Pickled onions

Pickled onions

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(3 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 5 mins Plus overnight soaking


Makes 2 large jars
Preserved shallots in malt vinegar make a classic condiment that will never get old. Beautiful with cheese and cold meats

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal37
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs8g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre0.3g
  • protein0.5g
  • salt0.3g
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  • 500g small shallot



    Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

  • 50g salt
  • 500ml malt vinegar
  • 200g clear honey


  1. Place the onions in a large heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave to cool. Once cool, trim roots and tops and peel. Sprinkle the salt over the peeled onions, stir and leave overnight.

  2. Next day rinse the onions well and dry with kitchen towel. Place the vinegar and honey into a large pan and gently heat just to dissolve the honey into the vinegar, but do not boil.

  3. Pack the onions into clean, sterilized jars. Pour over the hot vinegar mixture to fill the jars, and check there are no air pockets. Seal the jars and leave to cool. The onions will be ready to eat after about 1 month or better if kept for 2. Once opened store in the fridge.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (13)

mamamegraw's picture

been doing onions for years .... peel onions salt them over night .as much salt as you want so all water comes out . rinse.. pat dry ..pack in jars and pour cold vinegar over ..dont add any thing to them and they all get eaten ..

philippalakebaker's picture

I don't add the honey (too sweet), I put them in a colander, sprinkle salt, leave overnight. I rinse off the salt, put into jars with pickling spices and a couple of chilli peppers, fill with cold vinegar. They are spicy and crispy, last for months (actually up to 1 year!). Just got some on the go for Christmas presents for my loved ones-a treat!

jonesjl's picture

really easy to make, quick, very little mess and really looking forward to eating them in a few months

kermitgirl14's picture

easy and delicious. my daughter even likes them and its the only pickled onions she will eat

faith5234's picture

Just made these, simple enough to do, but I agree with previous comments about excess vinegar. I used 1.5kg onions with 1litre of vinegar which made 5x 454g jars with no vinegar, and just 5 or 6 onions, left over. I also only used 200g honey which tasted about right to me.

annabel1982's picture

MY FAVOURITE ONIONS!! I've tried loads of different recipes using different vinegars and spices, but this one really is my favourite. It made several different sized jars to which I also added a blade of mace, some peppercorns and a dried chilli. I still have one jar left from last autumns batch and they are delish (and not devilishly hot either). I'll definitely be using this recipe from now on.

lelly's picture

Easy to follow, but far too much vinegar. The way filled my jars I needed only about half this amount. Off to buy some more onions!

1317ils's picture

I thought they looked more like small onions then shallots, but then I read the text and it changes between the two. I like the idea of adding honey as we used to pickle onions when I was a kid (92 now). Why put a pickle in the fridge? That's the point of pickling - to preserve things.

cblizzard19's picture

Seems simple enough! Can't comment on taste just yet though ;)

bonnebouffe's picture

But why did you bother to comment if you haven't tried it?

Matisse 2's picture

cblizzard19 commented on the simplicity of the recipe. Your comment is just unpleasant. Miserable person.

Margetts63's picture

Very easy to make however,I doubled up on the quantity to put in hampers as Christmas presents. I only managed to get 3 and 1/2 small jam jars out of the doubled up quantity, and had loads of pickling juice left over. Such a waste,however they say "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". I'll will let you all know how good they are in a month or two :-)

izzydorable1's picture

How big are the two large jars?

Questions (4)

shortfatguy's picture

Why clear honey? can dark buckwheat honey be used?

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for your question. We used clear honey as it is light in colour, mild flavoured and one of the less expensive ones, but any honey would be absolutely fine to use.

flip43's picture

Maybe this is something everyone knows, but the recipe doesn't make clear for novices like me. After the onions have been peeled are they salted in or out of the water. The understanding from other recipes is that they're dried,but this recipe goes on to instruct "stir". That verb surely implies they're in liquid for the overnight rest yet other recipes caution against the onions going mushy if left in water. Which is it please?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. The onions are salted out of the water. Stir refers to stirring the onions so they're evenly salted and doesn't refer to liquid. Sorry if this wasn't clear. Thanks, 

BBC Good Food team

Tips (1)

lillypig66's picture

I put the onions into the jars I am filling (ones I collect over the year) and only peel enough to fill the jars. I bought a 5kg bag from the farm shop (and a 2 litre container of malt vinegar) and am ploughing through. What I don't keep or gift I will donate to local church/food bank. I use peppercorns/chilli flakes in some and leave out the sugar/honey for a bit of a bite. I heard you can add whiskey ?