Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam

September 15, 2008
Guy at work: What’s in that jar?
Me: Onion Jam.
Guy at work: Onion jam??
Me: Yes, Onion Jam!

I would have reacted the same way,if I was told to try some onion jam a week ago. But when I had this lovely smoked turkey and gouda melt sandwich with some amazing multigrain bread, I was completely bowled over by the onion jam in it.

Have you ever had some delicious Indian biryani? Well you’ll often find these garnished with some beautiful caramelized onions, maybe with a dash of garlic. The onion jam is something similar to that, only soft rather than crispy, and sweet rather than salty. And it’s a delicious treat that can be served by the side of any bread or mains. I looked up various recipes and finally came up with something to my liking (most recipes called for quite a lot of brown sugar, but I thought I’d add just a spoonful at a time till the flavour matched my liking. Meanwhile I let the onions caramelise with the balsamic vinegar and impart their own natural sweetness.

This jam turned out to be finger-lickin’ good. Before making it, I thought I’d gift a jar away, but now I’m feeling greedy. *gushing* I’m so happy to have discovered something so versatile. What’s nice about this is the sheer simplicity of combining a few good ingredients to give astonishing results. I’m always a little partial to foods with balsamic vinegar, and this jam is no exception.

Roasted Garlic and Onion Jam

750g/26oz. onions (use Spanish onions for a deeper shade of the jam)
2 heads garlic, roasted
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp brown sugar (can adjust this to your liking)
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  1. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves into a plate.
  2. Coarsely chop the onions into chunks (since chopping them small would make them mushy instead of giving them a good enough texture).
  3. In a hot pan, add the olive oil and wait until heated.
  4. Add the onions, and cover. Stir occasionally, until the onions are softened and translucent, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add sugar and put the lid back on.
  6. Stir occasionally, until onions are golden, 20 – 30 minutes.
  7. Add 1/4 cup water and stir (again!).
  8. Cover and cook until dark brown, 20 -30 minutes.
  9. Add balsamic vinegar, roasted garlic cloves, and another 1/4 cup water.
  10. Continue to cook uncovered until liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  11. Transfer it to a container after it has cooled. Keep refrigerated.

Variation: you could add a sprig of fresh rosemary or a spoonful of caraway seeds to the jam while it’s cooking to have each accentuate the flavour of the onion jam. To add some spice, throw in a stick of a cinnamon and a couple of star anise.

Here are some fun things you could do with the jam:

  • Place a large dollop of this over a hot, juicy steak and watch your family’s appetite grow by the serving!
  • Any type of Southern, Carribean or Creole food
  • Use it as an accompaniment to your cheeseboard
  • Spread it on some crusty country bread or crackers
  • Use it as a tart filling, topped with blue cheese
  • Try it with roast or grilled pork or beef
  • I think it would be lovely with an egg preparation
  • Would go wonderfully with roasts
  • Add it to a sauce and you’ve another dimension to it
  • With roasted tomatoes, goat’s cheese and rocket in a sandwich
  • This one’s my favourite – I’m sure this will have your mouth watering: homemade crackers smeared with the onion jam and crumbled with some goat’s cheese!

There’s just this one cuisine that I am really dying to try this out on, something that I have always wanted to make but have never found the time to do so. I really wonder how it may turn out since this cuisine has a really lovely blend of flavours and textures. It would probably go especially well with the sea-food dishes of this region. That cuisine – Japanese! So if any of you ever plan on cooking any Japanese food, try and incorporate this beautiful onion jam into it, and be sure to comment or blog about how it turned out. :)

Update: Velky Al of Fuggled made this recipe and added a twist to it by using beer. Interesting stuff.


  • Reply Velky Al September 16, 2008 at 5:36 PM

    That sounds like amazing stuff – I will be trying that soon. I might even play with it and put a beer twist into it!

  • Reply Deeba PAB September 16, 2008 at 7:19 PM

    Looks absolutely finger-licking good to me Coco…WOW!! BTW, posted a bit of sage this eve…more will follow later. Thanks a BUNCH for the wonderful herbs!!

  • Reply Happy Cook September 16, 2008 at 7:39 PM

    I love onion jam they are always delicious with sandwitches. Here they especially serve them with wild pate

  • Reply Arika September 17, 2008 at 3:01 AM

    This looks great! How long do you think it’d keep. I HAVE to make it. I’m thinking it’d be great on baked potatoes.

    My Yummy Life

  • Reply Esi September 17, 2008 at 12:28 AM

    This looks really good. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Shaheen September 17, 2008 at 2:26 PM

    Velky Al: Beer twist? Sounds interesting! Let me know how that turns out for you.

    Passionate About Baking: You’re most welcome, Deeba. This onion jam is really worth trying.

    Happy Cook: Oh Pâté! I must try that.

    Esi: Thank you! :)

    Arika: I’m guessing it should keep for 3 weeks at least. Probably longer since it is preserved with the balsamic vinegar. But i don’t think mine will last that long to be completely certain about it. :)

  • Reply natalie September 17, 2008 at 7:52 PM

    OOOO… this DOES sound good! I had the same reaction at first, only because it’s called JAM, which I always think of as sweet. To me this is more like an Antipasto or Condiment -but it’s just called Jam. Now I get it, and it sounds like I must try it!

  • Reply Snooky doodle September 17, 2008 at 8:29 PM

    wow you ve got alot of mouthwatering recipes here. I like the way you deocrated the eclairs, they re cute

  • Reply Deborah September 18, 2008 at 2:21 AM

    I definitely would not turn any of this away! Especially on a sandwich. Yum!

  • Reply Shaheen September 18, 2008 at 12:08 PM

    Hot Garlic: I know! I read somewhere that calling it a jam is a misnomer, it should be called onion compote. I stuck to jam because that’s just something that strikes a chord with everyone. :)

    Snooky Doodle: Thank you so much! :)

    Deborah: I too like it best with a sandwich!

  • Reply Aparna September 18, 2008 at 1:20 PM

    This is wonderful. Onion jam!
    I’m going to make it soon.

  • Reply Shaheen September 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    Thanks Aparna! :)

  • Reply Velky Al September 19, 2008 at 12:58 PM

    The challenge in putting a beer twist in this jam would be to use something not too sweet so as not to make the jam overpowering, but also something not too bitter, so that the sweetness isn’t destroyed. I will be trying the original recipe in the next week or so to get a sense for it, before playing around with the beer aspect.

  • Reply Velky Al October 7, 2008 at 1:33 PM

    So I tried it with a Chodovar Amber lager, and it works a treat – the only donside was how little jam I got out of almost a kg of onions. A bigger batch will be made soon. I will have an article tomorrow about the bacth I made yesterday. Cheers!

  • Reply Shaheen October 7, 2008 at 4:41 PM

    Thank you for reporting back! :D I’m so glad it worked out, especially after having spent so much time in the heat waiting for the onions to caramelise. Can’t wait for your post.

  • Reply Anonymous July 7, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    Do you think you would be able to preserve this? I mean can it last if you go through the canning process?


  • Reply Shaheen July 9, 2009 at 12:53 AM

    Yes it would! I didn't go through with the canning process, but a batch of onion jam I made lasted a long, long time.

  • Reply Kelsey B. October 20, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    Mmm, this looks gorgeous!

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  • Reply Parul February 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    I made this onion jam today morning and brought it to work. Almost all my colleagues had the same reaction as your colleague did. Nobody was eager to try ‘ONION’ jam…but then one bravely went ahead and ate it with crackers, and then everyone ate some..and then some more.. and more. I have an office full of people who are converts now.
    Their only feedback… don’t call it ‘jam’… it’s misleading!!
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!! It’s absolutely BRILLIANT!!

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