Small Batch Conserves and Pickles – Refrigerator Sweet Pickled Onions

Yay – It’s Wednesday, which means pickles! I know, I’m so daggy.

This week I made you sweet pickled onions. All of the pickling happens in the fridge. So there are some pros and cons for this recipe.


  • No sterilizing jars.
  • No boiling liquid, or boiling jars full of liquid. These are so easy to make.
  • You get to go to the fridge any time of the day and eat a pickle. Need I say more?


  • This method won’t pickle the onions up as much as the cooking-to-pickle method.  Don’t worry, you will still get super sweet pickled onions, they just won’t be as pickled as what you get in a jar of bought pickles. The texture of the onions stay really crunchy (pro) and you still get a bit of that oniony hotness.
  • You do have to keep them in the fridge and eat them within approximately a month, but it’s only a small batch. See point above re eating them any time of the day :)



My batch of pickles tasted great after two days but after a week they had pickled even further and taken on a warm sweetness.



You will need to seek out small or pickling onions for this. Try salad onions, brown shallots or eschalots. I used these babies again.



Covering the onions with the boiling water makes them incredibly easy to peel. After topping and tailing, the skins should just rub off.



When you top and tail each onion, leave part of the root intact so that it holds the onion together. Once it’s pickled, it’s completely soft and edible anyway.



When you pour the pickling liquid over the onions ensure you don’t leave any herbs or seeds behind.



I know the measurements for the sugar and salt seem like really odd numbers, but when I was researching recipes, I found that a lot of people said to keep to strict ratios of vinegar to salt and sugar to ensure a tasty and safe pickle.

 I also ensured I used a preservative and additive free salt for the same reason. You don’t want to use anything with added iodine like table salt, as it could change the pickle results.


Refrigerator Sweet Pickled Onions

Ingredients – Enough for one 2 cup capacity jar

  • 270g small onions
  • 1 cup malt vinegar
  • 42g brown sugar
  • 7g fine salt (preservative and additive free)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 whole cloves



  1. Cover the onions in boiling water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Cut the top and tail off each one leaving some of the root intact. Peel the skin by rubbing it off each onion.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm up the rest of the ingredients until the sugar and salt completely dissolves. This should take around a minute.
  3. Put the onions into a 2 cup capacity jar that has a good lid. Cover the onions with the warm pickling liquid.
  4. Screw the lid on then let the jar come to room temperature before refrigerating.
  5. Let the onions pickle in the refrigerator for at least 2 days before eating.




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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.

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