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Pickled onion
A jar of homemade pickled onions in spiced malt vinegar
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Main ingredientsOnion
Ingredients generally usedVinegar, salt, spices

Pickled onions are a food item consisting of onions (cultivars of Allium cepa[1]) pickled in a solution of vinegar and salt, often with other preservatives and flavourings.[2] There is a variety of small white pickled onions known as 'silverskin' onions;[3][4] due to imperfections they are pickled instead of being wasted.[5] They are frequently used as an essential component of the Martini cocktail variant known as a Gibson.[6]

Pickled onions are usually pickled in malt vinegar and the onions are about 25 millimetres (1 in) in diameter. Silverskin onions are pickled in white vinegar, and are much smaller. Full sized onions, e.g., Spanish onions, can be pickled if sliced first.[7][8]

By country

In the United Kingdom, the onions are traditionally eaten alongside fish and chips and with a ploughman's lunch.

In the Southern United States, pickled Vidalia onions can be served as a side dish.

In Hong Kong, pickled onions are served in many Cantonese restaurants, especially around dinner time, as a small dish before the main course is served.

In Switzerland, they are served to accompany raclette, along with pickled gherkins.[9]

In Italy, it is known as 'maggiolina'.[10]

In Mexican cuisine, one preparation, cebollas encurtidas, has sliced red onions pickled in a mixture of citrus juices and vinegar, which is served as a garnish or condiment. Sometimes cooked beets are added, producing a more strongly pink coloured dish.[11] Pickled red onions in bitter orange juice are especially emblematic of Yucatán cuisine, where they are used as a garnish or condiment, especially for seafood.[12]

See also


  1. ^ L. Maggioni, ed. (2002). European Collections of Vegetatively Propagated Allium: Report of a Workshop; 21 - 22 May 2001, Gatersleben, Germany. Bioversity International. p. 48. ISBN 978-92-9043-528-0.
  2. ^ Channel 4 Recipes - Pickled Onions. Retrieved 26 May 2014
  3. ^ "Waitrose pickled silverskin onions drained 150g". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  4. ^ Brewster, James L. (2008). Onions and Other Vegetable Alliums. CABI. pp. 428–. ISBN 978-1-84593-399-9.
  5. ^ M.D. Ranken; Ronald C Kill; Christopher G J Baker, eds. (1997). Food Industries Manual. Springer Science. pp. 333–. ISBN 978-0-7514-0404-3.
  6. ^ Arthurs, Deborah (26 May 2016). "Garden to glass cocktail recipe: Pickled spring onion martini is a neat spring twist on a Gibson". The Metro. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  7. ^ Home Pickling, published by Sarsons.
  8. ^ How to Get Into a Pickle, published by Sarsons.
  9. ^ "Raclette". Museum Restaurant. Retrieved 2022-09-23.
  10. ^ "Silverskin onion - maggiolina". Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  11. ^ Latina Lite Cooking: 200 Delicious Lowfat Recipes from All Over the Americas - With Special Selections on Nutrition and Weight Loss, Maria Dolores Beatriz. Hachette Book Group, 2009, page 102
  12. ^ Jinich, Pati (25 December 2009). "Pickled Red Onions a la Yucateca". Pati Jinich. Retrieved 2018-06-25.