Quick-Pickled Onions

Quick-Pickled Onions are sure to become a staple condiment in your house after you realize just how quick they are to throw together and how tasty they are.

jar with pink thin slices of onion in a pickling liquid; red onion in background and small white plate with ring of red onion; white pinch bowl in background and white cloth

What type of onions can you use?

You really can use any onions. Sweet onions like Vidalia add a sweetness to the pickle making it taste a little less vinegary. The classic pickled onions you’re probably used to seeing are the red onions which add a gorgeous color to your dish.

How should you cut them?

Slicing the onions really thin is key to truly quick-pickling the onions. If you need them in an hour, the thinner the better. If they are going to sit for awhile before serving, you can cut them a little thicker.

An easy way to cut them really thinly is to use a mandoline slice (this is my favorite) to shave the whole rounds of onions.

What other ingredients can you add to flavor quick-pickled onions?

You can add just about anything. Ingredients like whole cloves of garlic or whole peppercorns are a simple addition that can really change the flavoring of the pickling liquid.

How long should you let them sit at room temperature to pickle?

If you’re making these at room temperature, be sure to let the mixture sit for at least an hour to let the pickling take place. The longer the better, though! If you can let the mixture sit for 24 hours before serving, they will have an even better flavor.

An even quicker way to make pickled onions is to actually heat up the liquid mixture until it simmers and use that to pour over the onions. They should pickle in the time it takes the mixture to cool.

How do you store them?

You’ll want to store them in the refrigerator. If you heat the pickling liquid, be sure to let that cool before putting them in the refrigerator.

How long can they be refrigerated?

They can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 weeks, but you’ll most likely go through them faster than that.

What kind of container should you store them in?

Using a non-reactive container with a lid is ideal for storing pickled red onions. Something like a mason jar is perfect while something like aluminum or cast iron is reactive and shouldn’t be used.

How do you serve them?

Quick-pickled red onions are the perfect topping for just about any savory dish you can think of. Adding them to tacos, hot dogs, salads, or even your leftovers are just a few ideas.


Quick-Pickled Onions

small jelly jar with thinly sliced red onions in it; back left is a small white plate with a slice of red onion; right hand side with white condiment bowl in a whole red onion on white cloth

Quick-Pickled Onions are sure to become a staple condiment in your house after you realize just how quick they are to throw together and how tasty they are.

  • Author: Sam Ellis
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)


  1. Put onions in a jar or lidded container.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together both vinegars, warm water, sugar, and salt until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Add any additional flavorings like garlic to the jar.
  4. Pour vinegar mixture over the onions and let sit for at least an hour. For best results, you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours. Onions should last in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.


Quick-Pickled Onions
Quick-Pickled Onions

Sam Ellis

Sam blogs at The Culinary Compass where she loves to try new recipes and ingredients from around the world. She thinks trying new dishes and spices is the easiest way to travel! She loves coffee so much that she often goes to bed excited for a fresh cup in the morning.