This easy Mexican quick pickled onions recipe makes a zingy refrigerator pickle in the style of Mexico’s Yucatan pink onion pickles. It’s a perfect condiment, garnish or side for any number of Mexican dishes but particularly tacos, tostadas and tortas. It’s also very versatile. Use red onions or purple shallots and adapt the seasoning to your taste.

If you’ve made any of our Mexican breakfast recipes over the years, you would have noticed that we often use pink shallots or red onions, fresh or pickled. When they’re pickled, we’re using our easy Mexican quick pickled onions recipe to make these zingy refrigerator pickles, which are in the style of Mexico’s pink Yucatan onion pickles. We thought it was about time we shared a proper Mexican quick pickles recipe.

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Mexican Quick Pickled Onions Recipe for Tangy Pink Onions to Brighten Your Tacos

What we love about this Mexican quick pickled onions recipe is that it’s super easy to make, it’s really very versatile, and you can eat these Mexican-style pickles in no time. While you could spoon these pink pickles onto tacos in half an hour, if you leave them for a few hours, the sliced onions or shallots would have started to soften and the flavours will have begun to meld together.

Leave these quick pickles overnight and they’re even more zingy, but I have to say that I love them best after 2-3 weeks when they’re not only more tangy, but they’ve softened and are a better companion to heavier Mexican dishes, and dare I say it, Tex-Mex dishes, such as a big old bowl of chilli con carne.

If you enjoy this Mexican pickled onions recipe, you should try our quick pickled red cabbage recipe.

I only have a few tips to making these Yucatan style quick pickled onions as they are ridiculously easy, and while I’ve indicated it might take you ten minutes, above, it will probably only take you five minutes. 

Mexican Quick Pickled Onions Recipe for Tangy Pink Onions for Tacos. Copyright © 2021 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Tips to Making These Mexican Quick Pickled Onions

Just a few tips to making these quick pickled onions. As these are quick pickles – also called refrigerator pickles – they don’t last long, as in they don’t last the many months that pickles that have gone through a bathing/canning process do.

Some pickle experts recommend that this style of quick pickles be used in a few days, however, we live in a country where pickling is a key element of the culinary culture and people are pickling every day and they’re not paying attention to how long pickles are sitting in their kitchen. They don’t refrigerate their pickles, not even quick pickles.

The advice of health authorities regarding the longevity of refrigerator quick pickles tends to be to keep them anything from a few days to a few weeks as long as they’re kept in a sterilised jar in a refrigerator.

But I’ve kept these Mexican quick pickled onions in the fridge for three weeks and they’ve still tasted absolutely wonderful and we haven’t been sick. But you need to use your best judgement.

We make and keep these pickles in small jars, as I suggest in this recipe, so after we open them we finish them within a few days. I do not recommend making these pickles in a larger jar that you’ll be digging in and out of over a period of weeks. We like these vintage mason jars and clip-top Kilner jars, but we also save jars for recycling, which we use for pickling, sterilising them before we pickle.

When it comes to vinegar, we recommend a cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar, or a combination of the two. For your salt, we suggest sea salt or Kosher salt. We don’t recommend fine grained table salt or iodised salt as this generally contains potassium iodide, dextrose and chemicals such as calcium silicate, sodium silicoaluminate, etc.

If you’re not sure what kind of salt you have, stir a little in a glass of water. If the water is a bit cloudy, it’s table salt, and it will muddy your pickling liquid, while the potassium iodide can cause the pickles to darken in colour.

Mexican Quick Pickled Onions Recipe

Mexican Quick Pickled Onions Recipe for Tangy Pink Onions for Tacos. Copyright © 2021 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Mexican Quick Pickled Onions Recipe for Tangy Pink Onions to Brighten Your Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 2 100ml jars
Calories: 121kcal
Author: Lara Dunston


  • 6 small purple shallots or 2 large purple onions peeled and sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 150 ml distilled white vinegar
  • 4-6 limes juice only


  • Divide the sliced small purple shallots or large purple onions between the jars.
  • Pop a bay leaf in each jar and then divide the Mexican oregano, salt, sugar, and black peppercorns between the two jars.
  • Add the white vinegar and squeeze in the juice of the limes into each jar, then screw the lids on and shake each jar so everything is combined.
  • The shallots/onions should be covered but if not, taste, then top up with more lime juice or vinegar so they’re covered, then screw the lids on and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, although they’re best left overnight.


Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1176mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 2mg

Please do let us know in the comments below if you make these Mexican quick pickled onions, as we’d love to know how they turned out for you.

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