This post was last updated on March 14, 2021 by India
Quick Pickled Red Onions add the perfect tangy crunch to tacos, tostadas, grain bowls, and so much more. They take just about 50 minutes to make and only need to “pickle” for 30 minutes before they’re ready to eat.
About Quick Pickled Red Onions
If you look in my fridge on any given day, there is a 95% chance that you’ll find a jar of these Quick Pickled Red Onions. I’m so addicted to them and crave the tangy crunch on just about everything from tacos to grain bowls to eggs to casseroles. They brighten up any dish and invigorate leftovers! Since we’re just a two person home, we live off leftovers and it’s amazing how a few rings of these crispy and crunchy Quick Pickled Red Onions will bring a little zip to something I’m bored with eating.They’re the perfect condiment to keep in the fridge to sprinkle on top of absolutely everything. You’re going to love having a jar of these Quick Pickled Red Onions around!
Ingredients for Quick Pickled Red Onions
A few pantry staples and a few red onions is all you’ll need for this recipe:
- Two types of clear vinegar. I always use plain old distilled white vinegar and another clear vinegar like rice wine vinegar (my favorite!), white balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar. I’ve also used apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegary in a pinch. Avoid super flavorful dark vinegars, like balsamic. The best vinegars to use are the ones you already have in your pantry.
- Kosher salt. A classic ingredient in a pickling solution.
- Sugar. Or use honey, agave, or coconut sugar if you prefer to not use sugar.
- Hot water. To gently cook the onions so they can absorb more of the pickling solution.
- Red onions. You can use white or yellow onions, but red onions are the traditional option for Quick Pickled Red Onions. They are a little more mild and will turn a gorgeous pink color when pickled that I simply just absolutely love. Just peel, trim off the tough ends, and thinly slice using a mandolin or sharp chef’s knife.
How to Make Quick Pickled Red Onions
Making these Quick Pickled Red Onions couldn’t be any easier and just takes a few minutes! Here’s how you’ll make them in four easy steps:
- Mix the salt and sugar in the vinegar. I like to use a mixture of distilled white vinegar and either white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar (my favorite!), or white balsamic vinegar. Equal parts salt and sugar dissolved into the vinegar mixture help balance the flavors.
- Thinly slice the red onions. You’ll want to slice the red onions very thin, like 1/8″. I use a mandolin to slice the onions. I prefer to cut them into half circles so they don’t tangle as much, but if you prefer you can keep the onions in full circles!
- Boil the water. Hot water will quickly cook the onions and smells so much better than boiling vinegar! Once the water comes to a boil, you’ll pour the hot water over the onions to quickly and gently cook them so they absorb the flavors much more . I use an over-the-sink colander to do this.
- Soak the onions in the vinegar mixture. For best flavor, these need to soak for at least 30 minutes before they’re ready to serve. You can also add herbs and spices at this time, like red pepper flakes for heat, whole peppercorns, or coriander seeds. I think these are best a few days after making them!
Extra Flavor Additions
You can add some additional flavorings to the vinegar pickling brine to mix it up a bit. Here are some ideas:
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Bay leaves
- Coriander seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Black peppercorns
- Cumin seeds
How to Store Quick Pickled Red Onions
These will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge. I use a mason jar with a reusable plastic lid. You can also use a canning jar if you prefer. I love the idea of giving mini jars of these to friends as an easy hostess gift. Homemade goods are the best and such a great surprise!
How to Use Quick Pickled Red Onions
There are literally endless ways to use Quick Pickled Red Onions! Right now, I really love mixing Quick Pickled Red onions with some avocado, cilantro, and quest fresco for an easy side salad. Here are some of my other favorite ways to use these:
- On a charcuterie board with homemade pimento cheese and some smoked meats! I had a southern style charcuterie board like this at Cotton and Rye in Savannah, GA with creamy pork butter and it was AMAZING.
- Grain bowls
- Avocado Toast
- Tacos (like my Chicken Tinga Tacos!)
More Favorite Recipes to add some extra flavor
If you like this recipe, I think you’ll love these other recipes as ways to add a little something extra to your next meal::
Quick Pickled Red Onions
Quick Pickled Red Onions add the perfect tangy crunch to tacos, tostadas, grain bowls, and so much more. They take just about 50 minutes to make and only need to "pickle" for 30 minutes before they're ready to eat.
- 1 red onion sliced 1/8" thin
- 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup white vinegar see note 1 below
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar see note 2 below
- Additional flavorings see note 3 below
Add the two vinegars to a jar with the salt and sugar. Shake to dissolve. Add any additional flavorings, if desired.
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. While water is boiling, remove papery skin from onion and using a mandoline or sharp chefs knife, slice onions very thin--about 1/8 inch thick.
Place onions in a colander and place over the sink. Once water is boiling, pour water over onions. Immediately place onions in vinegar mixture in the jar. If there are any onions uncovered by the vinegar mixture, top off with a little bit of vinegar to completely cover. Let the pickled onions cool to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. At this point, they are ready to serve but the longer they sit, the more the flavors will develop. Store in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- I always use plain old distilled white vinegar and another clear vinegar like rice wine vinegar (my favorite!), white balsamic vinegar, or white wine vinegar. I've also used apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegary in a pinch. Avoid super flavorful dark vinegars, like balsamic. The best vinegars to use are the ones you already have in your pantry.
- Use honey, agave, or coconut sugar if you prefer to not use sugar.
- Here are some ideas to add extra flavor to the pickling brine: crushed red pepper flakes, bay leaves, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fresh garlic cloves, black peppercorns, or cumin seeds.
STORE IT IN THE FRIDGE
These Quick Pickled Red Onions will keep in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar for at least two weeks.
DID YOU MAKE THese Quick Pickled Red Onions?
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HELPFUL RECIPE INFORMATION
All recipes are tested and developed in my home kitchen. Unless otherwise stated, I always use extra virgin olive oil and this Himalayan pink salt in my recipes