Pickled Red Onions

These homemade pickled red onions are bursting with flavor! They taste like restaurant quality, but they are easy to make at home. Great for adding to salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more!
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These pickled red onions are crunchy, sweet, and tangy! They are so quick and easy to make. They add flavor and add a bright pink color to sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Homemade pickled red onions are full of vitamins and minerals. For an easy, pretty, and healthy recipe, look no further. This post will teach you how to pickle red onions!

Pickled red onions.

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Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Pickled red onions are so pretty.
  • They are quick and easy to make.
  • Their bright pink color makes a simple dish look great.
  • Combining vinegar, honey, and spices creates a delicious flavor. 
  • Pickled red onions are very versatile.
  • They can be used as a condiment, a topping, or a side dish for various meals. They add a zesty kick to tacos, sandwiches, salads, burgers, grilled meats, and more.
  • Making pickled onions is a simple and quick process. Both the ingredients and the process are simple. 
  • This recipe uses honey instead of white sugar. These pickled red onions without sugar are just sweet enough!
  • Red onions are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, making them super healthy. They are also great for the digestive system.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegetarian, and refined sugar-free.
  • The level of sweetness, spiciness, and acidity can be adjusted.
  • Add them to these Chorizo and Black Bean Lettuce Wraps!

Ingredients and Substitutions 

Scroll down to the recipe card for the full pickled red onions recipe.

Red onions are ideal for pickling because of their mild flavor and vibrant color. They also add a sweet and tangy taste.

Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar work well for pickling. Apple cider vinegar tastes fruity, while white vinegar is more neutral in flavor.

Honey balances the acidity of the vinegar. In addition, it also sweetens the pickles. If desired, use white sugar.

Salt helps in the preservation process and draws out moisture from the onions.

Whole black peppercorns add a slightly hearty flavor.

Mustard seeds add a tangy and slightly bitter taste. This complements the sweetness of the onions and sugar.

Adjust the amount of dried chili flakes or leave them out if preferred. 

Ingredients for pickled red onions.

Taste and Texture 

These pickled red onions have a sweet, sour, salty balanced flavor. They are delicious. They are flavored with tasty ingredients like garlic and mustard seeds to deepen the overall flavor.

In terms of texture, they are crispy and crunchy. Their crunch is what makes them so good in contrast with cheese, meats, and chicken.

How to Make 

Step 1

First, place the sliced red onions in a clean jar or airtight container.

Step 2

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and any optional ingredients you desire (such as garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, or chili flakes). Then, stir well.

Apple cider vinegar in pot.

Step 3

Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and salt have dissolved completely.

Step 4

Carefully pour the hot vinegar mixture over the sliced red onions in the jar, ensuring they are completely covered.

Onions in vinegar.

Step 5

Use a spoon to press down on the onions to submerge them in the liquid and remove any air bubbles.

Step 6

Next, allow the pickled onions to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Step 7

Once cooled, cover the jar or container tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using. The flavors will continue to develop as they marinate, and the pickled red onions will become more flavorful over time.

Pickled onions in jar.

Expert Tips and Tricks 

Sterilize the pickling jars and lids before using them for proper preservation.

Select red onions that are fresh, firm, and free from blemishes or soft spots. Fresh onions will result in better texture and taste in your pickles.

Thinly sliced onions will absorb the pickling brine quickly and pickle faster.  Use a mandoline if needed.

Pickling relies heavily on the vinegar used. Avoid using vinegar that is too strong or diluted.

When making the pickling brine, ensure the honey and salt are completely dissolved in the vinegar. 

Pack the sliced onions tightly into the jars. 

Although you can consume pickled onions after a few hours, they will taste better if you let them sit in the fridge. We recommend at least a few hours, preferably overnight. This will allow the flavors to meld and develop.

How to Serve and Store 

There are so many ways to serve and eat pickled red onions. They are a delicious condiment on sandwiches, burgers, tacos, salads and grilled meats.

They add a nice crunch to salads.

Pickled onions add a bright pop of color and flavor to burgers.

Store pickled red onions in their pickling liquid in a sterilized jar. They should be kept in the fridge. It is not recommended to freeze pickled onions as freezing affects their texture and crunch.


Can white onions be used instead of red?

Yes, they can. White onions have a stronger taste and a different look.

Are pickled red onions spicy?

If chili flakes and mustard seeds are included in the recipe, then yes, they will be spicy.

Can red onion pickles be made without sugar?

Yes, they can. Leaving out the sugar will have an impact on the overall taste. In this case, honey replaces sugar.

Is this pickled red onion recipe gluten-free and vegan?

Yes, it is both vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

Stack of red onions in jars.

Equipment Needed

Mandoline Slicer: Use a mandoline to thinly slice the red onions.

Jars: These are our favorite jars for food storage. Great for pickled foods!

You May Also Enjoy

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Enjoy these pickled red onions!

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