Quick Pickled Red Onions for the Fridge – No Processing

These quick pickled red onions are one of my hubby’s favorite condiments. Because they’re so easy to make and so pretty, it’s no problem making a batch, especially during barbecue season.

Recipes that Love Pickled Onions: Rhubarb Pulled Pork, Homemade Hamburgers, Tacos

These quick pickled red onions are so pretty. And, even for someone who doesn’t enjoy raw onions, a couple of these onions on a burger or pulled pork bun are pretty darn good!

pickled red onion on pulled pork bun
Pickled red onions on rhubarb pulled pork bun. A jar of pickled red onions are one of our staple condiments.

These onions are a type of refrigerator pickle. That means they don’t require a hot water bath or special canning technique to properly seal, but it also means they have to be stored in the fridge. Not a problem for this small batch recipe that makes two cups.

Recipe for Quick Pickled Red Onions

pickled red onions
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Quick Pickled Red Onions

A stunning condiment to add to any any dish. If you don't love the bite of raw onions, you'll enjoy the more mellow onion flavor softened and sweetened in this brine. No canning procedure required, but jars must stay in the fridge.
Prep : 15 mins
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1 red onion
  • 2 dried hot chili peppers optional
  • 3/4 cup cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns


  • Slice onion into rounds about 1/4 inch thick or thinner. The thinner the slices the softer the onions will be.
  • Place slices in glass bowl and cover with ice cold water for 10 minutes to take out some of the sharp bite from the onions. Omit this step if you like intense onion flavor.
  • Drain onions and divide into two 1 cup (1/2 pint) jars.
  • Add one hot pepper to each jar.
  • In small saucepan mix vinegar, water, sugar, salt, allspice berries, peppercorns in small saucepan. Cover and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve all ingredients.
  • Pour mixture over onions to cover fully.
  • Rest until cooled, about 1 hour.
  • Seal with lid and store in fridge. Best if you let flavors infuse for two to three days before eating. Once opened, use within 3-6 months. You can keep closed jars in the fridge for up to a year – but I bet you'll eat them way before then!


Note: When working with vinegar avoid bowls or pots made with aluminum or metal that may react with
acid. Stainless steel and glass pots and bowls are best.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1187mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: condiments, onions, pickled onions, quick pickles, red onion, refrigerator pickled onions
pickled red onions
At first, onions will be crisp and retain their original color. After a week or two, they’ll turn a lovely purple color and become much softer.

Tips When Making Quick Pickled Red Onions

Take the Bite Out of Raw Onions

Let’s talk red onions for a moment – earlier I mentioned I’m not a big fan of raw onions. They’re great cooked, but in their raw form, I find them too sharp. Along with an extended stay in the brine, there’s another technique that can help take the bite out of raw onions.

Chop your onions the way you want them in your recipe, in this case thin slices.

slicing red onion

Let them soak in ice cold water for 10 – 15 minutes while you’re prepping everything else.

Voila! The color and general flavor of the onion remains, but that sharp bite has mellowed.

Prevent Tears When Cutting Onions

Do you get teary eyed when chopping onions? Here’s an article I wrote many years ago on 14 Ways To Prevent Tears When Cutting Onions.

My son likes to wear goggles. I either use the food processor to chop and freeze onions or I cool onions in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.

teach kids to cook
chopping onions with goggles

A Little Spice is Nice

The red pepper in the jar adds a little touch of spice to these pickled red onion slices. We like a little spice, how about you?

pickled red onions

Other Condiments You Can Make

Here are a few condiments that incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients. They may take a little more effort but they are well worth it.

Chimichurri Sauce – A fresh, green herb sauce featuring parsley, oregano and garlic in oil and vinegar. Perfect for grilled meat.

Rhubarb Barbeque Sauce – A tasty, not too smoky, sauce that’s great on chicken or lighter meats. One of over 40 rhubarb recipes in my Rhubarb Cookbook.

Tzatziki – A healthier alternative to mayo, tzatziki is a great topping for meat or vegetarian burgers, grilled chicken, lamb and any Greek inspired dish. It’s also super tasty on sandwiches or in wraps

Pickled Beets – Try them on burgers, in wraps or on sandwiches. You won’t be disappointed.

Tomato Jam – It sounds bizarre, but this sweet and spicy jam does wonders for all kinds of burgers. It’s pretty awesome on crackers and cream cheese too!

Pickled Hot Peppers – When hot sauce just isn’t enough, try these pickled hot peppers to add an extra kick to burgers, pizza, wraps or sandwiches.

Hot Pepper Jelly – Sweet, salty, tangy and spicy – you get it all when you spread a little of this on your burger or grilled meat.

Pickled Dilly Beans – Try these instead of cucumber pickles.

What’s your favorite condiment? Comment below or if you make this recipe, share your photos with me on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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