Pickled Onions (Quick, Tasty & Versatile)

Quick Pickled Onions. The ultimate condiment – tangy, bright and even spicy, if you like. Great for tacos, sandwiches, salads, on fish, chicken or anything that could use a little zing.

These can be ready in about 30 minutes.

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here.


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1/3 (80 ml) cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (18 ml) honey


  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon (2.5 g) peppercorns
  • 2 whole bay leaves


– Slice the onions thinly. Place into a heat proof glass jar. (Like a mason jar.)

– Heat the remaining ingredients, including any optional seasoning, in a sauce pan over medium heat until just about simmering.

– Pour the heated mixture over the onions until they are completely submerged. Press the onions down, if necessary. (Their volume will decrease as they pickle.)

– Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. (Keep uncovered while still hot.)

– Serve immediately. Or cool to room temperature, place the lid on the jar and refrigerate.

  • It’s best to eat within 3 days, but will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
after pickling


Pickled onions are such a versatile condiment. They add zing and flavor to all sorts of dishes. Tart, tangy with a hint of sweetness and even heat, if you wish. It is basic and very customizable to your specific tastes or needs.

These quick pickled onions can be ready in about 30 minutes and will last in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks or so.


1) About the vinegar…

This recipe uses rice vinegar. Rice vinegar is a little sweeter and milder than a lot of vinegars. It is tart and bright, but not overpowering.

  • Other good vinegars to use may be apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar. Distilled white vinegar can also be used, but can be very strong, so it’s best to lessen the amount used or to dilute it with more water.

2) About the honey…

Honey is a great ingredient to add a bit of sweetness to your pickled onions. It adds not only sweetness, but also a level complexity and depth.

  • Maple syrup or regular granulated sugar can be used, too.

3) Optional seasonings:

The flavor of these pickled onions can easily be customized to your preferences or to match specific dishes you may be serving simply by adding additional dry spices or other fresh ingredients to the pickling liquid.

– Add additional dry spices to the pickling liquid before simmering. Here are some dry spices you may like to use in your pickling liquid:

  • Peppercorns
  • Chili flakes
  • Bay leaf
  • Mustard seed
  • Coriander

– Add any fresh ingredients into the jar with the onions before pouring in the hot pickling liquid. Here are some fresh ingredients you may like to add:

  • garlic
  • jalapeños
  • ginger
  • lemon slices or wedges

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