Quick Pickled Red Onions are a no-cook recipe that’s a game-changer for your grilling. These tangy, vibrant toppers bring a burst of flavor and color to almost any dish, making even the simplest grilled chicken or burger an instant masterpiece.
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Why You’ll Love It
- These Quick Pickled Red Onions are the modern, convenient version of an old tradition. They’re a bit tangy, a bit sweet, and offer that sharp onion kick in a more sophisticated form.
- They develop flavor in as little as 30 minutes! No heat, no fuss, just a bowl, some ingredients, and a jar.
- You’ll find they’re not just for grilled dishes; they add a pop of flavor to anything they touch.
Ingredients You Need
- Red onion – Buy the thinnest small onion you can find. I have trouble finding small one so I’ll use half a large one, but small are better.
- Apple cider vinegar – Strain it if your apple cider vinegar has the mother in it.
- Water – Warm water, but not boiling.
- Sugar – I use granulated sugar.
- Salt – Sea salt is what I use, small flakes so they dissolve easily.
- Optional: red pepper flakes for some heat
- 2x 10-ounce jars with lids – I use these plastic storage jars with hinge lids. You can also use one 20-ounce jar.
- Large bowl or measuring cup – The measuring cup makes it easier to pour the marinating liquid into the jars.
Best Tips for Making Quick Pickled Red Onions
- Slice Evenly: Make sure your onions are evenly sliced to ensure uniform pickling. Smaller slices are best, especially if your onion is big, because the rings are wider.
- Shake It Up: Give the jar a good shake every once in a while to redistribute the brine.
- Experiment: Feel free to tweak the brine by adding garlic, black peppercorns, herbs, or even other vegetables like jalapeños or carrots.
How to Make Quick Pickled Red Onions
Step One: Prepare the Onion
Slice the onions into thin slices using a mandolin or a sharp knife. Tightly pack the sliced onions into one large or two small jars.
Step Two: Prepare the Pickling Liquid
Mix vinegar, hot tap water, sugar, and salt in a bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk until fully dissolved. Pour the brine over the onions in the jar. It’s okay if the onions aren’t fully submerged; they’ll sink down.
Step Three: Marinate
Seal the jars and let the onions sit for 30 minutes to reach room temperature. You can enjoy the onions immediately or store them in the fridge to enhance their flavor.
How to Use Quick Pickled Red Onions
These little flavor bombs are versatile. Just about any meal that could use a pick pop of flavor or a burst of acidity will benefit from these onions:
- Grilled Burgers: Add a layer of pickled onions on your burger for a tangy crunch.
- Tacos: Garnish your grilled fish tacos with a sprinkle of pickled onions for added zest or add them to the top these smoked brisket tacos.
- Salads: Toss them into leafy greens or grain-based salads for a surprising burst of flavor.
- BBQ Sandwiches: Elevate your pulled pork or beef sandwiches by adding a handful of pickled onions.
- Hot Dogs: Use pickled onions as a non-traditional but delicious topping for grilled hot dogs.
- Wraps and Pitas: Tuck some pickled onions into your favorite wrap or pita for added crunch and flavor.
How to Store Your Quick Pickled Red Onions
Store your pickled onions in the jar you marinated them in, in the fridge for up to two weeks. The flavor will continue to develop over time. And hey, if you find you’re going through them too quickly, making another batch is a snap.
Quick Pickled Red Onions are more than just a sidekick for your grilled dishes; they’re a flavor powerhouse in their own right. They’re fast, they’re easy, and they’re guaranteed to elevate whatever you’re grilling. So next time you fire up that grill, make sure you’ve got a jar of these on hand. You won’t regret it.
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Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 2 10 ounce jars with lids
- Large measuring bowl or measuring cup
- 1 medium red onion
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) hot water
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- Slice the onions into thin slices using a mandolin or a sharp knife.
- Tightly pack the sliced onions into one large or two small jars.
- Mix vinegar, hot tap water, sugar, and salt in a bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk until fully dissolved.
- Pour the brine over the onions in the jar. It’s okay if the onions aren’t fully submerged; they’ll sink down.
- Seal the jars and let the onions sit for 30 minutes to reach room temperature.
- You can enjoy the onions immediately or store them in the fridge to enhance their flavor.
- Make sure your onions are evenly sliced to ensure uniform pickling. Smaller slices are best, especially if your onion is big, because the rings are wider.
- Give the jar a good shake every once in a while to redistribute the brine.
- Feel free to tweak the brine by adding garlic, black peppercorns, herbs, or even other vegetables like jalapeños or carrots.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, Instant Pot recipes over at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, air fryer recipes at Air Fry Anytime, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
Laura is a passionate home cook and grill enthusiast who has spent years perfecting her culinary skills, with a particular focus on grilling techniques and flavor combinations. Her fascination with the grill, smoke, and the mouthwatering results they produce has led her on an exciting journey to discover the best methods for grilling delicious and unforgettable meals.