Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions are so easy to make with salt, sugar, peppercorns, and white wine. Perfect to use for tacos, salads, or sandwiches.

This onion recipe is the perfect Side or topping to add to a variety of your favorite dishes. Serve it alongside your favorite Mexican meals like Chicken Tacos or Carnitas Tacos. You can also use the onions as a Sandwich filling and in so many other delicious recipes!

Pickled Red Onions in jar on cutting board


Pickled vegetables give unique and delicious flavors to any dishes that they’re paired with. The pickling process makes tangy onions that are savory and a little bit sour. This recipe uses white sugar as a sweetener to cut back on some of the sourness so that it’s just the right amount of tang.

Ingredients for Pickled Red Onions in prep bowls

The fun pink color and complexity of the flavor make quick-pickled red onions perfect to pair with so many tasty food dishes. Like we mentioned earlier, these Pickled Red Onions taste amazing with any of your favorite Mexican dishes. The onions are an easy addition to tacos, burrito bowls, or a taco salad. 

Thinly-sliced onions are also great to toss into any rich mayo-based salads like Potato Salad or Creamy Avocado Egg Salad. If you want a unique and delicious sandwich topping, look no further than these onions. Use bright onions as a topping for Egg Salad Sandwiches, Tuna Salad Sandwiches, or simple avocado toast. They also taste amazing over burgers. There is really no end to the delicious recipes that can incorporate pickled red onions. 

Sliced onions in canning jars for Pickled Red Onions



  • Prep time: Use a sharp knife to slice each onion into thin slices. Then set the raw onions to the side while you prepare the pickling liquid. 
  • Pickling Marinade: Put 3 cups of water over medium heat and bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add salt, sugar, and peppercorns to the hot water. (Be sure to use kosher salt and not table salt!) Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved into the pickling brine. 
  • Combine: Add the pickles and onion, and stir until nicely combined. Leave the onion to sit in the liquid until it’s cooled. 
  • Pickle: Pour it into the mason jar and seal. Put the mason jar in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before you open and serve the Pickled Red Onions. 

Pickled Red Onions in canning jars before and after pickling


  • Additional seasonings: You can experiment with the flavors of the pickling mixture by adding in additional spices and fresh herbs. Try stirring a bit of allspice, paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, coriander, or cumin with the pickling liquid. You could also add a hint of heat with some red pepper flakes. 
  • Spicy onions: If you want a stronger dose of heat than you can get from red pepper flakes, slice and deseed some jalapeno pepper to add to the recipe. Seal the pepper slices in the mason jar along with the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Citrus: To add some tangy, citrus flavor to the pickling brine stir in ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice or add a few tablespoons of orange juice for some extra sweetness along with the tang. 
  • Asian flavors: If you want to serve Pickled Onions up with your favorite Asian cuisine, you can add some spices that go better with the Asian dish. A dash of ginger, star anise, turmeric, or cloves would all make amazing additions to the recipe. 
  • Garlic onions: For some delicious garlic goodness in the Pickled Red Onions, mince a clove of garlic or two and add them to the cooking liquid. The garlicky flavor will blend into the brine and get absorbed into the onion slices. 
  • Vinegar: You can try different kinds of vinegar brine. Apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, rice vinegar, or balsamic vinegar would all give their own unique taste to the recipe. 

Pickled Red Onions served on chicken tacos



  • Serve: Make sure to give the Pickled Red Onions at least 2 hours in the fridge before you take them out of their airtight containers to serve. 
  • Store: Even after you’ve given the recipe time to pickle, you don’t want to leave the red onion at room temperature for more than a few hours. After serving, reseal the jar and store the Pickled Onions in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Pickled Red Onions in jar on cutting board

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Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions are so easy to make with salt, sugar, peppercorns, and white wine. Perfect to use for tacos, salads, or sandwiches.
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Side
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 red onions , thinly sliced


  • Bring water to a boil in a medium pot, turn off the heat.
  • Stir in salt, sugar, and peppercorns until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Add vinegar and onions, stir well.
  • Let sit until cooled, then add to the jar and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Hi Sabrina. I love you site. About the onions…..Do you drain the pickling liquid before jarring them? Thanks

  2. I just keep eating these! They are so tasty in sandwiches, salads, entrees, appetizer trays! Even by themselves!