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.


Here are some other British recipes you may also enjoy~

Scottish Potato Scones and a British Breakfast Tutorial

My Favorite (British) Apple Pie

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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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