Spiced Pickled Onions

Spiced Pickled Onions

A simple twist on pickled onions, the aromatic spices complement the tangy pickle flavour a really delicious way or leveling up pickled onion recipe. We use shallots here as they are more sweet, but white onions work great here also. Spiced Pickled Onions are a great accompaniment to so many dishes; they go great in salads to add some crunchy texture. Also can be used to serve with pork or cheese dishes.

I like to cut the onions into bite size pieces (as I just eat these as a snack!). If you will use these to add to dishes, it works well to pickle them as slices. The smaller pieces they onions are cut into, the stronger the flavour absorbed. I have also tried this just adding whole shallots which works well for a more subtle spiced flavour. If using shallots they will turn a sweet pink colour.

peeled shallots in boiling water

Placing the onions in a bowl of boiling water helps to tone down the intensity of the raw onion

This spiced pickled onions recipe is quick to pull together but needs a few weeks to marinade before eating. The spices intensity will continue to deepen over time. So, once you are happy with the level of spice, we suggest to strain out the spices and leave the pickles in the liquid only. I usually remove the spices between 4 – 8 weeks. I have also left the spices in for the whole time and it is delicious but has a kick! The pickled onions will last for up to 6 months.

removing spices from pickled onion

Once you are happy with the flavour, strain out the spices and leave the onions in the liquid

For more recipes like this or with some other ideas on preserving onions, check out more recipes in our site, like Red Onion Relish or our guide how to Freezing Onions. Find out recipes on how you can roast pickled onions like here.

pickled shallots x3 weeks later-

Spiced Pickled Onions

Step by step recipe on Spiced Pickled Onions, will keep up to 6 months.
Prep Time 15 mins
Pickling Time 21 d
Servings 5 cups (approx)


  • 500 g Shallots or white onions
  • 1 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
  • 2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 6 Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 350 ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 40 g Brown Sugar


  • Firstly, put the shallots in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover, leave to cool. Once completely cold, drain away the water and easily peel away the skins and trim the roots. If saving time you can skip this step and just trim and peel the onions but this technique helps to tone down the intensity of the raw onion.
  • Next cut the shallots into quarters, if you prefer you can also slice into rings or you can leave them whole.
  • Pack the shallots into your chosen jar, enure they are compact as possible. Sprinkle the salt on top.
  • Next, prepare the pickling vinegar; in a frying pan, lightly toast the peppercorns, coriander, mustard, cumin and cloves until aromatic.
  • Then add the bay leaves, vinegar and sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes to ensure the sugar completely dissolves.
  • Next pour the pickled vinegar directly over the shallots covering them in the jar. Seal whilst hot.
  • Leave for at least 3 weeks to absorb the spices before eating, leave for longer for a more intense flavour. After 4 – 8 weeks (depending on the preferred taste) strain out the spices and leave the shallots in the liquid only.
  • Keeps for up to 6 months in the fridge.

Did you feel inspired to make this recipe? Get in touch and let us know in the comments below


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