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🥒 Classic English Pub-Style Pickled Onions Recipe 🥒

Learn how to make classic English pub-style pickled onions with this easy recipe from Just Pickling. Pickle small onions or shallots in malt vinegar, pickling spice, and sugar for a tangy and flavorful condiment.

Classic English Pub-Style Pickled Onions

You will need:

  • small onions2 lbs small onions or shallots
  • malt vinegar4 cups malt vinegar
  • pickling spice2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • granulated sugar1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • table salt1 tablespoon salt


  1. Start by peeling the onions or shallots, then place them in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the onions, mix well and cover. Let it sit overnight.
  3. The next day, rinse the onions under cold water and pat dry.
  4. In a saucepan, combine the malt vinegar, pickling spice, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  6. Pack the onions into sterilized jars and pour the hot vinegar mixture over them, ensuring the onions are completely covered.
  7. Seal the jars and store them in a cool, dark place for at least 4 weeks before eating, to allow the flavors to develop.


The pickled onions will keep for up to a year in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and consume within 2 weeks.

Experience the tangy delight of homemade Classic English Pub-Style Pickled Onions with our easy-to-follow recipe. This pickling recipe is a staple in many English pubs, offering a delightful combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavors that complement a wide variety of dishes. The best part? It's incredibly easy to make at home!

Whether you're a seasoned pickler or a beginner, this recipe is a great addition to your repertoire. The ingredients are simple and readily available - small onions or shallots, malt vinegar, pickling spice, granulated sugar, and salt. The process, while requiring some patience, is straightforward and rewarding. After all, there's nothing quite like the satisfaction of opening a jar of pickles you've made yourself.

These pickled onions are a versatile condiment that can be used in a myriad of ways. Enjoy them with a ploughman's lunch, as a garnish on a cheese and charcuterie board, or even as a zesty addition to your favorite salad. The possibilities are endless!

For those who are new to pickling, don't be daunted. We at Just Pickling have a range of easy and delicious pickling recipes to guide you on your pickling journey. And if onions aren't your thing, we have plenty of other options. Check out our popular pickled vegetables for more inspiration.

If you're looking for other onion pickling recipes, our simple recipe for pickling red onions is a must-try. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, why not try making your own homemade Branston pickle?

Remember, pickling is not just a way to preserve food — it's a creative process that allows you to experiment with flavors and textures. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and let's get pickling!