These Korean flavoured pickled onions are so easy to make, and all you need are a few simple ingredients. Packed with flavour and goes perfectly with any meal, these onions are always in my fridge.

One of my favourite things at Korean Barbecue is this quick pickled onion dish they serve with the meat. You dip your grilled meat into the sauce and then stack some onions on top of every bite.

Overhead view of a small bowl with Korean pickled red onions.

I’ve been making a similar version of it with a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil but recently, my friend Junyi shared how she made hers with me. We were enjoying homemade KBBQ at my house a while back and she brought this over and it was absolutely on point with the flavours of our favourite grill house. So obviously, I had to have the recipe and have been making it this way (with some tweaks) since.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make Korean quick pickled onions.
  • Kalbi marinade — this is the secret ingredient that separated her version and mine! My mind was pretty much blown when she said she uses kalbi marinade and when I tried it, I was convinced. I use a pre-made store bought version that contains soybean sauce, sugar, pear puree, apple puree, onion, garlic, sesame seeds, etc. While I could make it myself, it’s much more convenient to buy it.
  • rice vinegar — my friend used an aged rice vinegar (not black or brown) but I used regular rice vinegar. If you’re able to find aged rice vinegar, then I recommend using it. I was unable to find it locally.
  • soy sauce — use low sodium as the kalbi marinade is already salty.
  • mirin — a sweet Japanese cooking wine
  • brown sugar — light or regular brown sugar will do.
  • water
  • red onions

How to Make Korean Styled Quick Pickled Onions

  • In a measuring cup, combine the kalbi marinade, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and water. Mix until well combined.
  • To a clean mason jar or airtight container, add sliced red onions.
  • Next, add the liquid into the mason jar and make sure the onions are submerged.
  • Place the lid on and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours before enjoying.
A mason jar with Korean pickled onions.
Overhead view of a small bowl with Korean pickled red onions.

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • I recommend enjoying these quick pickled onions within the week.
  • Enjoy the onions on their own for with some grilled meat, tacos, etc. I love stacking some onions on top of my pork belly or with some bulgogi. They also go really well if Korean fried chicken!
  • If you finish the pickles before the end of the week, you can definitely reuse the marinade to make more!
  • Try my Quick Pickled Carrots and Quick Pickled Cabbage if you want another quick pickle recipe!
  • Feel free to cut the onions into wedges if you prefer.
  • These are the mason jars that I used and pictured above.
Overhead view of a small bowl with Korean pickled red onions.
Overhead view of a small bowl with Korean pickled red onions.

Korean Pickled Onions

These Korean flavoured pickled onions are so easy to make and all you need are a few simple ingredients. Packed with flavour and goes perfectly with any meal, these onions are always in my fridge.


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Rate

Prep Time: 10 mins

Marinating Time: 4 hrs

Total Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Instructions

  • In a measuring cup, combine the kalbi marinade, rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and water. Mix until well combined.

  • To a clean mason jar or airtight container, add sliced red onions.

  • Next, add the liquid into the mason jar and make sure the onions are submerged.

  • Place the lid on and store in the fridge for at least 4 hours before enjoying.

Tried this recipe?Did you make this recipe? I’m always so happy to hear about it! I’d love to see how it turned out. Tag me at @CarmysHungry on Instagram so I can see it! If you enjoyed the recipe, I’d really appreciate a comment with a 5 star rating! ♥

Authour: Carmy

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Korean

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