The Best Ever Quick Pickled Red Onions

Imagine those bright pink onions sitting in the bin at the ballpark waiting for a hot dog, or the ones waiting to get piled onto a street taco at the carnicería. Well, that’s what you’ll get with this quick-pickled red onion recipe. You can make these easily, and you don’t need pink food dye! That’s right, this pink is au natural, and I hope you love them as much as I do.

Important stuff before you start:

Quick pickling is possibly the easiest thing you can learn. Need to expand the flavor profile of a dish you already know how to make? Quick pickled red onions could be just the thing. It’s borderline essential for adding a kick to summer meals. And it’s as easy as cutting stuff up and boiling liquid. Red onions (mostly any onion) come packed with flavor that we need to highlight and pay respect to. For this recipe, we’ll be taking white distilled vinegar and mixing it with apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar adds depth to the red onion’s existing flavor profile. Salt in the brine will pull the vinegar into the onion, and the salt will help in mixing those flavors. That’s it. Simple as can be. Woo your friends with pickling knowledge! Ok, enough of this stuff, let’s get started.

Gather these supplies:

1 quart (32 oz) pickling jar. This will come with a special two-part metal lid. Keep it. But, buy white plastic lids as well, because the metal lid will start to rust in the fridge over time. You can use either lid for this recipe! 

1 teaspoon. I need to write something here so you don’t wonder what ingredient you need a teaspoon of. It’s a measuring spoon!

1 tablespoon. Ditto above.

1 cup. Again, not just any cup, a measuring cup. Something that at least measures up to one cup.

1 cutting board. Self-explanatory is the best kind of explanatory!

1 sharp knife.


Gather these ingredients:

1 large red onion.

1 large garlic clove.

5-8 black peppercorns (optional).

1 cup white vinegar.

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar.

2/3 cup filtered water.

1 Tablespoon salt.

1 teaspoon sugar.

Step 1: Dice your garlic clove and add it to the bottom of the jar.

Step 2: Cut the onion into thin slices and stuff them into the jar, taking care to pull them apart into individual strips.


Step 3: Add the two types of vinegar, salt, and water into a saucepan. Set to medium-high heat on the stove.

Step 4: Stir to combine liquid and salt. Wait for it to boil. Once boiling, add the sugar, stir, and let boil for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 5: When the 5 minutes are up, immediately pour this brine into the jar and cover with a lid. Allow the jar to sit until it comes to room temperature. Put into the refrigerator and let sit overnight (one week is best!). Now add beautiful pink pickled red onions to your tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and hot dogs alongside some of your other favorite toppings. Please take a moment to rate this recipe if you found it delicious or insightful!

img_8242 Please ignore my quarantine hair, this is reality folks. Look at those onions! These jars are smaller, so we filled more jars. Also, it was a quadruple batch, this recipe would make one jar.

Thank you to Melissa and Jane Bee for the pictures!

Happy cooking and be well.

Brendan at Pickles of Wisdom

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