Pickled Shallots Recipe

Pickled Shallots

A Pickled Shallots Recipe

For a long time, I found it impossible to buy the sort of largish English Pub-style Pickled Onions I used to enjoy, or even the proper size of Onions required to make them myself. In most places I have lived in Canada, the very small, Silver Skin types of Pickled Onions are about the only sort commonly available, and, while I like these, I prefer the larger sort. Because of this, I created the Pickles you see above using Shallots instead.

Ingredient Notes

The Recipe Card below simply calls for ‘Pickling Spices’. You can buy pre-made blends of these in most grocery stores, or you can make your own blend. For this recipe, I used a teaspoon each of green peppercorns, coriander seed, and brown mustard. For good measure, I also added a single dried red chilli.

I would have used Malt Vinegar for these Pickled Shallots had it been available at the time, but it turned out that the White Vinegar I used as a substitute worked very nicely. If you prefer, you can certainly use the Malt variety, and, if you choose to substitute Onions of the same size as Shallots, I think I would definitely use it.

The Method

Salting peeled Shallots
Salting peeled Shallots

First you need to peel your shallots. The easiest way is to trim the ends, put them in a bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. After a few minutes, drain them and slip off the skins. After that, sprinkle over the salt, rub it well in to the shallots and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Making a Pickling Medium
Making a Pickling Medium

Next make your pickling mixture by putting your spices, sugar, and vinegar in a saucepan and let it come briefly to the boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

A jar of Pickled Shallots
A jar of Pickled Shallots

Next, put your shallots in a suitable jar, pour over the pickling mix and cap immediately. Store the jar in a cool place (I used my kitchen window, which is pretty darn near refrigerator cold, for this). I would suggest you leave them for a month to pickle properly and allow the flavours to blend and infuse, but you can eat them in as littles a week, or even a few days, if you cannot wait.

Your Recipe Card:

Pickled Shallots

This Pickled Shallots Recipe recreates an English Pub-style Pickle usually made with onions and makes a terrific addition to a light lunch.
Course: Accompaniment, Pickle, Snack
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Rice Vinegar, Sugar, Shallots, Pickling Spice
Author: John Thompson


  • 2 cups more or less, of Shallots;
  • 1 Tbsp. Coarse Salt;
  • Pickling Spice;
  • 1 tsp. Sugar or more if you prefer;
  • 2 Cups more or less, White Vinegar


  • Trim and Peel the Shallots, then toss them with the Salt and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Bring the Vinegar, Sugar, and Pickling Spices to a boil in a saucepan, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  • Put the Shallots into a suitable jar, pour over the pickling liquid, then cap and store in a cool place for a minimum of one week before consuming.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!