Quick Mexican pickled onions, pickled red onions

This recipe for quick Mexican pickled red onions is one of my favorite things to have in the fridge. It is perfect to finish up soups, salads, sandwiches or any Mexican recipe.

I always keep a jar of quick cebollas curtidas, Mexican pickled onions, in my fridge. They are a staple in my home and we use them in tacos, salads, tortas, sandwiches, and soups. They are a versatile condiment that adds flavor to almost any dish.

 Mexican pickled onions in a jar, these are red onions

Fall in love with these authentic Mexican pickled onions recipe

These pickled red onions have the power to transform every dish by giving it a great crunchy texture, an acidic flavor, and visually bursting its color. This finishing condiment is great on tacos, salads, or as a topping to any dish!

Sliced red oinion on a cutting board

Ingredients Needed

  • Spices: Mexican oregano, Bay leaves, Black peppercorns, and a Pinch of salt
  • White vinegar
  • Onions medium-sized, thinly sliced
  • Lime juice

✨Find the complete measurements and recipe below!

How to make Mexican pickled red onions recipe?

  1. Slice. Thinly slice the red onions into thin rounds or half moons.
  2. Boil water, vinegar, and spices: Mexican oregano, bay leaf, black peppercorns, salt, and white vinegar.
  3. Add the onions. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the sliced red onion. Let them cool submerged in the liquid.
  4. When the onions are completely cooled down, strain them and put them in a jar or glass container.
  5. Pour the lime juice and taste for seasoning. Adjust if needed with salt.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before use. Enjoy.
sliced red onion in a pot with dried herbs

Tips and tricks to make the best Mexican pickled onions

  • Best material cookware. Use a glass container to store these Mexican pickled onions. Also, it is best to use stainless steel, ceramic, or glass cookware and bowls to make them. This recipe has a lot of acids that could make other materials breech.
  • How to store? Store these pickled red onions in the refrigerator in a Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Vinegar substitutions. If you don’t have any white vinegar, you can also use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or another mild vinegar
  • Best tool. I love to use a Mexican lime/lemon squeezer. It is super effective in getting all the juice out; it also gets some oils and great flavors from the peel.
  • Patience. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving them.
  • Variations. In some states in Mexico, they use white onion and add orange juice for this condiment. Use what you have on hand, and feel free to experiment.

How long do pickled onions last?

Anywhere from 2-4 weeks when properly stored and refrigerated. The best way to store them is in a tightly closed container in the fridge.

 easy Mexican pickled red onions

How to use this pickled red onions Mexican condiment?

  • When I prepare lunch for myself, I start by adding some quinoa or rice to a bowl, along with some beans or lentils and greens. After that, I add a dressing of my choice, along with half an avocado, and top it all off with some onion slices. And voila! Without any significant effort, I have a magical and fantastic lunch ready to enjoy.
  • They are the best topping for sopes (see post on how to make sopes). They also complement enchiladas, tostadas, and vegan nachos.
  • If you liked this pickles recipe, check out my Mexican Pickled Jalapeños
  • They are also excellent as toppings for burgers.
  • These quick pickled red onions are a must for cochinita pibil tacos, tacos dorados Sinaloa style, and many more authentic Mexican dishes.
  • In Spanish they are called cebollas encurtidas or cebollas en vinagre.

Some of my favorite Mexican Dishes:

Mexican pickled red onions

Alejandra Graf
This recipe for quick Mexican pickled red onions is one of my favorite things to have in the fridge. It is perfect to finish up soups, salads, sandwiches or any Mexican recipe.
4.05 de 22 votos
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cool down time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Basics
Cuisine Mexican vegan food
Servings 2 cups
Calories 67 kcal


  • 2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 red onions medium-sized, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 limes juice


  • Boil the water with the vinegar, bay leaf, pinch of salt and oregano. When the water is boiling vigorously, turn it off and add the onions.
  • Let it cool completely and strain.
  • Add the onion into a jar or other glass container and finish with the juice of a lime and a pinch of salt. It should be a bit salty and with a good punch of the lime juice at the end.
  • Taste or seasoning and adjust if necessary.



Calories: 67kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 249mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 35IUVitamin C: 17.9mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 1.4mg
Keyword Mexican pickled onions


Nutritional information of this recipe is only an estimate, the accuracy for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Alejandra Graf
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4.05 from 22 votes (14 ratings without comment)
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