Onion Jam
Onion Jam

Onion jam adds a rich, sweet flavor to your burgers, sandwiches, steaks, hot dogs, or rotisserie chicken.

The burger and grilling season is in full swing and your guests will not only be amazed by the delicious grilled burgers, but also by the condiments you put on the table.

After your guests have plastered your onion jam, you might just need to rename it “Ally Yum!” (Got it? Allium.)

Trust me, you’ll be making this onion jam for every backyard barbecue you’re hosting this summer. Now that you’ve got a star burger spice for your summer gathering, here’s a guide to how you can grill the best burgers, too.

What is onion jam?

It’s not dissimilar in consistency to fruit jam, as the diced onion is intact and still looks like an onion. The jam can be spooned like a fruit spread and is ideal as an accompaniment to your favorite burger patty, a cheese board or as a topping for a cake and a focaccia.

Some of the deeper base flavors, like black pepper, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar, are lifted and brightened with the use of fresh thyme, lemon juice, and lemon zest. The tartness of the lemon juice adds another layer of tartness, while the lemon zest – a severely underutilized ingredient – has a sweet aroma, both of which add balance to the dish.

Similar to making a canned fruit, we are macerate to extract the onions and use their liquid and flavor. although macerate isn’t the most accurate term – technically when we use salt we’re salting – we’re in the jam-making realm with this recipe, so we’re going to use that term.

The onions cook more gently in their own maceration liquid. Also, we don’t want to caramelize the onions here as it would give us a different flavor and reduce the volume of the finished dish.

Key to success

There is nothing difficult in preparing onion jam, the most important aspects are time and patience. Here are a few tips to help you prepare a great condiment:

  • The balsamic vinegar is the all-rounder here: it gives us taste, fullness and a unique color.
  • Once the onion mixture starts to change texture, the process progresses quickly, but not too much. If the jam seems to be cooking too quickly, just turn the heat down a bit and take your time. The recipe process is forgiving and allows you to cook more slowly.
  • With all the sugar in this recipe (onions, balsamic vinegar, and granulated sugar), this is not a dish to walk away from. You should be at the stove from start to finish.
  • You want soft-soft tips. Similar to fluffy whipping cream, that’s when we know we’re done cooking. The onion marmalade will form even more soft peaks once it has cooled.

Swaps and Substitutions

The flexibility of onion jam allows it to be adapted to what is on hand in the kitchen. Here are a few swaps and substitutions you can try:

  • Yellow onions tend to be sweeter, but if you have red or white onions on hand, you can use those as well. There is no difference in taste when cooking onions like we do in this recipe.
  • Swap out the apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar for the red wine vinegar. Red wine vinegar has a deeper flavor, but what we really want from vinegar is acidity.
  • Use 1/8 teaspoon ground clove instead of ground black pepper. Ground clove adds a base note more associated with warmth than the mild spiciness of black pepper.
  • Replace 1 tablespoon of rosemary with the thyme leaves.

How to store homemade onion jam

Once the onion jam is cooked, transfer to a jar or plastic container and refrigerate. The onion jam will keep in the fridge or in ice cube trays in the freezer for up to two weeks.

onion jam

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
35 minutes

Maceration and cooling time
75 minutes

total time
2 hours

16 servings

2 cups onion jam


  • 4 medium (1 1/2 Lb) yellow onionsmedium cubes

  • 2 teaspoon Saltplus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, divided

  • 1/4 Cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/3 Cup balsamic vinegar

  • 3/4 Cupplus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 lemongrated (1 teaspoon) and juiced (2 tablespoons)


  1. Salt onions:

    Place the diced onions in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons salt and mix well. Leave at room temperature for 60 minutes. Do not strain the liquid from the onions as this will soften the onions as they cook.

  2. Sauté and reduce onions:

    In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and their maceration liquid and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Add black pepper and 1 tablespoon thyme leaves to the onions. Stir to combine. Reduce the temperature to medium-low and add the red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.

    Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this stage, the vinegar has cooked into the onions. The mixture will become thicker and heavier in the pan.

  3. Reduce Onion Mixture:

    Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir. The onions will darken significantly as the sugar takes on the color of the balsamic vinegar.

    Cook for about 15 minutes, or until you can run a heatproof spatula through the onions, making a path, and the mixture is slowly coming back together. Stir occasionally, making sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the pan.

  4. Season and cool:

    Remove the pan from the stove. Mix in the remaining 1 tablespoon of the thyme leaves and allow the onion jam to cool in the pan. When completely cool, season with salt to taste.

  5. Storing onion jam:

    Pour the onion jam into a jar or plastic container and store in the refrigerator. It is ready to use.

nutritional information (per serving)
88 calories
1g Fat
22g carbohydrates
1g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!