This is a fantastically simple quick pickled red onions, no-cook recipe. Use them to top salads, falafel, tacos, and to add a touch of zing to lift the flavours of your dish!
This takes only 5 minutes of prep time to make. I swear, once you've tried it you'll ditch any pre-bought versions for your own. It's super delicious!
It's also amazing on top of hummus, avocado toast, with vegan cheese and crackers or on just about anything savoury.
The flavour of quick pickles (also known as refrigerator pickles) are quite different to a traditional jar of pickled onions. You might argue that canned versions have more depth of flavour (my partner thinks so).
However, I love them for their freshness and for how light, tangy and vibrant pink they are. So pink, they make everything I put them on extra pretty!
I really believe this is the best pickled onions recipe.
Did I mention that this recipe is for no cook pickled red onions?
This recipe calls for 5 simple ingredients plus your choice of flavourings. I've made my fave recommendation for those below and also under the heading "Variations".
- red onions
- raw apple cider vinegar
- sea salt or himalayan pink salt
- maple syrup
- fennel seeds
- mixed peppercorns
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make a no cook pickling brine
To make the pickling mixture I use a basic half and half vinegar to water ratio. It's easy and reliable for quick pickles.
The salt and vinegar together help to prevent any unwanted bacterial growth so that it remains fresh for 2-3 weeks.
To make pickled onions with apple cider vinegar I use a raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar with the mother. It's a store cupboard staple at home, so I always have it on hand.
If you like, you can mix the brine ingredients together in a measuring jug and then pour them over the onions. I prefer the lazier way which is to fill a jar with sliced red onions, then pour the over vinegar until half way and top it up with water.
Add in the salt, sweetener and any flavours you like then mix together.
That's it. How easy is that?
This is the one of the easiest recipes I know of, and basically consists of slicing the onions then stuffing them into a jar along with the rest of the ingredients.
Pop on the lid and give it a really good shake so that it all mixes together. That's it. Yay!
Here are the steps to make my easy pickled red onions:
Step 1 - finely slice the red onions and push them into a jar.
Step 2 - add salt, maple sugar, any flavourings and spices.
Step 3 - pour over the vinegar until it reaches halfway up the jar. Fill the rest of the jar with water. Leave a little gap of 1-2 cm at the top of the jar so that it's not overly stuffed. Secure with a lid then give it a good shake to mix everything together.
HINT - If you have time you could leave it out on the counter top for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the flavours to assimilate somewhat. Otherwise just pop the jar in the fridge straight away. A little time passing helps the flavours to develop.
Finely slice red onions
Push red onions into a jar
Add spices, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and water
How to get red onion pickles super thin
To get the onions super thin I like to use a mandoline with the finger guard that came with it. You get a nice even slice with a little bit of crunch preparing them this way. Alternatively, just use your regular sharp kitchen prep knife.
After a day or two, the slices do soften a little, so I don't see the need to use hot water or do any cooking here to soften the onions up.
Why not change up the recipe by spicing it up a little?
- Spice it up - try adding different spices to find your perfect mix e.g. garlic, cumin, coriander, dried chilli flakes, bay leaf, dill, rosemary
- Vinegar - try using raw, unpasteurised wine vinegars instead of apple cider vinegar
- Sweetener - alternative liquid sweeteners are agave and honey (honey isn't vegan)
Store the finished homemade pickled onions in the fridge for 2-3 weeks tops. This is not suitable for freezing.
Push the thinly sliced red onions down into the jar with a fork so they're fully submerged in the brine. This helps them to stay fresh.
Quick pickled onions will last for 2-3 weeks when fully submerged in the brine and stored in the fridge.
Quick pickles can be enjoyed straight away and typically only keep for 2-3 weeks when refrigerated. Traditional pickling is a great way to store foods for months or more in the pantry and is a more involved process.
These are some of my favourite dishes to serve quick red onion pickles with:
Quick Pickled Red Onions No Cook
- sharp knife or mandolin
- 1 clean glass jar with lid or mason jar.
- 2 red onions
- 100 ml raw apple cider vinegar
- 100 ml water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan salt.
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
- Slice the red onions thin. Peel the outer layer from the onions and discard. Half the onions to make them easier to slice. Using a sharp knife or mandolin finely slice the onions then push them into the jar until it's filled to the top.2 red onions
- Add the flavourings: Add the maple syrup, salt and flavourings to the jar and push everything down using a fork.1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan salt., 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
- Pour over the pickling liquid: Pour the raw apple cider vinegar into the jar until it comes up halfway. Top the jar up with water leaving a small gap at the top. Screw the lid on nice and tight then shake the up jar gently to mix all the ingredients together.100 ml raw apple cider vinegar, 100 ml water