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A recipe for savory onion jam with thyme. This delicious jam is perfect on sandwiches, pizzas and as a condiment for a meat and cheese tray.

Savory Onion Jam Recipe

by , on
Aug 20, 2015

This Savory Red Onion Jam recipe is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, pizzas and on your meat and cheese platter.

I've mentioned my stint working at Williams-Sonoma last year.  While it was fun and the number my kitchen accouterments increased and improved, it actually had a negative impact on our household bottom line.  I don't believe I ever brought home a paycheck that exceeded what I had spent for the 2 weeks that my paycheck covered.

But that's neither here nor there.

Working there opened my eyes (and tastebuds) to many of their food items that I had not previously been aware of.  Their Pumpkin Braising Sauce (sadly not available anymore! ?) was really delicious…please bring it back Mr. Williams and Mr. Sonoma!

My son, a hot cocoa connoisseur, had me stock up on their cocoa before I ‘retired'.

Equally outstanding was their Savory Red Onion Jam for Panini, which sadly is no longer sold.  I brought home a jar and it quickly became a family favorite. We ate it with our meat and cheese trays and put it on sandwiches.  That jar of red onion jam was emptied before I had the opportunity to try it on a pizza, but doesn't that sound good?Savory Red Onion Jam Recipe: This delicious jam is perfect on sandwiches, pizzas and as a condiment for a meat and cheese tray.

The empty Williams-Sonoma jar nudged me to try my hand at making a similar onion jam.  I've had a recipe noodling around in my head for a better part of the past year and decided that this week was the week to give it a whirl.

I'm sure it had nothing to do with me wandering aimlessly through our home given the sudden quiet and loneliness since my oldest started her college career this past weekend…?..but I digress.  In any event, this was the week to try my very own Savory Red Onion Jam recipe.  Savory Onion Jam Recipe: Red onions sliced for onion jam prep

I had been researching the making and canning of onion jam for some time.  Onions, being a low acid food, are not safe for water bath canning without adding an appropriate amount of acid in the form of vinegar, lemon juice, wine or the like.  I have been canning for years, but I'm not a home economist and I am not comfortable formulating my own recipes for canning low acid foods.

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To that end, I've been searching and testing various recipes looking for something close to what my taste buds remembered.  I found this recipe from Ellie Topp's book, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round.  I kept the ratio of onions to acid constant, but used an assortment of alliums (shallots, red and yellow onions) and added 1 tablespoon of thyme to get the flavor I was looking for.

In general, the process of caramelizing onions over steady medium heat is a form of alchemy in my mind.  Michael Pollan's quote from his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation is quite apropos:

“The transformation which occurs in the cauldron is quintessential and wondrous, subtle and delicate.  The mouth cannot express it in words.”

The flavor is pretty close to what we remembered and we're already figuring out how we're going to eat the 4 half-pints that I canned!  And while I did preserve these by water bath canning, you could skip that and just keep it in your fridge.  I've seen recipes that state that similar onion jams can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.  A Savory red onion jam recipe with thyme. This delicious jam is perfect on sandwiches, pizzas and as a condiment for a meat and cheese tray.



Savory Onion Jam

Savory Onion Jam

Yield: 4 half-pints
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Canning Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

A Savory Onion Thyme Jam


  • 3 lbs of onions, I used a mix of red, yellow and shallots, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups dry red wine, I used Malbec
  • 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper


  1. Put diced onions and brown sugar in a heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook uncovered for 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown and caramelize and any liquid has evaporated
  3. Add wine, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until liquid has reduced and thickened.
  5. You could refrigerate the jam at this point, it should keep for about 2 weeks.
  6. If you chose to can it, spoon your jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/2" headspace.
  7. Process for 10 minutes in your hot water bath.
  8. Take pot lid off, let sit for 5 minutes then place on wire rack to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
  9. Please consult the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving or the National Center for Home Food Preservation at http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for detailed instruction on canning. This recipe presumes knowledge of the necessary steps for water bath canning.
So now that you have this savory, delectable red onion jam spread what should you do with it? Savory Red Onion Jam Recipe: close up of onion jam on bread with goat cheese

  • We love it with a shmear of goat cheese on a baguette.  It's a great and quick appetizer!
  • This jam will be an essential component of our steak, cheese and onion jam sandwiches for our picnic dinner tomorrow night.
  • Perfect as an accompaniment to your chicken, beef or pork.
  • The Smitten Kitchen has a Fresh Ricotta and Red Onion Marmalade Pizza recipe that sounds spectacular.  I'm thinking this is on my menu for the upcoming week and I will sub my onion jam.
  • And how about Onion Jam, Brie and Apple Pizza Pockets?  Um…yes!
  • What about putting on a grilled cheese panini?  Maybe with some arugula?
  • I can even see making a steak salad and topping the salad with the jam.

Pin it for the next time you need a quick and easy Savory Onion Jam recipe:

pin showing savory onion jam on bread and jar of onion jam

image of savory onion jam on bread

Truly, the possibilities are endless.  How would you eat your savory onion jam?

You might also like these canning and jam recipes: 

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Until next time…








A recipe for savory onion jam with thyme. This delicious jam is perfect on sandwiches, pizzas and as a condiment for a meat and cheese tray.


  1. Alli @ Tornadough Alli

    August 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Yum, I would seriously eat this whole jar in a heartbeat! This looks so tempting, luckily I’m going shopping tonight and I’m gonna get all the stuff for this! Cannot wait to make! I’d love for you to come join us over at Throwback Thursday link party going all weekend long!

    • lynn

      August 22, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Hi Alli, first of all, LOVE the name of your blog. How seriously clever! Truthfully, this jam is so yummy and I absolutely have eaten it straight out of the jar, but give it a whirl with some goat cheese…um, yeah. I’ll head to Throwback Thursday this morning! Thanks for the invite.

  2. jenny

    August 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    yum!!! can you make and freeze? I am canning-averse.
    I have some sort of onion compote recipe that is similar to this–I forgot about it, got it from a cooking class I did many years ago, I think to use atop steak. Makes me want to try to unearth the thing now!
    love your blog lynn!!

    • lynn

      August 23, 2015 at 7:20 am

      Hey Jen, similar recipes cite that the jam freezes well, though I’ve never tried it. Give it a whirl and let me know.
      As it relates to you being canning-averse, come on down and lets hone your canning skills. Many years canning and still botulism-free! 🙂
      In any event, dust off that recipe. And if you’re so inclined, share it with me!

  3. Jenna

    August 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I have wanted to try making onion jam for a while, your recipe sounds divine and I appreciate your thorough instructions and tips. I can only imagine what I would come home with if I worked at W/S ! 🙂

    • lynn

      August 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Jenna, luckily my husband indulged me for the period of time that I worked there. But…I don’t think he was upset when I needed to stop working either! Give the onion jam a try. I think the next time I make it, I’m going to add rosemary instead of thyme, just to see.

      Have a great week.


  4. [email protected]

    August 25, 2015 at 11:28 am

    This sounds amazing. I love anything wine and onion!! Especially shallots. I’m going to have to try this soon! I love the idea of trying rosemary too

    • lynn

      August 25, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Stephanie, hope you do give it a try, and with the Rosemary. That will definitely be my next variation of this jam. And as a new blogger, I really appreciate all the guidance you give on your StephBauer.com blog. Thanks!!!

  5. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    August 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    It would be so dangerous if I worked at Williams-Sonoma, I love that store! This looks so wonderful. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinning to our linkup board and hope you found some great posts to visit this week!

    • lynn

      August 28, 2015 at 11:46 am

      Hi Tanya, always find some good things to look at on your Linky Party. Thanks for coordinating it!

  6. Debbie

    February 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Lynn, I have never heard of Williams-Sonoma, but onion chutney or jam sounds good to me. My Mum is a maker of preserves and often hand us a jar. will pass this recipe on to her to try.


    • lynn

      February 20, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Debbie…Williams-Sonoma is a store here in the US that sells all sorts of cooking paraphernalia, as well as prepared foods. It’s a cook’s paradise…well, to this cook anyway!This jam is delightful and I hope your mum, or you, make and enjoy some soon.

      Hugs and Happy weekend, Lynn

  7. Nikki

    February 23, 2016 at 9:07 am

    Lynn, I I’m definitely going to make this. I love an onion chutney and recently we started making gluten-free, vegetarian onion gravy, and this seems similar to those but with a twist. I bet this would be great on salmon or a tuna fillet, tossed with vegetables and sauteed… The possibilities are endless! And on a side note I don’t think I would have taken home a paycheck either. Lol

    • lynn

      February 24, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Hi dear Nikki…I’d love to get your onion gravy recipe! Especially as it’s gluten free. Like you, I have found the gluten is something I need to avoid as well. This jam would be outstanding on a piece of fish…do try and let me know. Actually, I need to make up a new batch of jam and try it myself! And yes, Williams-Sonoma and I were a bad combination. Thanks for swinging by today…Hugs, Lynn

  8. Katrin

    February 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Lynn, you know, I’m actually not a big onion fan, but seeing this on a piece of bread with cheese, really makes me want to give it a try! It just sounds & looks really delicious! You share such unique recipes, my husband would love this on a steak, I’m sure! I have never heard of Williams Sonoma, but after checking out their web page right now, I wouldn’t have taken home that pay check either, lol! Hugs, have a great

    • lynn

      February 24, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Hi dear friend. I do not enjoy raw onions at all, but this jam is so smooth and sweet and it’d be fantastic on a steak. Williams-Sonoma is a kitchen specialty store that carries some food items as well. Hope you are enjoying yourself wherever you are! Hugs, Lynn

  9. Lynn

    March 25, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Sounds delicious!
    Found you at ftaf . 🙂

    • lynn

      March 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thanks Lynn…it really is! I actually need to make some more…my stash has been depleted.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

      Hugs, LYnn

  10. Chellie

    March 29, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Oh Lynn, can you just have me over so I can eat all your delicious food?? 😉 I am 100 percent confident I wouldn’t bring home a pay check from Williams Sonoma either! Bartering’s good, right?! Thanks for being a regular party girl at FTAF, I always look forward to seeing your posts.

    • lynn

      March 30, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Chellie…I am so glad that I earned the ‘regular party girl’ title! And wouldn’t it have been fun to work at Williams-Sonoma together! It was a fun stint…no doubt. Thanks for your kind compliments…I’ll be back on Friday.
      Have a great Thursday!
      Hugs, Lynn

  11. Gina

    March 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Lynn, this looks SO YUMMY!!! I’ve recently realized how much I like jam and jelly. Previously, I would never eat any of it. I haven’t tried many savory jams or jellies though. This looks like a great one to start with. I can just imagine how excited hubby would be coming home to this jam. Pinned to try later!

    • lynn

      April 1, 2016 at 9:13 pm

      Hi Gina…think you guys would love this…with goat cheese…ummm…absolutely delectable. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  12. Stefanie

    July 9, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    OMG this is so delicious! Tough not to eat straight out of the pan! I’m thinking this with a mushroom & goat cheese crepe for starters…

    • lynn

      July 12, 2017 at 6:39 am

      Oh Stefanie, my mouth is watering at the thought of that combination! I think I still have a jar of the jam in my pantry and may just have to whip up a batch of those crepes for dinner. Thanks for the idea.

      Have a great day.


  13. Sharon

    August 25, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    So Delicious!!! I am making my 3rd batch now. I give these away, with other preserves, in baskets for presents-Everyone loves this jam!!! Thank you for the recipe.

    • lynn

      August 26, 2018 at 7:34 am

      Wow! I am so glad you enjoy this so much! It is one of our favs for sure.

      And what a great ‘savory’ addition to a preserves basket.

      Thanks so much for popping in and sharing your ‘review’. It is much appreciated my friend.

      Have a great Sunday,

      Hugs, Lynn

  14. Tami L Mayhew

    December 18, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    thank you for this recipe, it looks divine! I’m new to canning and wondered two things with regard to the safety of using a water bath to can this: could I use fresh thyme and would it matter if I decreased the amount of sugar? Again, thank you, I can’t wait to try it! 🙂

    • lynn

      December 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

      Good Morning Tami,

      We do love this Savory Onion Jam!

      So, to your questions. While my gut tells me it would probably be fine, I would hesitate to switch out fresh for dried thyme. You will have to add more of the fresh to get the taste that the dried gives you and then you can start messing with the chemistry.

      As it relates to the sugar, yes you can reduce the amount of sugar and still have a safe product…BUT…you will affect the setup and shelf life. Marisa at Food in Jars has a great write up on reducing sugar in canned goods.

      I hope this helps! Happy Canning my friends.

      Hugs, Lynn

  15. khaiti

    March 25, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Hi, this recipe sounds excellent. I’m sitting on about 60 lbs of last years onion harvest and looking for a way to put a bunch up before they begin to sprout. DO you think this recipe would out as wonderful with all yellow onion, no red onions or shallots? Thanks!!

    • lynn

      March 25, 2019 at 10:38 am

      Hi Khaiti, how lucky for you with all those onions! But I feel the urgency to get them put up!

      Yes, I think you could absolutely work with just all yellows! With all the wine, vinegar and thyme…not sure you would be able to tell difference. Happy canning my friend.
      Hugs, Lynn


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