The Easiest Quick Pickled Onions (Sugar-Free!)

These easy Quick Pickled Onions are made with only five simple ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge. Thanks to the apple cider vinegar they are the perfect mix of salty and sweet without any added sugars making them a much healthier choice than store bought versions. These quick pickled onions make a delicious addition to tacos, nachos, bowls, salads, burgers, and more. This is one of those quick and easy recipes that impress!

Looking for more salsas and toppings? Don't miss my all time favorite Guacamole, the best Pineapple Salsa and these Spicy Radishes!

All About These Quick Pickled Onions

  • Flavor: These quick pickled onions are tangy, salty, and a bit sweet! I love adding a few cloves of garlic to my jars so they get a nice hint of garlic, but that's completely optional.
  • Texture: The texture of these quick pickled onions cannot be beat! I prefer slicing them into thin rounds with a sharp knife as opposed to a mandolin so my slices are really thin, but not so thin that they lose the crunch I love. The perfect pickled onion to me is one that has soaked up enough of the vinegar mixture that they have killer flavor, but have still retain some crunch!
  • Ease: These quick pickled onions are beyond easy to make! They take all of 5 minutes of work and a beginner can easily master this recipe by following the instructions below. The hardest part is waiting on them to chill!
  • Use: You can use these quick pickled onions on just about anything. Literally! Some of our favorite ways to eat them are on our Vegan Street Tacos, Sweet Potato Nachos, Vegan Burgers, Black Bean Burrito Bowls, or on a salad.
Quick pickled onions on top of cucumber strawberry salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do quick pickled onions last?

Pickled onions keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

How long before you can eat pickled onions?

When you quick pickle onions you can eat them almost immediately. Just give the flavors 20-30 minutes to meld and chill in the fridge and you're good to dig in!

What is the best vinegar for pickling?

My favorite vinegar to use is apple cider for its soft and sweet flavor, but any kind of vinegar is game for pickling! White vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar all work well. Pick your favorite!

Do I have to boil vinegar for pickling?

Heating your vinegar mixture helps all the flavors meld together better. For a quick pickling you don't need to bring it to a boil, just heat it enough to where the salt melts into the liquids.

Quick pickled onion ingredients on white counter top.

What You Will Need

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients. See the full recipe card at the end of this post for detailed amounts and instructions! 

  • Red onion - One large red onion is what I used for this recipe, but you can use this quick pickle method for any kind of onion, radish, cucumber, etc!
  • Apple cider vinegar - I love the softer sweeter taste that the apple cider vinegar gives, but distilled white vinegar work too.
  • Lemon juice - Just the juice of half of a lemon is what we need here. Love the bright fresh flavor that the lemon adds to these onions.
  • Garlic - If you aren't a garlic lover then you can completely omit these, but if you love garlic (like me!) then add a few cloves of fresh garlic for the most delicious infusion!
  • Sea salt - You already know my favorite flaky sea salt!

How to Make These Quick Pickled Onions

To make this recipe, simply:

  1. Bring to a simmer.

    In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sea salt to a simmer.

  2. Prep onions.

    Thinly slice the onion with either a mandolin or sharp knife and layer them in a glass jar (one with an air tight lid).

  3. Combine.

    Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the onions in the glass jar. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a smaller cup, press down the onions for a few minutes as tightly as you can get them.

  4. Chill.

    Cover with air tight lid and let chill in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes to get nice and cold.

To store: These quick pickled onions are perfect to make ahead of time. They taste even better the longer that the flavors get to marry. Store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Quick pickled onions in glass jar on white counter top.

Variations

  • Remove the garlic. If you aren't a garlic lover you can definitely just omit the garlic in this recipe, but if you love garlic (like me) then load them up!
  • Make them spicy. If you love to spice things up try a jalapeno, serrano, habanero, or any others you have on hand. If you can't handle too much heat try a red bell pepper.
  • Add your favorite spices. Some great additions are chili lime seasoning, cumin, or a bit of your favorite taco seasoning!

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Quick pickled onions in glass jar with glass lid on white counter top.

The Easiest Quick Pickled Onions (Sugar-Free!)


  • Author: Lauren
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These easy Quick Pickled Onions are made with only five simple ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge. Thanks to the apple cider vinegar they are the perfect mix of salty and sweet without any added sugars making them a much healthier choice than store bought versions. These quick pickled onions make a delicious addition to tacos, nachos, bowls, salads, burgers, and more. This is one of those quick and easy recipes that impress!


Ingredients

Scale

1 large red onion

½ lemon, juiced

½ cup apple cider vinegar

2-4 cloves garlic

1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt


Instructions

  1. Bring to a simmer. In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sea salt to a simmer.
  2. Prep onions. Thinly slice the onion with either a mandolin or sharp knife and layer them in a glass jar (one with an air tight lid).
  3. Combine. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the onions in the glass jar. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a smaller cup, press down the onions for a few minutes as tightly as you can get them.
  4. Chill. Cover with air tight lid and let chill in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes to get nice and cold.

Notes

  • To store. These quick pickled onions are perfect to make ahead of time. They taste even better the longer that the flavors get to marry. Store it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  • Remove the garlic. If you aren't a garlic lover you can definitely just omit the garlic in this recipe, but if you love garlic (like me) then load them up!
  • Make them spicy. If you love to spice things up try a jalapeno, serrano, habanero, or any others you have on hand. If you can't handle too much heat try a red bell pepper.
  • Add your favorite spices. Some great additions are chili lime seasoning, cumin, or a bit of your favorite taco seasoning!
  • Prep Time: 5

Keywords: Quick Pickled Onions

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Welcome!

I'm Lauren, creator here at by Lauren Cermak! My husband Michael and I live in Tennessee. I'm into classic style, British baking shows, and pretty finds. My motto is dress like Kate, work like Reese, and entertain like Martha!

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{Hello 30!} When Michael asked how I was feeling about this birthday I said, “I’ve always wanted to be in my 30s!”. Blame it on Jennifer Garner’s thirty flirty and thriving or the fact that I’ve had the personality of a 30 year old woman since I was 18 😂, but today I’m living the dream! My twenties were full of joy, discovery, and so much growth. By the grace of God, I became a stronger and more confident person than I ever thought I could be. It’s hard for me to think about the past decade of my life without tearing up and every bit of it has to do with the man beside me. My best friend, confidant, cheerleader, champion, bodyguard, and simply everything! So to you, Michael Cermak, thank you for lifting me up and making all of my dreams come true! Here’s to 30! 
.
P.S. We’ve been falling in love with Georgetown/DC the past week and decided to hire someone to take some pictures of us together after seeing how many I have of just me from our other trips this year 😂 Thank you @cheyennemacielphotography for this sneak peak! If you’re in the DC area you must use her!
{Hello 30!} When Michael asked how I was feeling about this birthday I said, “I’ve always wanted to be in my 30s!”. Blame it on Jennifer Garner’s thirty flirty and thriving or the fact that I’ve had the personality of a 30 year old woman since I was 18 😂, but today I’m living the dream! My twenties were full of joy, discovery, and so much growth. By the grace of God, I became a stronger and more confident person than I ever thought I could be. It’s hard for me to think about the past decade of my life without tearing up and every bit of it has to do with the man beside me. My best friend, confidant, cheerleader, champion, bodyguard, and simply everything! So to you, Michael Cermak, thank you for lifting me up and making all of my dreams come true! Here’s to 30! . P.S. We’ve been falling in love with Georgetown/DC the past week and decided to hire someone to take some pictures of us together after seeing how many I have of just me from our other trips this year 😂 Thank you @cheyennemacielphotography for this sneak peak! If you’re in the DC area you must use her!
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And the precious reason we went to Nashville 🥰 I vow to spend an excessive amount of time and money spoiling you sweet girl! That’s what aunts are for, right?!
And the precious reason we went to Nashville 🥰 I vow to spend an excessive amount of time and money spoiling you sweet girl! That’s what aunts are for, right?!
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An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
An amazing experience at @audreynashville this weekend! Not only is the food incredible, but the space is inspired! Photo dump featuring yet another one of Michael’s artistic (accidental) screenshot selfies 😂
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