Home-made piccalilli

Home-made piccalilli with pork pie and watercress | H is for Home

This month, I’ve been making a lot of my usual preserves – raspberry jelly, elderflower cordial and the like. One I’ve not made before is piccalilli.

Chopped vegetables, sea salt and water | H is for Home

Growing up, a jar of piccalilli was always prominent on the Christmas dinner table. It used to be a staple accompaniment to the roast ham  – and the cold meat sandwiches, cheese and pies in the following days.

Piccalilli pickling spices | H is for Home

I found numerous recipes in my collection of cook books; all much the same, with slight variations on the ratios of spices. I’ve made the recipe my own by adding mustard seeds and a couple of chillies for bite and colour.

Piccalilli veg and liquid | H is for Home

The preparation takes place over two days – the veg needs to be soaked in salted water (the brine) for 24 hours.

Ladling piccalilli into jars | H is for Home Filling jars with piccalilli | H is for Home

Once that’s done, cooking is a quick 20-minute affair before decanting into jars.

Jars of home-made piccalilli | H is for Home

The piccalilli is best left for at least 3 months before using to allow the flavours to develop. That leaves plenty of time before Christmas!

Save my recipe to Pinterest here.

Home-made piccalilli
  1. 1.4kg/3lbs vegetables (I used 800g cauliflower, 300g courgettes, 160g onions, 125g fine beans, 15g red chillies)
  2. 2l/3½pts water
  3. 200g/7oz salt
  4. 1l/1¾pt distilled white vinegar or malt vinegar for pickling
  5. 140g/5oz Demerara sugar
  6. 1tbsp mustard seeds
  7. 1tbsp mustard powder
  8. 2tsp turmeric
  9. 1tsp ground ginger
  10. 1tsp mixed spice
  11. 1tbsp plain flourHome-made piccalilli ingredients
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  1. Dissolve the salt into the water
  2. Into a large mixing bowl, cut all the vegetables into even sized pieces
  3. Pour the salted water (brine) over the vegetables making sure they're all submerged. Weigh them down with a plate and cover the bowl over with a tea towel. Leave to stand for 24 hours
  4. Drain and put the vegetables into a large pan with the vinegar, sugar and spices. Simmer for 10-20 minutes depending on how soft or crunchy you like your veg
  5. Using a slotted spoon or ladle, decant the vegetables into hot, sterilised jars (I needed 5 mayonnaise-sized jars)
  6. Mix the flour into the spiced vinegar and boil for 1 minute before pouring into the jars of vegetables
  7. Seal the lids tightly on to the jars
  8. Store in a cool, dry cupboard for at least 3 months before using
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  • jane templeman

    yes I like it but I have not had any for years, as its not something I keep in the cupboard as no one else in the household will eat it.

  • David Waterworth

    awful stuff cant even look at it

  • Heather Haigh

    I love piccalilli with pork pie or cold meat and chips.

  • Sheena Batey

    It’s one of those foods I can’t make up my mind about I had some homemade at a food festival with a lunchbox recently and I think I liked it. My Auntie Audrey used to make it and so I associate it with her.

  • Vicki Davitt

    I’ve never tried piccalilli but it seems like an acquired taste or something you’ll either love or hate

  • Jo Carroll

    Can’t honestly remember trying it…but it sounds different and quite tasty so really should give it a go. x

  • Rochelle Lear

    I like it with stilton and crackers

  • Rachel Butterworth

    Yuck, horrible.

  • Stevie

    I’m not a big fan of piccalilli but I’d try it without onion. It might lose it’s zing though.

  • MrRichTea

    Looks yummy, never made my own

  • jo liddement

    Love to eat piccalilli with a ploughmans lunch. Its goes perfectly with cheese.

  • Arabella Bazley

    I love home made piccalilli, you can make the cauliflower florets big and crunchy and I love eating it with ham.


    Love the stuff simply with Ham.

  • Ruth K

    We always used to have piccalilli in the house during winter when I was growing up and my dad loved it. I remember being very young perhaps about 5 and deciding to eat my way unsupervised through an entire jar of it. I was horribly sick and can still remember the smell and taste. Even just looking at it now makes me shudder.

  • Louise Lumsden

    nope can’t stand even the sight or smell of it!

  • Rebecca Brown

    Yum! I love piccalilli with lots of crusty breads and cheeses. I’ll definitely have to try making my own.

  • GCforever

    How fab to see a recipe for piccalilli again. My grandmother used to make it and I enjoyed it with cold meats and cheese.

  • Ren Taylor

    No I don’t like it although it’s a nice colour lol x

  • Melanie Pennie

    Love piccalilli but only tend to have it at Christmas with pork pie.

  • stewart biddle

    Not a fan of it myself

  • Laura Walker

    I’m not a huge fan of piccalilli