quick Mexican pickled red onions

In my fridge, you’ll always find a jar filled with quick cebollas curtidas, Mexican pickled red onions. It is a staple in my home, and we use it on tacos, salads, soups, tortas, sandwiches, soups. We use them everywhere.

 Mexican pickled red onions

Why you will love this recipe?

For me, having a jar of these quick Mexican pickled red onions is total peace of mind. I know it sounds NOT QUITE RIGHT … but let me explain. These pickled red onions have the power to transform every dish. They transform it giving great texture, flavor-wise and visually. Great on tacos, salads, or as an accompaniment to any dish!

Now, you may ask yourself, is eating pickled onions good for you? Of course! They are full of probiotics and digestive enzymes, critical for maintaining gut health.

Sometimes, when I’m preparing lunch for myself, I add some quinoa or rice in a bowl, add some beans or lentils, greens, some dressing, half an avocado, and top it all with some onion slices. And… BAM!!! Without any effort, I have a magical and fantastic lunch. 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.

 Mexican pickled red onions

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How to make Mexican pickled red onions?

  1. Slice red onions into thin rounds.
  2. Boil water, adding spices: Mexican oregano, bay leaf, black peppercorn, and white vinegar. If you want to get a bit more taste out of the herbs, you can lightly toast them on a griddle (affiliate link) or saucepan. Be careful not to burn them, I recommend using low to medium heat.
  3. When the water is boiling, turn the heat off and add the sliced red onion until they’re submerged in liquid and let them cool. In some states in Mexico, they use white onion for this condiment. Use what you have on hand.
  4. When the onions are completely cooled down, strain them and put them in a jar or glass container.
  5. Pour lime juice, taste for seasoning. Adjust if needed with salt.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before use. Enjoy.
 Mexican pickled red onions

Tips and tricks to make the best Mexican pickled onions

These pickled onions are so easy to prepare, and as I told you before, just a little goes a long way. There are tons of recipes and tons of different ways to make them. This is the recipe that we do at home and the recipe that my mom and grandma always prepared, which, unlike others, doesn’t contain black pepper. It is a Mexican authentic recipe that happens to be vegan, delicious, and perfect for everything.

  • Use a glass container to store these Mexican pickled onions, also it is best to use stainless steel, ceramic or glass bowls to make them. This recipe has a lot of acid that could make other materials’ breech.
  • Store these pickled red onions in the refrigerator
  • If you don’t have any white vinegar, you can also use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar (affiliate link), or another mild vinegar
  • I love to use a Mexican lime/lemon squeezer. No only it is super effective to get all the juice out, it also makes some oils and great flavors from the peel come out.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes before serving them.

How long do pickled onions last ?

Anywhere from 2-4 weeks when properly refrigerated. See above.

 Mexican pickled red onions

Tips and ideas on how to use this Mexican condiment?

  • They are the BEST on top of SOPES (here is a complete post on how to make sopes)
  • You could finish enchiladas with them.
  • Put them on your favorite tostadas
  • They go great with these awesome vegan nachos
  • Or if you want another punch of flavor on a VEGAN CEVICHE you could top it with the pickled onions
  • Or if you want just a quick salad for lunch or dinner you can always do a quick bowl with rice, beans, greens, a yummy dressing and these onions.
  • If you liked this pickles recipe, check out my Mexican Pickled Jalapeños
  • They also go great as burger toppers

So here is the recipe for these quick Mexican pickled red onions, and I hope you like them as much as we do. But most of all, I am most happy to share this recipe with you because you can up-level your meal with this quick pickled Mexican red onions recipe. So if you like this, please share the blog, post a picture on Instagram, Facebook, or save it for later on Pinterest.

I would love to hear your comments on the comment section below and if your rate this recipe would be great.

Mexican 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.
5 de 7 votos
Prep Time 15 mins
Cool down time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
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.

Did you make this recipe?Tag @piloncilloyvainilla on Instagram and hashtag it #brownsugarandvanilla so we can all see your creations.

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5 stars
Girl. These are soooo good!! I made them probiotic, healthier, and easier. LACTO FERMENTED. YUM!! So Instead of the vinegar, I filled it up with water to cover and weighed it. The weight of the onion recipe and the water x .02 equals the amount in grams of salt that you add to the water, making a brine. Sat it on my countertop to ferment for a week. Probiotic and so delicious!

SO good!! The best flavor, plus you can eat a lot of it and not get all the onion breath! I put so much of them onto the top of my sopes that I just made.

One thing: Mexican oregano. This was before I read your kind response below. I went to the supermercado and found “oregano” there. Was that just regular oregano or Mexican? I didn’t know so I just substituted marjoram and it was wonderful.

Thank you!

Last edited 1 year ago by Erika

So I have a question: Mexican oregano. If you go to a Mexican grocery store, is it just labeled “oregano”?

Vanessa Mota

5 stars
I love this vegan option for adding flavor to the food. And also so easy to make!


5 stars
I love pickled onions with everything! Even sweet plantains Ale!


5 stars
I agree, they are good on EVERYTHING!!