You may never use raw onions again after trying these Quick Pickled Onions, they are perfect on everything from salads to sandwiches. Quick Pickles are so easy and these onions will become your favorite!
When I was little I didn’t like onions at all. Not cooked and certainly not raw. I’ve come a long way since then.
Love onions cooked, fried onion rings are heaven, but raw, still not so good. I have been known to meticulously pick out every bit of onion from a salad or a sandwich.
Thankfully, I discovered easy pickled red onions! They are a quick pickle, meaning no canning involved, super easy, and incredibly tasty! You may also know them as refrigerator pickles, because you store them in the fridge.
- Vinegar - white vinegar or apple cider.
- Onions - you can use yellow or white onions, but I like to use red onions. They are sweeter and so pretty!
- Salt - I use kosher salt, sea salt, or pickling salt. You want to try and avoid regular table salt, which has additives to keep it from clumping.
- Sugar - I use natural cane sugar, but regular white granulated sugar works fine.
- Bay leaves and cloves - sometimes I use these and sometimes I don't. They are totally optional but do add a bit of a different flavor. I encourage you to try the recipe with them and then without them and see which you like better.
This how-to will show you how easy it is to make quick pickled red onions! Slice the onions as thinly as possible. I like to use a mandoline, but you can use a knife, just slice very thinly.
In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaf, and cloves to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Place the onions in the pot and press on them to make sure they are submerged. As they soften, they will submerge even more. Remove from the heat and let them cool to room temperature in the liquid.
Store the pickled onions in their pickling juice in a lidded glass jar in your fridge for 3-4 weeks before they start to lose their crunch.
These quick pickled onions were fantastic! So fantastic that I’ve made them again, and we vow to always have a jar in the fridge.
If you make them with red onions you get the lovely pink hue, however, you can easily make quick pickled white onions.
These were tart and sweet with the perfect amount of bite. We’ve added them to sandwiches and have eaten them almost like a side dish. And, I must confess, I have stood at the refrigerator just eating them out of the jar. They are that good!
I have also made them without the bay leaf and cloves for a simpler pickle.
More quick pickle recipes for you to try!
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Quick Pickled Onions
- ¾ cup apple cider or white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar or white sugar
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- In a saucepan combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, bay leaf and cloves and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the onion, stir, and remove the from the heat. Let them cool to room temperature.
- Spoon into a jar and store in the refrigerator.
This was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for 2023.
Ashley Fehr says
These are delicious! The perfect addition to any sandwich!
I needed something a little extra for some brats we were having. I had everything to make these and they were perfect -- even my 12 year old super picky little LOVED them!! I made them with white onions because thats what I had, but Im definitely going to be buying red onions because I love how pretty yours are!
Pam Greer says
So glad you liked them!
Bella Rum says
I've been thinking of making pickled onions since I tasted them in a salad I got at Panera Bread. Loved them. Thanks for the recipe.
Peter @ Feed Your Soul Too says
This is a such an informative post. I love pickling onions and now I have a quick way to do it.
Lauren @ Wicked Spatula says
Don't you just love pickled onions? They're so good on so many things!
Susan | LunaCafe says
I love pickled anything. These ere so good (and pretty) on burgers and sandwiches. And yeah, I've eaten then sanding at the fridge door too. 🙂
I don't remember having ever eaten pickled onions, but now I want to try them!
Laura @MotherWouldKnow says
I love pickles and I'm not a huge fan of raw onions, so this sounds like a great way to enjoy onions. Plus, it's so easy, how can I not try it?
Martha @ A Family Feast says
We love pickled onions! So pretty and so delicious!
This time of year I'm starting to get a surplus of canning jars on the counter near the dishwasher, as we empty out things and they aren't immediately filled up. [I bought a pressure canner last week, though, and will be changing that up by canning ham stock today--wish me luck!]
I like adding pickled veggies to things (pickled turnips and amazing in a grilled cheese sandwich) and this recipe looks so easy.
This is one of my favorite condiments! It's great on toast with avocado and a perfectly cooked egg. Pretty too.
Joanie @ ZagLeft says
I love pickled onions and have never made them before. Thank you for the recipe, I'll certainly have to give it a try!
Pam -I love pickled onions so much but I never thought about making them with red onions! And I don't make them because they take a long time.. these look great! Thanks!
I love pickled onions! Thanks for the recipe!
there are just so many places to use pickled onions. i love them yet i've never made them--i appreciate this post!
I have made these several times. A few weeks ago I made a batch to go with some pernil sliders that I made from a pork picnic shoulder.
They just didn't taste right or have the usual texture. We blamed it on the onions perhaps being bad. Later I realized that while I was running around, I FORGOT TO HEAT THE LIQUID MIXTURE before pouring it over the onions!!!!! Face palm!
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
A great idea! Surely delicious.
These look yummy! And pretty! 🙂
Betsy Adams says
What a neat recipe --and it doesn't look long and hard... I remember my mother doing something like this YEARS ago--and it would take days!!!!! haI love onions --anyway I can get them... Thanks!Hugs,Betsy
I seriously crave pickled onions. They look incredible.
Melynda Brown says
This recipe is perfect! I have been wanting pickled onions for the fridge but did not want to make more than one onion at a time, thanks.
I love pickled onions!! They go so well on just about anything.