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Quick pickled red onions are easy to make and add a punch of flavor to foods. Make this recipe to use on salads, tacos, sandwiches and more. Let me show you how!
If you open my refrigerator, you will find a jar of marinated red onions on the top shelf, next to other homemade condiments like homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, fire roasted salsa, and North Carolina BBQ sauce. I use them often enough that they are always there.
They don’t last long; they’re that good. These are the best to have on hand if you want a condiment with crunch and to add a slightly sweet, vinegary flavor.
Best part about a quick pickle recipe is, you don’t need to boil anything, and you don’t need to let it cool before storing it in the refrigerator. I cold brine all of my quick pickles. Works perfectly, too. 🙂
Quick Pickled Red Onions
Best vinegars for quick pickling
- Rice wine vinegar– My first choice is always rice wine vinegar. It has a natural sweetness, so you don’t have to add any sugar to the recipe!
- Red or white wine vinegar are my second choice. They also have some sweetness, but they are a bit more acidic than rice wine.
- Apple cider vinegar– This vinegar will work in a pinch, but I think it’s too sweet for quick pickling red onion.
- White distilled vinegar– This doesn’t add any flavor, but it gets the job done.
- I do not recommend using balsamic; it’s too acidic.
Recipe instructions and notes
- Prep the red onions. Peel the outer skin off. Cut the tops off and flip them over so the cut side is down. Make a vertical slice down through the middle.
- Using a mandolin: You’ll need to trim both ends of each onion to use a mandolin slicer. Turn each half onto its larger sliced side (not the top/bottom side) and make thin slices from both halves.
- Using a knife: Turn onion half onto larger sliced side (not the top side) and make downward, thin slices to both halves. Discard the root end.
- Add optional seasonings. Pack the slices into a jar or container that can be sealed and cover them with vinegar.
If you’d like to add any flavorings, this would be the time to do it. Maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes, crushed garlic cloves, sliced jalapeños or herbs. I like to keep them plain most often.
- Cover and refrigerate Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours before you serve them. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to a month, but I doubt they’ll last that long!
Uses for Quick Pickled Red Onions
I like to add marinated onions to just about everything! They are fantastic in barbacoa breakfast burritos or on top of any salad, especially a grilled cactus salad!
When you’re making bbq chicken chili, a grilled rib eye steak, or root beer pulled pork sandwiches, be sure to serve them with a side of pickled red onions. The extra punch of flavor is phenomenal!
These will become your new favorite condiment topping. Enjoy!
No, quick pickles aren’t being preserved, so they don’t require heating the brine. A cold brine of vinegar is all that is needed.
This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Aug 6, 2019, was last updated with new content on Aug 19, 2021.
Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 1 large red onion
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
- Peel the outer onion skin off. Cut the top off and turn onion over with cut side down. Make vertical slice down the middle.
- Using a mandolin: (trim both ends of onion). Turn onion half onto larger sliced side (not the top/bottom sidand slice thin slices with both halves.
- Using knife: Turn onion half onto larger sliced side (not the top side and make downward, thin slices to both halves. Discard root end.
- Pack slices into a jar or container that can be sealed. Cover with rice wine vinegar. (See Note 1)
- Cover and refrigerate a minimum 2 hours or up to a month (if they last!)
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.