Quick Pickled Onions

Jump to Recipe
Two glass jars of our Quick Pickled Onions recipe

Pickled onions are a great way to repurpose leftover raw onion or to elevate the flavor of just about any dish.

They’re super simple to make, requiring just 4 ingredients that you likely have on hand right now!

Red onion, vinegar, salt, and sugar for making Quick Pickled Onions

How to Make Pickled Onions

  1. Add sliced onions to a glass jar (we prefer red onion)
  2. Heat vinegar in a saucepan (we prefer red wine vinegar for this recipe)
  3. Add sugar and salt and stir to dissolve
  4. Pour vinegar mixture over onions, making sure to completely submerge them in the vinegar mixture
  5. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour (or longer for more intense flavor)
Saucepan of red wine vinegar for making Quick Pickled Red Onions

We hope you LOVE these pickled onions. They’re:

Perfectly punchy
& SO delicious!

Enjoy on salads, sandwiches, bowls, and so much more. The possibilities are endless!

If you try this recipe, let us know! We love seeing your comments, ratings, and photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Jars filled with homemade Quick Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled Onions

A step-by-step guide for making quick pickled onions. Perfect for sandwiches, salads, and so much more! Only 4 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Two jars of Quick Pickled Onions on a white tile background
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 (~1/4-cup servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 weeks



  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced


  • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar (we prefer red wine vinegar for best flavor and color, but white or apple cider also work!)
  • 2/3 cup water (for stronger flavor, sub vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar (or stevia to taste)


  • Add sliced onion to a mason jar or glass container. Set aside.
  • To a small saucepan add red wine vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to fully dissolve salt and sugar. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt or sugar to taste.
  • Pour the brine over the onions, ensuring they are fully submerged. If needed, add more vinegar or a little water to cover.
  • Seal well and shake to combine. Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or at least 30 minutes if in a hurry). The flavors will deepen and intensify the longer it marinates. Best flavor is achieved after 24 hours.
  • Will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks (sometimes longer). Not freezer friendly.



*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 quarter-cup servings Calories: 17 Carbohydrates: 3.2 g Protein: 0.1 g Fat: 0 g Saturated Fat: 0 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 197 mg Potassium: 27 mg Fiber: 0.2 g Sugar: 2.5 g Vitamin A: 0.23 IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 4.73 mg Iron: 0.14 mg

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating!

Have a question? Use ctrl+f or ⌘+f on your computer or the "find on page" function on your phone browser to search existing comments! Need help? Check out this tutorial!

My Rating:

  1. Nicole says

    These are quite punchy for something so quick and easy! I used white onion as that’s all I had and they turned out well, although not as pretty as red. These jazzed up camp tacos and added a lot of flavor for taking up very little space and weight.

  2. Michelle says

    Perfect simple recipe! I did a squeeze of 2 limes into the measuring cup before adding ACV (in lieu of red wine vinegar for pickled onions for tacos!). A little more salt, too, for my taste! Also…. don’t forget to drop a stainless steel object (fork, butter knife, etc.) into your jar… the steel will pull the excess heat away from your glass to prevent shattering – a little waitress trick when pouring hot tea into bar glasses for iced-tea – :).

  3. Lydia M. says

    2nd request: Thank you for your reply to my first comment regarding this matter. However, I still cannot print any images from any of your online recipes like I used to be able to.

    I love this pickled red onion recipe! Making another batch today

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lydia, sorry for the inconvenience! We’re aware of the issue and working on troubleshooting it.

  4. Liz says

    Thanks for sharing this super easy recipe! I’m almost done with my first batch of pickled onions. Would I be able to reheat the leftover liquid from this batch to pickle a second batch (2 weeks later), or should I start from scratch?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’d suggest letting it cool at least 10 minutes before transferring to the fridge so it doesn’t heat up the fridge too much. Hope that helps!

  5. Rachel says

    I use this as a guide to proportions every time I make pickled onions. I always start with 1/2 cup each of vinegar and water because that fills a pint jar for me. I also make small adjustments like mixing some white vinegar in with the red wine vinegar and adding less sugar. But it’s very handy to have this basic recipe to start from.

  6. Stacey says

    Delicious Dana, they are a staple in our house! I love the pickled onions I add them to my omelet or my avocado toast. I added a little very dark maple syrup and some red pepper flakes! The recipe certainly didn’t need it, I just like to add ingredients sometimes!

  7. Sherri neil says

    This is. Now my third batch of onions with this and the last batch made with some added spices as suggested, and since they were so good, I thought what the heck try it with cucumbers. Oh my I just made some awesome quick pickle spears. Thanks Dana for not only providing perfect as is recipes, but also inspiring us to experiment a little. Your site has truly become a staple in my kitchen.

  8. Amanda says

    Hey Dana! Just curious why you use red wine vinegar instead of white or rice. I notice a lot of other recipes calling for white, which I tried, but not getting the right flavor that I’m looking for.

  9. Danielle Fernandez says

    Super simple and very easy!

    Question: once the onions are done can I reuse the liquid to pickle another batch of onions?

    Thank you!

  10. Emily M. says

    Be aware that if you taste the hot vinegar mixture, your throat will immediately close up and you won’t be able to breathe. That’s because vinegar absorbs all the moisture in your mucous membranes and creates a vacuum effect as it does. You can drink water to rehydrate and open your throat if, like me, you learn this the hard way. It happened to me years ago and I live in terror of anyone ever doing it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So strange! I definitely wouldn’t propose drinking the mixture, only tasting with the tip of your finger or off of a spoon. But thanks for the warning!

    • Tish says

      Hi I am googling this subject due to me just now eating a pickled onion and my throat closed up and I couldn’t breathe. Was really scary. I tried to stay calm and eventually eased off. Generally I usually cough when eating pickled onions but this was very extreme

  11. Ruthie Cherry says

    I have plenty of yellow onions and want to pickle. YOu suggest red onion what do you think about yellow? Thank you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Leave it in the brine! It will intensify the flavor, FYI, but that way it’ll keep fresh!