Small Pickled Onions

These pickled onions are an old favourite and an excellent choice for entertaining. Add them to sandwich trays or a chacuterie board.

Yield: Makes 4 pint (500 mL) jars

Small Pickled Onions


  • 3 1/2 lb pickling onions
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt*
  • 5 cups white wine vinegar*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*
  • 2 tsp mixed pickling spice, tied in cheesecloth bag*


  1. Place onions in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water; set aside to cool. Peel onions when cool enough to handle. Place onions in a large nonreactive container. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Refrigerate overnight. Drain and rinse onions. To prepare pickling liquid, combine vinegar, sugar and pickling spice in a nonreactive Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; boil 1 - 2 minutes. Remove spice bag; add onions and return just to a boil. Ladle onions and pickling liquid into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a narrow rubber spatula or plastic knife. Add additional pickling liquid, if required, to maintain headspace. Wipe jar rims thoroughly with a clean damp cloth. Seal and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. For altitudes higher than 3000 ft (914 m), add 5 minutes to processing time.
Nutritional analysis per 1/4 cup: 22 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g fibre, 89 mg sodium
Tip: White wine vinegar is required to help prevent discolouration (pink or grey onions). Cauliflower florets may be pickled in place of onions, if desired.