Easy peasy sweet and spicy pickled red onions, ready in just 15 minutes and with no sugar recipe. So next time if you like to add flavors to your tacos, burgers, or salad bowls, don't forget to add these quick pickled onions.
These sugar-free pickled red onions taste great, are crunchy, spiced up with chili flakes & soaked in the pickling liquid.
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make a successful recipe on your first attempt. Please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end if you want to skip.
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Why you will love spicy pickled onions
- Easy to make- Making spicy pickled red onions is really easy to make at home from scratch. You need few basic pantry staples and 15 minutes to make from start to finish.
- Sweet & spicy- Red onions are sweeter in taste. Adding pickling liquid & red chili flakes balanced the sweetness with a little spiciness. Pickled sweet onions adds a lot of flavors in meals irrespective of diet type.
- Since pickled red onions are no sugar. They work great with macro-friendly diet as well. These are low carb, keto and perfect to add a kick in meals.
- Ways to use- Sweet pickled onions pair well with tacos and salad bowls. But just serve these with sandwiches, as a side to lunch/dinner or basically with any meal.
Ingredients & Notes
Please check the recipe card for the full ingredient list and measurements.
To make sugar-free pickled onions, you need red onion, distilled white vinegar, water, salt, monk fruit, garlic & red chili flakes.
I like to have sugar-free options wherever possible. These pickled red onions are no sugar and used monk fruit in place of refined sugar. Maple syrup, honey, stevia are few other options to make pickled onions sugar-free.
- If you like to have mild spicy then use black peppercorn in place of chili flakes. Other flavors could be a bay leaf, star anise, and any fresh herbs like cilantro, mint, or dill leaves.
- The same recipe will work for white onion as well. You can make pickled white onion no sugar or quick pickled yellow onions with the same ingredients.
How to make pickled red onions
Slice onion as thin as possible
You need to slice onions as thin as possible so that they can absorb pickling liquid. Use a sharp chef's knife or mandoline to do this job. Slice them in a circle or further chop them in half, completely optional.
Transfer these sliced onions to a jar. I use a half-pint jar to stack red onions.
The jar should be big enough to have onions and still leave some space to cover them with pickling liquid.
Make the pickling solution
In a saucepan add water, vinegar, salt, monk fruit, and heat enough until the monk fruit is dissolved. (pic 1-4)
Fill it and add chili flakes & garlic cloves. Once the brine is ready, add it to the jar filled with sliced onion. Press onions with the fork to burst any air bubbles. (pic 5-8)
Let the brine sit uncovered at the kitchen counter to cool down completely.
Prepare & store in the fridge
Once cool down, close the lid and shake it well. Keeping it in the fridge for few hours works great. First onions get time to absorbs all the sweet & spicy flavors and second, they taste great when served chilled.
At least 30 minutes of chill time requires before serving if you want to experience the flavors. Quick pickled sweet red onions are ready to serve now.
Microwave Pickled Onions
You can make a brine solution for pickling in the microwave as well. Just combine water, vinegar, salt, monk fruit, in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir with the spoon till monk fruit is dissolved.
Pour this brine into the jar filled with onion and let it cool down. Once it is at room temperature, close the lid and refrigerate for 30 min before serving.
Tips & FAQ's
Distilled white vinegar is great to use in the pickling liquid. It is colorless, clear, has a mild aroma, and does not affect the color of vegetables or fruits. Apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, or just simple lemon juice is also enough to make pickled onions. Flavors may change depending on the vinegar used each time.
Red onions are the best choice so far to make pickled onions due to their sweet and mild flavors. But yellow or white onions are also great for quick pickling.
You need sugar to balance the flavors coming from vinegar & salt. Without sugar, pickles taste very salty and tart due to vinegar. To balance this overall flavor profile you need little sugar. I use monk fruit to make pickled onions without sugar. Monk fruit, stevia, honey, or maple syrup are few ways to pickle onions without sugar.
Do not boil the brine and add to sliced onions. You need to heat enough until monk fruit is dissolved. Adding boiled brine will cook onions a bit and can make them a little soft. To make quickly pickled onions heat the brine until monk fruit is dissolved and rest for 30 minutes.
You can also make cold brine and rest for 12-24 hours before serving. Cold brine will retain the vibrant color and crunch.
Serving & storage
Spicy quick pickled onions literally enhance flavors to any savory dish with their sweet crunchy texture. Serve it as taco toppings, salad bowls, sandwiches, breakfast toasts, or sides to any Mexican dish.
Once the brine is at room temperature close the lid and store it in the fridge. This stays fresh for up to 2-3 weeks easily. Being tasty they don't last that long in the fridge.
If you like this pickled recipe, do check few more sides from the blog.
Sweet and Spicy Pickled Red Onions (Sugar-free)
- Pint jar
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ cup distilled white vinegar substitute with wine vinegar or ACV
- 4 garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes adjust as per taste
- 2.5 tablespoon monkfruit use any sugar free susbtitue
- 2.5 teaspoon salt
- slice onions as thin as possible so that they can absorb pickling liquid. Transfer these sliced onions to a jar.
- In a saucepan add water, vinegar, salt, monk fruit, and heat enough until the monk fruit is dissolved. Pour it into the jar filled with sliced onion, chili flakes & garlic pods.Let it come at room temperature.
- Once cool down, close the lid. Refrigerate it for 30 mins before serving.
- If you like to have mild spicy then use black peppercorn in place of chili flakes. Other flavors could be a bay leaf, star anise, and any fresh herbs.
- The same recipe will work for other onions variety as well.
- If distilled white vinegar is not available then replace it with apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar, or simple lemon juice. Flavors may change depending on the vinegar used each time.