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Spicy Red Onion Pickle

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Spicy red onion pickle is one of the most popular sides with poppadoms.

If you go out for a curry and order poppadoms, there’s a good chance you’ll have some of this spicy red onion pickle served with them.

There are of course many different pickles, chutneys and raitas that go well with a poppadom, but few are as easy to prepare as this red onion pickle.

Spicy red onion pickle in a serving bowl next to a raita and poppadoms.

About this recipe.

If you found this red onion pickle recipe by searching for it, there is a chance you might also be looking for red onion chutney or spicy onion chutney. Both of these are just as popular as this red onion pickle but made completely different.

This red onion pickle could not be easier to prepare. You just need to slice up some red onions. Then soak them in ice cold lemon water for about 10 minutes.

To finish, you pickle the onions in lemon juice, salt and a little sugar. If you like your pickles spicy, throw in some chopped green chillies and finish it all off with a little fresh coriander (cilantro)

You are going to love this and the others mentioned above with poppadoms. You can also serve this red onion pickle as a side with a curry.

How long does it take to make this red onion pickle?

You can literally make this in minutes but you do want to allow the onion to pickle for at least 30 minutes.

If time permits, you could cover it tightly and place your red onion chutney in the fridge overnight. 

If you do, the flavours will become more intense and it will become a deeper pink or even red in colour.

Why do you need to soak the onions in ice cold water?

There is a bit of debate about this step. If you are in a rush, you could leave it out.

By soaking the sliced onions in ice cold water with a twist of lemon, you will get rid of the harsh flavour of raw onions.

So I do recommend soaking the sliced onions before preparing the red onion pickle.

How do you serve red onion pickle?

You can place it in a small dish and serve it with poppadoms. Just add as much as you like to your poppadoms.

I think that when you try this, however you will find many more uses for it. It really tastes great next to or on top of a curry. Use it as a garnish and make that curry look and taste amazing.

This onion pickle is very versatile!

This is a pickle that you will find in many different cuisines. You might have tried some on a taco for example.

The flavours are there and they compliment many different dishes nicely.


Want to try some other popular raitas, chutneys and pickles?

I have lots of delicious recipes for you that would be perfect for your next curry feast.

Raitas: Potato Raita, Cucumber Raita, Onion Raita, Honey and Mustard Raita, Pakora Sauce, Chilli Raita and Mint Raita.

Chutneys: Red Onion Chutney, Roasted Tomato Chutney, Onion Chutney, Tamarind Sauce, Tamarind Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Coriander and Coconut Chutney, Ginger Chutney, Garlic Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coriander, Mint and Mango Chutney, Coriander and Mint Chutney.

Pickles: Lime Pickle, Vegetable Pickle  and Mango Pickle.

Step by step photographs.

Ingredients for the pickle.

Get your ingredients prepared and ready before starting. Not shown is the coriander (cilantro) I decided to add.

The onions and chillies in a bowl of ice cold water.

Place the onions and chillies in a bowl of ice cold water with a twist of lemon juice. Soak for about 10 minutes and then drain through a sieve and shake off any excess water.

Squeezing lemon juice over the onions and adding salt and sugar.

Squeeze the juice of two to three lemons over the onions and add the salt and sugar. Stir well to combine and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

The onion pickle after 30 minutes in the fridge.

After 30 minutes, give the onions a stir and add the coriander (cilantro). They will already be turning a deeper pink or red colour.

The red onion pickle in a serving bowl.

These are already amazing after 30 minutes.

red onion pickle.




Yield: 4

Red Onion Chutney

red onion pickle.

This delicious red onion pickle is so easy to prepare and can be on your table with poppadoms in about 30 minutes. You could let it rest, covered in the fridge overnight for a more intense flavour and colour.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 medium red onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
  • Juice of two to three lemons
  • 2 to 3 green finger chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp coriander (cilantro), finely chopped


  1. Place the sliced onions and chillies into a bowl of ice-cold water with a twist of lemon and place in the fridge.
  2. Afte about 10 minutes, strain through a sieve and tap dry with a clean towel.
  3. Season with salt and sugar and squeeze the lemon juice all over it. Stir well to combine. Allow to sit in your fridge, covered tightly for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The longer it sits in the fridge the stronger the flavour will be and the darker pink/or red the onions will become.
  4. Garnish with the chopped coriander (cilantro) and place back in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. Serve very cold right from the fridge

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 59Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

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