Quick-pickled onions are an easy way to brighten up any dish

Quick-pickled red onions

Quick pickles are a super-easy way to brighten up a dish — with just a few minutes of effort, you’ll have a zippy garnish to add to just about anything you fancy.

This nifty little recipe for quick-pickled onions is simple to throw together and uses ingredients you probably already have on-hand. And if you’re feeling bold, you can zazz your pickle up however you want: Throw in some red pepper flakes, a little garlic or your favorite herbs.

Express yourself — through the delicious medium of pickled onions.


No special equipment is required for this basic recipe, just a knife, a cutting board, a saucepan and a sealable, sturdy container.

First, peel your onion of choice. Red ones are popular as pickles because of their relatively mild flavor. (I’m also a fan of their attractive magenta hue after pickling.) But if you have a personal fave, go ahead and use that.

Once peeled, slice the onion into thin rings — opt for a smaller-sized onion if you’re going to pickle the whole thing, unless you anticipate a big appetite for the finished, pickled product.

Place the rings into a canning jar or other 1-cup container and set aside while you prepare the pickling liquid.

In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and any other add-ins to a boil. The quantities will vary, depending on how many onions you’re using, but a good rule of thumb is to use about a half-cup of vinegar and two teaspoons of sugar for every onion, though you can customize this ratio depending on how sweet or tangy you prefer your pickles.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the pickling liquid over the onions in their container — but if the container isn’t for-sure heatproof, it’s OK to let the liquid cool a bit first.


Cool the container for about 30 minutes, then cover and pop it in the fridge. Let it chill for at least a couple hours to develop flavor, then you’re good to go. Use it on sandwiches, burgers, tacos, salads, charcuterie boards, rice bowls and anything else that could benefit for a little zing and brightness — pickled onions can do it all. And whatever you don’t use right away will stay good for up to three weeks.

Time to get cooking!

Food, Recipes

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About the Author
Kathleen St. John
Kathleen St. John is a freelance journalist. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids and a fiercely protective Chihuahua.

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