Quick Pickled Onions

These colourful, spiced sweet and sour onions add zing to a ploughman’s, a sharp finish to Mexican food and also make an ideal edible gift to make ahead and pop in a homemade hamper! 


  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 6 coriander seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 small red onions, sliced into rings


  • Pour the vinegar into a pan, add the sugar, sea salt, the spices and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer. After 1 min, check that the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat.

  • Boil the kettle. Put the onion slices in a sieve or colander. 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 (see tip below). Pour over the warm vinegar and seal. Cool, then chill and leave to pickle for 2 hrs. Will keep for 6 months unopened, or 2 weeks in the fridge once opened.


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 in just-boiled water. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons before you use them.

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food