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Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe

These tangy and flavorful pickled white onions are perfect for sandwiches, salads, tacos, and more.

Pickling transforms regular white onions into a snappy, crunchy treat you’ll crave.

easy pickled onions

Why You’ll Love This Quick-Pickles Recipe

Bursting with Flavor: Pickled white onions are a flavor explosion with every bite. 

Versatile: They add a delightful crunch and tang to various dishes, from burgers and sandwiches to tacos and salads.

Quick pickling: Making your pickled white onions at home is easy. Just a handful of ingredients and a simple process!

What Do Pickled White Onions Taste Like?

Pickled white onions have a bright, tangy flavor with a nice crunch.

The vinegar brine gives them a sour taste, while the salt and sugar add savoriness and balance the acidity. 

Basic Ingredients 

White onion: The star of the show. White onions have a mild, slightly sweet flavor.

You can use different onions like the sweet Vidalia, Walla Walla, or even the little pearl onions.

Vinegar: The acid that gives pickles their tang.

Different kinds of vinegar will yield different flavors.

Hot water: Softens onions and helps flavors blend.

Sea salt and white sugar: The yin and yang of pickling.

Salt amplifies the other flavors, while sugar balances the vinegar tang.

Whole black pepper or mustard seeds: Adds a subtle warmth and complexity.

Fresh herbs and spices (optional): Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices!

Cinnamon sticks, dill, thyme, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves can all add exciting notes.

Which vinegar should you use for pickling white onions? 

You can use most types of vinegar to pickle white onions quickly.

Here are some excellent options:

Apple cider vinegar – Adds a distinct flavor and mild fruit.

White wine vinegar – Has a mild taste with a touch of sweetness.

Rice vinegar – Provides mellow acidity and subtle sweetness.

Distilled white vinegar is strong and has a clean, bright taste without fruity overtones. 

Red wine vinegar: Has a tart flavor.

Malt Vinegar has a similar lemony, nutty, and caramel flavor.

How To Make (step-by-step) – Quick-Pickled Onions

Step 1

Peel the white onions and slice them into rings or half-moons with a thinly sharp knife, depending on your preference. 

sliced onions

Place the sliced onions in a clean, sterilized jar with the black pepper, salt, and sugar.

onion with black pepper in a jar

Step 2

Using a kettle or a small saucepan, heat water to boiling.

Step 3

Add vinegar to the jar with the onions, and carefully pour the hot water, ensuring the onions are fully submerged.

quick-pickled onions

Close the jar with the lid and give a good shake to mix.

Let it cool down upside down for a couple of hours at room temperature and refrigerate.

How To Seal Glass Jars

For best results, let the onions pickle for 24 hours.

Tips For Making Perfect Pickled Onions

  • Larger onion pieces take longer to pickle and have a more pronounced flavor.

If you prefer a milder pickle, make thin slices.

  • Balance your flavors.

Adjust the salt, sugar, and vinegar to your liking. Some people prefer a sweeter pickle, while others like theirs extra tangy.

  • Use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water for ideal acidity.
  • Let it cool upside down so the jar seals tightly, and you can store the onions for much longer.

Just be careful not to create air bubbles.

  • Store in the fridge to maintain crisp texture. Don’t store at room temp!
  • Patience is key.

While it may be tempting to dive into your pickled onions immediately, they are best to marinate for at least 24 hours. 

 Ideas For Serving

These pickled onions make a great addition to so many dishes. 

 Here are some creative ideas for incorporating them into your meals:

  • Add a zingy twist to your favorite sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs by layering pickled white onions on top.

Have you tried on top of avocado toast? Perfect combination!

 Whether you’re making tacos like this, rockfish tacos or baked chicken tacos, wraps, cheesy taco pockets, air fryer burritos, or pork belly bao buns, pickled white onions make a fantastic topping.

  • Arrange pickled white onions alongside cured meats and cheeses for a stunning charcuterie board. 
  • Serve pickled white onions as a tangy condiment alongside meats, like this breaded pork chop.

Storage – How Long Do Refrigerator Pickled Onions Last?

Store your pickled onions in the refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks if the jar is open.

Make sure the onions are always submerged in the pickling liquid. 

Unopened jars of pickled white onions keep in the refrigerator for 2-4 months.


Are pickled white onions the same as red onions?

Pickled white onions and pickled red onions have slightly different flavors.

White onions have a milder taste and a crisp texture compared to red onions, which are sweeter and softer when pickled.

Do you have to soak white onions in salt before pickling?

This step is optional.

Soaking onions in salt can help draw out excess moisture and enhance their crunchiness.

For a crunchier texture, soak the onions in salt water for 30 minutes before pickling.

What variety of onions is best for pickling?

White onions are ideal for pickling due to their mild flavor and firm texture.

However, to create a unique flavor, you can experiment with other onion varieties, such as red onions (also known as purple or blue onions) or shallots.

Can I reuse the pickling brine?

You can reuse the pickling mixture for future batches of pickled vegetables.

Simply strain the brine to remove any onion remnants and store it in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator.

The flavor will definitely change, so you may need to adjust some things, like vinegar or salt.

I like to use pickling liquids (especially onion) for an easy vinaigrette.

Homemade Pickled White Onion Recipe

quick pickled onions


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Yield: 1 jar

Quick pickled onions recipe

pickled white onions

Discover how to make tangy and delicious pickled white onions with this easy recipe and helpful tips. Perfect for adding a zesty kick to your sandwiches, salads, and more.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Pickling Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 5 minutes


  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar (apple cider or distilled works well)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Whole black peppercorns (optional)


  1. Peel the onions and slice them into thin half-moon shapes.
  2. Place the sliced onions into a clean sterilized mason jar.
  3. Add the black pepper, salt, and sugar to the jar with the onions.
  4. Heat water in a kettle or pot until boiling.
  5. Pour the vinegar into the jar with the onions.
  6. Carefully pour the hot water into the jar, making sure the onions are fully submerged.
  7. Secure the lid on the jar and shake well to mix.
  8. Let the jar sit upside down for a couple of hours to cool, then refrigerate.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 38Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1591mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Things To Remember When Pickling Vegetables And Fruits

There are a few key points to keep in mind when pickling:

  • Always use fresh produce: The fresher your veggies or fruits, the better your pickles will be.
  • Sterilize your jars: You can boil them for 10 minutes or run them through a hot dishwasher cycle. This will prevent any unwanted bacteria from spoiling your pickles.

More onion recipes:

 Air Fryer Onion Rings – if you love onions, you’ll also love these onion rings, which are healthier than classic fried onion rings.

Air Fryer Onions – the best way to make sliced onion.

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Sunday 7th of July 2024

I made this. Turned out 9 pints. Taste really good. One in the fridge and one to give away. 7 for the basement to use in the future


Monday 18th of March 2024

Is the jar size quart or pint


Saturday 23rd of March 2024

Hey Diane, I use a pint jar.


Monday 7th of August 2023

I made these pickled onions last night and they were so tasty! I usually don't like onions, but these were amazing.


Friday 11th of August 2023

I'm glad you liked them!


Monday 7th of August 2023

I'm obsessed with these pickled white onions! I make them with apple cider vinegar and the tangy and slightly sweet flavor adds the perfect kick to my morning omelettes. Plus, they're ready in no time, perfect for this impatient cook.


Monday 7th of August 2023

I made these to add to my pasta salad. I made a big batch for the week and it needed something extra. These pickled onions were just the thing! So tasty

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