Piccalilli ~ English-style Pickles (Cauliflower, Onions and Gherkins) in Mustard

This recipe, although very British, is an adaptation of an Indian pickle.

If you love pickled vegetables, this is for you; although I didn’t make it as sweet as the original recipe. I adapted an old Mrs. Beeton recipe, but omitted the cabbage and green tomatoes, to make it more like the Hayward’s brand piccalilli I have bought in the past. This is great served alongside a sandwich, or as part of a traditional Ploughman’s lunch, which consists of cheese, bread and pickles or chutney, and happens to be a delicious, light lunch.


adapted from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Cookery & Household Management


  • 1 small, firm cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 6 gherkins, or 3 Persian cucumbers, which I used because I couldn’t find gherkins
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 oz) small, white pearl onions (or 1 large onion, chopped)
  • 3 tbsp (1 oz) Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) vinegar (I used half apple-cider and half 10% spirit vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sugar (use up to 1/2 cup or 4 oz more for sweeter pickles)
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour in UK)

Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with the Kosher salt and leave for 24 hours.


Rinse thoroughly, then drain well. (I tasted the cucumber and it was very salty, so I soaked the veg for about half an hour). I would recommend you do the same to avoid super salty pickles.

Combine the sugar, mustard, turmeric and cornstarch in a large bowl, and mix to a paste with some of the vinegar.

Put the remaining vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil.

Pour some vinegar into the paste, and return the the liquid back into the pot and boil for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the drained vegetables.

Mix well…

and pack into clean jars and seal at once.

Keep refrigerated.


LA Living…

A very wet park entrance.

8 Responses

  1. wrote on

    I grew up eating piccalilli – it was always a part of the relish tray for every single holiday. Glad to have a recipe, as I cannot find it here in the U.S. Southwest. It was easily found in New England. ~ David

    • wrote on

      Is it made the same way in New England, with mustard? I like Hayward’s Piccalilli, but just realized it has some ingredients I do not want to ingest, so I decided to make my own…always the best idea! :) CC

  2. wrote on

    I’ve never eaten picalilli, they sounds really delicious. I always love a good pickle or pickled vegetable with my meal.

    • wrote on

      If you like pickles, you’d definitely love Piccalilli!

  3. wrote on

    Dear Christina,
    This is such a wonderful recipe. I have never heard of this before, but must be very good. Love pickles and for that matter anything pickled is an added flavor to your recipes. I love cauliflower and onions pickled, it reminds me of the Italian jar of Giardiniera. Thank you for sharing this interesting dish. Blessing..Dottie :)

    • wrote on

      It’s like an English version of giardiniera, Dottie! The mustard sauce is a little thick, and although different than the Italian version, it is also very delicious! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. wrote on

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this! I love pickled stuff!

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