This might sound kind of dramatic, but pickled red onions have completely changed the aesthetics and flavor of my food. Jonny is fairly convinced that he is allergic to onions so I never get to cook with them. Pickled onions are a fun way to always have some onions on hand to add to my dishes without having to actually add them to a recipe.

I first discovered pickled red onions on Instagram (duh) and had to try them when I saw the gorgeous hot pink color topping everyone’s salads and tacos. A lot of recipes out there called for sugar so I fiddled around with some other ingredients to see if the sugar was really necessary for the flavor. This recipe is definitely my favorite out of all of my experiments.

I typically make this recipe once a month and store the onions in a big mason jar in the fridge. I use these on salads, tacos, rice bowls, sometimes even toast! They are such a delicious addition to so many different meals and, of course, they add a nice bit of color for some super fun Insty worthy pics!

There are also some major benefits to eating pickled foods! 

The natural preservative process of pickling has been practiced for thousands of years as a way to keep vegetables from spoiling on long journeys or to preserve them out of season. It is a great way to help these foods last longer without all of those unnatural preservatives we see used in the foods that line the shelves at the local grocery store.

Eating pickled and fermented foods helps to boost your immunity, kickstart digestion, and produces healthy bacteria to protect your gut!

NO SUGAR Pickled Red Onions

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: Topping, Side Dish

Yield: 2-3 cups

NO SUGAR Pickled Red Onions


  • 2 Small Red Onions
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1-1.5 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsb Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • Large Mason Jar or Other Canning Jar


  1. Boil 3 cups of water
  2. While waiting for water to boil, peel and slice red onion into thin 1/4 inch rounds and place them in a large glass bowl
  3. When water has boiled, pour into glass bowl with onions and let sit for 30 seconds or until onions have become soft. Drain the water and use tongs to move onions into canning jar
  4. Lightly toast red pepper flakes and cloves in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Move to jar when done
  5. Pour the apple cider vinegar into the jar, covering the onions completely
  6. Shake gently to mix flavor
  7. Allow onions to cool in the fridge. Will be best to wait a full day to allow for best flavor, texture and color
  8. Enjoy!


These sugar free pickled red onions will add some delicious flavor AND beautiful color to any dish! Use as a topping for salads, burgers, tacos, rice bowls or eat them straight out of the jar!

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Planning on trying this at home? Be sure to tag @thenourishednutmeg on Instagram!

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