Pickled Red Onions in Apple Cider Vinegar


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Looking for the perfect quick homemade condiment to use on tacos, nachos, pizza, salads, and just about anything you can dream up? Look no further than these quick Pickled Red Onions in Apple Cider Vinegar.

quick pickled red onions in glass jars

Keep a jar of quick pickled red onions in your refrigerator and you will find hundreds of ways to use them.  And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself an onion fan. That’s where pickling comes in! Pickling works a bit of magic on those onion flavors, transforming them into something totally new – slightly sweet and perfectly tart. 

Although pickled red onions beg to be added to Tex Mex and Mexican Recipes, they work well in so many other dishes. Like these, to name a few:

What foods to top with pickled red onions

pouring vinegar into a glass measuring jar


  • Red Onion – Red onions get a beautiful deep red color as pickles, but any onions will work. 
  • Water – Warm the water in the microwave to help the sugar and salt dissolve. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – This naturally sweet and tart vinegar provides great balance to the sharp flavor of the onions. Any other vinegar will work, though all types of vinegar will impart a slightly different flavor in the pickles. Just be sure to use a light color of vinegar so the onions don’t turn brown.
  • Sugar – Sugar adds sweetness to the pickles. 
  • Salt – Brings out the flavor of the pickles. 

How to Quickly Pickle Red Onions

  1. Slice onions. Any thickness will work, but slightly thicker slices will retain more crunch. If you have a mandolin, it can make quick work of this task.
  2. Make pickling liquid – Combine warm water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  3. Pour liquid over onions – Pour pickling liquid over onions, making sure the onions are fully covered.
  4. Marinate – Let onions soak in liquid until they are “pickled”. 30 minutes is enough to give them light pickle flavor, but you can refrigerate them for up to a month.
sliced red onions in glass jars
adding vinegar to sliced red onions

How long do pickled onions last?

Pickled red onions last for up to a month in the refrigerator. 

Can I make these without sugar?

Yes! Any sweetener will work. Try honey, maple syrup, or agave.

Can I use a different vinegar?

Absolutely. Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, champagne vinegar, and even ordinary white vinegar will work. Keep in mind that different vinegars will change the flavor of the pickles.

red onions pickling in glass jars


  • Use other onions – Any onions will work – try white or yellow onions. 
  • Try different vinegar – Different types of vinegar will work well and will give the pickles different flavor. Red and white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and champagne vinegar are great options. 
  • Add seasoning – Add in dried spices to add flavor like a cinnamon stick for aromatic flavor or red pepper flakes to make the pickles spicy.
pickled onions in a glass jar

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4.44 from 30 votes

Pickled Red Onion Recipe

Looking for the perfect quick homemade condiment to use on tacos, nachos, pizza, salads, and just about anything you can dream up? Look no further than Pickled Red Onions.
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 10


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Mason Jars


  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced (if the onions are smaller, use two)
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar (sub honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt


  • Thinly slice the red onions. Gently pack them into jars or high-sided bowls.
  • Heat water in the microwave just until warm to the touch (1 to 2 minutes). Stir in apple cider vinegar, sugar, and kosher salt until salt dissolves.
  • Pour liquids over red onions. (Note: If they are not fully covered, you may need to mix up more of the liquid mixture to pour over top.)
  • Let pickles marinate, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 30 minutes and up to a month.
  • Drain pickles before using.


Onions – This recipe will work with any type of onions. Feel free to experiment with white or yellow onions for different flavors. 


Calories: 16kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 16
Keyword: easy condiment, easy side dish, pickles
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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    1. Absolutely! The vinegar would be amazing in vinaigrettes and lots of other things – what a great idea. I would store it in the fridge and use it within about the same amount of time as I’d use the pickled onions, so about a month.