Sirke Wale Pyaaz (Indian Pickled Onions)

These Indian pickled onions make the perfect accompaniment to Indian meals and you can make them in 20 minutes or less!

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Sirke Wale Pyaaz literally translates to pickled onions (sirka=vinegar and pyaaz=onions in Hindi). In Indian cuisine, these pickled onions are typically made with red pearl onions and are a must have accompaniment with dishes like naan and dal makhani. You need only about 15 minutes to make these sirke wale pyaaz at home (including the time to peel the onions) and they last in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks!

pickled pearl onions in a jar

During my childhood, we didn’t eat out much. But whenever we did, we only ate Indian food (how ironic!). And most Indian restaurants would always serve mint chutney and a bowl of sirke wale pyaaz along with the meal. I remember we would sometimes finish the onions with chutney even before the food was served! I always loved eating those round pink onions dipped in vinegar.

And now I love making them at home too. The fact is that Indian pickled onions are really easy to make. The peeling takes a little time because they are tiny but other than that you can make these in 15 minutes.

My husband cannot eat his dal makhani & naan without these onions! They make a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal honestly and help elevate the flavors of that meal. And the best part? They are so easy to make. I have added cinnamon, cloves & peppercorn but if you want to flavor these more, you can also add some fresh ginger to the pickling liquid.

How To Make Sirke Wale Pyaaz

Gather all your ingredients- 250 grams red pearl onions (around 20 to 25 in number), 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste), 1 tablespoon sugar, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 2 whole cloves, 3-4 whole black peppercorn, a small beetroot cube (optional) and 1/2 cup water.

ingredients for Indian pickled onions arranged on board

Peel all the pearl onions. This step is actually the most time consuming part of this recipe.

peeled pearl onions in a bowl

Now, take each onion and make a slit/cut in the center lengthwise without cutting all the way through using a paring knife. So, we are actually not cutting the onion in half here but just making a slit without going all the way through. This helps in the flavors seeping inside the onion. Transfer these onions to a 8 oz mason jar.

paring knife making a slit in pearl onion

Now, to a pan on a stove-top on medium heat, add 1/2 cup water along with the salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves and peppercorn. You can also add a small cube/wedge of beetroot (around 1/4th of beetroot) if you like. This is optional, add it only if you want that nice deep pink color in your pickled onions.

water in a pan with cinnamon stick and beetroot cube

Let this mixture come to a light boil and then let it boil for 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar and salt dissolves. You will also notice the color of the water will change to red because of the beetroot. If you are not using beetroot then there will be no color change.

red color boiling water

Now, remove this pan from the stove-top and let it cool down for around 10 minutes. Then add the white vinegar to it and stir.

vinegar being added to water in a pan

Pour this water-vinegar mixture over the peeled pearl onions in the mason jar until the onions are submerged in the solution.

pickled pearl onions in a mason jar

Give it a shake and keep the jar in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then they are ready to be enjoyed!

hand shaking a jar of pickled pearl onions

Serving Suggestions

Sirke wale pyaaz is a great accompaniment for any Indian meal (mostly north Indian meals) but here are my favorite combo meals:

Can I Use Regular Onion?

You can definitely use regular onions if you don’t have pearl onions. I will suggest to use a mandoline slicer to get nice even thin slices though. Sometimes when I don’t have pearl onions, I just use regular onions and it works very well.

Can I Use White Pearl Onions?

In the market you can find white pearl onions and also gold/yellow ones. For this recipe, I highly recommend that you use red pearl onions because that’s what goes best with Indian food. However if you just can’t find them, then yeah you can use the yellow or white ones.

pickled pearl onions served in a bronze bowl


  • You can store these sirke wale pyaaz in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks easily. With the amount this recipe make, I usually finish these in 10 days. I literallt eat them with everything.
  • If you like chilies, you can also add some slit green chilies to the pickling solution along with the onions. It also gives a slight kick to the onions.

Sirke Wale Pyaaz (Indian Pickled Onions)

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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
These Indian pickled onions make the perfect accompaniment to Indian meals and you can make them in 20 minutes or less!


  • 250 grams pearl onions around 20-25, use only red pearl onions
  • ½ cup water 4 oz/120 ml
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3-4 whole black peppercorns
  • ¼ medium beetroot a small wedge, optional
  • ½ cup white vinegar
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  • First peel all the pearl onions. This is the most time consuming step in the recipe. Then take each peeled onion and make a slit in it lengthwise using a paring knife without cutting it all the way through. Once done, transfer all the onions to a 8 oz mason jar.
  • To a pan on medium heat on stove-top, add water with salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorn and beetroot (optional, this gives the onions deep pink color).
  • Boil this mixture on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the salt & sugar dissolves and the color of the water changed to red (because of the beetroot). Then remove the pan from the stove-top and let the mixture cool down for 10 minutes.
  • After it has cooled down, add white vinegar to it and stir. Now, pour this pickling liquid into the mason jar with onions making sure onions are submerged in the mixture. Shake the jar.
  • Refrigerate for 24 hours and then enjoy! These sirke wale pyaaz should stay good in the fridge for 3 to 4 weeks.


  1. Using beetroot is optional, it’s mainly for the deep pink color. 
  2. Other than the spices mentioned in the recipe, you can also add some fresh ginger to flavor the pickling solution.
  3. You can use regular onion for this recipe, make sure to use a mandoline slicer to slice it thin and then use in the recipe. 
  4. You can skip the sugar in this recipe, I like adding some sugar to balance the flavors but if you want to make this sugar free, skip it.


Calories: 34kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.04g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Trans Fat: 0.002g, Sodium: 397mg, Potassium: 95mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 7IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: Indian
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Hi, I’m Manali!

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