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Sliced red spicy pickled onions are shown in a glass jar on a rustic wood cutting board with a lid, a black fork, a white linen, a red onion, and a Serrano pepper in the background.

Spicy Pickled Onions

Bright, tangy, crisp spicy pickled onions are a perfect condiment for nachos, sandwiches, salads, burgers, eggs, and more!
5 from 40 votes
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Course: Condiment, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pickled Onion, Quick Pickle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 19kcal



  • Thinly slice onion. Slice serrano pepper. Smash and peel garlic. Add onion, serrano, and garlic to glass jar or other nonreactive container.
  • Place pot or saucepan over medium-high to high heat on stovetop. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring brine to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve salt and sugar.
  • Remove brine from the stove and pour over the onion in the glass jar or container.
  • Let cool for 30 minutes before serving or adding lid and transferring to fridge.


  • If you only have a 32 ounce Mason jar, double the brine.There is an option to adjust the serving size by hovering your mouse over the number next to “Servings” in the recipe card.
  • These pickles can be stored safely in the fridge for 2 weeks. 
  • For milder pickled onions, use 1 serrano. For spicier onions, use 2.
  • This recipe cannot be traditionally canned.
  • If you can't find serrano peppers, try jalapeños in their place.
  • Add a ½ teaspoon of dried oregano for pickled onions similar in taste to escabeche. 
  • Try these onions on salads, sandwiches, burgers, Mexican dishes, ricotta or avocado toast, eggs, or anywhere else you'd like some bright, tangy heat and a bit of crisp texture.


Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.02g | Saturated Fat: 0.001g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 873mg | Potassium: 9mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.03mg