Red onion marmalade

Red onion marmalade

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(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-
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  • 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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20th Nov, 2011
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
10th Nov, 2011
Help..... in the middle of this recipe, does all the liquid reduce, it looked so promising till then, now it looks far too watery ????
9th Nov, 2011
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.
7th Nov, 2011
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.
6th Nov, 2011
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
5th Nov, 2011
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!
23rd Oct, 2011
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
6th Oct, 2011
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!
27th Sep, 2011
Had a problem with all the butter solidifing throughout which didn't look very appetising! Didn't use any oil.
17th Sep, 2011
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


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