Easy Quick Pickled Onions will instantly upgrade just about any dish. We love them on salads, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, pizzas, tacos, eggs and more.
With nearly 8 years of recipes, Tasty Yummies is filled with lots of main dishes and side dishes, special occasion recipes, treats, easy weeknight meals and loads of simple how-tos, but I am always trying to check back in with the staple foods that continuously make appearances in my own kitchen, that might be beneficial for you guys, too. The foods that are on repeat and that I continue to come back to. The ones that offer the most bang for the buck, in terms of flavor vs time involved to prepare.
Quick Pickled Onions are pretty high up on top of that list. Quick Pickled Onions, more specifically quick pickled red onions, these are something I love to have on hand for a pop of flavor and crunch whenever I need it. They are great on top of salads, wraps, burgers, shredded chicken or beef, tacos, pizzas, veggie bowls, on chili or soups and so on.
The nice part of Quick Pickled Onions is that they bring the crunch that fresh, raw onions do but the flavor is far more mellow and less intense. It doesn’t hang on your tongue the way that raw onions can.
When it comes to Quick Pickled Onions, the red onion is my favorite. White Vidalia onion is also really lovely. Yellow onion works but I find that it’s just a bit harsher of a flavor.
I personally prefer apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, the red wine also really brings a nice vibrant color to the onions. You can also use rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, but best to avoid white distilled vinegar, it’s just far too an intense flavor. You can also use a splash of citrus like a squeeze of fresh lime juice or lemon juice, to layer the flavor.
Keep It Simple
I make my Quick Pickled Red Onions just with the vinegar, the onions and a little salt. If you want to season with a little sugar for some sweet balance to the vinegar, go for it. I personally don’t find that it’s necessary and I try to minimize unnecessary sugar in my life. You can also experiment with honey or maple syrup or other sweeteners, just start with very little and adjust from there.
If you want you can also add spices like peppercorns, allspice or cloves, bay leaves, fresh herbs or chili flakes, etc,
How-to Make Quick Pickled Onions
All you do is cut up your onion into slices. With a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer. You can also dice but I personally like the slices and rings better for layering on top of things. Add the onions to a glass jar or bowl. Next pour enough vinegar on them to cover the onions. That’s it. Then you give the vinegar a little time to do its job, it reduces the compounds that bring the typical intense flavor of a raw onion. While marinating in the vinegar the onions soften slightly and you are left with a pleasant burst of bright, tart flavor.
At a minimum, this takes about 15 minutes, though I like to leave for 30 minutes to an hour for THE BEST flavor.
Quick Pickling Other Vegetables
Check out my full how-to for quick pickled vegetables of any kind. These use a more traditional spiced brine, but it’s simple, easy and produces really great results, without the time of traditional pickling.
- 1 red onion (vidalia onion is also really wonderful here)
- apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, enough to cover the onions, approx ½ cup
- ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, optional (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp to 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar or other sweetener
- spices like peppercorns, allspice, bay leaves, etc
- jalapeno rings
- Thinly slice the onion with a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer.
- Add the onions to a glass jar or bowl.
- Pour enough vinegar on them to cover the onions.Add the sea salt and give it a stir to combine.
- Cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Enjoy right away or cover and chill. Drain onions before using.
- Will keep in the fridge for up to one month.