Whole30 Pickled Onions (Sugar Free)

They’re my absolute favorite condiment, something I always keep in the fridge– Whole30 Pickled Onions.

Maybe it’s the tangy, sweet taste, maybe it’s the crunchy texture, or maybe it’s that beautiful pink color, I don’t know, but these pickled onions are a kitchen staple. Made with just a few simple ingredients like raw apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and freshly squeezed lemon juice, these onions marinate in the fridge and make even the simplest dishes something special. And guess what? There is NO ADDED SUGAR.

Pickled Onions with Whole30 Breakfast
I eat pickled onions with breakfast almost every single day! They brighten up so many dishes — more of that below!

“Soaking onions in acid takes the fire out of them without diminishing the brightness they add to a dish.”

Samin Nosrat, chef & author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Whole30 Pickled Onions

You’ll find that a lot of pickled onion recipes call for refined sugar, but truly, I don’t think you need it at all. A bit of lemon juice works great to take the edge off the sharp vinegar taste. I recommend using raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) and slicing the onions super thin, but those are things that are totally up to you!

Pickled Onions on top of Salmon
I like to top my spicy dishes with pickled onion for a bright punch of acid, like I did here on my Whole30 Blackened Salmon recipe.

Pickled Onions FAQ:

What do I do with them?

Honestly, they’re so versatile and I love them so much that I find endless ways. They brighten salads, add lovely acid to sandwiches and wraps, and make my breakfast plate a real dream. I’ve even been known to eat them right out of the jar with a fork (and so has my three year old!). I like them with eggs or on anything spicy. Here are just some of the Whole30 recipes I like to include them in: Loaded Taco Sweet Potato Nachos, Barbacoa and Plantain Slidersor on my quick Greek Salad with Shrimp.

Can I make them faster?

Yes!! If you’re in a hurry, they can be made quickly! Just gently heat the vinegar and spices in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer, then carefully pour the mixture into the jar, over the onions. They’ll be ready to eat in a snap!

Additional Flavor Variations (You’re gonna want to try these!!):

  1. Add a few thin slices of habanero or jalapeño and an orange segment.
  2. Add 3-4 cloves of garlic.
  3. Stir in 1/4 tsp. dried oregano and 1/4 tsp. cumin.
  4. Substitute lime juice instead of lemon juice and a few sprigs of cilantro
  5. Add a dried Kaffir lime leaf or a pinch of kaffir lime powder and a small piece of peeled ginger

Don’t be afraid to get creative! The pickled onions hold up great to a variety of flavors and flavor combinations. What flavors would you like to try? I’d love to know!

How long do they store in the fridge?

The onions keep in the fridge for about two weeks, but we always eat them much faster than that! ⠀

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What do you think, will you make these Whole30 pickled onions? If you do, I’d love to see! Feel free to tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!

5 from 1 vote

Whole30 Pickled Onions⠀

This pickled onions recipe is whole30 compliant, with no added sugar. Enjoy with eggs or on salads, tacos, sandwiches or wraps! 

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 40 kcal


  • 2 small red onions or 1 large
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar preferably raw unfiltered
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice approx 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic optional


  1. Peel & slice the red onion (I prefer to slice thinly, but feel free to do this to your preference).

  2. Add all ingredients but the onions to a mason jar and stir well. 

  3. Add in the onions, pressing down into the apple cider mixture until they’re submerged.

  4. If you need to, top off with a little extra apple cider vinegar until all the onions are covered. Mix well or cover and shake, then set it in the fridge overnight. 

Recipe Notes

**To Make Quick Pickled Onions: If you need the onions in a hurry, slowly heat the apple cider vinegar before you pour it over the onions. Cover and set on the countertop for one hour.