Quick & easy pickled red onions that require a few ingredients & the best part – it’s no-cook! Made with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, you can make this in a mason jar & store it in the fridge for up to a month. Serve this with any Mexican, Asian, or salad dish!
If you’ve never tried pickled red onions before, what are you waiting for?
I grew up knowing and loving a Jamaican dish called Escovitch Fish. Escovitch fish is where fish is fried crispy & then dredged in super hot & spicy pickling that’s made with lots of white onions, thinly sliced carrots, pimento berries (allspice), and my favorite – scotch bonnet pepper.
I’m telling you… my favorite part of the whole dish before I turned plant-based was the pickled onions. My sister and I would always fight over them!
So I’m no stranger to loving pickled onions. In fact, I like to call myself a pickled onion connoisseur as I feel like I’ve built up my palette over the years to know when a pickled onion really has enough ‘pickling’ to it, it puckers your mouth and lips so hard because it’s so tart, but it’s so good!
But trust me, this recipe is not that tart – I’ve learned to dull it down over time because some people may not like it that tart (ahem, I’m talking to you, Mom! – Yes, my Mom reads my blog & she’s one of my biggest supporters!)
As much as I love a pickled white onion, I LOVE pickled RED ONIONS.
Actually, I just love red onions, period. I feel like they have so much more depth and flavor than their counterparts. I love the sharp bite that red onions give to a dish, especially when they’re layered in a salad or on a tasty sandwich. YUM.
The other day, I was talking to one of my good friends about how I was going to make pickled red onions, and she actually told me she calls them ‘purple onions’.
I’ve never called them that, although I can see what she means. They do sort of have a purple, reddish tone to them. Now I’m curious, what do you call them? Purple onions or red onions??
Okay, OK. Let me get back to the whole reason why you’re here. To find out how to make this super easy, homemade pickled red onions.
In my Quick, No-Cook Pickled Red Onions Recipe, I added:
- red onion
- distilled white vinegar
- white granulated sugar
- allspice berries
- sea salt
- red chili flakes
- boiling water
How To Make This Quick, No-Cook Pickled Red Onions
Making these easy pickled red onions only requires a few simple ingredients: red onions, white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), water, sugar, salt, allspice (or black peppercorns), red chili flakes.
First, thinly slice your red onions and place them into a clean, glass mason jar. Just make sure it’s heatproof. Next, to a bowl, add your white vinegar, sugar, salt, allspice, and red chili flakes. Give the mixture a stir. Then take boiling hot water & pour it into your vinegar mixture and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar completely. Then very carefully, pour your hot vinegar liquid into your heat-proof mason jar with your sliced red onions. Make sure your liquid covers all of your red onions. If it doesn’t, press down your onions until all are submerged.
Place your lid on your jar & let your pickled onions cool down slightly on the counter before you place them in the fridge. The ‘pickling‘ has already started once you added your vinegar to them, but to intensify the flavor and to get that beautiful pink color, leave your onions overnight in the fridge, and by the morning, you’ll have the best pickled red onions.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What do pickled onions taste like?
If you’ve ever tried eating a red onion raw, you know that it has a very pungent, strong, and sharp taste. Pickled red onions have a tangy, slightly sweet (if sugar is added), and crisp taste. The raw, bitter, sharp taste of the red onion mellows out beautifully once pickled – it is truly delicious!
Is making pickled red onions hard?
No not at all! In fact, they are one of the easiest condiments you can make in your plant-based kitchen. The hardest part could be slicing them very thin (please be very careful doing so!), or waiting overnight to consume them! But other than that, this homemade pickled red onion recipe comes together super fast.
Can I buy pickled red onions?
You definitely can buy pickled red onions at your local grocery store or specialty food markets. The only thing I would possibly caution you about is the sodium. Sometimes store-bought condiments have a lot of salt or sugar content, and if you are trying to be conscious of these, making your own pickled red onions could be the better way to go as you have more control over the amounts added.
What can you put pickled red onions on?
You can put pickled red onions on anything! I personally love them on salads, in a tasty sandwich, or even having it on the side with a tofu scramble.
Can I make these pickled red onions without sugar?
Yes, you can! Follow the same recipe as described, just omit the sugar. You will still get the same ‘pickling’ tart taste. Adding the bit of sugar just helps to curb some of that sharp bite of the vinegar.
If it’s pickled, do I have to refrigerate it?
Anything that I create on this blog, I am going to highly recommend that you practice the correct food safety protocols, so yes – please refrigerate your homemade pickled red onions to ensure food safety. I also state this in my Disclaimer as well.
How long can the pickled onions last?
You can safely have this stored in your fridge for up to 1 week. I like to store my pickled red onions in clean glass mason jar. It’s fun to see the color change of your red onions go from a deep purple to a bright & vibrant pink! Some articles say you can store pickled onions for longer depending on your preparation, but I’m sure once you make this, it will not last longer than a week (at least not in my home!).
Additions & Substitutions
Add-ins: You can add different types of vegetables to your pickled red onions such as cucumbers, shallots, garlic, habaneros, beets, or bell peppers.
Variations: You can slice your red onions thick or thin by hand or by using a mandoline. I personally love slicing my red onions by hand – about a 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick because I do love that bite you get with eating a pickled onion. Feel free to play around with these measurements to your liking.
Vinegars: I used distilled white vinegar in this recipe because its one of the most common vinegars you can find in the grocery store. But if you’re wanting to try out a different vinegar & flavor with your pickled red onions, you can use red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
Spices & Herbs: Feel free to add in bay leaves, black peppercorns (in replacement for the allspice berries), fresh ginger or dill, cardamom pods, or black & brown mustard seeds. You can pretty much add in any type of dried herb here too! Try dried oregano, Italian seasoning, parsley or even chives.
Allergen-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free.
So here’s your recipe on how to make Quick, No-Cook Pickled Red Onions!
Quick, No-Cook Pickled Red Onions
- 1 large red onion
- 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup of boiling water
- 1-2 tablespoons of white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 4-6 whole allspice berries or whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
- First, slice your red onion as thin as you can and add it to a large heat-proof jar. Alternatively, you can use a mandoline if you want to get your red onion slices perfectly thin and even.
- In a heat-proof medium-sized bowl or a heat-proof pitcher, add your distilled white vinegar, white sugar, sea salt, whole allspice berries, and red chili flakes. Mix until all are incorporated.
- Take your boiling hot water and pour it into your bowl with the apple cider vinegar ingredients & mix very well until your salt and sugar have fully dissolved. You could also add all of these ingredients to a small pot on the stove and bring it to a roaring boil for 1 minute. If you do this option, please be aware that once the vinegar is boiled, it is very strong so please keep your overhead vent on as you make this or have a window open to release the fumes.
- Once all the sugar and salt are dissolved, pour your hot vinegar liquid over your sliced red onions in the jar and make sure all the onions are submerged. If they are not all covered, take a spoon and press them down into the hot liquid until covered.
- Place your lid on your jar and seal it tight. Let the jar cool on your counter for an hour and then place your pickled red onions in the fridge. In a few hours, you can start to enjoy your pickled red onions, but if you leave them overnight, the flavors develop much better!
Did You Make This Recipe?
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