Quick Pickled Onions



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Learn how to make quick pickled onions in under an hour with only 5 ingredients! They add a ton of flavor to salads, burgers, grain bowls, tacos and so much more!

Today I’m sharing an #EBFbasics recipe that I make all the time… quick pickled onions!

I love all things pickled but rarely play around with pickling things at home. I’ve done some quick pickled spicy cucumbers but nothing beyond that… until now. Pickled red onions are so flavorful (both sweet and tangy) and I love the pretty pink color.

The name of this post doesn’t lie – they’re quick! There’s no boiling in this recipe. You only have to “pickle” for about one hour before enjoying. I kept this recipe super simple but feel free to add more spices and seasonings to your liking (pepper, dill, garlic would all be delicious additions). I can see myself making these weekly just to have on hand.

Ingredients measured out to make pickled onions: red onion, water, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and sea salt.

Ingredients Needed

You only need 5 simple ingredients to make these pickled onions. I bet you already have everything in your kitchen right now. Here’s what you need:

  • apple cider vinegar – not all pickled onion recipes call for apple cider vinegar (ACV), but that’s what I prefer to use as ACV has a ton of great health benefits. That said, you can totally use white vinegar for this recipe.
  • water – mixed with the apple cider vinegar for more liquid.
  • sugar – you just need 1 Tablespoon of sugar. I used maple syrup, but you can also use honey, cane sugar, coconut sugar or any sugar you have on hand.
  • sea salt – a crucial ingredient for pickling anything!
  • red onion – we’re using one whole red onion for this recipe, sliced nice and thin.
Side by side photos of red onions in a jar getting the pickling liquid poured in, and then the onions pickled in the jar.

How to Make Quick Pickled Onions

To start, mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Add the onion slices to a mason jar and pour the vinegar mixture over top, ensuring all onion slices are covered with liquid.

Let the mixture sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before covering and placing in the fridge. That’s it! You have quick pickled onions.

Recipe Tip!

Use a mandoline slicer to help achieve thin onion slices.

Salad greens in a bowl topped with quick pickled onions.

How to Use Pickled Onions

As I’ve already mentioned, there are countless ways to use these quick pickled red onions!

Try them on salads, sandwiches, avocado toast, tacos, grain bowls, omelettes, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, egg salad… the list could go on!

Here are some of my favorite salads to top them with:

A small bowl of quick pickled onions on the side of a salad bowl topped with quick pickled onions.

Storing Tips

Store the onions in the mason jar and liquid in the refrigerator. They should be good for up to two weeks, but you’ll likely eat them all before then!

Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the onions from the liquid before using.

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5 from 6 votes

Quick Pickled Onions

Learn how to make quick pickled onions in under an hour with only 5 ingredients! They add a ton of flavor to salads, burgers, grain bowls, tacos and so much more!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8


  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup, coconut sugar or any sugar you have on hand
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced


  • Add vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a bowl and whisk together until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
    A small bowl containing vinegar, water, sugar and salt.
  • Place onion slices in a mason jar.
    A jar containing sliced red onions.
  • Pour vinegar mixture on top, making sure all onion slices are covered with liquid. Let mixture sit at room temperature for 1 hour before covering and placing in the fridge. 
    Pouring the vinegar mixture into the jar of onions.
  • Store in the liquid in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use a fork or slotted spoon to remove the onions from the liquid before using.


Serving: 1/8 of recipe | Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pickled onions, pickled red onions, quick pickled onions
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!



About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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Recipe Rating


  1. I think the quick/basic recipe ideas would be super helpful! I’ve never tried pickling my own vegetables before, but I love how approachable this is! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Hello lovely! I make this recipe for pickled onions all the time and just linked to it in my new blog post 🙂 I hope you don’t mind! I’ve loved you since teaching you a Pure Barre class at PB Lake Norman with Julie ? hope you’re well! You continue to inspire me! xx

  3. 5 stars
    I made these as part of my Salad Every Day journey using Brittany’s book! This recipe was so simple and the flavor is spot on! If you love fresh onions but don’t want to chop them every day, this is your answer! They are always ready to go, and I put these on everything!

    1. Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Megan! So glad you’re loving this recipe and the ebook. 🙂

  4. I found your recipe and loved that I didn’t need to boil the vinegar mixture. I tried it, and they are delicious! Thank you!

    By the way, why do some recipes require boiling the vinegar mixture? I’m new to pickling food. 🫣

    1. Hi Vanessa – I am so glad you found this recipe and are enjoying it! Quick pickling (or refrigeration) recipes do not require boiling. Boiling recipes will speed up the process so you can eat them almost immediately. Hope that helps. Thanks so much for sharing your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!