English Pub-Style Pickled Onions

Total Time
Prep 840 hrs
Cook 0 mins

This pickle is made the traditional way, with a short brining to keep the onions crisp, and with cool rather than hot vinegar. If you'd like to can the onions, though, use two one-pint or four half-pint Mason jars instead of a quart jar, and pour the spiced vinegar over the onions while the vinegar is hot. Seal the jars immediately with hot two-piece caps, and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Sharp-tasting, brown malt vinegar is available at most supermarkets. If you can't find it, or if you'd like a milder pickle, use white wine vinegar.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a bowl, dissolve ¼ cup salt in 1 quart water; add the onions and weight them gently with a plate that fits inside the bowl.
  2. Let them stand 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Drain the onions, and peel them; return them to the bowl.
  4. Make a brine with the remaining salt and water, pour it over the onions, and weight them gently again.
  5. Let them stand 2 days.
  6. In a nonreactive saucepan, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil; let the liquid cool.
  7. Drain and rinse the onions, and drain them well again.
  8. In a 1-quart jar, layer the onions, peppercorns, allspice, pepper flakes, and bay leaf.
  9. Cover them with the cooled, sweetened vinegar.
  10. Cover the jar with a nonreactive cap, preferably all plastic.
  11. Refrigerate the jar for at least 1 month before eating the onions.
  12. They will keep for at least 6 months.
Most Helpful

Very nice. Easy recipe to follow. Very much like Hayward's onions, which is a special favorite of my husband.

mollypaul March 06, 2003

Great, easy recipe! I used small boiler onions and actually processed them in a hot water bath for 10 min. (no more!) and then packed them and put them in the closet for 5+ weeks. You can smell them when you open the door and it's yummy! These make a great gift! :o)

Lisa P. October 09, 2015

This recipe was easy to follow and had great results with 2 trys, just in case I fluked the first. Thank you

Foxy in Vancouver, August 06, 2006