How to Make Pickled Red Onions

It is quick and easy to make pickled red onions! All you need for this pickled red onions recipe is vinegar, water, a little sugar, and spices. Thinly sliced red onions are the key to making this terrific at-home treat!

pickled red onions recipe

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

I keep on making things that, when I think about it, would be enhanced with some pickled red onions.

Bean soup, liverwurst, salmon, and especially hot dogs and hamburgers would all be terrific with some pickled onions on the side.

How to Make Pickled Red Onions

All you really need to make pickled red onions is some sliced red onion, vinegar, and sugar. There's lots of leeway with the spices and herbs used.

Spices to Use in Pickled Red Onions

For this batch, I used cinnamon, cloves, star anise, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. You could easily throw in some ginger, swap out the chile flakes for some cumin, or substitute allspice for the cloves.

refrigerator pickled red onions

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Are These Pickled Onions for Canning?

No, they aren't for canning. These are refrigerator pickled onions. We haven't tested this recipe for hot water bath canning, so we recommend you find a specific canning recipe if you want to hot water bath.

The Best Jars and Containers to Store Pickled Red Onions

Because these are refrigerator pickled onions, you can use any glass jar with a tight lid. Traditional canning jars work but so will a glass spaghetti sauce jar or glass pickle jar—with their lids—that you ran through the dishwasher and sanitized. Do not use plastic for these pickled red onions.

More Pickled Recipes to Give a Try!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How to Make Pickled Red Onions

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Yield 1 1/2 pints


  • 1 pound red onions, (about 2 medium or 1 large), thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 stick cinnamon stick

  • 5 cloves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 star anise

  • 1 dash red pepper flakes

  • Fresh ginger slices, allspice berries, oregano, garlic, cumin seeds, mustard seeds. optional


  1. Blanch the onions:

    Blanch red onions in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain in colander.

    how to blanch red onions

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

    Draining blanched onions to make a pickled red onion recipe.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

  2. Boil the vinegar with sugar and spices:

    While the water is heating in Step 1, in a separate saucepan combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

    vinegar and spices for pickled red onions recipe

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

     simmering spices and vinegar for pickled red onions recipe.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

  3. Add the onions and simmer:

    Add the blanched, drained onions to the vinegar mixture. Simmer for 1 minute.

    Adding blanched onions to vinegar and spices in a pot to make a pickled red onions recipe.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

    A pot of finished pickled red onions on the stove.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

  4. Transfer to a glass jar:

    Allow to stand until cooled before putting the lid on and storing in the refrigerator. The pickled red onions will keep for several weeks refrigerated.

    A jar of refrigerator pickled onions on a linen with sliced red onion next to it.

    Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
660 Calories
1g Fat
148g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 660
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 28mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 148g 54%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Total Sugars 121g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 24mg 120%
Calcium 145mg 11%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 795mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.