pickled onions in jar

Easy Pickled Onions (with options!)

These easy Pickled Onions are the best way to boost the flavor of any meal. We’ve also got a couple flavor options just for fun!

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pickled onions in jar

Say hello to your new favorite Easy Pickled Onions (with flavor options because I love you). These little guys are one of my favorite ways to add a pop of brightness and flavor to any salad, bowl, or sandwich. They keep for a couple weeks in the fridge and are perfect to have on hand anytime you’re needing something extra to complete your meal.

overhead view of pickled onions in jar and on fork

Pickled Onions Ingredients

Red Onion: The ideal onion for pickling, especially if you want that vibrant pink hue (and who doesn’t?). If you want to know more about the science behind why they turn pink, read this pickling explainer. I like to use a mandoline to get super thin and uniform slices, but you can use a regular knife too!

Water and White Vinegar: We’re going to use equal parts to create a perfect brine for our onions.

Maple Syrup or White Sugar: Just a tablespoon to balance the acidity from the vinegar. Trust me, you don’t want to skip this ingredient. I have forgotten to add it before and it doesn’t taste great.

Sea Salt: Another small but very important ingredient. I have also forgotten to add salt to pickled onions in the past, and it tastes dull. Salt brings out the acidity, the sweetness, the brightness…shall I go on?

Flavor Options

Yes, I’m giving you a couple flavor options because variety is the spice of life (see what I did there?).

  • The OG: Honestly, my favorite. Stick to the basic recipe and have pickled onions on hand for all kinds of dishes. This is your most versatile option.
  • Za’atar: Simply add a tablespoon of this popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spice mixture to your vinegar mixture before bringing to a boil! This option was inspired by my favorite local Mediterranean joint, Yamas, who has the best za’atar pickled onions! This may be stating the obvious, but this flavor of pickled onions is best with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare. My favorite za’atar blend is from Spicewalla.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: For a spicy option! This variety is pretty versatile as well. I think they’re especially great with Mexican and East Asian dishes.

I hope these pickled onions light up your life! Feel free to leave a rating and review, ask a question, or simply say hi. It always makes my day to hear from you. Don’t forget you can find me on Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok as well!

More Delicious Side Veggies

pickled onions in a jar
pickled onions in jar

Easy Pickled Onions (with options!)

These easy Pickled Onions are the best way to boost the flavor of any meal. We've also got a couple flavor options just for fun!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pickling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean, Mexican
Servings 16 ounces


  • Mandoline (optional)
  • Medium sauce pan
  • 16-oz Mason jar or other airtight glass container


  • 1 large red onion
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or white sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

Flavor Options:

  • 1 tbsp za'atar (perfect for Mediterranean-inspired dishes!)
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (for a spicy option!)


  • Add water, vinegar, maple syrup, sea salt, and optional additional spices to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil.
  • While the vinegar mixture is heating, very thinly slice your red onion into half-moon shapes using a mandoline or chef's knife. Pack the onion slices into a 16-oz Mason jar or other similar glass container.
  • Pour gently boiled vinegar mixture over onions. Immediately screw lid tightly onto jar and bring to room temperature. Once completely cooled, you can either serve immediately or stick in the fridge to enjoy later! I prefer to let my onions marinate in the fridge overnight for best flavor but you can technically enjoy them as soon as they've cooled completely.


Storage: Keep refrigerated in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Keyword dairy-free, gluten free, nut-free, pickled onions, red onion, vegan, vegetarian

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