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Caramelized Onion and Garlic Jam

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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.

caramelized onion and garlic jam on a cheeseboard

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.

ingredients for caramelized onion and garlic jam

Ingredients //

  • 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

onions and garlic in a dutch onion

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.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Jam recipe

Tips & Tricks

close up of onion jam on a charcuterie board
  • 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.
overhead shot of cheese board

FAQ

Does onion jam need to be refrigerated?

Yes. Since we aren’t properly preserving and canning the jam, it should be stored in the refrigerator.

What is the difference between caramelized onions and sauteed onions?

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.

What does baking soda do to onions?

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.

bowl of onion jam on a cheese board

More Homemade Condiments Recipes

Cranberry and Chili Jam

Mixed Berry Vanilla Chia Seed Jam

Bacon Jam

Homemade Ranch Dressing

caramelized onion and garlic jam on a cheeseboard

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Jam

Yield: makes 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds Vidalia onion (or any other variety of sweet onion)
  • 2 large shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • Fresh thyme (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onions and shallots.
  2. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic.
  3. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the lid and add red wine, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar.
  5. 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.
  6. This jam keeps for two weeks in the fridge.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

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Did you make this recipe?

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Kathy Terry

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

What if one doesn't keep wine in one's home, or any alcohol for that matter? Is there an alternative to the red wine?

Cowgirl Diva

Tuesday 27th of September 2022

@Kathy Terry, Maybe Red Wine Vinegar...?

Cowgirl Diva

Tuesday 27th of September 2022

@Kathy Terry, Maybe Apple Cider Vinegar....?

Kathy Terryt

Wednesday 12th of January 2022

What if one doesn't have wine, or any alcohol, in their kitchen. Is there another option for the red wine?

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[…] Onion and Garlic Jam. I made a batch of this jam and it not only fit into my color scheme, it is amazing on a cracker with […]

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Tuesday 15th of December 2020

[…] Caramelized Onion and Garlic Jam […]

Colleen Studley

Tuesday 18th of February 2020

Can I add bacon to this recipe?

Bree Hester

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

I don't see why not? I bet it would be amazing.

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