Quick-Pickled Red Onions

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These quick pickled red onions are easy to make in just 30 minutes with just 5 ingredients. See notes for extra seasonings that you are welcome to add in too.   Yields 2 cups. Total time 35 minutes. Lasts up to two weeks.


  • 1 large red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced with a madoline slicer
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1–2 tablespoons sweetener (such as maple syrup, honey, sugar, etc.)


  1. Heat the vinegar mixture. In a small saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water, salt and your desired amount of sweetener. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches a simmer. (Or alternately, you can heat the mixture in the microwave.)
  2. Combine in a jar. Place the thinly-sliced onions in a mason jar. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the onions, screw on the lid, and shake the onions briefly until they are evenly coated with the vinegar mixture.
  3. Marinate. Let the onions marinate for 30 minutes. (You may need to press the onions down with a spoon so that they are all submerged under the vinegar mixture.)
  4. Serve. Serve immediately, or refrigerate the onions in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.


There are so many ways to customize your own quick pickled red onion recipe. For example, you can…

  • Par-blanch the onions. If you would like to mellow out the flavor of the onions, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Then place the raw onions in a fine-mesh strainer over the sink, pour the hot water slowly and evenly over the onions, then let the onions drain before combining them with the vinegar brine.
  • Use thicker onions. If you prefer the crunch of thicker onions, just note that you will need to let them sit in the pickling marinade for at least twice the amount of time.
  • Make it spicy. Sliced fresh habañero peppers are often added to pickled red onions in Mexico to kick them up a (very) spicy notch. But for a milder dose of heat, feel free to add in a slice or two of jalapeño peppers, or even just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Make it garlicky. Add in a clove or two of thinly sliced garlic.
  • Make it peppery. Add in a few whole peppercorns or a few twists of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Make it herby. Add a few sprigs of fresh herbs or a pinch of any dry herbs/seasonings that you love best. (I almost always add a few bay leaves to my pickled onions, plus whatever seasonings go with my accompanying recipe.

Source: FoodShare’s Culinary Medicine Teaching Kitchen