Want to add big flavor to tacos, sandwiches and salads? This pickled red onions recipe is so easy and requires only 5 minutes hands on time.

Pickled red onions recipe | A Couple Cooks

Who said pickles had to involve a lot of effort? These pickled red onions take about 5 minutes to prepare, and only require 1 hour of waiting time. The result is an incredibly delicious condiment that’s perfect for topping tacos, sandwiches, and salads. We made this quick pickled onions recipe as part of our lentil and grilled vegetable tacos, but the sky is the limit when it comes to uses for these babies!  We plan to try to remember to have a jar in the fridge throughout the summer — but they go fast! We’ll probably have to start doubling this recipe.

How to pickle red onions

This pickled red onions recipe could not be easier to make! You simply have to thinly slice one red onion, and then place it in a pickling liquid made of vinegar, sugar, salt and water. Then, let everything stand at room temperature for 1 hour. As the red onions sit in the pickling liquid, they gradually break down and turn a bright pink color! They also pick up the flavoring of the pickling liquid. (You can also re-use the pickling liquid in salad dressings, by the way! It’s onion-y and acidic, which pairs perfectly with most salads).

How long do pickled red onions last?

After the 1 hour rest, you can store these pickled red onions in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You’ll want to keep these pickled onions in a sealed container, like a mason jar. Over time, the onions will lose more of their color and the pickling liquid will become brighter in color, but that’s normal! Because these pickled red onions last so long in the fridge, they’re great to make ahead of time if you know you’re having guests over for dinner or a BBQ. (Taco night, anyone?)

How to serve pickled red onions

So, you’ve made this pickled red onions recipe — now what to do with it? Here are a few of our favorite ways to use pickled red onions:

Pickled Red Onions Recipe | How to pickle red onions

Looking for more pickle recipes?

If you’re looking for more pickle recipes outside these pickled red onions, here are a few of our favorites:

Looking for more vegetarian recipes? 

This recipe is…

This pickled red onions recipe is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free.

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Pickled onions

Pickled Red Onions Recipe

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1 cup 1x


Want to add big flavor to tacos, sandwiches and salads? This pickled red onions recipe is so easy and requires only 5 minutes hands on time.


  • 1 red onion
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup water


  1. Thinly slice the red onion.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, sugar or honey, kosher salt, and water.
  3. Place the onion slices in a jar and pour over the pickling liquid mixture. Sit at room temperature for 1 hour.


  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Pickling
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Pickled red onions, Pickled red onion recipe, How to pickle red onions

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Sounds like the perfect quick pickle for all my taco needs! And maybe my soup garnish needs…or my gigantic sandwich needs…the possibilities are endless. :)

  2. I just made this same recipe yesterday! It was perfect for our tacos! Maybe next time I’ll make my own tortillas, too :)

  3. Wow, those look beautiful and so simple! My husband loves all sorts of pickly things, I’ll definitely have to try these out for taco night, and more! Thanks so much for the recipe.

  4. I made these today! I live in Walla Walla WA. We are famous for our sweet onions. So, I used Walla Walla sweets not red onions. I’m visiting my sister and as soon as I saw this I knew I had to make her some. She LOVES onions and pickles. Sure enough, I saw her eating them by the fork full tonight. I’ll make her another batch before I head home. I’m making tacos for everyone on Friday too, can’t wait to try them on my tacos!

  5. I made these over the weekend. They were perfect on my grilled turkey burgers! And this week we’ll eat them with taco night!! So easy and perfect use for my HUGE farmer’s market red onion!! Thanks! Glad I found your beautiful site!

    1. You are so welcome! Glad you enjoyed these – they can really dress up anything! Love the idea of putting them with a burger too.

    2. Made these and everyone just loved them. I may put a clove of garlic and a few peppercorns in one jar, but they really are perfect without for me.