Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (2024)

Onion jam is quick and easy to make, and this recipe is savory, sweet, and is so incredibly yummy. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to make it step by step.

Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (1)
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If you’re looking for a simple onion jam that you can whip up in minutes, my delicious recipe will have you and your family asking for more.

You can make a batch of this to use right away, or try canning it for later. In this article you’ll find instructions for both.

It’s caramelized, sweet, and savory, and you can use this onion jam on burgers, hotdogs, appetizer crackers or rustic bread, brats, pizza, and so much more!

Table of Contents

Homemade Onion Jam

This homemade onion jam recipe is quick and easy to put together, and has a delightfully savory flavor.

It tastes just as good right off the spoon while it’s still warm as it does later on your favorite foods or snacks.

Related Post: How To Grow Onions At Home

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What Does Onion Jam Taste Like?

This onion jam has a lusciously rich and savory yet sweet taste, and a nice soft texture. It also has a slightly tart tang, which comes from the balsamic vinegar.

Types Of Onions To Use For Jam

The best onions to use for this jam recipe are yellow or Spanish. If you’d like a sweeter end result, try Walla Walla or Vidalia.

But don’t stress over finding the perfect type, in a pinch any variety you have will work just fine.

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How To Make Onion Jam

This onion jam recipe comes together quickly with a handful of common ingredients and spices that you probably already have in your pantry.

Onion Jam Ingredients

Below is a list of what you’ll need, along with optional substitutions. Once you have all of the ingredients on hand, you’ll be able to whip up a batch whenever you have the craving.

  • Onions – This is the star of the recipe providing the flavor and sweetness to the jam. Yellow varieties like Walla Walla, Spanish, or Vidalia are the most common to use, but any type will work. Keep in mind some may not be as sweet.
  • Olive oil – We use the olive oil for cooking the onions, and it also aids in creating the rich flavor.
  • Sugar – This adds a little extra sweetens the recipe and complements the caramelization.
  • White balsamic vinegar – The acidity helps soften the onions and also provides a slightly tart flavor. If you can’t find white balsamic you can use standard brown instead.
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  • Thyme – This is great for adding an extra layer of flavor, without being overpowering. If you don’t have fresh, you can substitute for 2 teaspoons of dried.
  • Rosemary – This offers a slightly minty/sage flavor. It can be quite strong, so be sure not to over use it. Use 2 teaspoons of dried if you can’t find fresh.
  • Lemon juice – This enhances all of the flavors with a tart and lemony touch. It also helps to add structure to the onion jam.
  • Balsamic reduction – Offers an acidic kick to the recipe while also enhancing the natural sweetness of the onions.
  • Salt & pepper – The salt serves as a flavor enhancer, while the black pepper offers warming, earthy, and slightly spicy notes.

Tools & Equipment

You don’t need any special equipment, you should already have what you need on hand in your kitchen. Gather everything before starting to help simplify the process.

Related Post: The Best Pickled White Onions Recipe

Tips For Making Onion Jam

Though this is very easy to make in only a few steps, below I’ve added a some tips that will help you have the best success.

  • Be flexible in what onions you use – This will taste great, even if you don’t use the main types I mentioned above. Have fun experimenting to see what varieties you like best.
  • Don’t over cook – Overcooking will cause it to get mushy and lose its structure and texture. Take your time, because if you try to cook it too fast on higher heat it will burn.
  • Don’t skip the balsamic vinegar reduction – I found this really increased the sweet and savory richness that makes this onion jam recipe unique to other versions.
  • Get creative with spices – I encourage you to experiment with using different herbs and spices. You could try substituting bay leaf for rosemary, for example.
  • Add more sweetness – If you’d like this to be sweeter, you could add an extra 1-2 teaspoons of brown sugar.
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Canning Your Onion Jam (Optional)

Canning is optional, but it will extend the shelf life of your onion jam. A water bath canner works well, since this recipe contains vinegar.

Simply pack prepared jars with the hot jam, and process them in boiling water for 15 minutes (time can vary depending on altitude).

Then turn the heat off, and allow it to sit in the hot water for an additional 5 minutes. When you remove the jars, let them cool for 12-24 hours untouched.

For pressure canning refer to your manual, but in general you process it at 15 psi for 20 minutes.

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Storing Homemade Onion Jam

You can store your homemade onion jam in a closed container in your refrigerator. In that case, it’s generally good for 10-14 days.

If you would like it to have a much longer shelf life, canning is the answer. That will make it last for 12-18 months.

Related Post: How To Can Onions

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Below are answers to some of the most common questions I get asked about this recipe.

What is onion jam made of?

The main ingredients for this jam recipe are onions, vinegar, sugar, and some fresh herbs and seasonings. What makes this different from other versions is that we caramelize the onions, then add balsamic reduction at the very end to enhance the richness.

How long does onion jam last in the fridge?

Freshly made onion jam lasts 10-14 days in the fridge in a sealed container. If you want it to last longer, you could try canning it.

How do you use onion jam?

The uses for onion jam are endless. You can use it as a spread on appetizer crackers or snack breads. It’s also delicious on burgers, hotdogs, warm sandwiches, or anything you’d like to add a savory and sweet caramelized flavor to.

Making onion jam is a delicious and unique way to use up the extras you may have from your garden. Once you try it, I know you’ll be hooked!

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Learn more about my Vertical Vegetables book here.

More Garden Fresh Recipes

  • How To Make Rhubarb Jam: Easy Recipe
  • How To Make Pickled Asparagus (With Recipe)
  • How To Make Basil Pesto (Easy 4 Ingredient Recipe!)
  • Healthy Veggie Dip Recipe

Share your favorite onion jam recipe in the comments section below.

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Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (10)

Recipe & Instructions

Yield: 3 pints

Onion Jam Recipe

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This homemade onion jam recipe is the perfect mix of sweet and tangy. You can whip up a batch very quickly with a few common ingredients. It’s delicious on burgers or brats, on crackers, or create some fun appetizers with it.

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time40 minutes


  1. Prepare the onions - Remove the skins from your onions, then use a knife to cut them into thin slices. Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (12)
  2. Cook onions - Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then add the sliced onions and cook for 15 minutes on medium. They will start becoming more translucent as they cook.
  3. Add the seasoning - Stir in the sugar, white balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice and cook on low to medium heat until the onions are caramelized and the jam is thickened somewhat like syrup, about 25 minutes. Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (13)
  4. Add the finishing touch - Once the mixture has thickened, turn off the heat. Then stir in the salt, pepper, herbs, and balsamic reduction. Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (14)
  5. Enjoy or store it - You can eat your onion jam while it’s still warm. Otherwise allow it to cool before transferring it to canning jars or another airtight container and putting it into the refrigerator. Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (15)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 Tablespoons

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 54Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 91mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Onion Jam Recipe (Caramelized, Sweet & Savory) (2024)
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