Spreadable Pickled Onions - Allium Relish

Pickled red onions have stolen the spotlight as of recently – and for a good reason. They are an incredibly versatile condiment, perfect to add some refreshing savory tang to rice bowls, sandwiches, tacos, etc. A pile of cold, crunchy, pickled onions is a very welcome addition to a multitude of foods, but sometimes a dish calls for a condiment that is a little more spreadable.

Relish is the perfect solution – spreadable pickles! Sweet pickle and dill relish, however, are not the most versatile of condiments. The goal here is to create a relish that can be dolloped on almost anything, in the same way that pickled onions often are. As delicious as red onions are, the homogenous texture of a relish allows the freedom of using many different alliums without compromising the texture of the condiment. The result is a condiment similar in flavor to pickled onions, but less one-note. Onions, shallots, leeks, and scallions all have slightly different flavor profiles, and when combined, a deeper, more vegetal, and savory oniony flavor is produced.  

Pickles and relishes tend to be fairly sweet. Sugar is instrumental in the quick-pickling process. It helps balance out the salt and acid of the vinegar, and in general is a tasty addition to most condiments. When a condiment is sweet, salty, and sour, there is more often than not room for some spice as well. The jalapeno in this recipe is optional but provides a mellow heat that balances out the condiment and helps add a little kick to whatever meal is being dressed with this allium relish.

Hand chopping the alliums for this relish allows for some factor of control over the texture of the final product, but if a finer, paste-like relish sounds appealing, the grater disk on a food processor will do the job just as well! 

Sweet and Spicy Allium Relish

This recipe is entirely customizable. Want more heat? Throw in a serrano or habanero! Toss in some dill or Mexican oregano for unique flavors. This recipe is just a baseline for a versatile and tasty condiment.


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 leek, trimmed and washed
  • 3 scallions
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (optional)
  • 1 tbsp or 8g salt
  • 2/3 cup or 160ml white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup or 80ml unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup or 50g granulated sugar



  1. Very finely mince or grate the onion, leek, scallions, shallots, and jalapeno. Add all vegetables to a large bowl and stir in the salt. Let sit for 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat vinegar and sugar over medium heat until all sugar has dissolved.
  3. Drain vegetables of any excess liquid. Add to saucepan let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Place relish in a jar or container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe Details
By Brandon Muhawi

Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks