Quick Pickled Red Onions

Easy as can be, these quick pickled red onions are a Mexican staple that can be strewn on practically anything you can think to eat.

Pickled Red Onion

Pickled red onions are a classic condiment in Mexican culture. They’re quick and easy and pretty and can be draped atop tacos, flung onto roast chicken or pork, or, natch, slipped into this epic grilled cheese sandwich. There are about as many versions of pickled red onions as there are home cooks in Mexico. Some pickled red onions are spare and simple in both taste and execution whereas others, such as the recipe that follows, have something of a flourish thanks to spices, herbs, and chiles. Up to you.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Quick Pickled Red Onions

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 4 H, 10 M
  • Makes about 2 cups
Print RecipeBuy the Grilled Cheese Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.



In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaf, star anise, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then promptly remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let the spices steep for 5 minutes.

Toss the onion slices in the saucepan and toss to coat. Pour the mixture into a 1-quart (960-milliliter) glass jar and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. The quick pickled red onions will keep for up to a few weeks in the fridge.

Print RecipeBuy the Grilled Cheese Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

With minimal effort and ingredients, you can have a delightful condiment for any occasion with this quick pickled red onions recipe. The hardest part is waiting the 4 hours before you try them. The pickled red onions were tangy and mellow with a warm heat and a nice hint of spice. Since you are using this as a condiment, only a little is used at a time. A medium red onion yielded 1 cup thin slices. After a week we have a little less than half left and the taste and texture is as good as the day I made them. So far we've used them on a ham and cheese sandwich, in a turkey and avocado wrap, on sausage scrambled eggs for breakfast, with cheese and crackers, and on a salad for lunch at work. I am already planning to make a double batch as no fridge should be without these pickled onions. I'm also already planning what I can have them on next.

This is one of the easiest and tastiest pickled red onion recipes I have made. It comes together very easily and quickly and the flavors deepen as the pickles age. The texture remained fairly crunchy even after 3 days. (Alas, I cannot comment on longer as the pickles were all gone in 3 days!) I used the pickled red onions in sandwiches and pita wraps as well as on spicy Singapore noodles and a simple chicken curry and rice. The uses are endless, limited only by our imagination. I call them the Miracle Condiment. I will be making another batch tomorrow, this time I will double or triple the recipe so we don't run out so quickly. These were a cinch to make and a lovely condiment with a variety of uses. They will be a staple in my fridge.

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish