Pickled Red Onions – Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickle

These pickled red onions are quick, easy and oh, so deliciously tangy! They are perfect with just about anything and any cuisine.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Pickled Red Onions in a Jar
Pickled Red Onions

Quick and Easy Pickle

I love pickles! Sometimes I think about getting a small fridge just to house all my spicy condiments like today’s red onion pickle and all the chilli pastes I love so much! But where to put the fridge is what’s stopped me all these years. When you’ve got 4 kids and cook for a living, a kitchen is just never quite big enough!

So this red onion pickle is what you’d call a refrigerator pickle; you want to keep it in the fridge, and consume it within a month. However, given its high acidity (from the vinegar), you can give it a water bath to make it last longer and to be able to store it at room temperature before opening the jar.

Just bear in mind that even if you give it a water bath, once it’s opened, it’ll have to go in the fridge.

Pickled Red Onion Recipe

This is a very easy recipe, requiring only a few ingredients. At its most basic, pickled red onions will only have the onions, vinegar and some salt. You can please yourself, to some extent, on what else you’d like to add, and that can be herbs, spices and/or chillies. This is what I’ve got in today’s red onion pickle:

  • red onions
  • garlic
  • green chillies (only 2 jalapeňos)
  • bay leaves
  • Mexican oregano (more below)
  • black peppercorns
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar (use ordinary, if you prefer)
Mexican Pickled Red Onions
Isn’t that just the most glorious colour?

Mexican Oregano

I love Mexican oregano for its hints of lemon, but you can use regular oregano if you like, or even some other herb like thyme or marjoram. Or skip this altogether.

I’ll do a post on Mexican oregano soon, but quickly, it belongs to the same family as lemon verbena, and not mint, like the more common Mediterranean oregano.

Red Wine Vinegar

Using red wine vinegar gives a vibrant pink hue to your pickled onions. However, you will still get a beautiful red pickle if you use any regular clear vinegar, so by all means, go ahead and do that, if you prefer.

The anthocyanins (the pigment responsible for red and purple) in the red onion are very sensitive to acid, so any vinegar will leach the colour and spread it all around its environment.

How to use Pickled Red Onions

I use them on everything:

  • noodles
  • sandwiches
  • burgers
  • any sort of barbecues, grills and pulled meat
  • in Mexico, especially the southern parts, you’ll find these pickled onions served with antojitos, which refer to any sort of small bites, snacks or appetisers. This is why they are also called Mexican Pickled Onions.
  • I also love adding this onion pickle to salads to add a little bit of zing and flavour. I do the same thing with kimchi too. So if you haven’t done that yet, definitely something to try.

And now, shall we get our aprons on?

More Pickles and Chutneys on LinsFood

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Click here for a brief history and recipe for Piccalilli, an old English pickle made with various vegetables and spices.
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If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor. 

Lin xx

Pickled Red Onions in a jar

Pickled Red Onions – Easy Refrigerator Pickle

Quick and easy recipe for pickled red onions, takes less than 10 minutes! Perfect with burgers, noodles, on the barbecue table and definitely with Mexican food!
5 from 11 votes
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Course: Condiments
Cuisine: International, Mexican
Keyword: mexican, pickles
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Servings: 8 (makes about 300g/10.5oz)
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • saucepan
  • ladle
  • heatproof jar (capacity pint/575ml)
  • spoon
  • kitchen paper


  • 2 medium red onions
  • 2 green jalapeños
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 2 dried bay leaves or fresh
  • 1 pinch dried Mexican oregano or regular
  • 125 ml red wine vinegar or vinegar of your choice, but not balsamic, which is too strong for this


Prep Work

  • Peel the onions, halve, then slice thinly.
  • Quarter the chillies lengthwise.
  • Peel the garlic but leave them whole.

Making Red Pickled Onions

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the jalapeños, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Stir occasionally and fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the onions, oregano and salt, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour in the red wine and stir to mix everything well. Cook for 1 minute on the same heat.
  • Take it off the heat and transfer to a clean jar and, loosely cover with kitchen paper, and leave to come to room temperature.
  • Cover with an airtight lid and store in the fridge for up to a month. The pickled onions are ready to eat immediately but are better the next day, improving with age.


I’ve given the number of servings as 8, I think that’s probably quite generous, it really depends on each person’s preference.


Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
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3 thoughts on “Pickled Red Onions – Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickle”

  1. 5 stars
    I didn’t know that we can do this to onions! So genius, and it’s really tasty too! Thank you so much for sharing your idea! Super recommended to make!

  2. 5 stars
    Being a huge fan of onions, onion pickle is usually a summer staple on my table. What we make here is a simpler version with no cooking involved. I’m totally intrigued by the method and ingredients of your red onions pickle. It sounds a lot more flavourful. So many delicious possibilities are coming to mind!

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