Quick Pickled Onions take ten minutes to make, and are perfect for adding a little oomph to your meal.
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Kitchen Basics: Quick Pickled Onions

I like to add a few spices to my pickled onions. However these are completely optional, and I have made great pickles without adding any spices at all.

Store these pickles in a small glass jar in the fridge, and use within three months.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas


  • 1 red onion peeled, approximately 200g
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon castor sugar
  • 80 ml apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup
  • 6 black peppercorns optional
  • 3 allspice berries optional
  • 1 bay leaf optional


  • Very finely slice the red onion* and place in a small bowl.
  • Scatter the salt & sugar over the onion.
  • Gently massage the salt & sugar into the onion for 2 - 3 minutes. The onion will start to soften, becoming limp and floppy, and will release some liquid.
  • When the onion is soft, squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • Discard the liquid.
  • Stir the spices (if using) into the onion.
  • Add the vinegar and mix through, ensuring all the onion is bathed in vinegar. I separate any little piles of onion clinging together to allow the vinegar to penetrate.
  • Pack the onion (& spices) into a small glass jar.
  • Pour over any remaining vinegar.
  • Allow the pickles to stand for 15 minutes if using immediately, although they will be at their best if allowed to steep for at least two days before using.


*I have used both a sharp knife and a mandolin to cut the onion. I find I can get thinner slices with the knife, and this is my preferred method.