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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, beautiful in color and go great with just about anything! Perfect for tacos, burritos, eggs, or a classic steak! Made with simple ingredients and in only 15 minutes.

straight on shot of jar of pickled red onions

Pickled Red Onions

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

The tangy and crisp onions bring a bright flavor and texture to anything you add them to. I love them on burgers and tacos but they are great on scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, add a few to your toasted bagel and cream cheese!

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overhead shot of sliced onions garlic cloves and peppercorns on a counter

Why this easy Pickled Red Onions recipe is awesome

  • Only requires six ingredients.
  • You can use them in so many ways!
  • They take mere minutes to make.
  • Last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!
  • Great for gifting.
  • Soon to be your new favorite condiment.

Basic Ingredients Needed

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. White wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar can also be used, but tend to be more vinegary than oniony.

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 so they add pepper essence but don’t overpower.

A few fun variations include using a blend of onions, as they all have their unique flavors. White onions and yellow onions are fun. I also sometimes add fresh herbs to the mia, a star anise pod or even a dash of kosher salt. For super spicy, add a few jalapeno slices or a punch of red pepper flakes.

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How to make Pickled Red Onions

The process of making quick 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.

First: 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. Having even cuts is key to making them all cook uniformly. I also cut mine into half moons.

Second: Heat the vinegar over medium heat 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.

Third: Layer the thinly sliced onions and other spices in the mason 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. They will turn a beautiful pink color that adds a pop to any meal.

Fourth: 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.

overhead shot of jar of onions

What to Eat with Pickled Red Onions

  • Quesadillas
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Burrito Bowls
  • Omelets
  • Cheese Boards
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Potato Salad
  • Canapes
  • Avocado Toast

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

FAQs

How long do pickled red onions last?

The best part of this recipe is that they last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. 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.

Can you pickle onions whole?

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.

Are they Paleo?

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

How do I store them?

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.

What do pickled onions taste like?

Honestly, they don’t have that strong onion flavor you’d like they would. It is a mild flavor that pairs well and adds some zing to nearly any dish.

plate of tacos topped with easy pickled red onions

Tools used to make pickled onions

Tapas Tips & Tricks

  • The key to perfect pickled red onions is to slice the raw 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.
  • Throw in some mustard seeds or a bay leaf if you prefer.
  • For some heat, toss in some red pepper flakes.
  • This is a technique for quick pickles. Making them this way means they are not shelf stable. These must remain in the refrigerator while being stored.
  • Great for all types of onions they are a great way to use up onions before they go bad.

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!

pickled red onions in a jar with a fork with text overlay


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!

Easy Party Recipes

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.

Ingredients

Onions

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  • The key to perfect pickled red onions is to slice the raw 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.
  • Throw in some mustard seeds or a bay leaf if you prefer.
  • For some heat, toss in some red pepper flakes.
  • This is a technique for quick pickles. Making them this way means they are not shelf stable. These must remain in the refrigerator while being stored.
  • Great for all types of onions they are a great way to use up onions before they go bad.
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?

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{Originally Posted 8/20/2018 – Pictures and notes updated 9/28/2021}

TakeTwoTapas.com. 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!

chubcheeks@bellsouth.net

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!

Andrea

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

chubcheeks@bellsouth.net

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!

Caitlyn

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?

chubcheeks@bellsouth.net

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!

Sabrina

Wednesday 17th of February 2016

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

chubcheeks@bellsouth.net

Thursday 25th of February 2016

Thanks Sabrina!

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