These homemade traditional English pickled onions are sharp and tangy with just the right level of crunch. They are so easy to make, why buy them in the shops when homemade is always best!
Pickled onions are a great British staple. You just can’t imagine the classic ploughman’s lunch without pickled onions gracing the plate. They are the perfect addition to any cold meat or cheese platter too.
If you have never thought of making your own, now is the time to get busy and just do it!
What type of onions to pickle
Obviously you would want to use those tiny pickling onions to make your own pickled onions but those can sometimes be hard to come by.
If this is the case for you then just use shallots, you know those mini onions, they are just as good and have a super flavour.
How to make pickled onions
The pickling brine
A brine is simply salt water and you are going to leave the onions in this for 24 hours.
After the brining stage you will be making up the actual pickling liquid which is made up of vinegar with some sugar and spices added for flavour.
This is heated up then left to cool and infuse overnight to get all those magical flavours mixing together.
Now it’s time to drain those onions and pat them dry before packing into a sterilised jar and pouring over the prepared pickling liquid (complete with the spices) and popping on the lid.
New to preserving? Then don’t panic, I can take you from zero to hero in no time at all.
Just check out these handy articles to get you heading in the right direction fast;
Give it time
This recipe for pickled onions requires them to ‘rest’ for four weeks before you use them so that they are packed with flavour.
Remember folks, patience is a virtue!
You can make these pickled onions now and then set them aside to add to your Christmas foodie hampers. Adding pickles to a hamper makes a nice change from the usual sweet jams and jellies, never forget the savoury side, think of chutneys and relishes, oh and don’t forget about making some boozy gifts too, they go down a treat!
Check out my Christmas recipe section for all types of foodie gift ideas. Nothing like getting a head start on that Christmas prezzie panic!
This recipe makes a great foodie gift, so why not check out my post on how to make Christmas hampers.
Looking for more fun and easy pickling ideas? Then check these out;
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Homemade Traditional English Pickled Onions
- 500 g shallots pickling onions or small shallots
- 1/4 cup salt
- 300 ml malt vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 dried chilli
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp allspice berries
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- Peel the onions by topping and tailing them with a sharp knife and submerging in boiling water for 5 minutes, the skins will come off easier with less tears
- Put them in a bowl with the salt and enough water to cover. Weight them down with a small plate so they are completely submerged and set aside in this ‘brine’ for 24 hours
- Heat the vinegar and all other ingredients to a simmer for 10 minutes
- Remove from heat and leave over night to infuse
- Drain and dry the onions and pack into a sterilised jar.
- Pour over the vinegar and spices
- Pop on a lid and leave in a cupboard for 4 weeks to mature before using