • Canning – This recipe has not been tested for canning but if you’re a canning expert, feel free to make the modifications necessary and store them up for the winter.



Now that we have the Quick Pickled Red Onions recipe done and ready to go….you can use them in just about anything you want.

I already added them to this Southwestern Steak Wrap….and honestly, it doesn’t get much better than that.  They’d also be fabulous in your favorite fish taco recipe OR add them to these Barbecue Rib tacos because the sweetness of the barbecue sauce is a perfect match for the tartness of the Pickled Red Onions.  

Super easy to make and ready in minutes, these Barbecue Pork Rib Tacos are fast, easy and FRESH! |


If you like these pickled onions then you definitely want to try this easy Pickled Okra.  I had it in South Carolina and am obsessed ever since. 

Or try these super easy Pickled Jalapeños….they go so well with the very same things we’ve been putting these onions on.

Two jars of pickled jalapeños stacked on top of each other.

Try it….I know you’ll love it. And if you want to see what else I’m pickling…be sure to follow along on Instagram!

Quick Pickled Red Onions recipe

Kellie from
Quick and easy Pickled Red Onions made in a fraction of the time of classic pickle recipes. A great addition to many recipes!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 25
Calories 31 kcal


  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6-8 fresh thyme sprigs optional


  • Place the onions in canning jars and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, water, sugar and herbs, if using. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the liquid into the jars filling approximately 3/4 full. Place the lid on the jars and refrigerate for 30 minutes  or overnight.
  • Serve as desired.


Pickled Red Onions can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Great for your weekly meal prep!


Calories: 31kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgPotassium: 20mgFiber: 0gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 10IUVitamin C: 1.3mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword quick pickles
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!




2 comments on “How to Make Quick Pickled Red Onions”

  1. Can you make this without sugar or use a substitute?

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.