Cilantro-Pickled Red Onion

A good pickled red onion can elevate just about any meal from dull to delicious—and this simple recipe is more than good, it’s downright great. That’s because rather than just adding vinegar and salt to red onion, as some recipes are wont to do, this one takes it a step further, creating a lightly vinegared, garlic-infused brine with a hint of sugar. Once they’ve softened into the liquid—and turned a gorgeous fuchsia, we might add—the onions get a shower of fresh cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil, which mellows any acidic burn from the vinegar. Pile with abandon on a loaded everything bagel with lox and the works, or use them to finish a burrito bowl restaurant-style.

Cilantro-Pickled Red Onion
Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
8 serves


  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 clove garlic, halved

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Combine vinegar, ½ cup water, sugar, salt, and garlic in a 16-ounce jar; cover with lid. Shake until sugar is dissolved. Add onion, cover with lid, and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Onion can be pickled and refrigerated up to 2 weeks in advance. Just before serving, drain onion and toss with cilantro and oil.

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