Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning Instructions

How beautiful are these? A sweet and salty vinegar brine, peppercorns and bay leaves are really all you need to turn sliced red onions into crave-worthy pickles. I’ve never been a fan of raw onions… I know, I’m sorry, it’s just one of those things… but these tender sweet-and-tart pickles are totally my speed. They’re a lovely and tasty topping for salads. I also love them on sandwiches, on burgers and sliders, in pitas and tacos, or cooked in omelets and other egg dishes. Really, you can add them to pretty much any savory dish for a pickled burst of flavor. They are super easy to make. If you process them using the boiling water canning method (instructions linked below) they’ll last in your pantry for years. As time passes the onions take on a pretty purplish-pink hue in the jar. These pickles would make a fun and unique homemade gift for the gourmand in your circle of friends. Or you can keep them all to yourself, if you’re feeling indulgent. It’s all good!

Want to learn more about pickling, home canning and other adventurous old-timey methods of food preservation? Check out these links:

Home Canning – Boiling Water Method

Home Canning – Pressure Canning Method

Curried Cauliflower Pickles

Quick Pickles

How to Ferment Cabbage and Make Sauerkraut

Recommended Products:

Canning Pot with Utensils

3 Piece Pint Jars

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Pickled Red Onions

Brine Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 3 ½ tbsp kosher salt

Pickle Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. red onions
  • 1 ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves

You will also need

  • 3 pint-sized 3 piece mason jars, wide mouth funnel, canning pot, round rack that will fit into the bottom of your canning pot, jar lifter, small saucepan, magnetic lid lift (optional), tongs, a few clean kitchen towels
Servings: 3 pint jars of pickled onions
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Gluten Free Note: If you're making these pickles gluten free, make sure your vinegar is certified gluten free. If you can't find a GF white vinegar feel free to sub apple cider vinegar.
  • Before getting started, sterilize all cans and lids using the boiling water bath method. Remove jars and place on a clean towel. Leave the lids in simmering water until just before you are ready to use them.
  • To make brine: Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a saucepot and simmer over low heat, stirring often, until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsTrim the onions and slice into thin strips.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsToss onions with 1 ¾ tsp kosher salt and allow to sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsEvenly distribute the peppercorns and bay leaves between the pint jars.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsAdd about 1/2 lb of sliced onions to each jar. Gently press down with tongs to make sure everything is loosely packed.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsCover with brine, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. If making refrigerator pickles (not processing/canning), make sure your brine is hot when you pour it over the onions. Let the jars return to room temperature, put the lids on, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The longer they sit the more they’ll pickle.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsTo process and can the pickles, clean the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Place the lids on the jars and seal with the bands using just your fingertips so that they are not too tight.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsProcess for 10 minutes using the boiling water bath method - click here to learn how. As soon as the timer goes off, quickly and carefully remove the jars using the jar lifter. Place them on the clean towels and allow to cool for 24 hours.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning InstructionsAfter 24 hours you can remove the bands and test your seals by lifting the jar, by the lid, a few inches from the counter top. Jars with good seals can be kept in a cool dark place for up to a year. If the seal is broken, store in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
  • Pickled Red Onions - Easy Pickle Recipe with Canning Instructions

Comments (56)Post a Comment

    1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      Paul, It is very interesting to hear a man who loves sour pickles !! Almost 99 % ladies love pickles and not men !! Actually, to eat more sour stuff is good to our body !! I have a formula that I got it from a Book that I bought from China 20++ years ago when they opened the door to let visitors below 55 years old to enter. It is really good and I would like to share with everyone.
      The miracle drink !! That’s is yummy and simple !! It will make you alert and NOT sleepy !!
      Anyone who will drive or wants to work but too sleepy, accident will arise !! Drink this miracle drink before you drive or work. It even stated that you will die peacefully !! Once you’re healthy you will die peacefully like my parent at the age of 88 !!
      You mix some vinegar with some honey to a cup of water as a drink !! After 20 minutes, you will not be sleepy !!
      My husband and all my friends were shocked after they drank my miracle drink !! They just can’t believe this simple drink acted so good !!

  1. i have never canned with raw veggies im new to canningwhen u can with raw you water bath after you put every thing in jar and then in boiling water for 10min thanks in advanced lol

    1. Hi Mike! No problem. You can cut the recipe in half or thirds if you like. Just pour the brine over the onions while the brine is still hot. Let the jars return to room temperature, put the lids on, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The longer they sit the more they’ll pickle. I should add those instructions to the post. Off to do that now! :)

  2. How do I proceed, if I do not want to “can” these. Just make and eat…. Which step sould I stop at? Do I need to boil? Help!

    1. Hi Yelena! Easy– just pour the brine over the onions while it is still hot. Let the jars return to room temperature, put the lids on, and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. The longer they sit the more they’ll pickle. :)

  3. Salsa Criolla. Quick Peruvian pickled red onions. Usually served with meat. I like them on a salad. You can make a small quantity – enough for just one person – or go big. Keep them in the fridge. Use within a week.

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have made something similar in the past by just putting the red onions in a jar and covering with Italian dressing they taste great on a rueben

  5. Just made these. I’ve been on a homemade condiment kick these days and these fit right in. Also did some Romanian Pickled Peppers today. Question…. What is in the jar with the red filling? Thanks

  6. Hi Tory. Found you over a year ago and really enjoy your blog. I am so excited about these pickled onions. Going to check out how you make sauerkraut. Thanks

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Yum! Why does the brine need to be boiling if you use it straight away?

    Also, does the onion ferment in there at all or just soften? I love fermenting but miss the vinegar of pickles. Hoping I can combine the two somehow!

    1. Hi T’lia– the brine is boiled to dissolve the salt and sugar and to kill any bad bacteria that might be present when bottling. Vinegar pickles and fermented pickles are two separate things; vinegar generally takes the place of lactic acid fermentation, and vice versa. This is a vinegar pickle recipe, not a fermented one. However, if you like the flavor of vinegar and want to add it to a fermented pickle recipe, you can add a little pasteurized vinegar at the end of fermentation to capture the vinegar flavor without affecting the fermentation process.

  8. Hi, Tori.

    I made these at the beginning of March, and I opened the first jar today. I noticed that the brine had thickened and was kind of syrupy. Is that okay?

    I was also surprised that the onion had become very soft. Other pickles I’ve made have retained their crunch. Is this normal for these onions?

    Thank you very much. I’m a big fan of your blog.


    1. Hi Brian, thank you for writing and asking about this. I’m afraid this doesn’t seem right. Are all of the jars like this? Did you can the pickles using a sterile canning process, or did you make them as refrigerator pickles? Was there a funky smell? My only guess is that maybe this particular jar didn’t seal properly and perhaps went bad. Even after sterile canning it is important to store the jars in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. I’m sorry that this happened and unfortunately it’s difficult to pinpoint what may have gone wrong. If pickled properly these onions will be slightly soft, but should still retain some crunch. I would suggest opening another jar to see if it looks the same.

  9. I used the boiling-water method to can these. The seals were all good, but the other two jars were the same — syrupy brine and soft onions. No funky smell.

    I had them in a cabinet out of sunlight, and my kitchen is not that warm. I’m not sure what went wrong, so I’ve erred on the side of caution and dumped the pickles. I’ll try again, but this time I won’t be watching the Academy Awards when I do.

    Thanks for your help.


  10. I canned this recipe this evening.. 5lbs, 8 jars was wondering how long you would suggest for me to wait to open, how long until there properly aged?

    1. Hi Alisha, I would wait 1-2 weeks before opening the first batch. I canned a bunch of these a few months ago, they are so tasty and great to add on so many dishes. Enjoy!

  11. Hi Torey,

    Great blog! I’ve come across your recipe for Pickled Red Onions. What is the purpose of the brine solution? I’m hoping to start a food business pickling and fermenting. Your recipe is the first one I’ve seen including a brine along with a pickling solution. Can you tell me the reason for that? I’ve been using apple cider vinegar in all of my pickles. Would you recommend it to distilled? I’ve also discovered the Maldon Sea Salt Flakes leave a really bad bitter taste. Is table salt ok to use?

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Fiona, these are not fermented pickles as they are made with a vinegar brine. They are what I like to call “quick pickles.” The pickle ingredients are simply the onions with spices added to enhance the flavor. Apple cider vinegar will work just fine here. I usually use kosher salt, regular table salt will work well too. I hope that helps!

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