Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (2024)

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By Chris co*ckren 29 Comments

Asheley loves pickles. LOVES them. I even got her an "I Love Pickles" t-shirt for Christmas. She wears it with a smile on her face and pride in her heart.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the conventional cucumber pickle. They just don't do it for me, unless we are talking about those little bread and butter pickle chips. I've liked those since I was a little squirt of a kid.

But we're about to embark upon a completely different story. Pickled onions are a precious gift. I cherish them. I adore them. And they are ridiculously easy to make. 5 minutes and you're done.

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (2)

You can add pickled onions to pretty much anything and it will taste better. They add a perfect, tart crunch to sandwiches, burgers, salads, nachos, tacos, and really anything else you can think to add them to.

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (3)

And it really is as easy as mixing up a quick brine solution and pouring it over a thinly sliced onion. No cooking required.

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (4)

The pickled onions really taste best once they've had at least a day to relax and chill out in the brine bath. And they last for a few weeks kept refrigerated.

I always try to have a mason jar full of them in the fridge... you don't want to be unexpectedly caught pickled-onion-empty-handed. That would just be plain embarrassing.

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (5)

I attended a pickling seminar this past fall at the NYC Wine and Food Festival, hosted by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. He mentioned that when he cooks a dish and feels like it's missing a certain something, 9 times out of 10 he ends up adding some sort of pickled vegetable. The power of the pickle!

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (6)

Go ahead and useredonions. You won't achieve this vibrant pink color with any other onions, unless your talking about adding some artificial food dye to your pickled onions. And really, why would you do that?

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (7)

You're going to see a bunch of recipes coming up in the next couple of weeks that include these pickled onions. Get ready now and whip up a batch. It will literally take you 5 minutes, unless you are out of red onions and need to go the store. In which case, can you pick me up some milk? I'm out of milk.

Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (8)

I'll just come out right now and say You're Welcome, since I'm pretty sure you'll want to thank me after adding pickled onions to your condiment pantry.

I found this recipe in one of my recent issues of Bon Appetit...


Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (9)

Easy Pickled Onions

★★★★★5 from 10 reviews
Print Recipe



  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt


  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together until sugar and salt is fully dissolved.
  2. Place onion in a jar or bowl (I like to use a mason jar). Pour vinegar mixture over the onions and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour if you're in a rush. Preferably, cover jar or bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 1 day. Pickled onions will last for a few weeks stored in the refrigerator.
  3. Use pickled onions to top tacos, nachos, sandwiches, salads, and more!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Lokness

    I love pickled onions, but not sure how to make them. Thanks a lot for sharing. Love to try this.


  2. Linda

    I just now found your website while looking for Strawberry Habenero Jam recipe. Saw your Pickled Onions recipe and you mention you have several recipes incorporating pickled onions. Can you mention a few of those recipes. Thank you!


  3. Joan Johnson

    I made a quart of these last month and my oh my - they were wonderful! We just finished up the jar last night. We've put them on hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops, meatloaf, you name it. I'll be making more very soon. Thanks for a great "keeper" of a recipe.


    • Chris

      So glad you loved the pickled onions, Joan! Aren't they great with pretty much everything?! I love putting them on burgers, sandwiches, and Mexican-type things. YUM!


  4. Beth

    After you make these, do you continue to store them in the vinegar/water liquid mixture, or do you drain them?


    • Chris

      Yes Beth, keep and store them in the liquid mixture. This is what's going to pickle them and will actually keep them from spoiling b/c of the vinegar. I've had a jar of them in the fridge for weeks and weeks without it going bad.


  5. Matthew

    Could I use distilled white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?


    • Chris

      Hmmm probably, although it would probably change the flavor a little. Cider vinegar has a lighter taste. The acidity in apple cider vinegar is normally 5-6%, versus distilled white which is normally somewhere in the range of 4-7%... since they are pretty similiar in the acidity range, you can swap out the apple cider for the distilled white and still get the pickled effect. Let me know how it turns out!


  6. Lorraine Abronski

    love pickled onions my son got me hooked on these.


  7. Shay

    Hi I just came back from Mexico and tried these onions for the first time and fell in love with them. So happy I found your website can't wIt to make these, thanks.


    • Chris

      Thanks so much Shay! Pickled onions are a fave of mine 🙂


  8. Tyler

    Love this recipe !!!!


    • Chris co*ckren

      Thanks so much Tyler! My family loves it too!


    • John Pennino

      It's soooo good!


  9. Sarah

    What else can I pickle


    • Chris @ Shared Appetite

      You can pickle pretty much any vegetable! And even some fruits!! They add so much flavor!


  10. Andrew

    Wow this recipe is really easy to make thanks Chris.


  11. John Pennino

    This was a huge hit yesterday for father's day barbecue! Thanks so much for posting.


    • Chris co*ckren

      So glad it was a hit!


  12. Eline

    Can the sugar be skipped? Or would that take away the crispness?


    • Chris co*ckren

      I think from a flavor standpoint it would make the onions too tart and astringent. The sugar helps to balance out the salt + vinegar.


  13. Brian

    These were delicious, thanks.


  14. Steven T

    Perfect accompaniment to a pulled pork sandwich! It’s a recipe I use over and over again, just love it!


  15. James S

    Great simple recipe with too many uses to count! We particularly like them when we fire up the grill for some burgers, but I always like to keep some on hand!


  16. Talina

    Can I use regular salt?


    • Chris co*ckren

      Yes, but you'll have to use a bit less table salt since the granules are smaller.


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Easy Pickled Onions | Red Pickled Onions Recipe | Shared Appetit (2024)


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