Onion Marmalade, Long Live Britain!

Undeservedly British Cuisine has been the butt of many jokes and stereotypes which can be summarized with naming the two styles of British Cooking: Boil and Bland. At one point there may have been truth to this low view of British Cooking, but today this generalization is unfounded.

Homemade Onion Marmalade

Onion Marmalade with Bangers and Mash

For dinner one evening I was planning to prepare homemade British Bangers with Mash Potatoes and was at a loss as to else should be served with the meal. I called the “hotline” and Stuart thankfully answered the phone. My memory of the conversation goes something like this:

Bill: “Stuart, what am I going to serve with the Bangers?”

Stuart: “Right, have you thought to make Onion Marmalade?”

Bill (stomach churning): “Sounds nasty and I do not have time to can marmalade into mason jars.”

Stuart then slips into some unintelligible Scottish dialect and I just know he is making fun of me. He then proceeds to explain to me what exactly Onion Marmalade is and how it is to be prepared. The recipe and instructions below are from Stuart in an email that he sent to me.

Ingredients for Onion Marmalade

Ingredients for Onion Marmalade

Onions Slowed Cooked for an Hour to Make Onion Marmalade

Onions Slowed Cooked for an Hour to Make Onion Marmalade

Liquid Being Boiled off from the Onion Marmalade

Liquid Being Boiled off from the Onion Marmalade

Despite the name Onion Marmalade, the implied sweetness and the fact that it is prepared just as you would prepare a citrus marmalade prior to canning is best described as a jam, relish, chutney or condiment to an American. In many ways Onion Marmalade is simply sauteed onions. It provides a sweet and tangy complement to savory foods and can be and should be used with sausage, pork, and chicken or even topped on toasted bread with a number of cheeses such as feta or a nice blue cheese.


  • 4 Ounces of Butter (1 Stick)
  • 2 Pounds of Onions, Peeled and Sliced (Julienne)
  • 2/3 Cup of Red Wine
  • 2/3 Cup of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • Salt & Ground Pepper to Taste


  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Add in the onions, stir, cover and cook on a very low heat for an hour.
  3. Remove the lids, raise the heat, stir and boil until the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Season with salt, black pepper and add the red wine, red wine vinegar and brown sugar
  5. Boil again until most of the liquid has disappeared

The recipe above will make enough for four servings (2 meals for 2 people). If there any remaining, Onion Marmalade will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks or in the freezer for a couple of months. I am even considering making Onion Marmalade in larger quantities and determine if it can be canned with the open pot method for canning.

Onion Marmalade is a very nice addition to my kitchen essentials. I have enjoyed Onion Marmalade with British Bangers, Roasted Chicken and is the perfect partner with Mash Potatoes.

Ready to Eat Onion Marmalade

Ready to Eat Onion Marmalade

Did I mention that at the end of the conversation, Stuart says “Cheers”?



    • Paula @ Vintage Kitchen on July 5, 2012 at 8:02 am
    • Reply

    I love onion marmalade. Nice recipe!

    • Marlene Bertrand on July 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    • Reply

    Oh, I think I like Onion Marmalade! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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