Red onion marmalade

Ready in 2¼ hours, plus cooling time

More effort

Fills about four 500ml jars
Soft, sticky onion marmalade - great with pâtés and terrrines or a ploughman's lunch

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
Save to My Good Food
Please sign in or register to save recipes.


  • 2kg red onions or regular onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 140g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaf
  • pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 75cl bottle red wine
  • 350ml sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 200ml port


  1. Halve and thinly slice the onions, then thinly slice the garlic. Melt the butter with the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the onions and garlic and give them a good stir so they are glossed with butter. Sprinkle over the sugar, thyme leaves, chilli flakes if using and some salt and pepper. Give everything another really good stir and reduce the heat slightly. Cook uncovered for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions are ready when all their juices have evaporated, they’re really soft and sticky and smell of sugar caramelising. They should be so soft that they break when pressed against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon. Slow cooking is the secret of really soft and sticky onions, so don't rush this part.

  2. Pour in the wine, vinegar and port and simmer everything, still uncovered, over a high heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often until the onions are a deep mahogany colour and the liquid has reduced by about two-thirds. It’s done when drawing a spoon across the bottom of the pan clears a path that fills rapidly with syrupy juice. Leave the onions to cool in the pan, then scoop into sterilised jars and seal. Can be eaten straight away, but keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Ads by Google

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.

Comments (159)

jarhaaje's picture

Great recipie! took ages to sweat down the onions but it was worth it in the end. Instructions easy to follow and simple to make

cathyhoughton's picture

in the middle of this recipe, does all the liquid reduce, it looked so promising till then, now it looks far too watery ????

mrsp1971's picture

So glad I read the comments about the butter before starting, I think it would taste awful with that large amount. I added just a small knob of butter, 2 bay leaves and a few juniper berries. Tastes lovely.

andybloor's picture

Made this recipe and had a problem getting anything like the syrupy consistency described - even extending the cooking time. I then read through the comments and picked up on the butter as possibly being an issue, so I reheated the mixture and carefully spooned the butter off the top. It's in the balance at the moment but hoping that will now give me a thick sticky mixture.

girlred's picture

Made this receipe, but only did half. Very nice, though did smell and taste a little viengary. Makes a little less as stated, though this may be because i had to cook it a lot longer to get the correct texture, therefore reducing it a little. either way, i'll be making some more. Lovely

vegfromhome's picture

The cooking time is ludicrously short. My suggestion is leave out the Thyme and substitute fresh bay leaves. However, everyone loves this chutney and I grow red onions just to make it!

kentyswife's picture

Hi all just about to make this again but this time I am doing double the amount as it was sooooo polular in my household, also it makes a great gift. X

megsmate's picture

Why didn't I read the comments beforehand?
I made this last night. This morning, it looks absolutely disgusting. It has a layer of solidified fat on top and more distributed throughout the jar. I tried stirring and then sampled a bit. Now I feel ill and can't get rid of the taste. I think I'm going to have to bury the contents of the jars in the garden as the smell is too bad to put it in the bin. I've had some kitchen disasters in my time but really...this is the worst!

colettegodfrey's picture

Had a problem with all the butter solidifing throughout which didn't look very appetising! Didn't use any oil.

gaylord's picture

HI haas anybody tried jaring the chutney while warm? as with jam as this making a vacum seal to help with preseving???

going to make this tomorrow will leave out the butter and some of the oil

crick118's picture

I've used this recipe three times now and my only observation is it takes longer than stated to cook. I use dried Thyme instead of fresh. We warm it a little as and when we use it especially for ploughmans or pate! Delicious!

mandi1165's picture

Absolutely gorgeous. Used just a knob of butter and oil and didn't have any problems with solidified fat. Ended up taking two jars to France on our family holiday with friends and it was all gone by the end of week one and made a delicious accompaniments to cold meats and cheese at lunch. Will be making it again - and have had requests !

ddicks's picture

Lovely recipe and I think it has lots of potential. Personally I found it too vinegary (more of a pickle than a marmalade in flavour) so I added more sugar.

at4sunseeker's picture

FmyI can anyone tell me in Cups or pints how much 75cl is?
Muchimso gracias Sunseekerannie

siobd1's picture

made this last week-only did a quarter of the recipe to try and was so good i am now making the full recipe-this is delicious with a warm baked camembert and crusty.had no problems with solidifying fat and i used both butter and olive oil.i also used chilli and garlic flakes and it really does make a difference to have that little bite at the end with the sweetness.this is so much better than anything you would buy

pazzaglia's picture

Just made this... had the fat separating immediately so next time, no butter for me too! I used my pressure cooker base for the simmering (nice heavy bottom and no burning or scorching).

I followed the general directions but I used "Cipolline" small, flat, Italian onions. Then I did not have the requisite liquors and vinegars so I used half a bottle of Marsala wine, half a bottle of white, and 300ml balsamic vinegar.

Not the most attractive color (the onions and wine were white) but the flavor was.... heaven!!!

Thank you.

renukabadhe's picture

Just made this, 5 minutes ago. Made it without the port, as had none at home, but turned out absolutely fantastic. Kept the same amount of wine and vinegar and everything else. Added a teaspoon of dried ginger powder to the lot with the sugar and thyme. It tastes absolutely wonderful.

paulahearn8's picture

tip of the day.....warm up the jam jars in the oven before filling them, tip from the future mother in law who makes the best chutney :)

chris123643's picture

Followed advice of others here and left out the butter, also halved the quantities because i got bored chopping so many onoins! When cooking i was worried because i was expecting it to take longer from the comments but i would say it was cooked quicker for me, maybe depends on quantities. Also smelt very vinegary so i added more sugar (almost double!). End result was fantastic! had it with pate and went down a treat with all my guests! only rating it a 4 because we changed the recipe but my end result was 5 star! Will definitely make more, maybe doubling the qualities instead of halving them!

queenofthesouth's picture

Ommitted the butter (just in case!) and it was perfect! Delicious with goats cheese n chicken n bacon salad..............with balsamic dressing (home made!) on the salad leaves. Can't praise it enough! Definitely being made again, and again and again.


Questions (1)

Unsure about the cooking time or want to swap an ingredient? Ask us your questions and we’ll try and help you as soon as possible. Or if you want to offer a solution to another user’s question, feel free to get involved…

Be the first to ask a question about this recipe…

Tips (2)

Got your own twist on this recipe? Or do you have suggestions for possible swaps and additions? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Be the first to suggest a tip for this recipe…