These Mexican pickled onions are the perfect sweet, tangy, and spicy combo and will turn your tacos into something special! One bite and you will never want a taco without pickled red onions again!
❤️ Why make this recipe
Pickled onions are one of my favorite condiments! They add flavor, texture, and a beautiful color to your meals without adding additional fat, sugar, or calories.
We love to make a lot of refrigerator pickles and pickled carrots and daikon for tofu banh mi, but these pickled red onions are our favorite on any Mexican-style meal. They go great on anything along with some vegan cilantro lime crema or cilantro garlic sauce.
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- Red Onions - you could also use yellow onions or Vidalia onions, but red onions have a beautiful color and great flavor.
- Sugar - I use organic cane sugar, but you can use any sweetener that you want.
- Salt - sea salt or kosher salt has the best flavor.
- Lime Juice - This gives the pickles a Mexican-style flavor as opposed to regular pickled onions that don't use lime juice.
- Vinegar - I like to use white vinegar so they have a brighter color, but you can also use apple cider vinegar.
- Jalapenos - this is optional, but I find that a sliced jalapeno adds a little spice and a lot of flavor to the pickled onions.
🔪 Helpful tools
- A glass jar with a sealable lid - to store the pickled onions.
- A mandoline - to slice the onions very thin and keep them a uniform thickness. If you don't have one, you can simply cut them with a knife.
🥄 How to make Mexican pickled onions
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
Step 1 - Cut the top and bottom top and bottom off of the red onion and peel away any tough outer layers. Use a mandoline or a sharp knife to slice the red onions into thin strips.
Step 2 - Place the cut onion in a bowl (with a sliced jalapeno if desired) and sprinkle with sugar and salt.
Step 3 - Mix it around with your hands massaging in the salt and sugar to the onion slices and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
Step 4 - After 5 minutes add lime juice, vinegar, and water. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks before serving.
👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
Allow the onions to sit in the liquid and pickle for at least an hour before using. They are best when left to sit overnight.
❓ Can I reuse the pickle brine?
If you use up your onions in the first few days after making them, you can simply slice more onions and add them to the jar of brine. Throw away the pickle juice after 2 weeks since your first batch and start again.
Refrigerate: These Mexican pickled onions will keep well in the fridge for 2 weeks in an airtight container.
🌟 What to put the onions on
Mexican Pickled Onions
- 1 large red onion
- 1 large jalapeno sliced
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Cut the top and bottom top and bottom off of the red onion and peel away any tough outer layers. Use a mandoline or a sharp knife to slice the red onions into thin strips.
- Place the cut onion in a bowl (with a sliced jalapeno if desired) and sprinkle with sugar and salt.
- Mix it around with your hands massaging in the salt and sugar to the onion slices and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes add lime juice, vinegar, and water. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks before serving.
- Follow directions carefully if using a mandoline to slice your onions. Be sure to keep your fingers away from the blade.
- The jalapenos are optional, but add a nice flavor to the pickled onions. You can leave the seeds on the jalapenos for spicer pickles or remove them for less heat.
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