Quick Pickled Onions {EASY} + VIDEO

Quick Pickled Onions are so easy to make at home. With just 5-minutes you can have your red onions pickling. Let them cool to room temperature before using and then you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks!

I’ve been making these quick pickled onions for years now, but I’m finally just getting around to sharing this amazing recipe with you.

I love having a batch of these easy pickled onions on hand for adding to dishes throughout the week. They offer the most delicious punch and tang to dishes that might need a little brightening up. Of course, I’ll add them to tacos, but I’ve been known to top my split pea dal, hot dogs and chicken quinoa gyro bowls with them too. They’re also amazing on savory breakfast dishes like corned beef hash, avocado toast and everything bagels with cream cheese.

A quick 10-second shock in boiling water softens the onions, making them ready to absorb all that delicious pickling liquid. It also tames down the “heat” of the onions, making them a bit less potent. After that, they’re plunged into a vinegar-lime juice-sugar mixture and then they just need a bit of time to cool – about 30 minutes or so. After that – They’re ready to go!

I like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes to my quick pickled onions to add a little bit of extra heat. If you don’t like spicy, feel free to leave the pepper flakes out. You could also add a bit of a regional flair to these pickled onions with these add-in suggestions:

  • Italian – Add in some oregano and fennel seeds
  • Mexican – Throw in some cumin, coriander seeds and cilantro
  • Indian – Mustard seeds, fennel seeds and cilantro will add delicious flavor

Be sure not to throw out that magical pickling liquid when your onions are gone! Use it anywhere you would typically add a splash of vinegar or citrus – It’s amazing in meat marinades and used in salad dressings, but it’s also super yummy in savory cocktails. Make a dirty martini with it, or add a spoonful to your bloody mary or michelada.

Hand reaching for jar of quick pickled onions.

How long does it take to make pickled onions?

The cook time for these quick pickled onions is under 5-minutes, but you’ll also want to account for the time it takes for them to cool down as well. I love to begin these quick pickled onions at the beginning of my meal prep, then, once the rest of dinner is ready, these onions are ready to go too!

What are some uses for pickled onions?

Overhead shot of quick pickled onions in mason jar.

Can I make quick pickled onions ahead of time?

Definitely! These pickled onions will keep in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. You may even want to make a double batch to have on hand.

If you loved these Quick Pickled Onions I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

Uses for pickled onions :

Quick Pickled Onions Recipe

Overhead shot of quick pickled onions in mason jar.

Quick {+EASY} Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled Onions are so easy to make at home. With just 5-minutes you can have your red onions pickling. Let them cool to room temperature before using and then you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks! 
4.24 from 17 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 small red onion (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes


  • Add sliced onions to a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to fully cover and count to 10. Drain onions and place in jar or bowl.
  • Heat vinegar, lime juice, 1/8 cup sugar, chili flakes and salt in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Taste for sweetness and add more sugar as needed.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over onions.
  • Allow to stand at room temperature, until fully cooled. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 3499mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 26.3mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.5mg

This recipe was originally published in June 2018. It was updated in March 2019 to add a video and update the content. The original recipe remains the same. Enjoy! 

28 thoughts on “Quick Pickled Onions {EASY} + VIDEO”

  1. I am legit obsessed with picked vegetables. When I make a batch I’m lucky if they last a day or two. You have some great suggestions for mixing up the spice combos to match them to different cuisines—I’ll try that next!

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE pickled onions! I recently did some and brought them to a brunch potluck with my girlfriends. We had an avocado toast bar (haha, I know, I know) and this was a perfect topping! Can’t wait to incorporate some of your ideas into my next batch!

  3. I just made this for the first time, and am so excited to try them! I do have a question about the amount of liquid the vinegar, lime juice combo should make. Mine does not appear to have completely covered the onions once I placed them in a bowl. Its close to covering them entirely, but not quite. Will they still pickle well, or should I have made more? Thanks in advance!

  4. 5 stars
    Yummy! Was looking for something acidic to go with an easy kale salad, this fit the bill. Hubby loves onions and this was exceptional according to him. This can be used with many things- sandwiches, salads, and more. Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe Erin! They are also delicious on top of honey and a little olive oil drizzled over goat cheese on top of spring mix, pecans and thinly sliced apples. The pickled onions give the salad a little ” kick”.


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