pickled red onion header
Food,  Sides

30 Minute Pickled Red Onion

Pickled red onion are the perfect addition to every meal. They’re great in salads, on burgers or sandwiches, enchiladas, and on just about everything. I quickened the recipe to only 30 minutes, which is ideal for those who are also impatient about waiting for things to pickle or ferment.

Pickled red onion topped on a stuffed sweet potato.

It really only takes three ingredients: salt, vinegar, and red onion. But if you’re a spice-monster (like me), then a variety of different spices can be added. My favourites are garlic, mustard seed, and black peppercorn. Bay leaves, dill, fennel seed, cilantro, coriander seed, and cardamom pods are some more spices I’ve tried and enjoyed.

Choose a jar which size you think will hold at least two large red onions, I use an cleaned out olive jar. Just place all the spices and thinly sliced onion in the jar, heat the vinegar+salt until simmering, and then pour on top!

It really is that easy 🙂 Just set it aside to let it cool, and in thirty minutes you’ll have a delicious topping for your meal. The longer it sits though, the longer the spices you add have to come out and change the flavor of the onion. I find that over time the undertones and spices come out at different times. So experimenting is key! You can’t go wrong with whatever wild spice combos you think of–they’ll always taste good here!

Read on for the recipe for 30 minute pickled red onion.

Pickled Red Onions

These quick-pickled red onions are great on salads, burgers, sandwiches, and as a topping for just about anything.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: easy, pickled, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 1 jar


  • ½ cup white vinegar or any vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 large red onions thinly sliced

Optional Additions

  • 1 tbsp peppercorn
  • 1 tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 garlic clove thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Heat the vinegar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering.
  • While the vinegar is heating up, place any of the optional spices in the bottom of the jar and the thinly sliced red onion.
  • Once the vinegar is slightly simmering, remove it from the heat and pour it over the red onions until covered.
  • Set jar aside to cool and let pickled for at least 30 minutes.


As per FDA recommendations, I’d like to mention keeping this in the fridge. However it will last in a cool and dark place.
I’ve had it last as long as 6 weeks, it could be longer but we ate it all up by then!
Be adventurous in the additional ingredients/spices you use: dill, cardamom pods, cilantro, coriander seed, fennel seed…

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