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Quick Pickled Red Onions are the perfect blend of sweet, tart, and crunchy. Add them to literally anything for a burst of flavor and make them in minutes with four simple ingredients.
This recipe is loaded with flavor and simple to make. Use it to top a perfectly prepared Ribeye Steak or add some to a Toasted Steak Sandwich to enjoy any time.
Months ago I decided to try quick pickling red onions. I found a popular recipe and gave it a try, but it wasn't my favorite. Then while looking in my mother's refrigerator I saw that she had a jar of homemade sweet and sour pickles and pickled red onions.
Of course, I had to give her version of pickled red onions a try and they were the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and delicious flavor that I had been looking for. I quickly asked her for the recipe and was surprised at how simple it is to make. Since then, they have become a staple in my refrigerator. They are so easy to make and I use them to complement many meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I especially love using them in recipes that require red onion instead of sliced raw onion. Talk about a flavor explosion! You have to give this recipe a try.
Which vinegar is best for pickling?
For this recipe, you will use white wine vinegar. However, you may substitute the white wine vinegar for white vinegar, rice vinegar, champagne vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar.
- Red onion - One medium size red onion will work for this recipe. Slice it vertically as thinly as possible using a chef's knife. If you have a mandoline available, that will make the process a bit easier.
- White wine vinegar - This is the most important ingredient when it comes to making pickled onions. For this recipe, we are using white wine vinegar for a mild flavor, but you may also use white vinegar instead.
- Sugar - Use granulated sugar or cane sugar to balance the acidic flavor of the onions. You may also substitute maple syrup or honey in the same unit of measure.
- Salt - A coarse salt works best, but feel free to use any salt that you have available.
Additional Ingredient Ideas
In addition to the above ingredients, you can also add jalapeno pepper slices, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, a sliced clove of garlic, and a teaspoon of black peppercorns. You may also use yellow onion for this recipe instead of red onion.
Don't be afraid to get creative with this recipe and add your favorite flavor combinations that you enjoy. This recipe is truly hard to mess up.
Using a knife, remove the top and bottom of the onion and peel any excess off to reveal the skin of the onion. Thinly slice the red onion into round strips. If you have a mandoline, you can use it instead.
Place the red onion slices in a medium-sized wide-mouth jar with a lid.
In a small glass pitcher, stir together the white wine vinegar, sugar, and salt until combined. The mixture will be cloudy and the sugar will dissolve. It will still be grainy from the coarse salt.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the red onions in the jar. Stir together and the red onion will begin to reduce in size and be able to fully submerge in the vinegar mixture.
Place the lid on the jar and allow it to sit undisturbed for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Give them a stir and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!
When are they ready?
The pickled red onions in this recipe are ready to use and eat 30 minutes after they have been prepared. They will last in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. The longer these pickled onions sit the better they get. The onions will become softer and absorb more of the vinegar marinade.
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Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- Using a knife, remove the top and bottom of the onion and peel any excess off to reveal the skin of the onion.
- Thinly slice the 1 medium red onion into round strips. If you have a mandoline, you can use it instead. Place the red onion slices in a medium-sized wide-mouth jar with a lid.
- In a small glass pitcher, stir together the ½ cup white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. The mixture will be cloudy and the sugar will dissolve. It will still be grainy from the coarse salt.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the red onions in the jar. Stir together and the red onion will begin to reduce in size and be able to fully submerge in the vinegar mixture.
- Place the lid on the jar and allow it to sit undisturbed for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Give them a stir and store covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
*All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
Original post date 02/03/2020. Updated 02/16/2022.
Recipes to Pair with Easy Pickled Onions
Have any comments, questions, or other delicious ideas for these Quick Pickled Red Onions? Please share them in the comments below!
These pickled red onions are just like the name says, 'quick'. Whip some up for topping sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs.
Thank you Sharon! So perfect for all of those!!
I make these all the time. So simple but they add so much to each dish. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much Megan!!
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing pickled red onions recipe! Will surely have this again! It's really easy to make and it tasted so delicious! Highly recommended!
Thank you Allyssa!!!
I made this quick pickled onions to go with salami, mofongo, fried cheese, and eggs for breakfast this morning and the entire family raved about how good they were.
Thank you Marta! That sounds like one incredible breakfast!!
This is such a punchy, pretty, and flavorful condiment! I've been adding a pinch on pretty much everything, from omelets to salads to pan-seared salmon. It's really easy to make and super versatile, I've sworn to myself I'd always keep a jar in the fridge!
Thank you so much Marie! I love storing them in the fridge also to add to all the things.
These are so eaesy and so good! Perfect as a salad topping. Thanks!
Thank you Ann, I agree!!
Well this is super easy! I love that this pickled onion recipe can be ready in just 30 minutes!
Thank you so much Leslie!
My kind of recipe, yummy, easy to make and overall, super quick. These onions are amazing on tacos, quesadillas or over eggs.
Thank you Silvia! Love adding them to tacos and eggs!
I loved how these pickled onions turned out! I made them for a dinner salad. Everyone was raving over them!
Thank you Katie, so happy to hear!
These onions seem super crunchy and versatile and are definitely something I could see going well with a variety of recipes.
Thank you Moop! Love using them in so many different recipes!
I would like to know if I can can these yo get a longer life out of them. I could never use them within a 3 week period. Being preserved in vinegar and sugar I would think they would last longer
Yes Marlene, you can get a little more time out of them. This was just a suggestion as not everyone uses the same container or stores it in the refrigerator.