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5 from 3 votes

English Mustard Pickle (Piccalilli)

English Piccalilli sometimes referred to as English Mustard Pickle is a savory relish made from cauliflower, gherkins and pearl onions, pickled with malt vinegar, sugar and salt, spiced with dry mustard and turmeric. It's easy to prepare and makes an amazing accompaniment to a variety of cold and hot dishes.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting Time30 d
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Servings: 800 servings
Calories: 2kcal
Author: Chula King


  • 3 cups (8 ounces) cauliflower florets cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) thinly sliced sweet gherkins (10 to 12)
  • 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled (See Tip 1)
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) malt vinegar, divided
  • ¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar (See Tip 2)
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (See Tip 3)
  • 6 Tablespoons dry mustard (See Tip 4)
  • 3 Tablespoons turmeric powder


  • Combine cauliflower florets, sliced gherkins and pearl onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle on Kosher salt; stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature overnight.
  • The next day, transfer vegetables to a colander; rinse well with cold water. Drain well (See Tip 5).
  • Whisk together cornstarch, dry mustard, turmeric and 1 cup of vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Add remaining 2 cups of vinegar and sugar to a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture. Whisk or stir constantly until bubbly and thickened, about 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetables; stir to combine. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cauliflower starts to become tender. Remove from heat. (See Tip 6)
  • Transfer to sterilized jars; seal and process in boiling water (See Tip 7)
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 6 to 8 weeks to allow the flavors to meld together. Once opened, refrigerate.



  1. To easily peel pearl onions, add to pan of boiling water. Boil for 3 minutes; transfer to ice water to stop cooking. When onions are cool enough to handle, slice off root end and pinch to release onion from the peel.
  2. If you like a sweeter Piccalilli, you might want to add additional sugar to taste.
  3. Cornstarch and corn flour are the same thing. Both are thickening agents.
  4. I used Coleman's mustard powder which is traditional English mustard powder. It's generally readily available in grocery stores. If you can't find Coleman's you can use any mustard powder.
  5. Taste the cauliflower; if it is too salty, soak in cold water for one hour. Drain thoroughly.
  6. If the sauce seems too thick, add a tablespoon or two of additional malt vinegar to the mixture.
  7. The boiling water should cover the jars. Let them process for about 10 minutes. When you remove the jars, you should hear the pop that indicates that the jars are sealed.


Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg