Red onion marmalade

Red onion marmalade

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
(80 ratings)

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)

verityw's picture

Five hours later the chutney is finished ~ well actually it is still cooling, I haven't yet managed to jar it up. I wish I had read all the comments before making this recipe - I had to strain off a lot of fat before adding the wine, vinegar and port, because after about 2.5 hours it was not reduced down. Then I spent a even more time skimming off 150ml of fat from the pan. The timings are so far out it's unreal. Hopefully it's going to be worth it.

sambauk's picture

Hey boy0hboy.

75cl is 750ml, cl is centiliters.

As I type I have some of this on the stove...

Hope you enjoy!

boy0hboy's picture

I am planning on making this for Christmas gifts. Can anyone tell me what amount 75cl wine is? I'm in Australia and I've never heard of this before so hope someone can help me out! Thanks!

tetttigger's picture

Made this again today and changed a few ingredients. only added a splash of olive oil - no butter. Reduced the vinegar by half and doubled the port. Changed the castor sugar for dark muscavado and added half as much again. Cooked the onions on a hard simmer (almost boiling) for the first 50 minutes and this seemed to make a huge difference.....only had to simmer for 40 minutes after that. OMG! Its lost its acidity...but not completely but is a bit sweeter (and more to my taste) when cooled did not have the problem with the hardened butter. The dark sugar seems to give it more depth...either way it wont be lasting long! ;-)

tetttigger's picture

This took me about 2 hours to simmer to the right consistency, and before finishing I thought it tasted a bit acidic so added 3 tablespoons of honey - delicious!
I probably added too much chilli as it has a bit of an afterburn, but thats no bad thing!
Havent cooled it all the way yet so not sure if the butter thing is going to be a problem, but if it is I will just leave it out next time as that seems to work too from what othes are saying.....Sweet Chiili Jam next......

bluemomo's picture

Ditched the butter and reduced the amount of wine by one glass- cooks perks! Delicious tasting and looks good too.

muaythailady's picture

Lovely recipe. I found it to be a tiny bit acidic but I put in some redcurrant jelly in the last 10 minutes of cooking so it was sweet and delicious!! Only problem was it never made it in to the cupboard for christmas!!

bethocallaghan's picture

Easy to make - needed to be cooked longer than the recipe said - the first bit took 1hr 15mins.

Seems to be nice - haven't really eaten any yet - first try tonight.

brasero's picture

made this about 5/6 times this summer in our restaurant and it is now on our A la Carte menu ....lovely ...needs the kick of the chilli

janlane's picture

I have made this recipe a number of times, its superb with cold meats and cheese.
I do find that it takes quite a bit longer than the time stated but its worth the effort.

stanners1984's picture

I made this the other day, and I don't know where it went wrong but this recipe cannot be right! After almost 2 hours of cooking down the onions, I had to sieve sieve off about half a pint of melted butter and oil that just wouldn't reduce! When I added the wine etc, after a further hour and a half I just wanted to go to sleep so I had to thicken it up with cornflour. Tasted pretty nice though.
If I made this again, I wouldn't use any butter, and I'd probably use more like 3kg of onions.

chefto4's picture

This tasted sensational!

pandora_mary's picture

Fantastic recipe - the preserve came out really well. Only made a half quantity yesterday, but it is so brilliant we're off to buy more onions to make a full one today! Lovely with everything - especially baguette and soft cheeses.

It worked out well using less butter and a little less vinegar. May wear swimming goggles the next time we tackle the onions however...

parker584's picture

I have never made a preserve before. This recipe was very easy to follow. I did not have any port so I just used the red wine.
I cannot believe that the results were eaten in 3 weeks. With sandwiches, cooked ham, roast pork, sausages. I will be making some more very soon.

margesurtees's picture

This taste's great. I will definitely be making it again and it is so easy to do. It's great in a toasted cheese pannini.

ma03tgz's picture

So easy only draw back i'm in tiers as onions so strong, but taste's wonderful.

cheekyscamp's picture

This recipe is absolutely superb. It's sweet, rich and tangy, it goes with so many things. I've had it in sandwiches, with charcuterie and cheese, with cheese on toast (spread a layer under the cheese before melting and it's fantastic!) and with grilled meats and sausages. It goes with just about anything.

One little tweak to the recipe is that I only used a small knob of butter and I don't think that it's affected the finished product. I only made half the mixture but I'll definitely be making the full amount next time.

norrisl's picture

I haven't made this recipe as yet, looking forward to it after reading the comments here, but I have had the same problem with a similar recipe, and I think that is was because I over cooked it. The recipe said simmer for 40-50 minutes, at which point pretty much all the liquid will have evaporated, this happened in about 20 (heat too high), and so I reduced the heat and continued to cook it. About 5/10 minutes after that, there seemed to be a lot of oil in the pan that hadn't been there before, when I was finished cooking, I drained it, but still ended up with solidified butter in the bottom of my jar - might not be the reason, but that's what I put mine down to.

lurvlyloz's picture

i also left out the butter as didnt like the thought it would spoil. very easy to make. did take longer to soften down. only made two jars but very nice :)

tracyeevans's picture

I made this yesterday and it came out very well! The initial cooking time was more like 2 hours but besides that everything else was as expected. The colour is beautiful, deep purple - more or less the colour of beetroot. I vacuum sealed the jars by processing in a water bath for 10 minutes and this has not affected the colour of the final product or caused it to separate into different layers. The only change that I would like to make for my next batch is to leave out the vinegar - does anyone know if it is essential to this recipe?


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…