I intend to make several kilograms of pickled onions. Last time I made them, I just dumped in basically what ever vinegar i had to hand. A combination of white malt, brown malt, unmalted, and rice vinegar; plus a tablespoon of cloves.

Turned out just fine (for the onions. Not great for pickled vegetables).

I thought (since my pickled vegitables didn't work), I would look up and see if I had forgotten the recipe. I see in all the recipes I've looked up that it calls for Malt vinegar, or Pickling vinegar.

I'ld really like to use the very plains of vinegars (ie cheapest), The kind that comes in 2L bottles and is marketted for cleaning mirrors (But is food grade).

  • Will anything go wrong with this?
  • Should I add anything to replace the lost flavour? (eg more spices)
  • Can I got 50:50 malted/plain?

1 Answer 1


As a serious lover of pickled onions, I have sampled many. You don't need malt for onions, and for some people using malt is a no no.

I confess to loving the eye watering tartness of onions picked in malt, but if that is a problem you can add white sugar which can cut the sharpness of the taste.

So I use malt for onions, and white for other pickles, the White vinegar I use is distilled vinegar something like this


The op mentions cheap cleaning / food grade vinegar.
If you use this you must not add water as it will affect the ph balance of the picking mix and the food might not pickle and spoil. And are you really sure it's food grade - check closely

You could try a blend of 50/50 malt and white.

Here is a basic recipe for malt picked onions


But you can use almost any vinegar i.e.


Also a general guide to pickling


Top tips

Malt vinegar for onions

White distilled for others

Add sugar if mix is too strong

Experiment with vinegars - try pickling with Apple cider vinegar.

My favourite recipe is baby red onions pickled in a blend of balsamic and white vinegars.


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