Homemade Pickled Onions: So Good They Will Make You Cry (for the Right Reasons!)

Make your own pickled onions.

Refrigerator pickled onions are a super easy way to not only preserve onions if you end up with a bumper crop, but they make for a delicious condiment too.

Pickled onions can turn the most boring salad or sandwich into a taste explosion and are so simple to make. Actually, pickled vegetables of all kinds are simple to whip up and make for quite an impressive addition to most savory dishes and snacks. Add pickled onions to a hummus-topped bagel, a boring grain-bowl, a bowl of chili, veggie tacos, baked chicken, roasted tofu, rice pilaf, and more!

Just a note of clarification: the process of pickling can refer to preserving foods through the addition of vinegar or through lacto-fermentation with salt. Both are easy, delicious, and nutritious, but for the purposes of this recipe we will be making pickled onions by adding vinegar. There are also two distinctions when using vinegar to preserve food–making quick refrigerator pickles that are meant to be stored for a few weeks at most in the fridge, or the process of canning which preserves food for longer periods of time–this recipe does the former.

Easy Pickled Onions


  • Red onion – 1 large or 2 small
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar – I like Bragg’s
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Thinly slice the red onion into half moons.
  2. Pour the water into a small saucepan and heat up.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and sea salt. Heat up just enough to allow the sugar and salt to dissolve. Mix well and allow to cool. Add the vinegar.
  4. Add onion slices to quart-sized mason jar.
  5. Pour vinegar and water mixture over red onion slices.
  6. Add coriander seed, celery seed, the bay leaf, and red pepper flakes to the jar.
  7. Put on a lid and shake to distribute the spices.

The onions can be eaten right away, but are much better if you wait at least 24 hours before eating. The liquid will begin to take on a pink hue as the color leaches out of the onions. This is totally normal and is just a sign that the onions are going to be tasty and delicious. The pickled onions will last for several weeks stored in the refrigerator–if they last that long.

Related on EcoSalon

Blue Ribbon Country Canning: Pickled Vegetables Recipe
10 Food Preservation Ideas to Keep Eating Summer Produce All Year-Round
Ecosalon Recipes: Rice Noodles with Daikon-Carrot Pickle and Mushrooms

Pickled Onion Image via Shutterstock

Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.