pickled onions recipe | sirke wale pyaaz recipe | vinegar onion recipe

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Pickled onions recipe With step by step photos – sirke wale pyaaz is a sour & faintly sweet accompaniment that you will get to see in North Indian restaurants. These small pink or reddish colored onions are a must with Punjabi food. I do make these beautiful looking as well awesome tasting pickled onions at home but never ever got to clicking the pics and posting the recipe.

pickled onions, sirke wale pyaaz

In North Indian restaurants pickled onions and Masala onion salad are commonly served as many people love their taste and often ask for it. So if you ask, then these pickled onions are often served complimentary with the meal like pickles.

Small red onions are marinated in vinegar, water and salt and kept for 2-3 days. so the onions soften with the taste of the vinegar in them and even loose their pungency. So the result are onions with a sour taste from the vinegar with their light sweet inherent taste.

Whenever we go to any South Indian restaurants, we always ask for sirke wale pyaaz, if we don’t see them being served with the main course. But most of the times we have been disappointed as what they serve is a red or orange colored sliced onions with lime slices….. And sometimes they do serve these pickled onions, but their taste is miles away from perfection and balance.

To make these pickled onions, we have to ideally use small red onions. You can even use shallots. In the absence of red onions, a small piece of beetroot is added for the red coloring. I have never added beetroot. I make these with small onions, white or red whatever I get locally.

Its an easy pickle recipe which does not take much time in preparation. After 2-3 days, you can keep these onions in the fridge and they last for more days.

Using a lot of vinegar makes the onions very sour. I have learnt how to make these pickled onions from my mil and she always advises not to use too much vinegar. Also there is no need to cover the onions completely with the vinegar-water solution. Just shake the jar for 2-3 times in a day till the pickle is ready.

These pickled onions go very well tandoori snacks or rich curry dishes like paneer butter masala, kadai paneer, palak paneer, dal makhani, tandoori aloo or any rich curry dish of your choice.

They also pair great with dal tadka or dal fry served with jeera rice or saffron rice. they also make a good filling for burgers or sandwiches or in pita breads instead of plain onions.

Another recipe which is served with tandoori snacks is this Mint chutney recipe.

Few more tasty recipes for you!


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pickled onions recipe, sirke wale pyaaz recipe, vinegar onion recipe

pickled onions recipe

Sirke wale pyaaz is a sour & faintly sweet accompaniment that you will get to see in North Indian restaurants
4.79 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Side Dish
Servings 3 to 4


  • 15 to 20 small red onions or shallots (chote pyaaz)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar or apple cider or balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt or add as required


  • Peel 15 to 20 small red onions or shallots (chote pyaaz).
  • Rinse the peeled onions in water and then drain them very well.
  • Place all the onions in a glass jar or ceramic jar or any non reactive jar.
  • Add the vinegar, water and salt to the onions. Alternatively you can mix vinegar, water and salt in a bowl, then add this mixture to the onions.
  • Shake the bottle.
  • Let the onion sit in the vinegar+water+salt solution for 2 to 3 days.
  • Shake the bottle 2 to 3 times in a day.
  • Refrigerate after the onions are pickled.
  • Serve the pickled onions with any north indian main course.

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How to make vinegar onion or pickled onions recipe

1. Peel 15 to 20 small red onions or shallots (chote pyaaz).

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

2. Rinse the peeled onions in water and then drain them very well.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

3. Place all the onions in a glass jar or ceramic jar or any non reactive jar.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

4. In a bowl, add 1 teaspoon white vinegar or apple cider or balsamic vinegar (sirka). Also add ¼ cup water.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

5. Then add ¾ teaspoon salt.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

6. Mix very well.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

7. Pour the vinegar+water+salt mixture in the jar containing the onions. alternatively you can add vinegar, water and salt directly in the jar.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

8. Shake the bottle or jar. Let the onion sit in the vinegar+water+salt solution for 2 to 3 days at room temperature.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

9. Shake the bottle or jar 2 to 3 times in a day.

sirke wale pyaaz or pickled onions recipe

10. After 2 to 3 days, once the onions are pickled then keep the jar in the refrigerator. Serve the Pickled onions with any North Indian main course like matar paneer, aloo paneer, kadai mushroom, chole masala or dal makhani.

sirke wale pyaaz recipe

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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Comments are closed.


    1. they have crunch till they are over. they do not soften like cooked onions.

  1. Hi
    I love your recipes and have been using them for my even everyday cooking. Can I put pieces of beetroot too for color and for eating?4 stars

    1. yes of course you can add small pieces of beetroot. they taste good too.

  2. Hi Dasana,
    Love your recipes !! Just had a quick question, Is white vinegar all right to consume?

    1. Thanks Antora. you are not consuming the white vinegar directly. You are having onions which have absorbed the flavor of the vinegar. these pickled onions are very common in north indian restaurants. Don’t drink the vinegar, only have the onions. Instead of white vinegar you can also use apple cidar vinegar.

  3. Thank you very much for all your recipies. They are really hit with my husband as he finds my cooking skills to be improving. Thank you very much once again.5 stars

  4. Hi there,
    I used to live in dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh) and there is a nice restaurant called the Mid-Town. I take my family to the restaurant every weekend, either for lunch or for dinner. They used to serve a special sour and spiced onion pickle which was just great. Now I moved to New York and I have always been thinking about this pickled onion. And guess what luckily I came across this website and Lo!!! I see the pickled onion again. What a pleasant reunion. And I immediately got down to making this pickled onion by following your recipe. And I am glad I know the name too…Sirke wale pyaaz….what a name..and thank you so much Dassana ji. I am also looking at your daal makhani and my mouth is already watering. I will rate and this recipe after I taste the one I tried to make. But one question though….do I refrigerate the pickled onion immediately after I added all the ingredients or after sometime? Thanks a zillion. Dhanyawaad!!!!!??

    1. welcome tenzin. glad to know this. you can refrigerate immediately. they go well with many north indian dishes.

  5. Hi,
    Can the ordinary onions be cut into chunks and pickled in this manner? I cant get any small onions where I live and I really want to try this!

    1. the regular onions will give a different taste and can be sharp too. but still you can try.

  6. Hi Dassana! Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe! I want to make this pickled onion. I live in mumbai. I want to know if there is any name for these small red onions so that I can ask the vendor. Also is vinegar absolutely necessary? Or will lemon juice do the same work?

    1. welcome sathya. vinegar is essential. you just see if you can get small onions. there is no particular name. you can even make with shallots. these are small onions but not the sambar onions.

  7. Lovely presentation 🙂
    I wonder which type of vinegar to be used for pickling,apple cider or malt or white one..
    Thanks5 stars

    1. you can use apple cider or the regular white vinegar. malt vinegar can be very strong.

  8. I have one question, after 3 days of soaking, do I remove the vinegar water from the bottle before refrigerating?5 stars

  9. I always wanted to learn this.What’s the shelf life of these onions!
    Bdw I love your site I always hop to this site if I in need of recipes. You are doing great job!5 stars

    1. prachi, better to store in fridge and stay good for a week. shelf life also depends upon climate condition in your city. so can not generalize. in room condition it will only stay good for 1-2 days.

  10. I sometimes add a piece of purple plum to add red color to the onion. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  11. Hi, this recipe is very useful, thanks. We love these onions! One question- can the solution of vinegar-water be used again for second or third time to marinate more of these onions?

      1. I usually use the vinegar mixture in a Chinese dish where onion is already present. Also great site, it is my goto resource for cooking as a grad student.

        1. thanks akshat for sharing your suggestion. thats a good tip. usually i never use but will start using now onward.

  12. Sounds funny but seriously I can eat the whole jar of this. Love onions with my Indian food.

  13. My husband loves sirke wale pyaaz. In fact that’s the only thing he enters in the kitchen to make. But now since he has stopped doing even that, I have to take the charge. Thanks for reminding me how easy they are and I shouldn’t be lazy!

  14. I thought that pickled onions are immersed completely in vinegar. but as per ur recipe it is 1 tsp vinegar to 1/4 cup water. Hope there has nt been an error. Please confirm

    1. the recipe is right ruchika. i generally don’t immerse them completely in vinegar. in fact, for the amount of small onions mentioned here, the water-vinegar solution was just covering 1/4 of the jar from the base. too much vinegar makes the onions very sour.

  15. i was wondering how cum pink color in onion ! every time when i have this onion 🙂 its because of vinegar 🙂 my favorite ! i use to dip it in the kebab chutney and taste ! yummy !