Pickled Red Onion (Recipe Spicy or Not)

Make this easy pickled red onions recipe either tangy or sweet or both. Adjust it as you desire. You can’t go wrong because included with the recipe is a way of fixing anything you don’t like. Serve the pickled red onions on chili (tomato-free chili cheese dogs as shown), with chicken salad or egg salad sandwiches, on salads and hot dogs, and more.

Gluten Free Rolls in Photos

For our chili cheese dogs, I used Schar Gluten Free Hot Dog Rolls and for the chicken salad sandwich, I used Schar Ciabatta Rolls.

Pickled Red Onion

Make dishes they’ll love simply by adding a little bit of this pickled red onions recipe. It’s so fast and easy to make.

Course Condiments
Cuisine American, Southern
Ingredient Keyword red onion
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 30 servings


  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white distilled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar or less (or organic for vegan) or sweetener of choice
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes I used 1/8 tsp as mine are homegrown and super hot
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 large red onion chopped (2 cups, up to 3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup water optional


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan except for the onion, stirring until sugar melts; bring to a boil. (If prefer something less sweet compared to pickled relish, use half of the sugar.)

  2. Lower heat, add the red onion, and stir. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  3. Taste the pickled red onion on some food and see if you like the flavor. If it's too tangy for you, add water to your liking. I used 1/4 cup. Add more sugar and cook until the sugar melts if it is still too tangy, but it's pretty sweet already. Add more vinegar if you want it even tangier.

  4. Use immediately on hot food and store leftovers in the refrigerator, in a clean glass jar, covered tightly. (It should last for months as sugar, vinegar, and salt work well to preserve food.)

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