Balsamic pickled shallots

Balsamic pickled shallots

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(5 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 30 mins Plus 3 days standing

Skill level



4 x 500ml jars

Perfect partners for a creamy blue cheese

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Egg-free
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 1½ kg small shallots or pearl onions
  • 1l white wine vinegar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 600ml water
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn, cracked
  • 2 handfuls basil leaves
  • 100ml balsamic vinegar

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  1. Tip the shallots into a large bowl, pour over a kettleful of boiling water, leave to stand for a minute, then drain. When cool enough to handle, sit down, turn the radio on and get peeling.
  2. Set the peeled shallots aside and place all the other ingredients except the balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 3 mins. Drop the shallots into the pan and simmer for 8-10 mins until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the shallots and basil out into sterilised jars (see Know-how, below), then boil the liquid vigorously for 5 mins. Turn the heat off, stir in the balsamic vinegar, then pour over the shallots to cover. Seal the jars and leave for at least 3 days. Will keep for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2008

Comments, questions and tips

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dalessg's picture

The oil creates a seal at the top of the shallots to help keep them fresh

iggyjohn's picture

Followed the recipe to the letter but have ended up with soft pickled onions and had to throw them all away! had some vinegar left over as ran out of shallots! Next day got some more and after peeling them poured the now cold vinegar over them. After three weeks absolutely perfect! Was it a wind up to simmer the vinegar mix with the onions in? I think it must be.

Rowena Wilkes's picture
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Made these as xmas prezzies so hopefully everyone else will think they taste as nice as I think they are. Wasnt sure about the oil on the top but they really dont taste too oily. Very happy and will be making another batch soon. Didnt make the kitchen smell very nice though!

mariabanana's picture
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These are fantastic! Very easy to make and you will look like a Pro! EVERYONE LOVED THEM!!!

shaddy11's picture

I am seeking a recipe to pickle garden vegetables ie onions, carrots, french beans, cauilflower , broccoli etc I don't want a picalilli recipe, as I am not too fond of it.

Chutney recipes are also very welcome,


davidbowieslovechild's picture
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These were lovely, made a batch for Xmas, the wilted basil leaves look a bit sorry after a bit so we used them up pretty quickly.

sjampack's picture

I bought a slightly bigger jar,
and I left a bit of space on top...
Will that be ok for the pickles???
I'm normally a confident cook,
but I've attempted to make pickled veg before....
I'm worried that the space = air,
which makes it non air tight, and it might go off?!

thatposhbird's picture

It looks like the oil on top is normal, if you look closely you can see the oil on top in the picture.

stablesjames's picture

Made this recipe last night, but the oil seems to have risen to the top in the jar? Is this normal? It doesn't look very appealing. Advice appreciated...thanks.

libloos's picture
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We have just started eating the pickled shallots I made in August - they are delish! I am now going to try this recipe on beetroot, as I like how un-vinegary the shallots were. No idea how it will turn out, but it's worth a go!

fionacopp's picture

Hi Mandy, generally with pickles you soak what you want to preserve in a brine solution first to remove excess water so that the pickling solution isn't diluted. This recipe doesn't suggest this which is prob why they have a relatively short shelf life. I'm going to soak mine in a brine solution for 48 hours before hand. (For every 1.8kg of onions use 100g coarse salt with 1.2l of water.) Then after 48 hours i'll strain and rinse the onions thoroughly and drain until totally dry, put them in the jars and put over cooled pickling solution. (i'm not going to heat them in it) and hopefully this will keep them for longer. I'm using another recipe as my guide. Will post how long they keep for when i find out!

mandydunn's picture

Does anyone know if these last longer than the 3 months stated on the recipe. Just made this and thn read the small print.....

duckyspud's picture

Made these for Christmas hampers last year and they were so popular that I've made another batch! Taste improves if kept for a month before eating.

sarahbadis's picture
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Very simple to make, just made half the quantity for my first attempt. Will leave more feedback once they've been consumed at Christmas.

hodenedod's picture

balsamic shallots sound like a good idea, but is there aimilar recipe which would be edible for at least 12 months?

golesworthy's picture

made this recipe as part of a home-made xmas hamper for family and friends and it's been the most popular recipe and has been requested again. Easy to make and tasty.

mhawser's picture

Very easy and quite tasty if you are into onions!