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Spicy pickled onions in a glass jar with sliced chilies.

Spicy Pickled Onions

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  • Author: Allie
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Spicy pickled onions that add a pop of flavor to a variety of dishes.  For this spicy version, we add serrano chili peppers to give these quick pickled red onions a little kick.


  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced ((310 grams) 11 ounces)
  • 2 serrano chilies peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) water
  • 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Thinly slice the red onion and the serrano chili peppers, and keep the seeds in the chili.
  2. Add the onions and chilies to a heat-proof nonreactive container.  We use a wide-mouth glass jar.
  3. In a saucepan heat the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt is dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  4. Carefully pour the hot liquid over the onions and peppers in the jar.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, cover with a lid, and refrigerate.


The liquid in the recipe is based on the average size of red onions that I tested on.   To find a better estimate of how much liquid you need for your onion: slice the red onion, add it to the jar you’ll use for storage, pack down the onions, and then cover with water.  Then drain the water off, this is your estimate for the total liquid you’ll need for your onion.  Divide the total in half, one half will be the measurement for water and the other will be your measurement for vinegar.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: condiment
  • Method: brine
  • Cuisine: american