Mexican Pickled Onions

An easy recipe for Mexican Pickled Onions using red onions and lime juice as your base. A very popular condiment in Mexico for tacos, tostadas, tortas and more!

Red Pickled Onions slices in small jar

This is a quick recipe since it doesn’t involve heating up your stove to boil water for the onions. See, some people cure the onions by “bathing” them in very hot water for a few minutes, draining them, then adding the ingredients.

I make mine super easy by cutting those steps!

Woman slicing red onions

How do you make pickled onions fast?

Just cure them in lime juice! The pickling process with the lime juice mellows the strong flavor of the red onions and make them palatable to those who are not huge onion fans.

Toss together the sliced onions, lime juice, a little bit of vinegar, salt & pepper at least 30 minutes before serving and you’ll be ready to elevate your Mexican dishes to a higher level!

Make sure to use a glass container since metal & plastic are not a good choice to cure in lime juice. The acidity does not go well with these materials.

A lime/lemon squeezer is a must gadget for Mexican cuisine. Do you have one? Do tell in the comment section below!

Sliced red onions and limes on a cutting board
3 cochinita pibil tacos on a green title table with salsas on small bowls

My favorite way to eat Mexican Pickled Onions (cebollas curtidas) is on Cochinita Pibil tacos! The onions are a must!

Limes make the best curing ingredient!

The lime juice acidity is perfect to cure a lot of food from onions to seafood. It provides a tangy flavor that’s the perfect balance for any Mexican dish. In my opinion, limes are a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine.

As you can see, I LOVE food that has been cured in lime juice!! Check out my Shrimp Ceviche or this Fish Ceviche. Delish!

Red Pickled Onions slices in small jar

Refrigerate the extra for later uses. Makes a nice garnish for several of my recipes in this blog.

sliced red onions in a small glass jar with a fork

Easy Mexican Pickled Onions

Servings 2 cups
Ana Frias
4.97 from 26 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
This quick Mexican Pickled Onions recipe is so easy – no cooking required! These onions are a great addition to most Mexican dishes and more. Come learn how simple it is to make these quick and easy pickled onions.
2 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 red onion peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 limes juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a glass bowl or jar, add all ingredients and toss to combine.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  • Taste again before serving and add salt if needed.

Video

*Ana’s Notes:

  • The onions will turn into a deep pink color the longer they’re cured in the lime juice. I usually prepare this the night before I plan to serve them.
  • For optimal taste, consume them within 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a glass container.

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NUTRITION

Serving: 1cup | Sodium: 141mg | Calcium: 10mg | Sugar: 2g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 94mg | Calories: 27kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Iron: 2mg

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

Red Pickled Onions slices in small jar

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50 Comments

    1. Hi Cathy! For optimal taste, consume them within 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a glass container. I don’t process them any other way! Enjoy and please do let me know how you like them! xo, Ana

  1. Hiii! So in the recipe it calls for vinegar but I didn’t see it added as an ingredient in the video. Is it optional? what’s the difference? or did I miss it? thanks!

    1. Hi Lizzy! I forgot to film it! There are times that I forget to add it when I make the onions and they still come out great! So I guess I should put that it is optional? But try it with it first! It enhances the flavors. Enjoy! Ana

  2. 5 stars
    Ana, Ana, Ana. Que rico! We have been using this recipe for a few months now. A few months because it is PERFECT!!! Over the years we have tried countless recipes, trying to duplicate that sabor we get when we are in Mexico. Never! Until we found yours. We went from never to whenever…we want. Muchisimas Gracias!

  3. 5 stars
    Mexican pickled onions. Another new discovery from Muy Delish. Pardon my ignorance in this regard. Really enjoy these on the cochinita pabil taco recipe you did and on tortas.

  4. 5 stars
    OMG Outstanding! I doubled down on the lime, salt, and vinegar then added 3 diced carrots( white, purple, and orange )plus one large jalapeño pepper and one red Fresno chili pepper sliced. Perfection in my kitchen thanks to your recipe. As good as any Taqueria around. I put this on my homemade organic blue corn tortillas with my homemade picadillo just now and it’s perfection on a plate.
    Thank you very much!

  5. 5 stars
    The best pickled onions ever! This is my second time making these Mexican pickled onions. Simple, easy and delicious!!! This will always be my go to recipe. Thanks!

    1. This is so good to hear Linda! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy the way we make Mexican pickled onions. I’m actually making some today for cochinita pibil lol! have a great day!

  6. 5 stars
    Just made this dish for my family, they loved it. Even mg 6 year old liked it and she hates everything.

    1. So good to hear this George!!! I’m so happy to hear that even a 6 year old liked them! I rarely hear that 6 year olds like onions period! Thank you so much for the feedback.

  7. 5 stars
    I just stumbled upon your website today. My mouth is watering after watching video upon video. 🙂 Can’t wait to try out your recipes. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Anna! Thank you soooo much for stopping by and I’m so happy you’ll try some of these recipes! Please don’t be a stranger and stop by when you can. Have a great one!!

  8. 5 stars
    Just landed back from Mexico and want to make these!!! Your red onion prep shot is stunning! You nailed it! Thanks for sharing this super versatile condiment recipe :).

  9. 5 stars
    One of my faves! Could add pickled onions to so many dishes but anything tacos is always where we add them. Love how simple your recipe is!

  10. 5 stars
    Oh I love this recipe. Sounds so delicious. I bet this goes great with meat dinner. Super easy too. Winner! I’m saving this recipe and will give it a try.

  11. 5 stars
    I’m in your camp when it comes to limes! We use them a lot especially in marinades and you’re correct that you have to watch limes — they can cook the food. I’ve never tried pickling onions but it sounds delish. I’d love them on a sandwich. This is an idea I’m going to implement ASAP.

  12. 5 stars
    I love pickled onions, especially for the beautiful pink color it develops. Simply love the addition of lime to the pickles. It’s got to be the best pickled onions with the hint of tang as well. Amazing photos

    1. 5 stars
      Made these for enchiladas tonight and WOW. I used apple cider vinegar with the lime and tossed in a bit of cilantro. Amazing! This is wqy better than the regular old boild water and sugar. 10/10

  13. 5 stars
    I love the purple pink color of these pickled onions. And your photos are so beautiful! I also love any recipe that only has three steps 🙂

  14. The limes where I live are pathetic, so I usually need to use bottled lime juice. So, how much juice would that be for the 1X recipe (4 limes).

    1. Hi Drew! So sorry to hear about having bad limes where you are at! You substitute 2 tablespoons of lime juice for 1 lime. I usually get two tablespoons out of a very juice lime…you can start with less and adjust if you feel it needs more to cure the onions. Good question!

  15. 5 stars
    I love Mexican pickled onions and used to make and have them all the time, but I haven’t in a few years! Your recipe looks delicious and easy! Thanks for the reminder how fun and easy these are! Great recipe.

  16. 5 stars
    This exactly how I make it in Mexico! I add a little more vinegar since I love it. Can’t wait to make it again!