Quick Pickled Green Onions, a simple refrigerator pickled scallions recipe that is ready in only 2 hours. Great as a condiment and topping!

sliced and cut pickled green onions in glass jars

Love green onions? Try quick pickling them! This simple refrigerator pickled scallion (also known as “green onion”) recipe takes only 2 hours for the perfect topping for rice bowls, tacos, and salads.

👉 Ready to learn how to quick pickle green onions? Let’s do it!

green onions, water, vinegar, salt, and sugar on a white table

How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Prep green onions

First, wash and dry the green onions before pickling. Then cut into either small slices for sprinkling, or into spears (or “sticks”) for layering on salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more.

  1. Cut into small slices: Cut off the roots of the green onions, then slice the whites and greens into thin slices.
  2. Cut into small spear: Cut the roots and discard, then cut the entire green onion in half lengthwise. Then cut the long halves into 2-4 inch long spears, or to your desired length.
sliced and cut spears of green onions on a cutting board

2️⃣ Step Two: Prepare the pickling jar

Next it’s time to prep the pickling jar. To do this, choose a large wide jar that will allow you to fit in the green onions while also have about 1/2 inch of space after you fill it with brine.

Then add the slices or spears of green onion, a small piece of fresh ginger, garlic cloves, mustard, and red pepper flakes.

a jar of sliced green onions, and a jar of cut green onions on a white table

3️⃣ Step Three: Prepare and add the brine

You can't make pickled scallions without brine! This salted and sugared vinegar water is what adds the “pickled” flavor to vegetables and fruit.

Our go-to refrigerator pickling brine formula is usually:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar (distilled vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are our favorites)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (granulated white)

We increase or decrease the amount of brine depending on the amount of vegetables we’re pickling, but this is the foundational recipe we use that always produces great tasting pickled vegetables.

a small sauce pan with salt and sugar inside on a white table with a measuring glass of water and a bottle of apple cider vinegar
Add salt, sugar, vinegar, and water to pan

To make the brine:

  1. Add water, a vinegar of your choice (see our tips for vinegar below), sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Pour the hot brine into the pickling jar and completely cover the scallions, then close the lid tightly and allow it to cool down on the counter until it reaches room temperature.

💡 Want more tips for making pickling brine? Check out my full recipe, tips, and advice for making a refrigerator pickling brine here.

a small sauce pan filled with water and apple cider vinegar brine on a stovetop with a wooden spoon
Boil the brine, the pour over vegetables

👉 Which vinegar should you use for pickling green onions? We like using rice vinegar for pickled scallions because we’re typically using them on Asian-inspired dishes. However, you can also choose a milder vinegar like white wine or simple white vinegar as well.

bottles of red wine, white wine, distilled, rice, apple cider, and balsamic vinegars on a wooden table
Test out different vinegars to find your favorite brine recipe

4️⃣ Step Four: Refrigerate to quickly pickle the green onions

Once the jar is cool, put the jar into the refrigerator and allow the green onions to pickle in the vinegar brine.

jars of pickled scallions on a table

👉 How long to quick pickle green onions

If you want to quickly serve the pickled scallions, let them sit for about two hours. But for best taste, we recommend soaking them for 24-48 hours.

The refrigerator pickled green onions will keep for up to one month in the refrigerator as long as they are submerged in the vinegar water.


❓ Questions and quick tips

What jar should I use for pickling green onions?

Pickle green onions in a jar that tall enough and wide enough to store them in submerged brine, but still have about 1/2 to 1 inch (1-2 centimeters) of space between the top of the brine and the top of the jar.

How long before you can eat pickled green onions?

Refrigerator pickled green onions, or scallions, can be eaten after they have been submerged in the pickling brine for about 1-2 hours, however for best taste we suggest waiting for 1-2 days. If the green onions are sliced very thin it will take them less time to absorb the pickling brine.

How long do pickled scallions last?

As long as scallions are completely covered with brine, they will last for up to one month in the refrigerator. If any piece of the green onions are sticking out of the water, there is potential for bacterial growth, so make sure to use a tall jar and to completely submerge them in the brine.

How do I know if my pickled green onions have gone bad?

Quick pickling vegetables and fruit does not come with the same food safety hazards as traditional pickling and canning. However, to make sure your green onions stay safe while stored in the refrigerator, make sure to completely cover them in the liquid brine and to feel them before eating. If they're slimy, throw them out.

two jars of pickled scallions on a wood table

💡 Ideas for serving

Here are a few recipes and ideas to get you started:

  • As a condiment or topping. Grab a few pickled green onions and enjoy on top of a burger or tacos. It's a yummy switch-up from traditional pickles!
  • On top of a rice bowl or main dish. Top Asian-inspired rice bowls or other main dishes with a few pickled scallions for a flavor kick.
quick pickled green onions on glass jars on a wood table

🧅 More quick pickling recipes

Check out our other easy refrigerator pickled vegetable recipes:

Quick Pickled Green Onions

Quick Pickled Green Onions, a simple refrigerator pickled scallions recipe that is ready in only 2 hours. Great as a condiment and topping!
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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch green onions, about 10 green onions
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rice vinegar, or vinegar of choice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions 

  • Prep the green onions: Cut the roots off the green onions, then either cut into small slices or cut in half lengthwise and then again into small spears or sticks (see photo for examples). Set aside.
  • Prepare the pickling jar: Add green onions to a large jar and add ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  • Prepare and add the brine: In a medium saucepan bring the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Once boiling, pour into the jar until the liquid completely submerges the onions. Close the lid on the jar tightl
  • Pickling instructions: Let the jar cool on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Once cooled, put the jar into the refrigerator and let the onions pickle for at least 2 hours before serving, but for best results serve after at least 24 hours. Quick pickled scallions are good up to one month in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Vinegar: We chose rice vinegar in this recipe, but white vinegar, white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are also tasty choices.
  • Recommended jar: Choose a large and wide jar with about 1/2 – 1 inch space (2-3 cm) below the lid.
  • Other recommended tools: small saucepan, cutting board, knife set
  • Prep ahead and storage: Pickled green onions should be made at least 2 hours before serving, but for best results make at least 24-48 hours ahead. Keep the jar refrigerated and it can be enjoyed for up to one month. Do not freeze.
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is calculated with all brine ingredients (including full amount of sugar, salt, etc.), however the onions don’t absorb all of the liquid so the actual nutrition information is less than listed here.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 17kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 0.3g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.02g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 880mg, Potassium: 22mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 104IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 0.2mg