Traditional English Pickled Onions Recipe -
Traditional English Pickled Onions Recipe
  • READY IN 1+ days

Traditional English Pickled Onions

Recipe by  

"Serve with cold ham, bread and cheese. These pickled onions are made with dark malt vinegar and stored for at least 6 weeks before eating."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 pints Change Servings
  • PREP

    25 mins
  • COOK

    10 mins

    1 day 35 mins


  1. Place the peeled onions in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with cold water. Drain the water into a saucepan and stir in the salt. Bring just to a boil so that the salt dissolves, then cool slightly and pour over the onions. Cover the bowl with a heavy plate so all of the onions stay submerged. Leave onions to stand for 24 hours.
  2. Measure the vinegar into a saucepan. Tie the pickling spice into a cloth and add to the vinegar along with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse the onions and pat them dry. Add to the saucepan with the vinegar. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Pack the onions into sterile jars and ladle the brine over them until they are covered. Add a dried chile pepper to each jar if you like. Seal with sterile lids and rings and store in a cool dark place for at least 6 weeks before opening.
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  • Tip
  • To peel the onions, trim off the root end but leave the onion layers attached. Cut a thin slice from the tops and place onions in a non-reactive bowl then cover with boiling water. Leave to stand for 4 minutes, then drain. Skins should be easier to peel with a sharp knife.

Reviews More Reviews

Dec 23, 2008

Did not like these at all. Will not make again. Sorry

Oct 12, 2010

These are terrific! My husband and I love them. I made them exactly as indicated. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


5 Ratings

Jun 10, 2015

Honestly, laziness crept in, and I used frozen pearl onions for this recipe rather peeling all of those little bitty onions. Wasn't sure about what to do with them after I poured the pickling liquid into the jars, so I just put lids on them, and into the fridge they went. I uploaded a photo on 5.20.15, but I just knew that I couldn't wait 6 weeks to sample these onions. So I'm coming clean with you, I cheated and opened a jar today. Seriously, the best pickled onions I've ever had. The thing that makes this recipe unique is the malt vinegar, and the hot chili peppers. I not only added some crushed peppers to each jar, I added a couple of the whole dried chilis. That malt vinegar-chili pepper combination is just crazy good. I vow to never not have these on hand in my fridge. Hmmmm, wonder how those onions would be in a very dry gin martini (is that called a Gibson??). Five-star recipe in this house!

May 22, 2013

it needs sugar, add about a cup and it makes all the difference. Is really good on buttered bread. I also did not remove the pickling spice I enjoy the little bits of spice

Sep 12, 2013

Love them. Just like the ones we had growing up. Doing them for a second year. Great with hamburgers. - Jackie


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  • Calories
  • 28 kcal
  • 1%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 6.9 g
  • 2%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 0 g
  • < 1%
  • Fiber
  • 0 g
  • < 1%
  • Protein
  • 0.4 g
  • < 1%
  • Sodium
  • 1757 mg
  • 70%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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