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PICKLED RED ONIONS {Easy Pickled Onions for Tacos & Burgers}

Pickled red onions are a bright condiment that is easy to make and go great with just about anything! Perfect for tacos, burritos, eggs, or a classic steak!

jar of pickled red onions

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

I just want to say what an honor it is to be asked by my friend Jennifer to do a guest blog. I have enjoyed reading her posts that are more than just recipes.  

They are a personal little peek into how she enjoys food, family, and friends. Jennifer is always generous with the food she makes for her blog.

Sometimes we get some Lemongrass Chicken or Dark Chocolate Panko Bark so I decided to return the favor with a jar of pickled red onions, the recipe she has asked me to share.

This pickled onion recipe is super easy to make, only take a few minutes to put together, and is great for so many dishes!

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sliced onions garlic cloves and peppercorns on a counter


  • red onions
  • vinegar
  • garlic
  • peppercorns
  • sugar
  • salt

Onions – Red onions are the best for this recipe but of course you can use any onion that you like! The key is to slice them very thin. Use a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer for best results.

Vinegar – White distilled vinegar is the best so you have the cleanest flavor. Using something like apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar will change the flavor profile.

Garlic – Use whole peeled cloves so they don’t overpower the onions.

Peppercorns – You can use black or even a mixture of your favorite peppercorns. Again, keep them whole.

For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

The process of making pickled red onions is super easy. Gather your jar or the vessel that you are going to use to store the red onions in the refrigerator and the rest of the ingredients.


ONE: Thinly slice the red onions thin using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer. If you have a food processor, some models come with a slicing blade that you can use as well.

TWO: Heat the vinegar just to boiling in a pot, or in the microwave for 1 min. Add the sugar and salt. Stir while the sugar and salt dissolve.

THREE: Layer the thinly sliced onions and other spices in the jar. Carefully add the hot pickling mixture to the jar, lightly cover, and leave to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

FOUR: Let cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator. I would recommend letting the pickled red onions sit for at least 24 hours before eating them to allow the pickling flavors to penetrate the onion layers. But they are ready to eat in 30 minutes!

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

jar of onions


For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

jar of pickled red onions and a fork


I keep mine in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Mine usually don’t last this long but this is the longest I have kept them with this technique. If you want to keep them longer I would suggest a traditional canning technique.


You can, depending on the size of the onion. Anything larger than 2 inches might not get the pickling liquid all the way the to center of the onion and it will not be protected against bacteria. Nor will it get all the pickling flavor.


If you leave the sugar out of the pickling liquid or use stevia then they are Paleo and Whole30 compliant.


I keep mine in the refrigerator, tightly covered, in a glass jar. I also make sure that I press the onions still in the jar pushed down into the liquid. If there are onions sticking out of the liquid they might dry out.

plate of tacos with onions



  • The key to perfect pickled red onions is to slice the red onions thin. Unless you have excellent knife sills, I would suggest a Mandolin slicer or using the slicer blade on your food processor. This also ensures that the onions are all sliced to the same thickness for even pickling.
  • For a different flavor profile, feel free to use rice vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • You can also use pure maple syrup instead of white sugar if you prefer.
  • This is a quick pickling technique and they are not shelf stable. These must remain in the refrigerator while being stored.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

onions with a fork

This quick pickled red onion recipe is easy to make and makes a great topping for a variety of dishes! Perfect for your summer picnics!


jar of pickled onions

Pickled Red Onions

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes

Try making jars of pickled red onions for gifts and keep a jar in your fridge to use in salads, with tacos, on sandwiches and hot dogs….etc.



  • 1 large red onion (sliced thin)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns (to taste)

Pickling Liquid

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt


  1. Heat the vinegar just to boiling, or in the microwave for 1 min.
  2. Add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve.
  3. Place red onions and other spices in the jar.
  4. Add hot mixture to the jar, cover and leave to cool to room temperature.
  5. Once cool, cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.


*If you like this recipe, leave me a comment and rate it with some stars.  Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1273mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Follow me on Pinterest for more fun recipes!

I didn’t want a week to go by without a post so I recruited my good friend Chrissy to write one. She is an amazing cook and has a discerning palate. 

Chrissy pushes me to be a better cook and expands my horizons on the spice front. She is more adventurous than me when it comes to spices and she also makes great pickled red onions!  

I am always so excited to get a jar since I use them on just about everything. Now that I have the recipe I can make them whenever I run out!  

If you are looking for a quick and easy gift for a last minute party or friend, these are the thing to make! Thank you SO MUCH, Chrissy, for being my guest blogger!

I do a lot of cooking, but pickling has never been my thing. Luckily, I found that pickling red onions couldn’t be more simple. For one good sized onion I use a cup of vinegar, 1T salt, 1T sugar, then add some spices for flavor.

Most often I throw in black peppercorns and a peeled clove of garlic. I have added bay leaf, cloves, jalapeños, or dried seeds like dill, caraway, or mustard. 

It’s a fun way to be creative or personalize a recipe for friends with specific tastes. Try making jars of pickled red onions for gifts and keep a jar in your fridge to use in salads, with tacos, on sandwiches and hot dogs….etc.

The Theis Family

{Originally Posted 8/20/2018 – Pictures and notes updated 9/28/2021} Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Jill Waterworth

Thursday 31st of January 2019

Just made these today and they are delicious! I can’tweit to have them onbarbacoa tacos tonight! Thanks for the recipe and the tips!

Thursday 31st of January 2019

I am so glad you like them! We go through a lot of these and the pickled red cabbage because we use them mostly on tacos and we eat tacos pretty often! Thanks for reading!


Saturday 18th of August 2018

I'm making these for my next sub sandwich. I love pickled vegetables.

Kathy fowler

Wednesday 28th of September 2016

Can you keep these longer if you heat the brine and the jars like normal pickling and store in celler

Wednesday 28th of September 2016

Yes you can! Just follow normal processing rules and use the jars with the rings and lids. Also leave a larger headspace than this recipe calls for. Thank you so much for reading!


Friday 8th of July 2016

How long do you suggest for the minimum amount of time to leave the onions in the jars? 24 hours?

Saturday 9th of July 2016

I found that they get a good flavor after 24 hours. My husband has eaten them after a few hours but he said they are best after a day. Thanks so much for reading!


Wednesday 17th of February 2016

I love pickled vegetables! They're so delicious as a side to a tasty protein dish! Thanks for sharing!

Thursday 25th of February 2016

Thanks Sabrina!

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