Malt Pickled Onions

Malt Onion Pickles are a classic crowd pleaser. They are rich and savoury with warm spices and malt vinegar. Make a batch and let them sit for the next few months, come Christmas they will be perfect for cheese plates and the ham and beers.

Makes 4 x 375 ml jars.


1.2kg of small pickling onions, or regular brown onions. 

4 cups of malt vinegar 

2 cups of brown sugar 

6  star anise

12 cloves

12 allspice berries

3 teaspoons mustard seeds

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 slices of fresh ginger



Start this recipe the day before.


Peel your onions. The easiest method is to plunge the whole onion into boiling water for 30 seconds. Take out and run under cold water. The skins should come off very easily. Halve or quarter larger onions, so they will fit into your jar. Salt the onions in a large non reactive bowl or container overnight. This will draw out any excess moisture and keep your onions crisp.


The next day make your pickling brine by putting the malt vinegar, brown sugar, spices and into a medium sized saucepan over low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to simmering point. Turn off the heat and let the flavours infuse the vinegar.


To sterilise your jars: give your jars and lids a soapy hot wash and a good rinse or put them through the dishwasher. Put jars into a low oven (110 degrees) for 15 minutes. Boil the lids for 5 minutes in a small saucepan, then let air dry.


Rinse your onions under cold water to remove the salt and then drain. Take hot jars out of the oven and let cool for a minute. Evenly distribute the spices between the jars, then pack the onions firmly into the jars, making sure to leave 1cm space at the top. Bring your brine back up to the heat. It needs to very hot before you pour it over the onions. Pour over the hot vinegar brine. Make sure the onions are completely submerged, removed air bubbles and then seal immediately.

Let cool on the bench top and then store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

Onions will be ready to eat after 4-6 weeks. Once opened store in the fridge