Recipe of the Week – Red Onion Marmalade


I’m in a preserving state of mind at the moment and this weekend decided to make a little treat for the Husband.  Since coming to the US we’ve found it quite difficult to get hold of good onion marmalade. We can occasionally buy it in Canada or in the speciality food aisle here in the US, but we’ve yet to find a brand that could replace Tracklements Onion Marmalade in his affections.

 (The following recipe is one I first tried at a friend’s house years ago. I photographed the relevant page from her cookbook but unfortunately the pboto doesn’t tell me which cookbook it came from. I’d love to be able to credit it properly, so please let me know if you recognise it.)




Silky, sticky onion marmalade is one of those very British sweet/sour condiments that the French find quite barbaric, but is quite sensationally good. The sweetness of the caramelised onions is enhanced and deepened by the balsamic vinegar and sugar, while the garlic, thyme and wine add unexpected layers of flavour. 

It’s best served with foods that are rich, creamy and intensely savoury – the subtle crunch of the onions adds a layer of texture, the vinegar cuts through the richness and the sweetness adds its own counterpoint.

Dollop it onto strong creamy Cheddar as part of a ploughman’s lunch, or serve with a smooth chicken liver mousse, other meats or even foie gras.  It is also quite amazing with sausages and mash and fabulous in a hamburger.

The Husband just scoffs his with a spoon, straight from the fridge.


Red Onion Marmalade


(Makes enough for 1 small jar. Multiply the quantities depending on how many jars you want to make)

2 large red onions

3 tbsps olive oil

2 cloves garlic

Sea salt

4 tbsps red wine

4 tbsps balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

Few springs of thyme

Black pepper





Thinly slice the onions.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based deep-sided frying pan or saucepan. C rush the garlic and saute’ the onions , garlic and a little salt very gently for around 20 minutes until soft and translucent. The recipe suggests covering the onions with a circle of greaseproof paper so that moisture is trapped and they don’t brown – this worked very well for me.

Then add the wine, vinegar and sugar and simmer everything gently for around 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.  You could also experiment with different vinegars and liquids. Port would be a good substitute for the wine and sherry vinegar would be an interesting replacement for the balsamic. The Husband’s favourite Tracklements brand uses redcurrant juice.

Strip the leaves from thyme and add them to the marmalade, season with pepper and more salt to taste and cook gently for another 5 minutes.

Pack into a sterilised jar and close the lid while it’s still warm. The recipe says this lasts for about a month in the fridge.  I pass this on to you as an interesting theory, no more – the Husband inhales this stuff and in our house it lasts a week or two at the very most.






  1. says

    Let us know how you get on.
    And thanks for the photo compliment. Your class has made a huge difference. The onions ones aren’t so good, as they were taken at night with overhead lighting. But the onions themselves were so pretty I couldn’t not photograph them.

  2. says

    this remembers me of this tiny tiny bistro here in frankfurt that served the most delicious red onion marmalade and then closed down and i haven’t had any ever since. this weekend i want to make an advent calendar for my love and i will make one jar of this. oooh great. i’m so glad i came here to find that :-))

  3. says

    ok.. it’s late and my office desk is full of bs… and even if i’m not a native speaker… i wanted to say
    this reminds me of…..

  4. Perlla Fonvielle says

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I lived in Uk and that was one of the best things a tasted there (cheddar + onion marmalade). Now, I can make my own.

  5. JOHN says

    I travel to Britain every year, making a trip to Waitrose each time. Last year I found Tracklement’s onion marmalade (next to Barry Norman’s pickled onions on the shelf). Wish I had bought a half dozen. Anyway — thank you, Paola, for posting this! If it turns out well, I’ll start giving jars as gifts.


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