Pickled Pearl Onions


Quantity: 3 to 4

Jar size: Pints


8 cups peeled white pearl onions (four 10-ounce bags unpeeled pearl onions as purchased)

5½ cups white distilled vinegar (5%)

1 cup water

2 teaspoons canning salt

2 cups sugar

8 teaspoons mustard seed

4 teaspoons celery seed


1. Wash and rinse canning jars; keep hot until ready to use. Prepare lids according to manufacturer’s directions.

2. To peel onions, place a few at a time in a wire-mesh basket or strainer, dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and place in cold water for 30 seconds. Cut a 1/16th-inch slice from the root end, and then remove the peel and 1/16th inch from the other end of the onion.

3. Combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar in an 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil and boil gently 3 minutes.

4. Add peeled onions and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat until the onions are half-cooked (about 5 minutes).

5. Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed in the bottom of each clean, hot pint jar.

6. Fill hot jars with the hot onions, leaving 1-inch headspace.

7. Cover with hot pickling liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace.

8. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened, clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.

9. Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations. Let cool, undisturbed, 12-24 hours and check for seals.

Allow pickled onions to sit in processed jars for 3 to 5 days before consuming for best flavor development.

Processing time:

Processing Times for Boiling Water Canner



Process Times at Altitudes of:

Style of Pack

Jar Size

0-1000 ft

1001-6000 ft

Above 6000 ft



10 min

15 min

20 min


National Center for Home Food Preservation