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Gherkin vs. Wally: What's the Difference?

By Janet White & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 23, 2024
Gherkin refers to a small cucumber pickled in vinegar or brine, typically used as a condiment. Wally is a British slang term specifically for a large pickled cucumber.

Key Differences

Gherkin is a type of small cucumber that is pickled in vinegar or brine and used primarily as a condiment or snack. These are often found in various dishes, such as sandwiches and salads, or enjoyed on their own. Wally, on the other hand, is British slang for a large pickled cucumber, typically larger and less common than gherkins. The term "wally" is more regionally specific and often used in parts of the UK, particularly London.
Gherkins are commonly found in supermarkets and delis around the world, often sold in jars with a tangy, sweet, or sour flavor depending on the pickling process. They are a popular ingredient in many cuisines, especially in Europe and North America. Wallys are typically encountered in traditional British chip shops or markets, where they are often served alongside fish and chips. The term "wally" reflects a cultural nuance in the UK, adding a local flavor to the concept of pickled cucumbers.
While gherkins are usually small and bite-sized, making them ideal for garnishing and snacking, wallys are larger and often consumed whole or sliced due to their size. This size difference also influences their culinary use and presentation.
Both gherkins and wallys share the same basic preparation method of pickling cucumbers, but their size and regional popularity distinguish them in culinary contexts.

Comparison Chart


Small pickled cucumber
Large pickled cucumber (British slang)



Common Usage

Condiment, snack, in dishes
Served with fish and chips, traditional UK food

Regional Popularity

Worldwide, especially in Europe and North America
Primarily UK, especially in London


Tangy, sweet, or sour
Usually sour or tangy

Gherkin and Wally Definitions


A small cucumber pickled in vinegar or brine.
She added a gherkin to her sandwich for extra crunch.


British slang for a large pickled cucumber.
He ordered fish and chips with a wally on the side.


A type of small cucumber used specifically for pickling.
The gherkin variety grows well in cooler climates.


Often served in traditional British chip shops.
The wally added a tangy flavor to the meal.


A common ingredient in various dishes.
He loves gherkins in his potato salad.


Larger than typical gherkins.
The wally was nearly as long as the fish fillet.


A condiment or snack often served with meals.
Gherkins are popular in charcuterie boards.


A regional delicacy in parts of the UK.
Wallys are a staple in East End London cuisine.


Typically sold in jars at supermarkets.
She bought a jar of gherkins for the picnic.


Usually consumed whole or sliced due to its size.
They sliced the wally and served it with mustard.


A small cucumber, especially one used for pickling.


A fool.


A pickle made from such a fruit.


A large pickled gherkin or cucumber.


A vine (Cucumis anguria) native to Africa and widely cultivated especially in the West Indies, having prickly fruit often harvested when immature for pickling.


A silly and inept person; someone who is regarded as stupid


The fruit of this plant.


A small cucumber, often pickled whole.


A kind of small, prickly cucumber, much used for pickles.


See Sea gherkin.


Any of various small cucumbers pickled whole


Small prickly cucumber


Are gherkins and wallys the same?

They are both pickled cucumbers but differ in size and regional usage.

Where is the term "wally" commonly used?

In the UK, particularly in traditional British chip shops.

How are wallys typically served?

Often with fish and chips in British cuisine.

What is a gherkin?

A small cucumber pickled in vinegar or brine.

Where are gherkins commonly used?

Worldwide, especially in Europe and North America, as condiments or snacks.

What is a wally?

A British slang term for a large pickled cucumber.

Can gherkins be used in cooking?

Yes, they are used in various dishes like salads and sandwiches.

How are gherkins typically sold?

In jars at supermarkets and delis.

What is the flavor of wallys?

Usually sour or tangy.

Are gherkins always small?

Yes, they are typically small and bite-sized.

Are wallys always large?

Yes, they are larger than typical gherkins.

Are gherkins popular in the UK?

Yes, but the term "wally" is more regionally specific.

What is the flavor of gherkins?

They can be tangy, sweet, or sour.

Do gherkins have different varieties?

Yes, there are different varieties of small cucumbers used for pickling.

Are wallys a type of gherkin?

Wallys can be considered a type of pickled cucumber but are distinct due to their size.

Do gherkins and wallys undergo the same pickling process?

Yes, both are pickled in vinegar or brine.

Can wallys be used in cooking?

They are mainly served as a side dish, not commonly used in cooking.

Do wallys have different varieties?

The term "wally" generally refers to large pickled cucumbers regardless of the variety.

Are gherkins eaten raw?

No, they are typically pickled before consumption.

Are wallys eaten raw?

No, like gherkins, they are consumed after pickling.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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