Home » Kitchen » Savory Red Onion Jam Recipe

Savory Red Onion Jam Recipe

Savory Red Onion Jam recipe is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, pizzas and as an addition to your meat and cheese platter. This Balsamic Onion Jam also features red wine and subtle, earthy thyme. Canning this onion jam makes great food gifts as the addition of vinegar and wine raises the acidity and makes this a perfect recipe for preserving onions.

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?

The empty Williams-Sonoma jar of Red Onion Jam nudged me to try my hand at preserving an onion jam.  I’ve had a balsamic onion jam 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 and to get busy canning onion jam.

Savory Onion Jam Recipe: Red onions sliced for onion jam prep” class=”wp-image-7739″/>

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.  

Preserving Onions

I had been researching the making and canning of savory onion jam for some time.  

As it relates to preserving onions in general, as they are a low-acid food they 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.

Some of these are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission off of the sale of these products, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.

To that end, I’ve been searching and testing various recipes for preserving onions, 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). Adding a tablespoon of thyme gave me the flavor I was looking for in this balsamic onion jam.

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.”

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.

The flavor of this balsamic jam is pretty close to what we remembered. In fact, we are 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 just keep it in your fridge.  I’ve seen recipes that state that similar onion jams can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.  

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

Nourish and Nestle
A Savory Onion Thyme Jam
4.47 from 81 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Canning Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Canning, Preserving, Jam + Jellies
Cuisine American
Servings 4 half-pints
Calories 366 kcal


  • 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


  • Put diced onions and brown sugar in a heavy pot over medium heat.
  • Cook uncovered for 45-60 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown and caramelize and any liquid has evaporated
  • Add wine, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes until liquid has reduced and thickened.
  • You could refrigerate the jam at this point, it should keep for about 2 weeks.
  • If you chose to can it, spoon your jam into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/2" headspace.
  • Process for 10 minutes in your hot water bath.
  • Take pot lid off, let sit for 5 minutes then place on wire rack to sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
  • 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.


Serving: 2gCalories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 4gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 318mgPotassium: 578mgFiber: 6gSugar: 45gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 2mg
Keyword jam, onion
Well, what did you think?Please rate this recipe here! It helps other readers and also helps to support our site.

So now that you have this delectable, savory 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

What to do with onion jam?

  • We love this onion jam 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 this onion jam.

Pin it for the next time you need a quick and easy Savory Red Onion Jam recipe, with instructions for canning the onion jam:

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?

If you like this Balsamic Onion Jam, you might also like these other savory jam and jelly recipes. Smoky, Spiced Tomato Jam has a depth to it from melting the tomatoes slowly in dark brown sugar, a little tinge of smoke from the paprika and an earthy bite from the bits of toasted cumin. Jalapeno Pepper Wine Jelly is ideal for appetizers, cheese trays, bacon candy or sandwiches. This hot pepper jelly recipe is perfect for those new to canning and includes a video tutorial.

For these, as well as other sweet and savory jam and jelly recipes, pop over to my page of Canning and Preserving Recipes. Most of these recipes are suitable for beginner canners.

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.
Thanks so much for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me!

To ensure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the pale green box on the right or click here. I usually send one email weekly, so I won’t inundate your inbox. I’m sensitive to an overflowing email inbox!  

We will only use your email address to send you emails, no more than 1-2 weekly. In addition, you will have access to my growing library of knit & crochet patterns and other printables. Check back often as this library will continue to grow.   You can unsubscribe anytime by emailing me or clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of all emails.

And you can access many of the products I refer to on my Nourish and Nestle Amazon Page. You can access it here.

So, if you’d like to participate in the ‘subscriber benefit’ action, simply subscribe to Nourish and Nestle here or use the form on the right sidebar. It’s slightly towards the top.

I have sent all my subscribers the link to the Subscriber Benefits Library. If you missed it or misplaced it, let me know.

Until next time…

Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

Similar Posts


  1. 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!

    1. 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. 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!!

    1. 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. 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 ! 🙂

    1. 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. 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

    1. 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. 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!

  6. 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.


    1. 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. 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

    1. 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. 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

    1. 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

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

      Hugs, LYnn

  9. 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.

    1. 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

  10. 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!

    1. 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

  11. 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…

    1. 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.


  12. 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.

    1. 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

  13. 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! 🙂

    1. 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

  14. 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!!

    1. 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

  15. I have a source of excellent local honey and would like to substitute that for the white sugar. Any comments? I live in a condo and have limited storage space. This will be an excellent way of preserving the 60 lbs of onions I grew in my community garden.

    1. 60 pounds!!!! Wow…I am so jealous! You can substitute honey for sugar, at 7/8 cup honey per cup of sugar. I imagine it will result in a slightly different taste, but I also imagine it will be a deeper/richer taste. Please do check back in and let me know what you think of the onion jam with the honey.

      Have a great day my friend.



      1. To the person who wants to sub honey for the white sugar, and to whom you replied to use 7/8c honey for 1 c. white sugar- given there is no white sugar in this recipe, what would be the appropriate sub for honey for brown sugar?

        1. Hi Jan, I think the ‘white’ in the sugar was a mistake. Feel free to sub the honey for the brown sugar. Thanks for catching that mistake.

  16. Can this recipe be doubled? I’d like to make some for Christmas gifts and need to make more than a few jars at a time.

    1. Good Morning Debbie,

      Boy do I have good news for you…a friend of mine 10X-ed this recipe for Christmas gifts and had no problem whatsoever! In fact, I think the only problem is that she said she smelled of onions for a good day! 😉 But in any event, happy canning my friend.



  17. Hello. I have a question. I have a box of white wine. Looking to get rid of a few extra red onions I have. Does white wine work as a substitute? If so I’m making this tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. Good Morning Megan!

      Subbing the white wine for the red wine is totally something I would do! Honestly, I imagine it would change the flavor a bit, but it is possible you will like it better! In terms of safety, they have similar Ph levels, so that would be fine.

      Happy Canning my friend.

      Hugs, Lynn

  18. Hi Lynn!
    I’m looking for the original recipe from which you adapted this recipe in Topp & Howard’s book. I’ve gone cover to cover and don’t see any onion jam recipe.
    Could you tell me in which chapter you found it?
    Thanks in advance!

  19. Hi Lynn! This sounds incredible. I used to work at a restaurant where they made something similar and have been craving it ever since (I was a server so didn’t see how they made it!). A farm near me is selling shallots in bulk but not onions. If I used just shallots do you think it would affect the acidity at all? Also, I’ve got a bunch of pint jars but only a couple half-pints. Do you know if the canning time would still be ten minutes in pint jars? Thank you!

  20. 5 stars
    Our family and friends absolutely love this. We use it with charcuterie boards, in grilled cheese sandwiches (with Brie is best) and for a snack just with cream cheese and crackers. This stuff is dangerously good.

4.47 from 81 votes (80 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating