Onion Jam

16 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Easy Onion Jam is an easy homemade gourmet spread! Simple recipe for a sweet and savory caramelized onion jam with an amazing depth of flavor.

This amazing Onion Jam is an easy sweet and savory Spread that goes with practically everything! It has all the delicious buttery, caramel flavor of Caramelized Onions in a spreadable topping perfect for sandwiches, cheese boards, meat recipes and more! Be sure to try my Easy Bacon Jam too, it’s got a similar sweet, savory depth of flavor plus delicious bacon!

Sabrina’s Onion Jam Recipe

Onion Jam is the kind of gourmet item you’d find at a specialty store or on a cheese board at a fancy restaurant. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make at home, though, with just a handful of basic pantry ingredients. There is a little bit more hands on time than fruit jams, but the hardest part is just stirring it consistently so it doesn’t burn. Other than that, it’s just chopped onions, sugar, spices, oil, and vinegar for an addicting savory spread you’ll want to add to all you’re favorite dishes.

What is Onion Jam?

Onion jam is a sweet and savory spread with a similar consistency to fruit preserves. They start out similarly to caramelized onions, but instead of just butter and oil, you add vinegar and sugar so they break down as they cook. You keep cooking them until the mixture has a jammy texture, with bits of onions, just like a fruit jam. You add herbs and spices, or use different vinegar, to flavor the onion jam, but my recipe is a traditional onion jam with salt, pepper, oil, sugar, and red wine vinegar.

Onion Jam Ingredients spread out and chefs knife in middle next to uncut onions
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  • Onions: You’ll need four large yellow onions for this recipe, diced into small pieces. The onions will brown during cooking, giving the jam a rich, dark color and amazing flavor. 
  • Sugar: Adding ½ cup of sugar balances out the strong pungent onion flavor and helps caramelize them while they cook. You could use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for a deeper caramelized flavor.
  • Vegetable Oil: The oil keeps the sugar from burning, or turning into actual caramel sauce, while adding richness to the jam. You want to use an oil that can be at higher temperatures for a sustained time for the best flavor.
  • Vinegar: The red wine vinegar adds a delicious tangy flavor that compliments the onion flavor. The acid in the vinegar also helps break the onions down to get that amazing jam texture.
  • Salt and Pepper: To let the Onion flavor shine through, I only added a little salt and pepper for seasoning. However, you could add other herbs, spices, and seasonings too. See my Variations Section for ideas.
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Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Skillet: You’ll need a heavy bottomed skillet that can hold heat consistently so that your sugar and onions don’t burn. It will need to be big enough to hold all the onions and you can still stir it easily. Your skillet does not need to have a lid.
  • Chef’s Knife: A large chef’s knife will make short work of chopping all the onions into small pieces.
  • Wooden Spoon: This dish needs a lot of stirring, and probably scraping up browned bits. Use a wooden spoon or wooden spatula that can remove those browned bits without scraping your pan.
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How to Make

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Prep the Onions

    Before starting the recipe, dice the 4 yellow onions into small pieces. The onion chunks will remain in the jam, so you don’t want any of them to be too large.Onion Jam Ingredients spread out and chefs knife in middle next to diced onions

  2. Caramelize the Sugar

    Add the olive oil and sugar to a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir the sugar mixture as you cook for 5-7 minutes.Onion Jam caramelized sugar stirred in cast iron pot

  3. Saute the Onions

    Once the sugar begins caramelizing, add the onions, salt, and pepper. Stir the onion mixture consistently for 18-20 minutes. Once the cooked onions are browned, add the red wine vinegar.Onion Jam cooking diced onions in caramelized sugar in large pot

  4. Simmer and Thicken

    Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook the onion mixture for 25-30 minutes. The vinegar should cook down so that it has a jam-like consistency with a deep flavor throughout.Onion Jam finished jam in large cast iron pan with wooden spoon

  5. Serve and Store

    Remove from heat and let the Onion Jam cool completely before serving or transferring to an airtight container for storage.Onion Jam finished in glass jar with hinged lid and spoon

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes, it’s actually better to cook this Onion Jam ahead of time and let it chill overnight. Not only does it thicken as it cools, but the flavors deepen as it chills. Bring it to room temperature to spread or add it chilled from the jar to recipes.

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Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Onion Jam
Amount Per Serving
Calories 67 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.02g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 38mg2%
Potassium 43mg1%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 0.3g1%
Vitamin A 1IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 7mg1%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Ideas to Serve Onion Jam

  • Charcuterie Board: Add a small bowl of jam to your charcuterie board. Mild cheese like goat cheese, Brie cheese, Swiss cheese, and white cheddar would all pair great with Onion Jam. 
  • Baked Brie: Take Baked Brie to the next level by swapping this onion relish for the raspberry preserves before wrapping the cheese and baking it.
  • Sandwiches and Burgers: Instantly turn a regular Grilled Cheese Sandwich or Chicken Sandwich into a gourmet dish with some Onion Jam. The caramelized onion jam also tastes amazing on any burger recipe. I recommend it on a Bacon Cheeseburger!
  • Dinner: This savory Onion Jam is a great way to turn a simple recipe like Baked Pork Chops or Ribeye Steak into an extra special dish. Stir a couple spoonfuls into your roasted veggies or Mashed Potatoes after they are cooked for a boost of flavor.
  • Breakfast: This tasty spread isn’t just for dinner parties! Make quick fancy breakfast by topping a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese and a big smear of Onion Jam. It goes great on a Spinach Quiche too!
  • Bruschetta: Swap the tomato topping with Onion Jam for a twist on Classic Bruschetta. Or make this easy “steak” bruschetta – top grilled baguette slices with cream cheese or soft blue cheese spread, then add thinly sliced Roast Beef and finish with Onion Jam.
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How to Store

Store: Onion Jam will need to be stored after it’s cooled completely, and do not leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Once the jam has cooled, you can transfer it to a glass jar or another airtight container to store in the fridge for 1-2 months.

Freeze: If you want to use it as a spread or topping, I wouldn’t recommend freezing Onion Jam because it will lose its texture when it thaws. However you can keep it in the freezer for up to 4 months and add it as flavoring to recipes. 

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Frequent Questions

What kind of onions are best for Onion Jam?

I recommend yellow onions or sweet onions, because they aren’t as pungent when they cook down, but they still have a good onion flavor. You could also use red onions, but they will have a much milder onion flavor.

How to store homemade Onion Jam?

Onion Jam keeps best in the fridge. Once it’s cooked and has a chance to mostly cool, you can transfer it to airtight containers for storage.

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Recipe Card

Onion Jam

Easy Onion Jam is an easy homemade gourmet spread! Simple recipe for a sweet and savory caramelized onion jam with an amazing depth of flavor.
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 yellow onions , chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar


  • To a large heavy skillet on medium heat add the olive oil and sugar.
  • Stir well and cook for 5-7 minutes until sugar begins caramelizing.
  • Add in the onions, salt and pepper.
  • Stir well and cook (stirring constantly) for 18-20 minutes until onions are browned.
  • Add in the red wine vinegar, reduce heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes until the onions are a jam consistency.
  • Let cool before serving.


Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.1mg

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  • Sweetener: Instead of regular sugar, you can use brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or other sweeteners. You can also add a little more or less sugar depending on how sweet you want the jam.
  • Balsamic Onion Jam: To give the jam sweet and tangy balsamic notes, simply replace the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar. White wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar also make suitable replacements.
  • Seasonings: There are plenty of other ways you can experiment with your Onion Jam recipe. Try new spices like allspice leaves, paprika, fresh thyme, red pepper flakes, cumin, or garlic powder. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice or add some fresh or roasted garlic cloves.
  • Onion Bacon Jam: Combine two delicious spreads into one! First, cook the bacon strips in advance, and set them to the side on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Continue with the recipe as but substitute 1-2 tablespoons of the oil with bacon grease. Break the bacon into small pieces and add it to the mixture at the same time you add the vinegar.
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More Savory Spreads and Toppings

Onion Jam finished in glass jar with hinged lid and spoon

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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