Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (2024)

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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.

Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (1)

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 saltand 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.

Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (2)

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

  • Sprinkle pickled white onions over green salads, or try in this Italian potato salad.

Whether you’re making tacos like this, rockfish 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 and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (6)


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Yield: 1 jar

Quick pickled onions recipe

Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (7)

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 Time5 minutes

Pickling Time1 day

Total Time1 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.

Quick and Easy Pickled White Onions Recipe (2024)


Can you pickle white onions instead of red? ›

White onions have a milder flavor compared to red onions but still work well for pickling. Try a different vinegar. Instead of red wine vinegar, use apple cider vinegar for a slightly sweeter and fruitier taste or white wine vinegar for a more delicate flavor. Avoid aged vinegar like balsamic.

What's the best vinegar to pickle onions? ›

I particularly like a mix of white wine and rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are a fun tangy combination. These variations are great, but they're totally optional; your quick pickled onions will be delicious even if you stick to the basic recipe!

How do chefs pickle things quickly? ›

Quick pickling is simply the act of storing fresh produce in a brine of vinegar, salt, water, and sometimes sugar, in the refrigerator. These pickles are not canned and are ready to eat mere hours after making, though I usually wait at least a day or two.

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

Now roll your bald onions in salt and leave in a bowl overnight, rinsing the salt away in the morning before patting dry. Although this stage is optional, the salt-and-rinse method will extract moisture from within the onion and you will be rewarded with a crisper, crunchier, firmer pickle in the long run.

Why do you soak white onions in water? ›

When preparing raw onions, soak in cold water before hand to remove some of the pungency and soften the flavor. However since soaking too long will dilute the flavor, soaking in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes is recommended. Squeeze out excess water before using.

What onion is closest to white onion? ›

WHITE ONIONS: The next closest sibling to the yellow onion is the white onion. Think of the white onion as the middle child. Known to have a sharper and more pungent flavor than their yellow contemporaries, they also tend to have thinner, more papery skin. Personally, I'm not a big fan, but suit yourself.

Can you pickle in straight vinegar? ›

Some vegetables such as onions, mushrooms and artichokes are pickled in straight 5% vinegar with no additional water.

Why do you soak onions before pickling? ›

In theory, this step draws out extra moisture to keep the texture of the onions nice and crisp even as they sit in the vinegar mixture. However, since we're pickling quickly, there isn't a big risk of the onions becoming overly mushy. Might as well save the time!

Which vinegar is best for quick pickling? ›

Distilled white vinegar is the most commonly used, because it has a clean, crisp flavor that retains the produce's original taste and color best. Apple cider vinegar lends a milder, sweeter flavor if you don't mind the darker color. White wine, red wine and champagne vinegar all are great to use with pickling.

How do you pickle something quickly? ›

Whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add vegetables and let sit, squeezing gently with your hands occasionally to help them pickle more quickly, 10 minutes.

How long should you leave onions to pickle? ›

Pack the onions into clean, sterilized jars. Pour over the hot vinegar mixture to fill the jars, and check there are no air pockets. Seal the jars and leave to cool. The onions will be ready to eat after about 1 month or better if kept for 2.

What is the difference between pickling and quick pickling? ›

Quick pickles don't develop the deep flavor that fermented pickles do, but they also only require a few days in the brine before they can be enjoyed. Quick pickles also do not require canning when refrigerated.

Why are my pickled onions mushy? ›

Using too weak a salt brine or vinegar solution may cause soft or slippery pickles, as can using moldy garlic or storing the pickles at too warm a temperature.

Why do you boil before pickling? ›

You take all of your ingredients, apart from the product that is being pickled, and bring them to a boil. The heating process helps activate the flavors in the brine and marry them together.

Why are my pickled onions not turning pink? ›

Make sure to submerge sliced onions in hot water before transferring them into a mason jar. If your onions aren't turning pink yet, you'll need to give them some more time in the fridge. Also, double-check that they are fully submerged in lime juice.

Which onions are best for pickling? ›

Shallots are probably the most commonly used onions for pickling, but you may have difficultly in finding those now, it's getting a bit late. You can try Paris Silverskin onions and there are plenty of other varieties you can grow from seed.

Do red and white onions cook the same? ›

(1) Storage Onions

And while we prefer yellow for cooking, white for garnishing, and red for pickling, grilling, and everything in between, they're generally interchangeable: Switching between them won't ruin a dish, even if it slightly alters its flavor or appearance.

Are pickled white onions good for you? ›

The average person consumes roughly 20 pounds of this pungent and versatile food per year, eating onions raw, cooked, pickled, or powdered. They're rich in chemicals that can help protect your heart, lower your risk of some cancers, and make it easier for your body to make insulin.

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