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Caramelized onion marmalade

31 July 2012

Despite its name, onion marmalade is not one for your breakfast toast, but a fabulous accompaniment to sausages, burgers and strong cheeses. Use it as a cooking ingredient too – a spoonful or two in gravy or casseroles adds a real depth of flavour. Use white sugar or a mixture of white and muscovado sugars for a darker, more treacly result.

Onion marmalade surrounded by onions on wooden table
Onion marmalade can also be used as a cooking ingredient – a spoonful or two in gravy or casseroles adds a real depth of flavour


6-7 jars


6-9 months


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) red or white onions, thinly sliced
  • 300 g (10½ oz) sugar (white granulated,muscovado or a mixture)
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) red wine
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • a pinch of paprika
  • a pinch of dried chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper


Makes about 6–7 x 340g (12 oz) jars
Keeps for 6–9 months

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and fry the onions for 10 minutes over a moderate heat.
2. Add 100 g (3½ oz) of the sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Make sure it does not burn.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and simmer for 25–30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, then pot into hot sterilized jars.

TIP All that onion-chopping makes your hands smell.To remove the whiff, rub a few drops of lemon juice onto your hands (or rub the inside of a used lemon shell over your hands).

Notes From The Jam Cupboard by Mary Tregellas is published by New Holland Publishers, priced £14.99. 


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.