Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

These quick and easy pickled red onions are perfect on sandwiches, in salads, added to a meat and cheese boards or thrown into dishes to add an extra zing. They are ready in no-time and can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Once you see how easy they are to make you’ll start making pickled red onions all the time!

quick and easy pickled red onions in a small jar

Do you know what I love? All things pickled – okra, green beans, cucumbers, fruit and even meat. 

Yes, pickled meat. It’s a little weird but I grew up in the midwest so I’ve eaten some weird things. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on sharing any pickled meat recipes anytime soon. Since I’ve been living in this apartment I barely have room to cook let alone heavy pickling storage.

Luckily for me, these quick and easy pickled red onions take up little room and are ready in just 20 minutes. I literally throw them into my salad every single day and have been known to add them to every single sandwich I make. 

I love red onions. 

Especially pickled red onions. 

Overhead shot of quick and easy pickled red onions in a pan

I flavored these quick and easy pickled red onions with peppercorns, crushed red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. But, you could easily season this up in a ton of different flavor combinations.

  • dried whole cloves and whole allspice 
  • pink peppercorns 
  • cinnamon sticks
  • sliced hot peppers and garlic

It’s basically an open book on the way you choose to flavor these bad boys. 

You can go spicy, garlicky, herby, etc. 

overhead shot of quick and easy pickled red onions in small glass jar

Pickled red onions ingredients

Red onion: I used a big softball-sized red onion for this recipe but if you can’t find one that big 2 small red onions will work just as well. 

Vinegar: I used a mixture of apple cider and red wine vinegar but you could easily use just apple cider vinegar if you do not have any red wine vinegar on hand.

Sweetener: I LOVE dark brown sugar so I opted to add them to this recipe. I really love the deep molasses flavor it brings to the onions. You could also easily use white granulated sugar. It will make the brining liquid a little lighter in color too. 

Salt: Kosher! I’m partial to Morton but use what you have on hand.

Additions: Black peppercorns, crushed red pepper and bay leaves. For more inspiration scroll up and read my addition ideas.

side shot of quick and easy pickled red onions in a jar

How to make quick and easy pickled red onions

  1. Thinly slice onion – I usually do this by hand with a super sharp chef’s knife but if you own a mandoline now is the time to bust it out and make it useful! Just remember to always be careful when using a mandoline as they have been known to take off fingertips. I should probably not mention that during a food post but for real. Be careful. 
  2. Simmer vinegar mixture – Add your vinegar mixture to the stove and simmer over low heat until the brown sugar and kosher salt have fully dissolved. 
  3. Combine – Toss the onions into the vinegar mixture and let those little onion babies to pickle.
  4. Let cool – Ok, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Let the onions cool.
  5. Add to a storage container – Add it to a clean jar and keep in the fridge!

overhead shot of quick and easy pickled red onions in a pan

Are you totally digging these quick pickled red onions?

You should try my other pickling recipes!

overhead shot of pickled red onions in small glass jar

Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These quick and easy pickled red onions are perfect on sandwiches, in salads, added to a meat and cheese boards or thrown into dishes to add an extra zing. They are ready in no-time and can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Once you see how easy they are to make you'll start making pickled red onions all the time!

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion, about softball sized
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Peel your red onion and slice thinly, set aside.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet add all the remaining ingredients and set over medium heat.
  3. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved and the mixture is warm.
  4. Remove from the heat and add in thinly sliced red onion.
  5. Stir to combine and let cool.
  6. Once cool store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed glass jar.

Did you make this recipe?

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3 Responses to “Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions”

  1. #
    1
    Renee Goerger — December 17, 2019 at 9:38 am

    I’m a sucker for pickled red onions. I add them to so many of the foods I love. This is a great recipe!

  2. #
    2
    Dorothy D. Piper — January 9, 2020 at 5:25 am

    I love pickles! I will try the onion pickle at home.

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