This Piccalilli recipe is a mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. It’s a British staple for sandwiches, picnics and charcuterie. With mixed vegetables like cauliflower and carrot, this is a recipe that grandmothers have made for many years.

Piccalilli in a jar served with fresh radishes

This popular British condiment is usually served with cheese platters, but can also transform a simple ham sandwich or used as one of the components of the Ploughman’s lunch. (see picture below) . There are not really many dishes that this relish would not complement.

British people love their pickles. Many foods get pickled, from onions to even eggs (yes, this is true).

A classic Ploughman's lunch. A board with bread, meats, pickle, cheeses and beer.

If you like spicy mustard, you will love this piccalilli. The vegetables used need to reflect the British nature of the condiment and that are easily available. I have seen mango and other ingredients used in recipe, but these are not typically British.

How to make piccalilli

Vegetables like cauliflower, shallot, cucumber, green beans and carrot are cooked in a mix of vinegar, turmeric, mustard and spices.

This Piccalilli recipe is a mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. It’s a British staple!

What are the ingredients of Piccalilli?

My choice of vegetables are chopped cauliflower, shallots, cucumber, and green beans which are typically what you will find in most piccalilli recipes. I added carrots for color, but these are optional.

The vegetables are brined to remove moisture, then cooked and pickled in the sauce for at least 3-4 weeks. It is important that the vegetables are chopped the same size so they all cook at the same rate and this also makes for easier eating.

The sauce is a rich combination of vinegar, turmeric (which gives its distinctive color) mustard powder, ground ginger and nutmeg that develops deep flavor the longer it sits.

The history of piccalilli

Piccalilli is traced back to the 18th Century and was originally called Indian pickle, which would indicate its origin. I would imagine since it is a low cost, easy food to make and lasts for months. This was the reason it was so popular and has remained so to this day.

Canning/preserving piccalilli

As I am not versed in such methods, a reader advised it is not recommended to can anything that contains flour as it can go rancid.

The recipe yields 4 cups/32 ounces/1 quart/1 liter of piccalilli. This is may be different for everyone depending how much liquid evaporates during the simmering.

Yield: 4 cups/1 liter

Piccalilli Recipe

Piccalilli in a jar served with fresh radishes

A mixed vegetable relish that is has a very distinct look due to its slightly spicy, tangy mustard sauce. 

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes


  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) shallot, chopped small
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) cucumber, chopped small
  • 3 ounces (85 grams) green beans, chopped small
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 5 cups (1 liter) apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup (75 grams) all-purpose flour


  1. Add all the vegetables to a large bowl, cover with water and stir in the salt. Cover with a towel and leave for 1 hour. After 1 hour drain the vegetables.
  2. Add the drained vegetables, vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard powder, ground ginger and nutmeg to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender and liquid has reduced.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, sterilize the jars. You will need 1 - 32 ounce/1 liter jar.
  4. Fill a large pan (a pasta pan works well) with water and completely submerge the jars upright, lids as well. Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot until ready to use, then remove from the water using tongs. Set on a towel to dry.
  5. Mix a little water with the flour to make a paste and stir this into the pan of vegetables and simmer until thickened.
  6. Fill the jars, leaving 1-inch space at the top and seal the jars tightly. This will allow for any extra liquid that the vegetables may omit. Allow to pickle for 3-4 weeks. After opening, refrigerate for up to 1 week. Long term preservation/canning is not recommended as the flour can turn rancid.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 183Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2032mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 7gSugar 11gProtein 8g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.