Savory jams are among my favorite condiments and this Caramelized Onion Jam is one I love. Sweet onions combine with earthy olive oil and thyme as well as the sweet balsamic for a jam that you can use at any meal.
Onions have a natural sweetness to them that shines in this simple recipe. With only five other ingredients, they are definitely the star of the show.
Whether you want to add a simple addition to your meal or you’re whipping up a gourmet appetizer, you’ll want to keep this recipe on hand!
Table of Contents
What is Caramelized Onion Jam?
Onion jam is a sweet mix of caramelized onions and sugar balanced out by thyme and vinegar. Use it as a great topper for meat, vegetables, and cheeses, or just spread it on bread.
The key to a good onion jam is cooking it slowly on medium heat or low heat so that the onions caramelize perfectly and the flavors can come together. Don’t miss out on that flavor in the bottom of the pan either – scrape your skillet occasionally while stirring.
This savory jam is bound to become one of your new favorite easy recipes. Make a double batch so you have plenty ready when you want it!
- Olive oil– Extra virgin olive oil works best for this recipe.
- Large sweet onions– I think that Vidalias are the best onions for this recipe, but you can use any large onions that you have handy. Chop them however you choose, but diced onions are ideal if you’re using the jam as a condiment.
- Coarse Kosher salt– Try to use this instead of table salt – it really brings out the flavor of the onions.
- Sugar– Cane sugar or white granulated sugar will work — they are interchangeable in this recipe.
- Red wine vinegar– This helps to add some balance, introducing some acid to the dish.
- White balsamic vinegar– White balsamic tends to be higher quality – it really elevates the flavors.
- Fresh thyme leaves– Fresh is always best. However, if you don’t have it, remember the simple conversion of 1 tsp dried to 1 tbsp fresh herbs.
How to use caramelized onion jam
- Burger topping – Try this savory sauce on top of your burgers to kick them up a notch.
- Steak– These onions are delicious over top of a freshly grilled steak. I like to add sautéed mushrooms, too.
- Braise chicken in it- Let the chicken soak up the flavors of the caramelized onions while it’s cooking.
- Pizza- Spread over top of a pizza before cooking, or entirely replace the pizza sauce with onion jam.
- Sandwiches- Use it on any sandwich.
- Cheese board – Blue cheese, goat cheese, and cheddar are all made better with a bit of this.
- Puff pastry and tarts – Particularly, puff pastry wrapped rounds of brie pair perfectly.
- Charcuterie board – Spread some onion jam on baguette slices and top them with salty meats like salami, prosciutto, and sopressata.
- Steamed or roasted vegetables – Toss it with steamed or roasted veggies.
- French onion soup – If you use this caramelized onion jam to make the soup, it means most of the work is already done when you’re trying to serve up dinner.
- Butter Board– What in the world is a butter board? Like a communal butter plate, but better. Check it out!
- Brown sugar- Instead of white sugar you can use brown for a more molasses-infused flavor. You can also reduce the sugar for a more savory jam.
- Lemon juice- Adding just a little lemon juice at the end of cooking will help to brighten the flavors.
- Mustard seed- You can use mustard seeds to impart a somewhat nutty flavor.
- Bay leaves- Adding a bay leaf or two at the beginning of the cooking process for a little extra brightness as well. Take the bay leaf out after cooking.
- Black pepper- You can spice up your onion jam by adding a bit of black pepper to taste.
- Other types of onions- Experiment with other onions. Any variety of white onions are an option and red onions will work as well.
- Vinegar- Instead, try using apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar.
Storage and Freezing
Store your caramelized onion jam in an airtight container for up to a week. If you want to store it for several months, you can use an ice cube trays to store and freeze the jam. You can also keep it for a long time by canning it.
Other Savory Sauces and Jams
Caramelized Onion Jam
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds large sweet onions Vidalia , chopped (3-4 onions)
- 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and salt and continue to cook, slowly, until they start to caramelize and turn an amber color, approximately 20 minutes.
- Add the sugar, vinegar and thyme leaves, stirring to combine until sugars dissolve. Keep heat low, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes until the mixture reduces and thickens.
- Remove from heat and serve or allow to cool fully before refrigerating.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!