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Quick Pickled Red Onions – just 5 minutes of active time. Many pickled onion recipes call for sugar, but these are honey sweetened, giving them an extra depth of flavor.

Quick-Pickled-Red-Onions served with tongs in a white bowl

Quick pickled red onions are something I love to have on hand to add a little sparkle to green salads and bean salads, burgers (piled high on Brioche Buns) and pita sandwiches (made with this pita bread recipe) – especially Lamb Shawarma. When I discovered how easy they are to make, I’ve never looked back. (Just like my Giardiniera, Refrigerator Pickles, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Radishes, and Pickled Beets!)

Lamb Shawarma with pickled red onions

I started with a simple recipe from Bon Appétit and swapped in honey for sugar. I also increased the pickling time to overnight instead of just an hour, giving the onions plenty of time to soften and soak up all that delicious tangy sweetness. To make these, you don’t even need to turn on the stove. Just whisk the brine together and pour over thinly sliced red onion, cover and marinate overnight. You’ll have delicious quick pickled red onions to use in everything for up to two weeks, but good luck with them lasting that long!

Quick Pickled Red Onions

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Pickled Foods
Calories: 14
Servings: 6 people
If you love quick pickled red onions, you’ve got to try this quick and easy recipe – just 5 minutes of active time. Many pickled onion recipes call for sugar, but these are honey sweetened – it gives them an extra depth of flavor.


  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • Place onion in a bowl (ideally with a lid).
  • Whisk together water, vinegar, honey and salt until honey and salt are dissolved; pour over onion and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.


Don’t worry if some of the onion sticks out of the brine. In a few hours, the onion will soften and be covered in brine. I like to stir it once or twice during the initial pickling period to coat the onion evenly.


Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Sodium: 584mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. David @ Spiced says:

    Thanks for the reminder to make some pickled red onions! They really are so easy to make, and they’re an excellent topper on all sorts of other dishes. We love putting pickled red onions on our pulled pork sandwiches! But now I want nothing more than pickled red onions on that amazing shawarma recipe you posted! 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      Adding them to pulled pork sandwiches! Tucked that away in my brain for later. 🙂 Thanks, David!

    2. Angie says:

      5 stars
      Agreed!!! That shawarma recipe with pickled onions sounds like the plan!

  2. Dorothy Dunton says:

    Hi Marissa. I think we eat more onions that most people, I go through at least a three pound bag every week. We just bought a jar of locally made dark, wildflower honey at a roadside produce truck. Pickled onions are such a great condiment to have on hand. I really like them on blue cheese burgers. These will be in my frig by nightfall.

    1. Marissa says:

      You always know how to make me happy, Dorothy!

  3. Julia Mueller says:

    I looooove pickled onions!! I’ve made them, myself using coconut sugar, and it took the coconut sugar forever to dissolve, so I’m really digging this honey idea. I’m definitely going to have to try this!!

    1. Marissa says:

      I never considered coconut sugar – that’s a great idea too. It takes a bit of whisking to get the honey to dissolve, but the vinegar acidity helps. 🙂 Have a great weekend, Julia!

      1. Rebecca B says:

        5 stars
        True, vinegar acidity does help but I used about 1/4 cup of steaming hot water to whisk the honey. Takes just a few seconds for it to dissolve. Then 3/4 cold or room temp water to complete the remaining steps.

        Thanks for this great recipe, Marissa!

        1. Marissa Stevens says:

          My pleasure, Rebecca! Thank you for your cooking notes.