If you’ve ever wondered how to make pickled red onions, this quick pickled red onion recipe is for you! It takes only 5 minutes of hands-on time and makes the perfect condiment to pile on your sandwiches, add to your favorite salads, or to elevate nearly any meal. It's the condiment you didn't know you needed!

pickled onions in a bowl.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

Pickled red onions are one of my favorite additions to salads, hummus, or chicken shawarma. They are so easy to make, and add a pop of color and tangy brightness to any dish. This recipe is a favorite from The Mediterranean Dish Cookbook.

Slice a red onion and dunk it into a bath of vinegar, sumac, salt, and fresh herbs for 30 minutes to an hour. The result? Onion slices that taste mellow, slightly tangy, and perfectly crisp. The color is beautiful too! 

And the possibilities are endless for this bright, jewel-toned condiment. Tuck slices of pickled red onion into your sandwiches like this Kofta-Seasoned Ground Beef Pita, add them to a salad, or serve them alongside grilled chicken

If you have any pickled onions left, store them in the fridge with their pickling liquid in a tightly closed jar for up to a week. The onions will lose some of their crunch as they sit in the fridge, but they are still delicious!

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredients for Pickled Red Onions
  2. How to Make Pickled Red Onions 
  3. Ways to Use Pickled Red Onions
  4. More Amazing Condiments 
  5. Try our all-natural Sumac!
  6. Pickled Red Onion Recipe Recipe
ingredients for pickled onions including red onion, red wine vinegar, sumac, salt, parsley and mint.

Ingredients for Pickled Red Onions

You’ve gotta love a recipe with only six ingredients. Easy, quick and guaranteed to add a pop of bold, bright flavor to your recipes. Let’s just say red pickled onions are the condiment you didn’t know you needed. 

  • Red wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar is the perfect pairing for pickled red onions because it amps up that gorgeous pink hue and that sharp flavor. 
  • Red Onion: Really, you could us any onion in this recipe, but when red onions are pickled they become the most beautiful bright pink color. You know we love color in the Mediterranean. Joyful food! 
  • Sumac: We sell sumac in the shop because it’s not always the easiest spice to find in grocery stores, but it’s used frequently in Mediterranean recipes, especially those from North Africa and the Middle east. Sumac is a berry that is ground into a fine powder. And I love how the tangy, smokey, slightly sour spice adds to this quick pickled onion recipe. 
  • Kosher Salt: The primary role of salt in this recipe is to balance the vinegar and enhance the flavors of the other ingredients. 
  • Fresh Herbs: I use fresh parsley and mint in this quick pickle recipe. If you’re going to set these onions out as part of a mezze, then chop a little extra and sprinkle it on top of the pickled onions just before serving. 
pickled red onions in a bowl next to a knife and cutting board holding leftover ingedients.

How to Make Pickled Red Onions 

This recipe takes minutes to put together. I typically prefer to slice my onion into thinish slices, but you can also cut the onion in wedges or rings. As the onions sit in the liquid they will soften. 

  • In a medium bowl, combine the onion slices with vinegar, sumac, salt, parsley, and mint.
  • Use your hands to toss everything together, massaging gently. 
  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
  • Use immediately or store in the fridge in a tightly covered jar for up to 1 week.
pickled onions being removed from a jar with tongs.

Ways to Use Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions are a great condiment over burgers, Mediterranean-style fish tacos, beef shawarma, Kofta sandwiches, or as another component to layered hummus. You can also add pickled onions as part of your mezze alongside pickled turnips or quick pickled cucumbers

More Amazing Condiments 

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

Try our all-natural Sumac!

This tangy, smokey, slightly sour spice is just what you need to give your pickled onions some extra zing.

a jar of sumac from the mediterranean dish.
4.55 from 22 votes

Pickled Red Onion Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
pickled onions in a bowl.
This quick pickled red onion recipe is an easy way to boost flavor and color for many of your favorite recipes. You don’t even have to turn on the stove!
Prep – 5 minutes
Storage Time 1 hour
Total – 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves – 1 cup


  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sumac
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint


  • Combine the ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine the onion slices with vinegar, sumac, salt, parsley, and mint.
  • Toss everything together: Use your hands to toss everything together, massaging gently.
  • Let it sit: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serve: Use immediately or store in the fridge in a tightly covered jar for up to 1 week.



  • Switch it up: If you don’t have a red onion on hand use a white or yellow one.
  • Vinegar: I prefer red wine vinegar for this recipe, but you can use white wine vinegar as well. The flavor might be a little sharper and the color won’t be as bright, but the pickled onion will still taste amazing
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams and spices.


Calories: 76.6kcalCarbohydrates: 12.6gProtein: 1.9gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.03gSodium: 6998mgPotassium: 309.9mgFiber: 2.9gSugar: 4.7gVitamin A: 1100.9IUVitamin C: 22.6mgCalcium: 72.1mgIron: 1.8mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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4.55 from 22 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. Simone Valk says:

    3 stars
    I made this now several times with varying vinegars. No matter which one, it ends up so very acid. How can I change that? Half boiling water. Half vinegar? Do you have other ideas?

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Simone. You can try to add a bit of sugar to balance things out and see if that helps.

  2. Lin says:

    1 star
    Can you please clarify the sodium content? Over 6,000 mg! It would be so helpful if you would include a serving size because I’m assuming (hoping!) that this sodium amount is for the entire recipe. The same for the pickled cucumber please. I really want to try these pickled recipes but the amount of sodium makes it impossible! Thanks.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Lin. Yes, the amount of sodium listed here is for the entire recipe. I just double checked the cucumbers, and that one is per serving (approximately 16 servings per batch). Unfortunately, pickled veggies do tend to lean higher in sodium content due to the brining processes.

  3. Kim U says:

    5 stars
    I love pickled red onions. I have tried several recipes that I like, but this one is the best! And it is simple. I use these onions as a topping for a variety of dishes.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Awww! Thank you, Kim!

  4. Mariam says:

    As we can’t have alcohol is there a substitute for red wine to make pickled onion

    1. Summer Miller says:

      Hi, Mariam -- I'm Summer. I work here at The Mediterranean Dish. Red Wine Vinegar doesn't have alcohol in it so you should be fine, but if you would still prefer to replace it you can use distilled white vinegar. It might be a little sharper in the flavor so you may want to add a large pinch of sugar to balance out the sharpness from the distilled vinegar.

  5. Leanne says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I had a very large red onion and doubled the red wine vinegar and added 1/2 c of water. I simmered them in the vinegar/water for just a few minutes then added all spices and herbs and let cool. I also thought the recipe may have been wrong with 3 T of sumac, but I went with it and they're fabulous!

    1. TMD Team says:

      Awesome to hear! Thanks, Leanne!

  6. Barb Chamberlain says:

    5 stars
    I've been pickled red onions for a while now, seasoned with garlic and crushed red pepper. Tried this one as a change of flavors and now it's going to be my regular! The other pickled onion recipes I've read all use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar:water so I did that. I only used 1 t. sumac in my first quart jar (which was probably more like 1-1/2 or 2 onions; I was doing a big bunch of onions). I didn't have 3 T. of sumac on hand and this tasted great. I'll increase it next time, although not all the way up to 3 tablespoons; I'm going to taste-test my way up in the quantity I add.

    1. TMD Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Barb!

  7. Bill says:

    1 star
    Is the ingredients list correct, 3 tablespoons of sumac and 4 tablespoons of chopped herbs seems a lot for 1/2 cup vinegar/liquid. My dish turned out to be a thick gloop of herbs and spices. You don't seem to use this amount in the video clip and the finished dish looked so different to mine.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Bill. Yes, the ingredient list is correct, but you can definitely adjust the amount of herbs and spices to suite your taste.

      1. Bill says:

        Can I suggest you make this recipe and see for yourself how the dish turns out. It is nothing like the finished dish in the recipe.

  8. Jeff in Houston says:

    5 stars
    I love, love, love this recipe for pickled red onions! So simple and flavorful! I make huge batches and jar them up for storage in the fridge. The jars don’t last long. We use them on EVERYTHING!

    There may or may not be a quart jar in the fridge with a habañero pepper added…LOL. But they all have fresh mint from our herb garden. I never thought of adding mint, and I know this gives that bright Mediterranean flavor. Thanks for that tip in your recipe!

  9. Cindy says:

    I just want to be sure that this recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons of sumac instead of teaspoons.
    It seems like a lot for one onion.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hi, Cindy. 3 Tablespoons is correct, but you can certainly reduce the amount if you prefer. Enjoy!

  10. Julie says:


  11. Kengleblanc says:

    5 stars
    Suzy love your recipe’s will definitely try this recipe

    1. TMD Team says:

      Hope you enjoy it!

  12. Joyce says:

    5 stars
    I've made pickled red onion before, and it's an amazing addition to sandwiches, salads, or a topping. I've never tried making it with sumac or parsley, and these are both add so much! I've made it and love the flavor, but I expect that after it's mellowed a bit, it will be even better.

    Also, I think pickled red onions will last a lot longer than a week. The vinegar is a preservative, and I've found that mine lasted at least a month.

    1. Joyce says:

      5 stars
      I recommend using a mandoline to make uniformly thin onion slices. So quick and easy, but avoid slicing your fingers as well.

  13. Miriam Brown Pepinsky says:

    Oh my. Out of sumac. What is best substitute for this recipe? Thanks. Miriam

  14. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    Yes! I love these pickled onions. The first time I tried them, I made them from Suzy's book, which is a must have for anyone who loves to eat this way. The Mediterranean Dish cookbook is filled with amazing recipes that are easy and delicious. I digress...I've been making these onions and using them on sandwiches and salads for a while. They really do add some great flavor and texture.

    1. TMD Team says:

      You're so sweet, Cindy! Thank you for the kind words!

  15. David Kozinski says:

    5 stars
    This is an excellent version of this recipe. I usually double this amount and in one half I add a sliced Jalapeno to add some heat when I use them in non heated recipe's, salads, sandwiches...etc.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Ooo! YUM! Thanks for sharing, David!