Sweet Onion Jam

A while ago I bought a 10-lb. sack of red onions. It was on a whim. I justified it by saying they were cheap and I use red onions a lot. Both true things. But I’ve been “buying and justifying” a lot more lately and it’s a habit I need to break. I need to stick to my grocery budget and I hate wasting food. The upside to this annoying habit is that I’m forced to be a bit creative to use up things that need using up.

Onions last a long time, so I’m thankful for that. Still though, I really could stand to use a few up – like at least 2 pounds worth.

How convenient for me there’s this sweet onion jam recipe that uses around 2 lbs of red sweet onions.

This isn’t really much of an original recipe. Because really, as far as onion jam goes, they’re all basically the same with a few changes here or there. I just stuck to the basics for my first time making this and can’t wait to experiment more the next time.

Some recipes call for dicing your onions while others suggest thinly slicing your onions. I’m a fan of thinly slicing them into half-moons.

sliced red onions

Sweet Onion Jam
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine or olive oil
  • 2 lbs sweet red onions, cut in half then sliced thinly
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  1. In a large skillet heat the margarine or oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add sliced onions and the sea salt. Saute over medium-low heat until onions soften and begin to caramelize. This may take a while.
  3. Once the onions are caramelized add brown sugar, red wine, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  4. Let the mixture come to a bubble and the liquid reduce. You should be able to run your finger through the liquid coated on the back of a spoon and have it leave a distinct line. (See the pic below.) This should take about 30 minutes. The temperature should be low enough that the mixture would never come close to scorching.
  5. Spoon mixture into clean jars (about 2 should do it) and let cool completely before screwing on the lid and refrigerating. Refrigerate up to 5 days. For best flavor and texture, let onion jam return to room temperature to use.

the spoon test

Question for you: Do you cry when you cut onions? (I do. A lot.) Have you got any tried-and-true tips for preventing tears while cutting onions?


  1. Robin says

    Onion jam is one of my top favourite jams (Bacon Jam is the other favourite). Some fresh rosemary and/or thyme would be a nice addition. Perfect in a toasty panino.

    • Megan says

      I’m definitely going to try this with thyme. I am working on a mini-pizza type thing with the almond feta and sweet onion jam. I’d also like to try making the sweet onion jam with port. I think that would make it even better!

  2. Carlos says

    Yes, to not cry, you either wet your knife or after peeliung and cutting the onions in half let them soak in water for a few minutes. Then rince and proceed with the tear free cutting!

    Hope it works for you!


    And thanks for thew recipe!

    • Megan says

      Carlos! Thank you so much for this tip. I’m going to try this out tonight when I make supper. You’re a life saver – or at the very least a makeup-saver! 😉


  3. Jenna says

    I light a candle right next to me/in back of the onions while I’m chopping. This often helps a LOT, especially if it’s a big candle or two or three. I would definitely try this. It doesn’t completely eliminate the tears, but it reduces the stinging/crying by a whole bunch.

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