Caramelized Balsamic Onion and Thyme Jam

Caramelized balsamic onion and thyme jam is my idea of a pantry staple

Everyone has their own idea of what a pantry staple is to them, don’t they? Maybe it’s a favorite bbq sauce, mayonnaise, or tomato and chili jam. Maybe (like me) it’s all three of these things! I tend to have a pantry list of my store-bought essentials that I use on a constant basis, so I’m not continually running to the supermarket. Then there are the homemade staples that I like to have on hand to make whipping up something quickly, just that little bit easier (and tastier!) This caramelized balsamic onion jam is a delicious condiment that falls into this category. The combination of sweet onions and tangy balsamic vinegar cut down with a little brown sugar are a match made in heaven. Although it takes a little time, I can then use it in a multitude of things to lift a meal and give a good punch of flavor.

A cast iron pan full of slow cooked caramelized onion jam.

Personally, I’m a sucker for a caramelized balsamic onion and goat’s cheese tart, but there are SO many uses for this little gem.

What do I need?

  • Pantry staples… Brown sugar, extra virgin olive oil, fresh onions. I prefer brown onions for this recipe, however, red onions work really well too.


  • Fresh thyme leaves – If unavailable, dried is a good substitute. As dried herbs are always more potent than fresh, I recommend cutting down the amount stated in the recipe by half.


  • Balsamic Vinegar – don’t go for an expensive balsamic in this case. Save the good balsamic for drizzling over a salad.

All the ingredients you need to make Caramelized balsamic onion jam.

A quick note on balsamic vinegar

Commercial balsamic vinegars are rated on a leaf system advertised on the label. When you are cooking the balsamic (like this recipe) look for a two-leaf balsamic. They are usually the cheaper balsamic vinegars, most suited to cooking with. When drizzling over salads use a three or four-leaf (AH-MAZ-ING) aged balsamic.

The details…

  1. Cut each onion in half. Place onion cut side down on a chopping board and finely slice onions lengthways. Alternatively, slice onions in a food processor. I use the 2mm slicing disc on my Magimix Cook Expert.


  2. In a large skillet, place the sliced onions and olive oil. Give it a good stir to coat the onions and place on the stovetop on low heat for 2 minutes


  3. Pop all remaining ingredients into the pan, and give a good stir to combine. Place on low to medium heat. You want the onions to be gently sauteeing in the balsamic mixture.


  4. Gently cook for 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes being sure to not let anything get stuck on the bottom of the pan. Once the balsamic mixture is golden brown and has been reduced to a jam-like consistency, it’s ready!


  5. Cool to room temperature and place the caramelized onion jam in a glass jar and pop it in the fridge until needed.

Equipment.

No special equipment for this one. A chopping board, a sharp cook’s knife, large skillet, and a wooden spoon it all you really need. If you want to cut down on the prep time, I run my onions through my Magimix food processor and they are cut in under 10 seconds!

Cook’s notes

Low and slow is the secret to a good caramelized onion. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to make things quicker. We want to slowly release the natural sugars in the onions to get a nice, deep flavor. If you find the jam a little sweet, try seasoning it with black pepper and sea salt.

How do I use caramelized onion jam?

So where do I begin… The list is long my friends, but here are some of my favorite ways.

With a BBQ as a condiment. Sausage or steak sandwich anyone?


Baked into a savory quiche like this caramelized balsamic onion and goats cheese tart.


Savory jams are always delicious on a cheese board, charcuterie board, or ploughman’s plate.

For a quick and easy lunch, top a square of puff pastry dough with this sweet onion jam recipe and sliced brie. Bake until golden for a delicious lunch.

Alongside Nanna’s Beef Rissoles.


As the topping on a pizza, Think onion jam topped with roasted pumpkin, goat cheese, and sage. Yum!


It’s a versatile spread for ham, beef, and lamb. On a simple grilled cheese sandwich.


In these ham, cheese and caramelized onion scrolls.


As a burger topping with all the good bits. Especially beetroot!

Storage

When cool, store this balsamic onion jam recipe in an airtight container or preserving jar for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Love preserving? Here are a few more recipes you might like…

With school holidays upon us again, this is a good one to have in the fridge. Can’t wait to hear how you use it!

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caramelized balsamic onion and thyme jam

Caramelized Balsamic Onion and Thyme Jam

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  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 47 minutes
  • Total Time: 52 minutes
  • Yield: 1 jar 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Australian

Description

An easy, no fuss, balsamic onion jam recipe good for sandwiches, pizza, quiche and so much more. One to always have on hand.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 good size brown onions (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ c balsamic vinegar
  • c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Cut each onion in half. Place onion cut side down on a chopping board and finely slice onions lengthways. Alternatively, slice onions in a food processor with a 2mm slicing disc.
  2. In a frypan, place the sliced onions and olive oil. Give it a good stir to coat the onions and place on the stovetop on low heat for 2 minutes
  3. Pop all remaining ingredients into the pan, and give a good stir to combine. Place on low to medium heat. You want the onions to be gently sauteeing in the balsamic mixture.
  4. Saute away gently for 45 minutes or until the balsamic mixture had been reduced to a jam-like consistency.
  5. Cool and place onion jam in a jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

Notes

This jam with last in the fridge for two weeks.

Low and slow is the secret to a good caramelized onion. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to make things quicker. We want to slowly release the natural sugars in the onions to get a nice, deep flavor. If you find the jam a little sweet, try seasoning it with black pepper and sea salt.

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5 Comments

  1. I’d you used sweet onions, could you reduce the sugar?
    Walla walla’s are on sale right now – for nice big ones.

    1. Yes definitely! Onions have sugar so you can easily make caramelised onions with less. The process is just slower, with a longer cooking time needed to release the natural sugars.

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