Jess Pryles

Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

quick pickled red onions
Share this

Sweet, fragrant and tangy, these quick pickled red onions are easy to make.

The balance of flavor is a delicate equation, and one which makes a dish cohesive. Asian cuisines have best taught us this, with Thai and Vietnamese foods celebrated for their harmonious blend of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. It might seem that these conflicting combinations would be overwhelming, but they actually work to complement one another, and result in a more cohesive dish.

pickled spanish onions

On a more familiar level, you can find this practice of balancing opposing flavors in something as simple as a pickle served alongside a pastrami sandwich. The sour-vinegary hit of pickle provides a clean contrast to the rich, fatty mouthfuls of smoked corned beef. Or in a taco, where the simple addition of chopped cilantro and crisp fresh onion cuts through heavy, meaty barbacoa.

pickled red onion on flank steak tacos

Ok so what am I really trying to say here? Cool, fresh and sour pickles taste awesome alongside a bunch of different meat dishes. In particular, these pickled red onions have started appearing in a handful on barbecue trays, and making themselves useful as a delicious taco topping (like the ones I made here).

These quick pickles are ready as soon as the liquid has cooled, but get a little tastier with age. The clove and cinnamon creates this amazing scent which works beautifully when served with beef. You can also experiment with the aromatics and spices, add in a little chili, star anise or whole peppercorns and make your own signature pickle.

pickles onions in a mason jar

Here’s how I make mine:

Print Recipe

Pickled Red Onions

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 7-10 days.


  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-8 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon quill


  1. Combine all ingredients except onion in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
  2. Once boiling, add in onions and stir for a minute to ensure they cook evenly and are coated.
  3. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool completely.
  4. Store contents in an airtight jar.


Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, author, and TV personality specializing in the field of meat, with a particular expertise in beef. She’s also a respected authority on live fire cooking and BBQ. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

Want to request a recipe?