Preserving · Recipes

Quick Pickled Red Onions

I’ve pickled red onions often, using various methods, and I’ve always searched for ways to replicate the pickled onions served in cafes. While tasty, water bath canning them never produced the results I wanted. The onions were cooked and didn’t have the snap they needed. Then I played with this quick pickling method, and I think I cracked the code on having vibrant onions that still have the crunch but are not raw. Red onions with all the taste, but not the fiery essence that raw ones can have.

onions for sale

However, it should be noted that onions used to be ‘poverty food‘ and now are treading into bougie land. I was reading up that Mexico had issues with the white onion crop (and they grow most of them) and they are incredibly expensive this year. More troubling is when yellow onions are the same price as sweet onions.

Quick Pickled Red Onions


  • 1 red onion, about 6 to 8 ounces
  • 1 cup rice vinegar, unseasoned
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt, fine sea salt, or kosher (do not use table salt)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups water


Add ¾ cup of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and seasonings (except for the garlic) to a clean pint mason jar. Put on the lid and shake gently until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add in the garlic.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil.

Trim the onion on both ends and cut it in half. Remove and discard the outer layer. Thinly slice the onion.

Place the onion slices in a metal sieve, hold it over the sink, and slowly pour the boiled water over the onions to par-cook them. Shake the water off.

Pack into the mason jar, pressing down as needed.

If there is space, pour in the remaining vinegar to cover fully.

Put the lid on and gently roll the jar so everything is mixed.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least a day before enjoying. They get better as they pickle slowly in the refrigerator.


Do not use table salt. Salt with iodine added can affect the color of preserved foods. Not always, but there is a real chance, so why take it?

And yes, you can use this same recipe to pickle shallots and any color of onion you crave.

Quick pickled red onions