This recipe for caramelized onion and garlic jam is a great way to use up extra onions. It is slightly sweet but mostly savory and a nice condiment to have on hand. Use jam to top burgers, spread in between grilled cheese, add to a charcuterie board and so much more.
Contrary to popular belief, jam isn’t always a blend of fruit and sugar. In fact, sometimes jams aren’t made with fruit at all. This recipe for caramelized onion and garlic jam takes sweet onions, shallots, and garlic and transforms them into a savory spread (a chutney of sorts).
I once took a knife skills class, and it really improved my skills -which came in handy when making this jam. The best way to become confident with knives is to use them a lot. For this recipe, you’ll be peeling and cutting onions, shallots, and garlic. With solid knife skills and a great knife, this recipe is seriously so simple.
Once you’ve made this jam, you’ll be making it over and over again. You can use caramelized onion and garlic jam on so many things, so it goes quickly! I love it in a grilled cheese, on a cheese plate, with grilled chicken and tossed with fresh pasta. This homemade condiment is next-level good.
- Olive Oil -is used to coat the bottom of the dutch oven to prevent sticking.
- Vidalia Onion – You can use any variety of sweet onions here. Avoid yellow onions as they tend to be too pungent.
- Shallot – adds a subtle sweet flavor to the jam.
- Garlic – adds amazing flavor.
- Red Wine – is used to deglaze the pan.
- Balsamic Vinegar – adds sweet and tangy flavor and helps the onions caramelize.
- Brown Sugar – helps the onions caramelize.
- Fresh Thyme (optional) – adds an almost minty yet peppery flavor to this jam.
- Salt and Pepper (to taste) – highlights the sweet and savory flavors.
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Peel and thinly slice the onions and shallots.
Step 2: Remove the peel from the garlic by cutting off the bottom.
Step 3: Break up the cloves in a large bowl.
Step 4: Place another bowl on top and shake vigorously.
Step 5: The peels come right off. Like magic!
Step 6: Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic.
Step 7: Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 8: They will start to soften and turn translucent.
Step 9: Remove the lid and add red wine, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar.
Step 10: Cook for another 30 or so minutes, or until the onions are caramelized. Add fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. If you still have large cloves of garlic remaining, use a fork to mash them up and stir into the jam.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t break the bank on the balsamic. You’re only using a tablespoon, so no need to splurge on an expensive bottle of balsamic.
- To make the caramelizing process easier, be sure to slice your ovens evenly.
- Patience! The best flavor will develop if the onions are caramelized low and slow.
- For even more depth in flavor, roast a bulb of garlic and mash some into the jam before serving.
- Try adding fresh figs and/or cooked bacon during the last 30 minutes of caramelizing.
Why is Caramelized Onion & Garlic Jam So Good?
- Preparing this jam is easy and the results are absolutely incredible.
- Budget-friendly! Bulk onions are usually only a few dollars in supermarkets.
- It’s super versatile and can be used as a condiment on so many things.
- Great for impressing guests! Caramelized onion and garlic jam is truly delightful.
Ways to Use Onion & Garlic Jam
I cannot encourage you enough to make a huge batch of this jam because you will inevitably want to use it on everything. Check out these yummy ways to use onion jam:
- Spread jam on a slice of crostini topped with a slice of salty prosciutto and a sprinkle of stinky cheese (like parmesan or gruyere).
- Spread between bread slices for a gourmet grilled cheese.
- Add a small bowl of jam to a cheeseboard.
- Piled high on the best hamburger ever!
- A reader mentioned in the comments they used it in a quesadilla – YUM.
Yes. Since we aren’t properly preserving and canning the jam, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Sauteing involves quickly browning the outside of onions at a high temperature. Caramelizing is done over lower heat until the onions are softened and cooked through.
Baking soda alters the pH which results in onions cooking much faster. To speed things up add a 1/4 teaspoon per pound of onions while caramelizing.
How to Store and Reheat //
Storing leftover garlic & onion jam: Store any cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Make-Ahead and Freezer Options
Can you freeze jam? Yes. Pour hot jam into clean jars, let it cool completely to room temperature, cap and freeze for up to 6 months.