How to pickle onions

Two isolated bottles of freshly bottled home made pickled onions on white

How to Pickle Onions

For many home preserving enthusiasts who are keen to extend their efforts from jam making into something savoury, pickled onions are an easy first step. This British favourite is an essential part of the ploughman’s lunch and can be enjoyed with many savoury dishes, from fish and chips to a cheese and crackers supper. Whilst they are easy enough to source from the supermarket, nothing beats homemade pickled onions. If you get cracking now, your own pickled onions will be ready for Christmas.

Whilst you can use pre-mixed pickling spices to add to your vinegar, we prefer to mix our own fresh spices. Here is our simple recipe for tasty pickled onions:


500g pickling onions
25g salt
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
100g sugar
750ml malt vinegar


1. Top and tail the pickled onions, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After 30 seconds, drain the onions in a colander and pour over lots of cold water. This will make it easy to remove the onion skins.

2. Once peeled, place the onions in a large bowl with the salt, cover the bowl and set it aside overnight.

3. After soaking overnight, rinse well in cold water and allow to dry.

4. Pack the onions tightly into sterilised glass pickle jars.

5. Place the spices, sugar and vinegar in a large pan and heat to allow the sugar to dissolve. Don’t allow the liquid to boil.

6. Pour the liquid over the onions, making sure each jar contains some spices.

7. Seal the jars and leave to cool before storing in a cool, dark cupboard.

The pickled onions will be ready in about two months. Once opened, always store the jar in the fridge.

Choosing your pickle jars

Whilst you can technically put your pickled onions in any size of jar you like, larger sizes of jars are most commonly used. Our 907ml pickles jar has the word ‘pickles’ etched on the front and makes a great homemade gift when filled with your own pickling endeavours. For a simpler look, the 720ml straight-sided jar is a good choice, as is the 500ml deluxe jar.

Extra-large pickle jars

If you plan on pickling onions on a larger scale, our half-gallon and one gallon-sized glass pickle jars are just what you need. These glass jars both have a traditional look, reminiscent of the large jars of pickled onions and pickled eggs you might see in a traditional British chippy.

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