I’m amazed I haven’t shared my red onion marmalade recipe with you before now. It’s something I make all the time as it is just so damn useful and tastes amazing too.
So is this red onion preserve a marmalade or a chutney? It’s a wee bit confusing really name-wise. A marmalade is normally considered something to do with citrus fruit.
But this looks much more like a chutney and there is no citrus at all. Actually no fruit at all either.
Whether you want to call this an onion marmalade or a chutney you will have to agree on one thing, it’s delicious!
This is one of those savoury preserves that just ticks all the boxes for me. It is super easy to make. It just takes a little time. But not much real hands-on effort.
This onion marmalade is sticky and rich. It packs a hefty punch of flavour yet is sweetly soft in the mouth.
There are grown-up flavours here that make you want to break into a packet of crackers and reach for your finest cheese.
Ingredients for Red Onion Marmalade
There aren’t a whole lot of ingredients in this onion chutney recipe.
Red onions, olive oil, some salt and soft brown sugar.
Now for those all-important extras that make this onion jam so special; red wine, balsamic vinegar and some red currant jelly.
The red currant jelly is purely optional.
I often use my own Cumberland Red Currant Jelly or my Rowan and Red Currant Jelly for this recipe.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Can you use brown onions for this red onion marmalade recipe? Yes, of course, you can. There will be a difference in the flavour but you will still have a rich and luxurious onion marmalade.
So just use whatever onions you have to hand.
You want to finely slice your onions for this onion chutney. Either use a mandoline (please be careful and either use a guard when grating on a mandoline cutter or use one of those mandoline gloves.
Carmelised onion jam
You want to carmelise those onions. That means making them sweet and oh so tender by slow and low cooking.
The onions will be all melty and sweet, almost toffee-like. To get this effect I like to cook my onions in olive oil with the salt for about an hour.
Cover the onions with a piece of scrunched up and slightly dampened baking paper. This helps to make the onions sweat down.
Once my onions are all soft and gooey and seriously sweet I add my other ingredients to the pan.
First comes the sugar. Stirred in and allowed to melt into nothing. Raise the temperature and get the jam to boil.
Then add the red wine and balsamic vinegar. Finally, that spoonful of jelly if you are using it.
How do you know when onion jam is ready?
The onion marmalade is rich and thick when it cooks. Once you can drag your wooden spoon through the mixture and leave a clear trail on the bottom of the pan your onion marmalade is ready.
Carefully ladle the hot preserve into sterilised jars.
New to preserving? Then don’t panic, I can take you from zero to hero in no time at all.
Just check out these handy articles to get you heading in the right direction fast;
How to make great jam and marmalade
How to make chutney and relish
How to sterilise jars and bottles
Sticky situations – troubleshooting your preserves
How long does onion marmalade keep?
This savoury onion preserve will keep for up to a year in a cool dark place. Once opened store the jar in the fridge and use within a month.
Please Note – We do not usually do water bath or other canning methods here in the UK. Our preserves keep perfectly well without this.
Can you water bath can this?
Yes, once you have covered all the steps mentioned above for making this luxurious red onion marmalade simply do your usual water bath canning for 10 minutes.
How to use onion marmalade
This rich and almost creamy sweet and savoury onion preserve is incredibly useful. Yes, it is totally addictive to folks like me who can eat it straight from the jar and forgo the crackers completely.
However, served with a cheeseboard this onion marmalade is a revelation.
As part of the great British Ploughman’s lunch instead of the standard pickle. Think outside the jar my friends!
Spoon a little of your onion jam into simple soups like tomato or potato. It will give an extra dimension of taste and texture.
In a melted cheese toasted sandwich. Just oozing out of the sides.
Onion marmalade for the perfect gravy
But my favourite way of using my red onion marmalade is when I’m making gravy. This is particularly true at Christmas.
Using your carmelised onion marmalade stirred into your homemade gravy gives all that amazingly rich sweetness of the onions without having to do the work.
The onion jam will do the work for you, making your turkey gravy deeply flavoured, rich and aromatic. It will have far more character and have your family and friends asking for more every time.
I use mine in all my gravies from beef to turkey, chicken to pork.
You can also stir this red onion jam into curry sauce, anywhere that you want a roasted onion flavour. This savoury preserve really saves time in the kitchen!
How much does this onion jam recipe make?
You will get one big 500ml jar from this amount of onions. Or a selection of smaller jars. I like to make smaller jars as this luxurious carmelised onion jam makes the perfect wee foodie gift to add to my Christmas hampers.
This recipe makes a great foodie gift, so why not check out my post on how to make Christmas hampers.
Looking for more super savoury preserves to make? Then check these out before you go;
Spiced apricot and almond chutney
Refined sugar free cranberry relish
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Red Onion Marmalade/Chutney
- 500 g red onions (or any onions) finely sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 90 g soft brown sugar
- 75 ml red wine
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp red currant jelly (optional)
- Gently heat the onions with salt in the olive oil in a heavy-based pan and cover the onions with some scrunched up dampened baking paper and a lid on top and cook for 1 hour till onions are carmelised and soft
- Remove lid and paper and add the sugar, once dissolved raise the heat and keep stirring as the onions turn deep brown.
- Add the red wine, balsamic vinegar and red currant jelly
- The onion marmalade should be thick and you will get a clear trail if you drag your spoon through the mixture
- ladle into sterilised jars
Quite delicious – especially with oatcakes and cheese.
I had to let it cook for a lot longer to reduce the amount of liquid, but the end result was good.
I made double the recipe 2 weeks ago and we are almost down to the last jar – no chance of it lasting up to a year!
Karon Grieve says
Glad you like this one so much. The cooking times are always approximate, all depends on cooker etc. It really is such moreish stuff isn’t it. I keep having to make more every month!
Anne Bremner says
Hello Karon! I have just discovered your website. As a Brit living in Canada I am very excited to try many of your recipes starting with your Red Onion Marmalade. I would like to make a large batch and wonder if
can I preserve this marmalade in a canning water bath without altering the flavour?
Karon Grieve says
Great to hear from you and glad you like my web site. I don’t do water bath canning but I imagine it would be okay here but make sure ph is 4.2 or lower. Alternatively make this and freeze it. Hope this helps
John Durrant says
To make a very quick and delicious sauce for a pan fried steak. Cook the steak to tour satisfaction. Remove from pan to rest . Deglaze the pan with a third cup of wine Preferably white then add atablespoon of onion marmalade and a teaspoon of grain mustard. Stir it all in over a moderate heat until dissolved then make up to sauce consistency with cream or creme fraische. Pour over sterak and tuck in.
Karon Grieve says
Glad you like my recipe and thanks for your sauce recipe using the onion jam/marmalde.
Hello your marmelade looks great. Can I skip the wine and jelly and add ome chili flakes please?
Juliette from Mauritius
Karon Grieve says
Yes you can skip the wine and jelly and add some chilli flakes for a hotter flavour.
Hope you like it.
kathy Hendricks says
Just mad this for the second time..
both times possessing the jars…
first time made double batch..
this time did it with 6.5 lbs of red onions..
both worked out great..
plan to had out a few as Christmas gifts..
Karon Grieve says
So glad you like this recipe so much and are making it again. Hope your friends enjoy it at Christmas.
Excellent recipe and so happy with the results. I’m looking forward to gifting this at Christmas. I quadrupled the recipe and got, roughly, 5 x 250ml jars. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Karon Grieve says
So glad you like the recipe so much and have made lots of Christmas prezzies.