onion jam… simply!

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I got the idea for onion jam when roaming Giulia Scarpaleggia’s cookbook about Tuscany based on her food blog Jul’s Kitchen. What I didn’t do: I didn’t cook the onion sugar mess for a rather long time… I simply opted for preserving sugar.

While jam cooking is often associated w/ spring & summer, onion jam is a delicacy independent from seasons. Onions are available year-round as well as the spices we’ll use…

Have a look at my photo: onion jam is a friend w/ any cheese platter, w/ any cheese & bacon & salami platter… You may serve it whenever you like – a cheese platter w/ or w/o meat component is fine during any season.

Let’s start w/ the onions!



I used red onions, fresh & spicy & a little sweet.


For the record:
Be prepared that your kitchen will hold the flavors of cooked onions for some hours!


What else do we need?



It’s just:

  • onions
  • red wine
  • red wine vinegar
  • ground black pepper
  • ground cloves
  • juniper berries
  • preserving sugar (type 2:1).

The main obstacle might be the trimming & the slicing of the onions. It’s a lot of onions & a lot of cutting to do… Your eyes will suffer…

Don’t forget to prepare the jam jars!



Afterwards grab the pot for the jam preparation & start frying the onion slivers in some olive oil. Add the spices… Put the juniper berries in a stainless steel tea-egg… & stir. Cook everything for about 30 min until the onions are soft.

Add the red wine & the vinegar & cook… & stir… until the liquid is evaporated (about 10 – 15 min).

Add the preserving sugar, let it dissolve & bring it to a boil. The onion mess should boil for about 3 – 5 min.

Then fill the mess in the jam jars, close the srew cap & turn the jam jars upside down.






onion jam
Prep Time50 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Servings: 6 jam jars à 200 ml
  • 1200 g red onions
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 75 ml red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 juniper berries
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g preserving sugar (2:1)
  • a tea-ball (stainless steel)
  • 5 - 6 jam jars (a 200 - 250 ml)
how to:
  • Prepate the jam jars (cleaning...).
  • Trim the onions & cut them into quarters; afterwards cut the onions into thin slices. Start frying the onions in olive oil in a pot big enough for the jam session.
  • Add the spices - the juniper berries in the tea-ball - & fry softly until the onions are soft. Don't forget to stir the mess every now & then. It shouldn't stick to the bottom.
  • After about 30 min add red wine & vinegar - let it cook softly & stir for about 10 - 15 min. The liquid should have evaporated...
  • Remove the tea-egg!
  • Add the preserving sugar & bring it to a boil. Attention: when the sugar is dissolving the liquid will increase again!
  • Let it boil for at least 3 - 5 min - always stirring!
  • Then fill the onion mess into the jam jars - immediately - & close the screw cap. Turn the jam jars upside down for cooling.
Red onions: In general you may use any type of onion.
Jam jars: I used rather small jam jars because you’ll need only few onion jam when serving w/ cheese (or so). So a big jar might be excessive.
The onion jam may be stored in your pantry.
After opening a jam jar it has to be stored in the fridge.


(information on equipment)



For dinner I assembled a cheese platter w/ fine examples from France, Italy & Spain… & added some prosciutto crude di San Daniele & some salami di finocchio… & a fresh brown bread w/ pumpkin seeds…

All met w/ my home-made onion jam…



…& we had an Italian red wine from Montepulciano…


The businesswoman w/ too many office hours thinks 

It was a fine dinner – although my better half thought the onion jam was a little too sweet… (For me it was totally okay!) However next time I might try some more vinegar… & maybe I’ll try adding some other spices.

…& once done (the jam cooking!) I’ll now have 6 (!) small jars of onion jam for a lot of cheese platter events during the next months!



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keep it simple & be flexible. always.