Pickled Red Onion Recipe

Pickled Red Onions

5 from 10 reviews

Quick pickled red onions are so easy to make and they add flavor and texture to so many dishes. Try them on burgers, brats, sandwiches, burritos, tacos, casseroles, and so much more.


  • 2 small red onions cut in half and sliced thin
  • 1 cup white vinegar or cider vinegar (see notes)
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the sliced onions to clean resealable jars.  Add a few peppercorns, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to each jar. Fill the jar with the hot liquid making sure to cover all the red onions.  Cool the jars to room temperature before putting the lids on and placing them in the fridge.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 


  • If using 1 large jar add 2 garlic cloves, about 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, and about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
  • These quick pickled onions need to be refrigerated. They are not shelf stable.
  • Slice the onions thin but not too thin. I like mine with a little bit of substance for burgers, brats, and sandwiches but you can slice them thinner if you like. A mandoline comes in very handy for slicing them super thin.
  • Use white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or champagne vinegar.
  • I like my pickled onions a little on the sweet side. If you are watching your sugar cut it back to 2-3 tablespoons.
  • For a more natural sweetener use honey or maple syrup.
  • Repurpose a used jar with a tight fitting lid.
  • Other spices and herbs to experiment with include mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seed, rosemary, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, or allspice. 
  • This recipe works for other onions like yellow onions or Vidalia Onions.
  • Store the pickled onions in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. 

Keywords: quick pickled red onions, how to make pickled red onions, best pickled red onions, homemade pickled red onions

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