Pickled Onions

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Quick Pickled Onions are the ultimate topping, garnish, secret ingredient, and kitchen staple. They add a zesty finish to any dish the way a favorite accessory can instantly elevate an outfit. This is a 1-2-3 recipe you can make the week before, the night before or an hour ahead.

pickled onions in a jar and small bowl

Pickled Onions – Texture, Flavor, and Color

Pickled red onion slices have an addicting texture—tender, with a fresh crunchy bite. They are juicy with brine, adding bright acidity, subtle sweetness, and a brilliant splash of color to any dish. Pickled onions will add a flavor burst to anything from burgers, to biryanis, daals, tacos, sandwiches, wraps, and salads. That deep magenta pink looks so pretty on the plate! 

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pickled onions in a jar with a fork on top

Why we love Quick Pickles

✔️ A healthy and delicious way to add more veggies to your diet
✔️ The simple and clean recipe. We like knowing what’s in our food and what isn’t–there are no chemical preservatives, additives, or dyes
✔️ The added benefit of vinegar in the diet: vinegar is known to help regulate blood sugar and curb cravings
✔️ So quick and easy to make, unlike the traditional canning method which requires specific techniques and equipment
✔️ Brighten up any dish with a burst of flavor and stunning pink color
✔️ Take toppings to the next level
✔️ Guests are always impressed by homemade pickles and they look so fancy stocked in your fridge
✔️ They make a great snack

Pantry Friendly Recipe

Only a few pantry staples are needed for this recipe to make multiple batches and the ingredients themselves are inexpensive. Once you try these pickled onions, you’ll never want to go without! While I wouldn’t recommend using leftover brine to make a new batch, you can use it where you would regular vinegar. Keep it refrigerated and try using it the next time you make a vinaigrette for salad!

So Easy

This is the most unfussy recipe with the biggest payoff. Simply make the brine, slice the onions, add to a jar, cool, close, and refrigerate. Using a mandoline to slice the onions makes this process even faster! There’s no need to pre-boil the onions and there is no canning involved. Quick pickles are ready to enjoy in an hour and can last for up to 4 weeks in the fridge. 

Step by Step Instructions

  • Start by making the quick brine. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook just until the sugar dissolves.
vinegar brine with coriander seeds and black pepper
  • Next, thinly slice onions and place them in a glass jar
  • Pour the brine over the onions and allow it to come to room temperature before refrigerating
mandolin sliced red onions added to a jar with spice brine
  • Once the pickles are at room temperature close the jar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
pickled onions in a jar and small bowl

What to Serve With

These crunchy-tangy pickled onions can be paired with SO many dishes. Here are some ideas:

Indian Dishes: Butter Chicken, Paneer Butter Masala, Tandoori Chicken, Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower, Tandoori Salmon, Dal Makhani, or Biryani
Tacos: Chicken Tinga Tacos, Roasted Cauliflower Tacos, or Blackened Fish Tacos
Burgers: Masala Chickpea Burgers, Spicy Salmon Burgers, Black Bean Sweet Potato Burgers, Chicken Masala Burgers
Wraps and Sandwiches: Spicy Tofu Wraps, Tandoori Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Pulled Butter Chicken Sandwich, Paneer Kathi Rolls, Chicken Kathi Rolls, or Bombay Sandwich

Storing Pickled Onions

Store the pickled onions refrigerated in an airtight glass jar for 3-4 weeks.

Do I Have to Use A Mandolin?

Using a mandolin helps ensure the onion slices are thin and consistent in size. I find it makes the slicing very fast and easy. Remember to always use the slicing guard that comes with the mandolin to protect your fingers. If you don’t have a mandolin, simply cut the peeled red onion in half and proceed to slice lengthwise into thin half-moons. This is a very forgiving recipe so don’t sweat it!

Do I Have to Use a Glass Jar?

Glass Jars are the way to go! They can handle the hot brine, do not stain, and do not permanently absorb the flavors or odors of the contents.

Can You Reuse Leftover Brine?

While I wouldn’t recommend using leftover brine to make a new batch as it will not have the same level of acidity, you can use it wherever you would use regular vinegar. Try it the next time you make a vinaigrette for salad!


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pickled onions in a glass jar

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Pickled Onions

EASY homemade pickled red onions add bright acidity, subtle sweetness, and a brilliant splash of color to any dish

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time5 mins

Cooling Time30 mins

Total Time45 mins

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Indian

Servings: 4

Calories: 25kcal



  • Thinly slice red onion using a mandolin

  • Add the onions to a glass jar

  • Pour 1 cup brine over sliced onions.

  • Allow the brine cool to room temperature, close, and refrigerate the jars for an hour before serving. 2 weeks refrigerated.


Calories: 25kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 585mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Author: Archana

Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.

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