Quick Pickled Onions

This recipe is delightfully adaptable. I can recommend adding a variety of spices, sliced garlic and chillies. Go sparingly on the chillies though, the onions really do soak up the heat.


These pickles make wonderful presents. They’re particularly good with cold cuts or gracing the top of your tacos or concealed inside a cheese sarnie.

Recipe (fills 5 small jars)


  • 350 ml white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful fresh thyme
  • 3 red onions


  1. Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the sugar, salt, spices and herbs. Bring to a simmer until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat.
  2. Slice the onions into rounds. Try and keep the round slices intact as it makes it easier to fill up the jars later on.
  3. Put the onion slices in a sieve. Pour over the hot water from the kettle and drain well. When cool enough to handle, pack the onion rings into a 500g sterilised jar (recipe notes). Pour over the warm vinegar and seal. Cool, then chill in the fridge.
  4. You can enjoy these after a couple of hours in the fridge, but they’re even better a week or two later.


  • Wash jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a low oven for 10 mins or until completely dry. If you want to use rubber seals, remove the seals and cover with just-boiled water. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons before you use them.
  • Variant of BBC Good Food’s recipe.

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