Quick Pickled Onions| Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions are an important constituent of a meal in a few parts of India, especially so in the north. One cannot imagine a meal of, say, butter naan or roomali roti with palak paneer or paneer butter masala without some pickled onions on the side. These onions, however, are pickled in vinegar to impart a delicious tang to them and to increase their shelf life. Today, I bring to you our family’s simple recipe for Quick Pickled Onions, red onions soaked in lemon juice instead of vinegar, and every bit as delicious.

These natural Quick Pickled Onions or Pickled Red Onions are one of my all-time favourites. Especially during the hot days of summer, I love tucking into a plate of curd rice with this simple pickle. Oh, yes, they do make a wonderful, wonderful pair! My little one loves these onions just as much as I do.

Mom has been making these Quick Pickled Onions for ages now, and I grew up with them. It never occurred to me to put out a recipe for these onions on my blog – wasn’t it something that everyone everywhere already knows about and does? No, as it turns out. Every single guest I have served this pickle to has raved about it, marvelled at its simplicity, but has claimed never to have sampled it before. So, after a long deliberation, here I am with our family ‘recipe’ for Quick Pickled Onions or Pickled Red Onions.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  1. 2 medium-sized red onions
  2. Salt to taste
  3. Juice of 1 lemon


1. Peel the onions and chop them finely.

2. Take the chopped onion in a bowl. Add salt to taste and the lemon juice. Mix well.

3. Let the pickle rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes before serving.


1. I prefer using big red onions in the making of this pickle. However, you can even use the small ones, also called sambar onions.

2. I use rock salt to make this pickle.

3. Make sure all the hard parts of the onion are removed.

4. I prefer chopping the onions finely for this pickle. You can even chop them length-wise if you so prefer.

5. It is important to let the pickle sit for at least 30 minutes, for the onions to soak and absorb the salt and lemon juice.

6. I typically make this pickle in the morning and we finish it over the course of the day. I think it can be stored, refrigerated, for a day more. Any more than that, and the smell begins to get too strong.

7. These Quick Pickled Onions make for a lovely accompaniment to curd rice. They can also make a wonderful side for a full-fledged thali meal or parathas, or be used as a topping on pizza, burgers, rolls and the like.

8. You may add one or more green chillies to the pickle, if you want to. We don’t.

If you have never tried this out before too, please do. I’d love to know how you liked it!


I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #280. The co-host this week is Ai @ Ai Made It For You.


4 thoughts on “Quick Pickled Onions| Pickled Red Onions

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