Red onion marmalade

Red onion marmalade

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(86 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 a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 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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17th Aug, 2012
I loved it. Really easy to do. To those struggling with the butter I have found a really easy solution! Mine started to separate, so whenever I saw butter blobs, I shook the jars until it went. I find after 1 or 2 shakes it goes away completely and you still get the lovely buttery flavour.
26th Apr, 2012
can anyone tell me how long this will keep in the jars onopened an opened thank you Anne :)
annbishop's picture
18th Feb, 2012
I think people should follow the recipe to the letter and then it will work!! If someone gave some delicious cake and then you took the recipe away and started adding or removing this that and the other it wouldn't be the same delicious cake that you had!! I am just making my second batch and the first was so good that my daughter said I had voodood it as she couldn't stop eating it!! everyone i gave it to has loved and remembered to return the empty jars so that they can have some more xx WELL DONE Barney ........and the Sweet Chilli jam on this site is bloody amazing to......just follow the recipe !!!
31st Oct, 2013
PEOPLE did follow the recipe to the letter & still need up with gloopy lumps of butter in the jars. Sometimes tweakings have to be made. I wasn't the only one to have a problem re butter. Not appreciating the self righteous manner you used.
16th Feb, 2012
Made this today. Made only 1/2 the recipe because there is only 2 of us and I thought the full recipe would be too much but I'm sorry I did that because it is sooooooo good. It is everything I wanted for an onion marmelade. I did skip the butter because of the comments I read. I sterilesed my jars and put the marmelade in hot like I do with all my jams so I can store them in my larder. Next time I make the full batch. I used sweet pink onions instead of the red. Cooking times mentioned were just perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Margrit
22nd Jan, 2012
Made this elicious marmalade with our organic onions, local wine etc...will be offering to our guests, on one of the local cheese and wine tastings events held regularly here @ villa Magnolia italy.
15th Jan, 2012
2nd Jan, 2012
I made this to give to people as presents, unfortunately I now have to apologise as after saving a jar for myself and opening it at home, I realised it was awful! Definitely won't be making this again.
19th Dec, 2011
This bubbling away nicely...and is going to make a wonderful gift for Christmas however mine took much longer than stated.....may be me? ENJOY
19th Dec, 2011
Just made this and its fabulous. I tweaked the recipe and added some sultanas and a little less sugar.


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