Red onion marmalade close up in a bowl

*This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclaimer here. While we may use affiliate links, we would never allow this to influence product listings or recommendations.

Red onion marmalade… red onion chutney… whatever you call it, this simple condiment is easier to make than it looks, and can be made in bulk and stored for up to 3 months! Not only that, but is is so versatile. Once you get into the habit of using this as part of your repotaire you’ll find that there are countless ways to use it.

I used to make this recipe years ago when I worked in the restaurant – and we used it in so many dishes. Needless to say, I would be making a huge batch of this stuff pretty much every week as we went through so much of it. Making it now, there is something pretty nostalgic about it for me (although I’m still trying to forget the streaming red eyes, from chopping literally hundreds of onions.)

What is it?

Technically, this is actually a chutney, since a marmalade is made with citrus fruit, whereas a chutney uses vegetables or fruit, vinegar and sugar (although that is in the broadest sense of the term and there are a lot of variations on that). However, this recipe is often called a marmalade – most likely because of the stringy pieces of onion which could resemble stringy pieces of orange rind in a traditional marmalade.

What can you use it for?

Red onion chutney on bread on a wooden boar

This chutney is so versatile – you can use it in so many ways. It’s great as a starter on top of sliced, toasted baguette, or served with a cheese plate. The sweetness of the chutney with a creamy cheese (such as brie or goats cheese) is true bliss. It also is a great accompaniment to a host of dishes. It works really well with everything from vegetarian dishes to poultry. I use it in this yummy goats cheese and mushroom wellington too. You can also spoon it over a pizza.

How do you store it?

To store, sterilise a jam jar by washing the jar and lid well and then drying in an oven set to 150°C for around 20 minutes. Keep sealed in the fridge for up to 3 months. Why bother buying the ready-made stuff?

If you want to try your hand at canning, you can also follow this water bath method and then you can keep it at room temperature until opened.

Technically, you could freeze this chutney if you wanted to, but really why bother? It keeps for months in the fridge and a batch rarely last more than a month in mine!

How many calories does it have?

A portion of this marmalade (2 heaped tablespoons) contains around 115 calories and 2g fat. While it is a little calorific from the sugar, it’s fairly low in fat since there is no butter added and just a little oil per portion.

This is not great for low carb diets, since the sugar adds a lot of carbohydrates.

Red onion marmalade on a wooden board with bread, figs and brie


For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Red onions
  • Olive oil – feel free to substitute vegetable or canola (rapeseed) oil – as this is simply used for sweating the onions
  • Sugar – I use granulated cane sugar. You can also use any kind of granulated white sugar or a light brown sugar such as demerara sugar
  • Balsamic vinegar – you don’t need to go for any kind of high quality, expensive vinegar here as you need a fair amount, and you are cooking it for a long period
  • Red Wine Vinegar – with this I’d spring for at least an ok-quality bottle. If it’s too tart or sour it will affect the quality of the result
  • Garlic cloves – minced so they spread evenly within the mixture without there being any large pieces
  • Dijon mustard – this is optional, and it just uses a small; amount so it’s not overpowering. If you like a mild taste of mustard then I highly recommend it

How to make it

This red onion marmalade might look complicated, but it’s really not. The hardest part is chopping up the onions, then it’s just a matter of waiting for it to reduce down enough.

Firstly heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and then stir well to coat in the oil. Cook for around 20 minutes until the onions have softened.

Add half the sugar and stir to coat. Cook for a further 10 minutes until it’s caramalised the onions a little.

Cooking steps, add chopped onion to pan and soften. Add sugar, Add other ingredients, simmer to reduce liquid

Add the remainder of the sugar along with the rest of the ingredients (the balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic and mustard) and stir together well. At this point it may seem like there is a LOT of liquid. Trust the process – it will reduce a lot!

Gently simmer the liquid for around 45 minutes until the liquid is thick and clings to the onions. If the marmalade still contains too much liquid then increase the heat a little and let it boil off. If you are making multiple batches of the recipe as described then it might take an additional 30 minutes or so to reduce it to the right consistency.

Cool and spoon into a steralised jar (instructions above). This will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge.

If you are looking for more great condiment recipes then check out this cucumber raita or this lemon & parsley gremolata.

Products that work well for this recipe:

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Red onion marmalade close up in a bowl

Red Onion Marmalade

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


A sweet and rich red onion marmalade with a hint of mustard which is easy to make and will keep for months. It makes a beautiful accompaniment to cheese dishes and platters 

The default recipe serves 8 (around 2 tablespoons per portion)


  • 500g /  1.1lb red onions, ends cut off and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g / 1/3 cup white granulated sugar (caster sugar works well)
  • 85ml / 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 60ml / 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp / 20g dijon mustard


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat and then add the onions. Cook for around 20 minutes, stirring often, until they are softened. If they start to brown at the edges then turn the heat down. 
  2. Add half the sugar and stir everything together well. Cook for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Add the remainder of the sugar, balsamic, red wine, garlic and mustard and stir everything together well. It will look like there is a lot of liquid but it will reduce right down. 
  4. Cook for a further 45 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a sticky consistency that is coating the onions. If you run a wooden spoon through the bottom of the pan the juices should scrape away and there should be no liquid that pools in the gap you’ve made. Keep going if there is still too much liquid – and perhaps increase the heat a little to let it evaporate more.
  5. Cool the liquid and then spoon into sterilised jars. Seal and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.


To steralise the jar, wash in hot soapy water and then transfer into a warm oven (150C/300F). Leave in the oven for 20 minutes until fully dry and then cool before using. 

The flavours of the marmalade will develop more over time so this is actually best made at least a few days or a week before you are planning on using it. 

Make sure to use a good quality red wine vinegar. If it’s too ‘tart’ it can affect the flavour of the marmalade. 

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Chutney
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 115
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Protein: 1g

Keywords: pear, chutney, condiment, sauce, relish, indian, side, cheese board

4 Thoughts on “Red Onion Marmalade”

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe rating