Quick Pickled Red Onions {No Cook}

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Quick pickled red onions can be made with 3 ingredients in 15 minutes with no cooking required! Use these vinegary onions for adding to a fresh salad or topping a burger.

The finished red onions are in a mason jar being stirred with a fork.

I love onions, but raw onions don't love me. Raw red onions especially tend to give me a touch of heartburn because they are so strong.

I've always soaked my raw red onions in ice water to help reduce that strong bite they have and it helps so much.

However, my new favorite way to enjoy them is to quick toss them in this vinegar sauce and let them pickle while I prepare our meal.

All that delicious red onion flavor and fresh veggie texture, with less chance for heartburn? I'm sold!

Why This is the Best Recipe

This is the best pickled red onion recipe when you want to add them to your favorite dish because:

  1. Quick to Make, No Cooking Required: You can let the onions marinate in the vinegar sauce for 15 minutes and be ready to go. Prep the rest of your dish while they rest.
  2. Vinegary and Perfect Texture: The onions stay somewhat crisp and still have a delicious fresh texture since you don't have to soak them in hot vinegar.
  3. Pretty Pink Color: Once they're ready to use, the red onions have a stunning pink color that looks gorgeous on top of a fresh salad or sandwich.


You only need 3 ingredients for this easy recipe!

The jar of sugar, white vinegar, and onion are on the counter.
  1. A Big Red Onion
  2. White Wine Vinegar: You could also use champagne vinegar if you have it.
  3. Sugar

Slice the Onion

Trim the ends off the onion. Then slice it in half.

Remove the outer most peel and discard.

Then turn each onion half cut side down so it stands on your cutting board like a "rainbow."

The onion has been cut on a cutting board with a large chef knife.

Use a sharp chef knife to very thinly slice the onion into strips. I worked from edge to edge rather than cut it into full half moon shapes because I like the shorter length on my salad.

Mix the Vinegar

Measure the vinegar and pour it into a large mason jar with a lid.

A measuring cup of vinegar has a measuring spoon on the side.

Add the sugar and cover the jar with the lid.

Shake vigorously to dissolve the sugar in the vinegar.

Marinate the Onions

Add the sliced onions to the jar and place the lid on top.

Shake the jar to coat the onions in the vinegar sauce and let it all rest for 15 minutes before using.

The sliced red onions are in a large mason jar.

Make Ahead Tips

As the red onions sit in the vinegar, they will begin to turn this pretty bright pink color. The vinegar itself will also turn pink as it sits in the fridge overnight.

You can keep the onions in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Serving Suggestions

The red onions are now a bright pink inside the mason jar

I made these pickled onions to go on top of my favorite strawberry feta salad, the pink onions and red strawberries looked (and tasted!) so great together.

The vinegary sauce helps remove the harsh bite from the red onion itself so I have found this is an excellent choice for raw onions on top of any sandwich, wrap, or burger.

I keep a jar ready to go in my fridge for sprinkling over lunches and salads any time.

📖 Recipe

The finished red onions are in a mason jar being stirred with a fork.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

5 from 1 vote
Make pickled red onions in 15 minutes, no cooking required! These vinegary sliced onions are the perfect salad topper and taste amazing on a grilled burger or sandwich.
TOTAL TIME 20 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
CHILL TIME: 15 minutes
YIELD 2 cups


  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  • Trim the ends off the onion and cut it in half. Remove the outer peels and discard. Slice each half into very thin strips (see photos above for reference.) Set them aside.
  • Pour the white wine vinegar and sugar into a large mason jar. Cover the lid and shake to dissolve the sugar into the vinegar.
  • Add the onions to the vinegar in the jar. Stir them lightly with a fork to break up the pieces. Cover the jar and shake to coat the onions in the vinegar mixture.
  • Let the onions sit for 15 minutes before using. You can keep them in your fridge for up to 1 week.

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The finished red onions are in a mason jar being stirred with a fork.

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