Red Onion Marmalade with Wine and Port


Another of my favourite Christmas flavours is this Red Onion Marmalade  – it’s actually perfect for any time of year as well –  such as a topping for a homemade burger It is so handy, and has so many uses – as an accompaniment to cold meats and pies after Christmas; as a filling for that family favourite – the Red Onion and Goat’s Cheese tartlets, or as an addition to soups and stews.

It  also makes an excellent present for your discerning foodie friend at any time of year.

It takes quite a while for the red onions to turn from raw to meltingly fabulous, so it’s a perfect recipe for a day when you’re doing other stuff in the kitchen, and you can just check on it every now and then..


  • A large, non-stick saucepan
  • a wooden spoon
  • 4-6 warmed, sterilised jars with lids (See NOTES)
  • A jam funnel if you have one.


  • 750g red onions, peeled, cut in two, and thinly sliced.


  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons/30mls of olive oil
  • 50g of butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 150mls red wine
  • 150mls Port
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped


  • Heat the oil and butter together in the pot over a medium/hot  heat


  • When the butter has melted and is sizzling slightly, add the onions and garlic, and stir well until they’re all glossy and covered evenly with the butter/oil mixture.
  • Add the sugar and thyme, mix well, then reduce the heat and allow the onions to soften uncovered for about 50 mins to an hour, stirring occasionally.

At about 15 minutes cooking you can see that the onions are softening nicely, but they still have a way to go.

  • When the onions are really soft (about 30-40 minutes) add the wine, Port, Sugar and the balsamic vinegar. Stir it all in well, and allow to bubble and reduce.
  • Add some seasoning – I just use Maldon salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.
  • When the mixture has reduced, darkened and thickened, it’s done – and be aware that this can take anything from one to several hours – I think it depends on the onions to be honest.. As long as the whole thing is just bubbling gently, it doesn’t require a lot of ‘minding’
  • You should be able to easily crush a piece of onion against the saucepan side when it’s ready to be potted up.


  • Remove from the heat, and transfer to the warmed, sterile storage jars. (See NOTES)
  • Cool, then cover and refrigerate until you need it.


  • To sterilise the jars: Boil for 10 minutes, or put them through the dishwasher, then place upside down in the oven at 100 degrees until dry and warm.
  • This marmalade is really popular, so it’s well worth your while doubling or even tripling the recipe to make some as perfect foodie presents.
  • My 750g of peeled, sliced Red Onions made 1 large jar, and 3 smaller ones today. That’s why it’s a good idea to double up, especially if you think you’re going to use a lot of this delicious stuff – Don’t forget to try my delicious ‘cheat’ Red Onion and Goat’s Cheese Rollups!

Goats cheese and red onion marmalade roll-ups

  • I added a tablespoon into a jug of Gravy this evening – it made such a difference!


red onion marmalade (2)


I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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