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Guide to Easy Pickled Onions

This is a quick guide and recipe for pickling onions. This guide and recipe can be used to pickle a variety of other vegetables as well.

Last summer I acquired a copious amount of produce from my friends and family that were growing their gardens. I knew I wasn’t going to use all of the produce before it would start to turn, so I decided to pickle some of it.

Once I realized how EASY pickling is, I haven’t stopped! I’ve pickled different types of peppers and obviously cucumbers, but my favorite thing to pickle are red onions.

Pickled jalapeños, red onions and cucumbers

Why Pickle Red Onions?

Pickling takes away the harsh raw onion flavor, softens them and adds a burst of bright and acidic flavor to any dish. They also make the onions last longer. You probably already have all the ingredients on hand and these pickled onions take 5 minutes to make!

How to Store Pickled Onions
Store pickled onions in an air tight container, like a mason jar or jelly jar with a lid, in the refrigerator.

How long do Pickled Onions Last?
Pickled onions stay fresh in the fridge for up to a month. I have kept pickled onions in the fridge for up to three months and they are fine to eat, but are just not as fresh and flavorful at this point.

What You Need

For pickling red onions, you will need a small saucepan to heat up your water, a mason jar or jelly jar with a tight sealing lid, teaspoon/tablespoon, mandolin or sharp knife and cutting board.

Easy Pickling Solution
I use a one to one ratio when pickling onions. This means equal parts water to vinegar. This is the easiest ratio to remember, execute and yields delicious results.

Salt and sugar are added to the solution to add flavor. Below are my ratios of the ingredients based on the size jar you are using.

What vinegar should you use?
I typically use generic distilled white vinegar. It’s cheap, versatile and gets the job done. However, apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar also work great and add a slightly different flavor to the onions.

What size jar should I use?
You can use any size jar you have, as long as it has a sealing lid. Here are the ratios of ingredients you will need to fill your jar:

12oz Jar: 1/2 onion, 6oz water, 6oz vinegar, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar

16oz Jar: 1 onion, 8oz water, 8oz vinegar, 2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tbsp sugar

24oz Jar: 2 onions, 12oz water, 12 oz vinegar, 1 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp sugar

How to Make Pickled Onions

Heat the water on the stove until boiling. Remove the outer peel of your onion and cut onion in half from stem to bottom.

Slice onion thinly using a large sharp knife or mandolin. Place your sliced onion into your jar.

Add your salt and sugar. Pour in hot water, then pour in vinegar.

Seal the lid securely and shake for 10-15 seconds to ensure the salt and sugar have dissolved. Open the jar and let your onions sit out at room temperature for one hour.

Return the lid to the jar and store in the fridge. Your onions are ready when they and the solution turn bright pink. I like to wait 24 hours before I use my pickled onions.

After 24 hours

Uses for Pickled Onions

Avocado toast
Sunny side up eggs
Breakfast tacos
Regular tacos
Burrito bowls
Grain/Buddha bowls
Lox bagels
Poke bowls

Other Vegetables you can Pickle with this Brine

Jalapeno peppers
Cucumbers (I recommend adding 2 sprigs of fresh dill)

Easy Pickled Onions

Prep Time5 minutes
Resting time1 day
Keyword: easy pickling, pickled onions, pickling, red onions


  • Air tight jar


  • 1/2 red onion thinnly sliced
  • 6 oz boiling water
  • 6 oz vinegar distilled white, apple cider or red wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar


  • Place sliced onions in jar. Add salt and sugar to jar.
  • Pour boiling water into jar. Then top with vinegar.
  • Secure lid well and shake to dissolve salt and sugar.
  • Remove lid and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Replace lid and store in fridge.
  • Onions are ready when they and the solution are bright pink. Best to let sit for at least 24 hours.

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One Comment

  1. Quick and easy. These came out great!