Onion Jam Recipe

Balsamic or sherry vinegar, a heavy hand with butter, and good chicken stock turn a traditional burger topping into a rich, versatile condiment.

| Fall 2019

Photo by Unsplash/Becca Tapert 

This jam is the royal cousin of griddled diner onions. Give yourself at least 2 hours to make it properly. It will keep for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator, and up to 6 months in the freezer. Yields 1-1/4 cups.


  • 4 or 5 large onions, peeled and sliced very thin (about 10 cups)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, combine the onions and butter over medium heat. Stir continuously until the butter melts and the onions are coated.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the onions are completely translucent, at least 15 minutes, stirring frequently. If the onions begin to brown, turn the heat down. Don’t rush this step.
  3. Stir in the chicken stock, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Increase the heat to medium, and stir well.
  4. Cook, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until the onions are a deep nut-brown, creamy, and highly aromatic, stirring occasionally. As the onions begin to absorb the liquid, stir more frequently. If they stick to the bottom of the pot, scrape them loose and reduce the heat. Or, for a more hands-off approach, bake the onion mixture at 300 F for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cool completely, and then scrape every bit of jam from the pot. Don’t leave any of the rich liquid behind. Store, covered, in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

NOTE: Freeze the jam in small portions — 4 to 6 tablespoons — for individual servings of soup. To use, bring it to room temperature or warm it.

Discover more delicious recipes in Recipe-Ready Refrigerator Staples.


Ronna Welsh is the owner of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, a cooking school in New York, where she teaches simple yet creative cooking strategies. These recipes are printed with permission from her book The Nimble Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).



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