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Caramelized onions take a long time, in  my opinion.  Preserved Onion Marmalade places caramelized onions right at your finger tips – ready to use!


And if you really think about it, caramelized onions can be used in almost anything, which makes Preserved Onion Marmalade the perfect ingredient to have on hand at all times.


The process is much like any other preserving method and takes time – like all good things – am I right?  You’ll most certainly want to give yourself a Saturday morning to prepare these bad boys.  From start to finish, you’re looking at roughly 4 hours.  Now, time is precious, I know, but think of the advantages to having caramelized onions on hand whenever you need them.


Preserved Onion Marmalade can most certainly act as a jam, like the word marmalade suggests, however, there are many more options as well.  For example, you could grill some crusty bread, smear it with a little ricotta and onion marmalade for a quick appetizer.


Grab some pre-made focaccia or artisan flatbread the next time you’re in a bind for dinner.  Spread some of the Preserved Onion Marmalade on top, and crumble over some goat cheese.  Bake it for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees for a great homemade pizza option.


Making anything with potato for dinner?  Stir some into your mashed potatoes, or top a baked potato with a dollop of these onions along with some sour cream for a great side.  


If you’re frying mushrooms, toss the cooked mushrooms with a few of these onions for a great topper for a grilled steak or pork chop.  You see, Dear Reader, there are so many delicious possibilities.  Don’t even get my started on dips that you can make with these preserved onions – onion dip (cold or hot baked), hummus, etc.


I encourage you to take a few hours of your time to whip up a few jars of this.  It will surely save you time in the long run.  And, if you’re lucky enough to live near a farmers’ market, you can pick up five pounds of onions for less than $5!  The remaining ingredients for this recipe are no doubt already in your pantry or fridge.  You have nothing to lose, right!?


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4 from 10 votes

Preserved Onion Marmalade

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings 80
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 5 pounds onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup orange juice


  • Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat for 1 hour. There are a lot of onions, so use a very large non-stick skillet or a large Dutch oven. Do not cover - the onions will lose a lot of moisture and you want that to evaporate during the cooking process. Stir often!
  • Add the garlic and saute for 20 more minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and add the dried chili flakes, brown sugar, vinegar, and orange juice. Stir well to combine.
  • Continue to slow-cook the onions for an additional two hours. Stir often and watch the moisture level in the pan. If the onions begin to dry out, remove the pan from the heat immediately and begin the canning process. Otherwise, continue to cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and the onions turn a golden brown.
  • Pack the onions into sterilized mason jars. I like to use a metal funnel to avoid any of the onions coming into contact with the rim of the jar. This will help to create a better and safer seal. Fill the jar leaving at least 1/4-1/2 inch headspace. Remove the funnel and place a warmed, sterilized seal on the jar. Screw on the lid until just snug. Be careful! The jar will be hot! Use a kitchen towel to hold the jar in place as you screw on the lid.
  • Using a jar lifter, place the filled jars into the large pot of boiling water. Be sure the jars are not touching the bottom of the pot. This might cause the jar to break. I use a circular cooling rack that fits right into the bottom of my pot. (If you have a canning pot with a wire jar rack, then you won’t need to worry about this.)
  • Bring the pot back to a boil and allow the jars to remain in the boiling water for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the jars and place on a kitchen towel where they will not be disturbed. As the jars cool, you’ll hear a popping sound. This is the hot liquid and air in the jar cooling down and contracting. This will create an air-tight seal and will allow you to store your onions for future consumption.


Makes five 250ml jars - serving size is 1 tablespoon.

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This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Just made this today, and it is wonderful! Gives a regular hamburger or hot dog a real gourmet flavor. It would be good on any sandwich!
    1. Thank you, Pat. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get back to you earlier in regards to the salt and pepper question.
  2. Thank you for the recipe, How long do you believe the preserve will last for? Month, 3 months? I know it is flavoursome, just wanted to know if I make double the recipe will it last as it is very labour and time intensive. Thank you
    1. Thank you, Karry. These will last up to 12 months in a cool, dark place. I keep them in the back of my pantry where it's nice and cool.
  3. I was wondering if you could use anything other then orange juice to keep it on the savory side, like beef stock? I’m not a fan of orange juice. Thanks
    1. Hi Krystle! The purpose of the orange juice is to keep the acid level high in the preserve so that it will can properly and last longer. Don't worry, you will not taste the orange juice at all in the final product. It's quite savoury just the way it is. :)
  4. If the orange juice is to add acidity, would it be possible to replace it with balsamic vinegar? If so, how much? I think it could add some nice flavour and colour.
    1. I think the balsamic vinegar would be way too strong for this particular marmalade. You can try it, but I would not presume to tell you that it would work having not tried it myself.
    2. Brand, Yes, by all means, use your balsamic vinegar in your preserves and jams. I frequently use an 18 year aged balsamic vinegar in my preserves. Aged balsamic vinerger is reduced and sweet as well as being an acid. It doesn't have equal acidity as lemon juice, so you still need to add at least 1 tablespoon lemon juice. You'll not taste lemon. Orange juice, also, does not have equal acidity in equal portions as lemon juice. So if you substitute an 18 year old balsamic vinegar make your additional acid is lemon juice. You may also substitute the brown sugar with cane sugar. The balsamic will give you the rich caramel color you want. Deliciously yours, Christa's Pantry
    3. Yes- you CAN substitute the orange juice with balsamic- OR any other flavored vinegar OR lemon for that matter..... use whatever flavor suits your palette- as long as the acidity goes up enough so that it can be PROPERLY water bathed canned. :) Red Wine Vinegar would taste really yummy too- for roasts and stuff.... Couple other notes..... #1 Byron- this sounds really super yummmmmmm. But, you MUST get the air bubbles OUT of the jars BEFORE wiping down the rims WITH VINEGAR before popping on the lids to seal and water bath can them. IF you have air INSIDE the jars- as you suggested...then you will have a botulism issue/spoilage. If PROPERLY canned- this will last NOT A YEAR, but at least 2-4 years. :) Enjoy.
  5. I have looked everywhere for a recipe that called for OJ. This is wonderful and takes me to my childhood. Thank you so much for sharing. Goat cheese toast topped with onion marm! Yes!

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