Simple 5-Minute Pickled Red Onions

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Simple 5-Minute Pickled Red Onions
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Simple 5-Minute Pickled Red Onions

I really enjoy red onions, but I absolutely love pickled red onions. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying some, you owe it to yourself to remedy that asap! Ketchup has nothing on this delicious condiment

Pickled Red Onions

So why are pickled red onions so delicious? I’m glad you asked. These have all the flavor of fresh red onions but with an extra depth from the vinegar and spices. Plus they’ll keep fresh in the fridge for weeks! Even better you can make them in only five minutes. Pickled red onions are so easy even my littlest ones can make them.

I keep these crunchy guys in the fridge at all times… you know, for pickled onion emergencies. I know there are whole nursery rhymes dedicated to Peter Piper and his pickled peppers. But pickled onions are so much more versatile (and taste better too, in my opinion)!

Pickled Red Onion Variations

I like making these with some salt and chili powder (or garlic) for a refreshing, simple flavor. You can omit the spices if you want and they’ll still taste really good. Or you can switch it up and try different fresh herbs and spices in the vinegar mixture. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Black peppercorns
  • Garlic cloves
  • Bay leaf
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Jalapeno
  • A few sprigs of dill or other fresh herbs

I make these with white wine vinegar. You can also use red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar for your pickling liquid. If you like a slightly sweeter version you could add some maple syrup for sweetener. This helps cut the acidity a bit, but personally, I prefer it without. You can also use white or yellow onion instead if that’s what you have.

Quick Pickled Red Onion Recipe

This is an easy recipe that takes just a few minutes to make. It does take several hours at least for the flavors to combine but they taste better after they’ve been in the fridge for a day or so. If you want an even faster quick pickle version here’s how to do it.

  1. Add the vinegar, salt, and seasonings (if using) to a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil to let the salt dissolve, then remove from heat.
  3. Pour the liquid over your jar of red onion rings.
  4. Let sit for 30 minutes before putting it in the fridge.

Ways to Use Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions taste good on almost everything. Want a little more direction? Try these:

  • Beef Barbacoa– Pickled red onions are amazing on one of our favorite time-saving recipes: Beef Barbacoa. I cook this in a pressure cooker (I use this Instant Pot). In less than an hour you’ll have a delicious restaurant-quality dinner.
  • Salads– These spice up almost every salad, including potato salad.
  • Breakfast– Great on almost any breakfast foods, but especially on quiche, eggs, or other savory foods.
  • Tacos or Taco Meat– These are especially great on any kind of tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or other Mexican food you can come up with!
  • Burgers– Pickled red onions are a great addition to any burger.
  • Charcuterie plate– Feeling really fancy? Add these to a charcuterie plate along with your favorite cured meats and cheeses.
  • Avocado toast – Try a grain-free version of this cult classic topped with pickled onions.
  • Soup – Try a few chopped pickled onions on your next batch of white chicken chili or other soup.

While they taste fancy and sophisticated, they’re one of the easiest recipes to make. You’ll only need a handful of ingredients and 5 minutes of free time.


Pickled Red Onion Recipe

These simple, but sophisticated, pickled red onions add incredible flavor to any dish. Try them on salads, burgers, soups, and more!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Pickling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Calories 6kcal
Author Katie Wells




  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder (or garlic powder, optional)
  • ½ cup vinegar (apple cider, white wine, or rice vinegar)


  • Slice the onions into rings with a mandoline or sharp knife.
  • Place the slices into a pint-size mason jar or glass bowl.
  • Sprinkle the onions with the salt and any other desired seasonings.
  • Pour the vinegar over the sliced onions and put the lid on.
  • Leave at room temperature for two hours so flavors can meld, stirring occasionally.
  • Transfer to the refrigerator and enjoy them on all kinds of things.


Nutrition Facts
Pickled Red Onion Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 6
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.03g0%
Saturated Fat 0.01g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.01g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g
Sodium 197mg9%
Potassium 17mg0%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0.2g1%
Sugar 0.4g0%
Protein 0.1g0%
Vitamin A 50IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 3mg0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


These will last for several weeks in the fridge, though ours are usually gone well before that!

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

More Pickled Vegetables

Thankfully it’s really easy and delicious to make pickled veggies. Here are a few more options to try.

What’s your favorite pickled condiment? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


28 responses to “Simple 5-Minute Pickled Red Onions”

  1. Kaizen Hospital Avatar
    Kaizen Hospital

    It’s Really wonderful article with great healthy information. I think that’s important thing. Thanks for sharing this great healthy and very good information.

  2. Ileen Avatar

    These look so easy to make. Do the onions in the jar have to be completely covered in the vinegar?

  3. zirah Avatar

    Great, thanks for the ideas. I mainly get those kinds of flavors/combinations from the fermented Wild Brine products I eat (love their probiotic salsa, kim chi, beet kraut and more), but will be fun to experiment w/ this recipe. Also, for those who have asked about reusing the brine, I haven’t noticed where Wellness Mama has ever responded to those who asked, but what I’ve found is it’s usually still potent enough for another batch (w/ extra vinegar added to whatever level is needed….I use a mix of ACV and balsamic), but definitely loses “steam” w/ each time I tried to reuse after that.

  4. Nechamah Avatar

    5 stars
    I loved this recipe but in my second batch I added carrot radish and ginger all sliced thin with a vegetable peeler. Then I added whole garlic and jalapeño and cinnamon stick for flavoring. Really delicious. Then I got really inspired and ground fresh beets and horseradish and jalapeño and garlic together with the salt and apple cider vinegar. I add it to salads and lots of other stuff. Also it makes the apple cider vinegar delicious. Thanks for getting me started on making my own pickles

  5. Megan Avatar

    5 stars
    I just discovered these recently. They are A.MAZE.ING. !! Anyway, I will be doing this right now. Just like you strongly suggested. Jumping out of my seat now…. (thank you!)

    1. Zirah Avatar

      5 stars
      Megan, you will love these. I’ve quickly gotten to where I can’t live w/out them. Am thinking they would make a nice, easy, homemade gift for holiday giving if you find cute little containers to put them in.

  6. Rikka Zimmerman Avatar
    Rikka Zimmerman

    5 stars
    I love how simple and quick this recipe is and am using the onions in all sorts of ways. Add such a nice crunch and zip to so many things. Question…..I can tell I’m going to have brine left over once all the onions are eaten. Can that be reused? Don’t see why not, but seemed like a good idea to check first.

  7. Willow Avatar

    Once you use up the pickled red onion batch from the fridge can you reuse the white wine vinegar left over for another batch?

  8. Jeni Avatar

    1 star
    So, I made these the other week for my hubby, who LoVES onions (I don’t). I thinly sliced red onion, put it in a jar, threw in some peppercorns (no salt), and topped with Apple cider vinegar. I served them the next day and he said they were awful – tasted only of vinegar. I’ve made them before with white vinegar & he liked them… Do I need the salt? We aren’t avoiding it, I just didn’t think to add any. Does the white vinegar have less kick? Should I dilute the vinegar with something else? Thanks! 🙂

    1. mic Avatar

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the salt may be necessary to kill bacteria since we are leaving it out on the counter.

      1. Heather Avatar

        If lacto fermenting, you would not do any vinegar. You would do a salt brine of 3 tbsp of salt to 1 qt of water, and leave it on the counter for 7-10 days at least. Then it becomes chalk full of probiotics, and it tastes great! I cover mine with a coffee filter with just the jar ring holding it on ( no lid).

        1. Zirah Avatar

          5 stars
          Thanks for the input, Heather! p.s. I hope you mean “chock” full, rather than “chalk” full. Otherwise I may not be too keen to give lacto-fermenting a try. 🙂

          1. Heather Avatar

            Ha! Thats what i get for using talk to text 😉 just fyi, you can do this with any veggie. Try to make sure all your veggies are under the brine. If you get a bit of white scum on the top, just skim it off. Its harmless.

    1. Rikka Zimmerman Avatar
      Rikka Zimmerman

      I don’t think so because there’s no sugar or source for fermentation to take place, but I could be wrong. And I don’t see why they couldn’t be fermented by adding the necessary ingredients for that process to take place. But all this is just my take on things. Hopefully someone else will add more info.

  9. Linda Avatar

    5 stars
    Some red onions can be quite strong flavored. I found that increasing the vinegar to three-fourths of a cup and adding one-half teaspoon of sugar and a few black peppercorns to the salt and vinegar mixture tames the “bite” rather nicely.

  10. Rikka Zimmerman Avatar
    Rikka Zimmerman

    Thanks for idea and recipe, Wellness Mama. I have all the ingredients and love using red onions on a variety of things, so this will be a nice variation to try. Also love how it keeps them “usable” for up to 2 wks!

  11. Dre Avatar

    We use red onion “cooked” in lemon overnight with a pinch of oregano as a garnish for mole (a Mexican dish). This quick pickled red onion recipe may taste good with a pinch of oregano as another seasoning option.

  12. Susie Avatar

    So you think you could make them fermented and they would taste the same? Thank you

    1. Heather Avatar

      I would love to know this too, as im about to start GAPS, and would love another fermented option!

  13. Ashleigh Avatar

    hmm I will have to try this and give them aways as gifts during this fall season!

4.36 from 14 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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