Pickled Onions yum (1)
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  • Food: Pickled Onions 
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

Are you a fan of pickled onions like I am? Raw red onions are transformed from spicy and crunchy to deliciously acidic and crisp after being pickled.

For added heat, I add red pepper flakes and a dash of maple syrup or honey to balance off the other strong flavors.

These onions are great with tacos, burgers, salads, and other dishes. What’s the best part?

After a 30-minute cooling period, these onions are ready to eat. Start with these onions, and by the time the rest of your dinner is complete, they’ll be ready to eat.

These onions are also really simple to produce. I prefer to keep them on hand for any meal that requires a boost of flavor. With quick-pickled onions in the fridge, leftovers become so much more fun!

Quick-Pickled Onion Tips

Thinly slice the onions

To make truly rapid pickled onions, thinly slice the onions (approximately 1/8-inch) so that they soften and absorb the vinegar quickly. A sharp chef’s knife or a mandoline can be used for this.

If you want the onions to have additional crunch, slice them thicker (approximately 1/4 inch). Be aware that your onions will need to rest for a few hours or overnight to allow the vinegar to penetrate the onion completely.

Pick your vinegar carefully.

These pickles are more fascinating since they are made using a blend of apple cider vinegar and conventional distilled vinegar. If you don’t have any other vinegar on hand, use all distilled vinegar.

Natural sweeteners are the way to go.

Using maple syrup or honey instead of ordinary sugar adds a layer of flavor and mystery to these pickles while also making them naturally sweetened.

I wouldn’t advocate making these pickles without any sweetener—they’re well-balanced with it, but they’re really vinegary and pungent without it.

Make a pint (or three) of this delicious concoction.

The following recipe makes a pint-sized jar of pickles (I used this adorable Weck jar—affiliate link). Use several pint jars or one large jar to easily double or triple the recipe for a large party or BBQ.

A word of caution

Because this recipe makes your kitchen smell like vinegar, you might want to turn on your stovetop vent while making these pickles.

Uses for Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions (1)
Food: Pickled Onions yum (Source: Cooking LSL)

These onions are fantastic in the following dishes:

  • Tacos
  • Burritos
  • Nachos
  • Burgers
  • Sandwiches
  • Salads

Pickled Onions

Time to prepare: 5 minutes

Time to cook: 5 minutes

10 minutes in total

Learn how to create pickled onions in no time! This recipe for sour and crisp pickled onions takes about 30 minutes to prepare. These onions go great with tacos, burritos, nachos, burgers, and other dishes. There are 2 cups in this recipe.


  • 1 medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or additional white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)

Instructions For Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions
Food: Pickled Onions (Source: Cooking LSL)
  1. Fill a 1-pint mason jar or other heat-safe containers halfway with onions. Place the jar in the sink to catch any hot vinegar spills afterward.
  2. Combine the water, both kinds of vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper flakes in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a moderate simmer, then carefully pour it into the jar over the onions.
  3. Press the onions into the vinegar with a butter knife or spoon, then pop any air bubbles in the jar. Allow 20 to 30 minutes for the pickled onions to cool to room temperature, at which point they should be adequately pickled for serving.
  4. Keep leftover pickled onions covered and refrigerated for later use. Quick-pickled onions should be consumed within three days, although they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.


  • MAKE IT VEGAN: Instead of honey, make sure to use maple syrup.
  • IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ME TO CAN IT? No. This is a recipe for “refrigerator pickles.” It has not been tested for canning safety and is not suitable for canning in a water bath. Please don’t even try! Instead, choose a recipe created expressly for canning.