Pickled Onions (or Shallots)

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Shallots Shallots

I can’t imagine that there is a pickle maker out there that does not have at least one jar of pickled onions in the cupboard… even if they are from a few years ago. They last a long time, are perfect as a snack (although I don’t recommend eating these before a date!) and great with cheese or in a sandwich.

There are numerous variations on the pickled onion recipe and this is just one. Feel free to amend this as you see fit.


  • About 1Kg pickling onions or shallots. (To make 2 x 450g jars)
  • 50g salt
  • 600ml vinegar (I prefer to use cider vinegar, but any will do – they just produce a slightly different variation on the recipe)
  • 150g sugar (honey can also be used)
  • Herbs and Spices – I use a sprig of mint per jar and a small knob of bashed ginger (about 1cm square)


  1. Peel the onions and remove the roots and the top. To peel them cover them briefly with hot water (10-20s is enough) and then drain them and rinse them with cold water.
  2. Put the onions in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt in layers, and leave overnight.
  3. Rinse the onions and dry thoroughly then pack into jars along with the mint and the ginger.
  4. Warm the vinegar along with the sugar until dissolved, then pour over the onions and seal the jars (do this while the vinegar is warm if you prefer softer onions or allow to cool first if you prefer your onions crispy.
  5. Seal the jars and leave for a month before using.


Leave out the mint and ginger, and instead pack a bay leaf into every jar, and make a spiced vinegar by warming it with the sugar along with a few blades of mace, a few peppercorns, a small knob of fresh ginger, and a few mustard seeds (and a few chillies if you like!), then leave overnight for the flavour to infuse before straining the vinegar and pouring over the onions into the jar. As before allow the vinegar to cool if you prefer crispy onions, or if you prefer softer onions, reheat the vinegar before pouring over the onions.

Phyl @ The Allotment Gardener

Lifelong gardener and allotment enthusiast. Now have 3 allotments!

Website: allotment.uk.com
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