Easy Pickled Onions

pickled onions

Asheley loves pickles.  LOVES them.  I even got her an “I Love Pickles” t-shirt for Christmas.  She wears it with a smile on her face and pride in her heart.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the conventional cucumber pickle.  They just don’t do it for me, unless we are talking about those little bread and butter pickle chips.  I’ve liked those since I was a little squirt of a kid.

But we’re about to embark upon a completely different story.  Pickled onions are a precious gift.  I cherish them.  I adore them.  And they are ridiculously easy to make.  5 minutes and you’re done.

pickled onions

You can add pickled onions to pretty much anything and it will taste better.  They add a perfect, tart crunch to sandwiches, burgers, salads, nachos, tacos, and really anything else you can think to add them to.

red onions

And it really is as easy as mixing up a quick brine solution and pouring it over a thinly sliced onion.  No cooking required.

pickled onions

The pickled onions really taste best once they’ve had at least a day to relax and chill out in the brine bath.  And they last for a few weeks kept refrigerated.

I always try to have a mason jar full of them in the fridge… you don’t want to be unexpectedly caught pickled-onion-empty-handed.  That would just be plain embarrassing.

pickled onions

I attended a pickling seminar this past fall at the NYC Wine and Food Festival, hosted by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian.  He mentioned that when he cooks a dish and feels like it’s missing a certain something, 9 times out of 10 he ends up adding some sort of pickled vegetable.  The power of the pickle!

pickled onions

Go ahead and use red onions.  You won’t achieve this vibrant pink color with any other onions, unless your talking about adding some artificial food dye to your pickled onions.  And really, why would you do that?

pickled onions

You’re going to see a bunch of recipes coming up in the next couple of weeks that include these pickled onions.  Get ready now and whip up a batch.  It will literally take you 5 minutes, unless you are out of red onions and need to go the store.  In which case, can you pick me up some milk?  I’m out of milk.

pickled onions

I’ll just come out right now and say You’re Welcome, since I’m pretty sure you’ll want to thank me after adding pickled onions to your condiment pantry.

I found this recipe in one of my recent issues of Bon Appetit…

Easy Pickled Onions
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together until sugar and salt is fully dissolved.
  2. Place onion in a jar or bowl (I like to use a mason jar). Pour vinegar mixture over the onions and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour if you're in a rush. Preferably, cover jar or bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 1 day. Pickled onions will last for a few weeks stored in the refrigerator.
  3. Use pickled onions to top tacos, nachos, sandwiches, salads, and more!


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  1. Christina says

    Add cabbage! My MexiMan makes this all the time (with a little jalapeño and carrot) and we put it on everything. You should look up
    A recipe for tostadas!

  2. Linda says

    I just now found your website while looking for Strawberry Habenero Jam recipe. Saw your Pickled Onions recipe and you mention you have several recipes incorporating pickled onions. Can you mention a few of those recipes. Thank you!

  3. Joan Johnson says

    I made a quart of these last month and my oh my – they were wonderful! We just finished up the jar last night. We’ve put them on hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops, meatloaf, you name it. I’ll be making more very soon. Thanks for a great “keeper” of a recipe.

    • says

      So glad you loved the pickled onions, Joan! Aren’t they great with pretty much everything?! I love putting them on burgers, sandwiches, and Mexican-type things. YUM!

  4. Beth says

    After you make these, do you continue to store them in the vinegar/water liquid mixture, or do you drain them?

    • says

      Yes Beth, keep and store them in the liquid mixture. This is what’s going to pickle them and will actually keep them from spoiling b/c of the vinegar. I’ve had a jar of them in the fridge for weeks and weeks without it going bad.

    • says

      Hmmm probably, although it would probably change the flavor a little. Cider vinegar has a lighter taste. The acidity in apple cider vinegar is normally 5-6%, versus distilled white which is normally somewhere in the range of 4-7%… since they are pretty similiar in the acidity range, you can swap out the apple cider for the distilled white and still get the pickled effect. Let me know how it turns out!

  5. Shay says

    Hi I just came back from Mexico and tried these onions for the first time and fell in love with them. So happy I found your website can’t wIt to make these, thanks.


  1. […] Pickled onions. Again, on everything! My toleration of onions has been growing. I still won’t eat them raw, or in big chunks. But if they are minced or sliced thin, caramelized, or pickled, I love them! Usually I had just been making my salad dressings in advanced and letting the thinly sliced or minced onions sit in them and pickle a bit in the vinegar or lemon juice. But now I have graduated to keeping a jar of the onions in my fridge for use as a condiment, or just plain! There are ton of recipes out there, but I was looking for a no thrills no fuss brine, especially not one with cinnamon or cloves, yuck. Now go make your own immediately! […]

  2. […] The second thing that will change your life is TOTALLY and completely unrelated. It’s a food, or rather a condiment, that makes almost anything better. What is this magical delicious topping you ask? Pickled Red Onions! I came across the recipe on Pinterest (where else?) a couple weeks ago and use them almost daily (I have made three batches so far). They add acidity to savory things you didn’t know needed a touch of acid! Seriously, make some right now. Your sandwiches and dinners and bagels and mouth and tummy will thank you (over and over again)! Thanks to the blog sharedappetite.com for the recipe because these are the most cherished thing in our fridge right now. Seriously, I’m in love. Get the recipe here. […]

  3. […] isn’t rocket science, but I broke down the recipe here. I had never pickled onions before so I used this easy recipe and it worked great! Watermelon Arugula salad is a great way to feel decadent on a hot day […]