(2525)#foodfodieHow to Make Quick-Pickled Onions


Quick-pickled onions can be made with just about any variety of vinegar sitting in your pantry and are ready to eat in just a few minutes time.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

Pickled onions hold a hidden superpower in the condiment world where they morph in flavor from being sweet like ketchup to tangy like mustard. Pickled onions add that contrasting sweet crunch so many savory dishes can totally benefit from.

Their garnet rings punch up anything between a bun like meatball sandwiches, burgers, sausages and dogs, plus all types of Mexican food (especially tostadas and tacos), salads, avocado toast, and grain or rice bowls and so much more. 

Unlike raw onions, pickled onions are more mellow with the ying yang of sour and sweet but still carry some of that signature onion heat. They’re always in season, and while they will become more flavorful the longer they steep, they’re easy to make on a whim because in only minutes they’re ready to eat.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Medium red onion
  • Two types of clear vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Hot water

The Best Onions for Pickled Onions

The ruby purplish-red skin of red onions are the traditional favorite choice for pickled onions. Due to their mild flavor, red onions quickly transform in this vinegar and water bath and add a pretty topping to any dish they’re added to.

Sweet yellow or white onions will also adapt to the quick pickle too.

The Best Vinegar for Pickled Onions

Pickling anything begins and ends with vinegar. But which vinegar is best when it comes to pickled onions? That totally depends on what is in your pantry.

Pickled onions can be used with any variety of vinegars and their flavor profiles. This is the time to experiment! I suggest using a combination of vinegars, one strong + one more mellow for a smoother tang.

I tend to stick with clear, non-colored vinegars, like:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Champagne vinegar
  • White balsamic vinegar

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

How to Make Pickled Onions

This recipe literally takes minutes to prepare, and just a few more for the flavors to absorb.

Start with thinly sliced onions. Use a sharp chefs knife (this knife is my favorite) or use a handheld mandoline to keep your cut rings consistent. Discard any woody root ends that can be tough when bitten through.

Prepare the pickling solution. Use any combination of vinegars you have on hand. I used apple cider vinegar and distilled white vinegar this go around but often turn to rice wine vinegar, too. Add sugar and kosher salt and mix.

Use hot water to dissolve the sugar and soften the onions. Adding boiling hot water softens the onions and break down the fibers, so they absorb the brine quicker than room temperature water. I use an electric teakettle to heat the water, but hot tap water will do the trick too.

Pickling Brine Flavor Variations

There’s a whole lot of lanes you can choose for adding extra flavor to the pickling liquid. Leave it as is, or add one, two, or a whole host of spices and aromatics to add a new dimension to these simple brined babies.

  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole garlic cloves
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fennel seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • Star anise
  • Fresh herbs

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

Sugar Substitutes

If sugar isn’t your thing, try another sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or stevia.

How to Can Pickled Onions

Canning these onions is easy and the same method as canning most any vegetable.

Use boiling water for your brine. When placing in your canning jar, leave ½ inch of head space. Sterilize the lids and rings and wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel dipped in hot water before screwing on the lids. Process the jars for 10 minutes submerged in the boiling water bath. Once removed, let sit for 24 hours before handling and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

What to Do With Leftover Pickling Liquid

Once you’ve done your job enjoying your onions, what’s left to do with the pickling liquid and can it be re-used? Sure! I’ve added more sliced onions and found one more round worked fine. Not quite as pungent, but good. Or, try sliced cucumbers, fresh green beans, or canned and drained garbanzo beans in your pickling liquid to gain extra flavor from the onion infused brine.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

How to Use Pickled Onions

A few ideas to toss or top with pickled onions:

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

How to Make Pickled Onions

Quick pickled onions can be made with just about any variety of vinegar sitting in your pantry and are ready to eat in just a few minutes time.


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Peel and thinly slice the red onion In rings and pack in a 1 pint jar or add to a bowl.

  2. Whisk the vinegars, sugar, and salt with the hot water until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the red onion, pushing the onions down so they are covered by the brine. Allow to sit for 30 minutes up to overnight. The longer the brine time the softer and more flavorful the onions will become. Pickled onions will last In the refrigerator up to 3 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Use any combination of clear vinegars you have on hand, such as:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Champagne vinegar
  • White balsamic vinegar

Onions will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 

Nutrition Facts

How to Make Pickled Onions

Amount Per Serving

Calories 12 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Sodium 99mg4%

Potassium 21mg1%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 2mg0%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions | foodiecrush.com #pickled #onions #quick #vinegar #recipe #Mexican

More Pickled Recipes to Try Too

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