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–+ servings
Pickled Red Onions in a white crock jar with a bay leaf

30 Minute Mexican Pickled Onions

Simple recipe for quick pickled red onions. Tart, sweet, a little heat and a whole lot of personality. Pickled red onions are a great topping for a taco, burrito, enchilada or even a burger.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 224kcal


  • 3/4 Cup white vinegar or apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 small dried New Mexico Chile pepper Guajillo works good here
  • 1 large red onion peeled, and thinly sliced into rings


  • In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.
  • Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the onions and the liquid into a covered container and refrigerate. These should keep for about a month in the refrigerator.


If you don't want whole spices floating around in your pickled onions, use cheese cloth to tied with twine to secure the cloves, allspice berries and bay leaf. Don't remove this spice packet during storage. It will continue to add flavor to the onions.
I have been trained and by habit have always used white vinegar for any pickling project. You most certainly can substitute cider vinegar or even red wine vinegar for this recipe. It simply will bring a little more sweetness to the overall flavor.
Choosing a dried chile pepper: The type of dried chile pepper you choose will dictate how spicy the pickled red onions are. A Guajillo pepper, which are readily available in markets is a very mild spiced pepper. An ancho pepper (dried poblano) will bring medium heat. Look for dried pasilla peppers for more heat. And sprinkling in a few red pepper flakes will warm things up nicely.


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 161mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg