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Spiced pickled shallots

28 October 2015

These aromatic pickled shallots with chilli, cinnamon and allspice have a much gentler, sweeter flavour than pickled onions, and are ideal eaten with leftover cold meat.

Spiced pickled shallots
These spiced pickled shallots are ideal with leftover meat and cheese

Preparation time

20 minutes

Cooking time

15 minutes, plus 1 day soaking


2 large jars


  • 1kg shallots, peeled 
  • 50g salt 
  • 750ml cider vinegar 
  • 75g dark brown muscovado sugar 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks 
  • 6 whole dried chillies 
  • 10 allspice berries


Peel the shallots by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Leave the water to cool then drain it. Trim the root end of the shallots and the skins should slip off easily.

Place the shallots in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and leave covered for 24 hrs. This process helps the shallots stay crunchy.

The next day heat the vinegar until simmering, do not boil, add the sugar and spices, stir until dissolved, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Rinse the shallots and dry with kitchen paper, spoon into sterilised jars, placing the cinnamon sticks, chillies and allspice from the vinegar in at the same time.

Pour in the hot vinegar so the shallots are covered, leave to cool then put the lids on and leave for a few weeks, they will improve over time but the very earliest for eating is 2-3 weeks after pickling. Store in the fridge after opening.

Serve with wedges of cheddar cheese and thick sliced ham - ideal for eating with leftover cold meats on Boxing Day.

Our thanks to UK Shallot for providing this recipe.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.