Epic Onion Spread: Balsamic & Rosemary Onion Jam

Epic Onion Spread: Balsamic & Rosemary Onion Jam

This will be the most versatile jam in your pantry, hands down.

This sweet balsamic and rosemary onion jam instantly adds a complex sweetness that bursts with assertive notes of pine, molasses, and a mild tartness.  Hands down, it’s one of my favorite mealtime jams (as in its neck in neck with my Sweet & Spicy Onion Jam recipe and you know I feel about that jam). While I know onions are cheap and certain varieties have a decent shelf life, the convenience of having a complete flavoring ingredient makes this jam a weeknight warrior in my kitchen.

But wait…it gets better.

Did I mention that all it takes to make this a shelf stable condiment is a 10 minute water bath? That’s right, since we’re adding vinegar and wine to raise the acidity, we have perfect recipe to preserve onions. You’re about to be rewarded with spoonfuls of this goodness to enjoy now or jars of sweet balsamic onion jam that’ll store unrefrigerated for 1 year.

…but they won’t last that long because you’ll constantly be reaching for them to serve as savory glaze on meats when roasting or grilling, slathering on all your sandwiches, and spreading over your favorite bagel and cream cheese because its your new favorite topping!

This Sweet Balsamic and Rosemary Onion Jam is waaaay TOO EASY to make! 

So easy in fact that I often make a double portion because we go through it so quickly. If I see less than 4 jars I start to get nervous. 

And so does my husband.

(I think our french bulldog, Thor, also gets stressed by this anxious energy.)

What is Onion Jam good on?

The short answer is everything. I’m not kidding! Watch this video where I’ll entice you even more about how versatile this jam is. But, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • All purpose meat glaze: Generously spread this over beef tenderloin, pan seared rib eye steak, pork, lamb, chicken, or even grilled veggies as a delicious finishing sauce. Oooh, don’t you look fancy?! 
  • Ultimate Sandwich Condiment: Add spoonfuls on top of burger patties, naan pita wraps, meatball or sausage subs or whatever you put in between bread. Don’t fight me on this one. My favorite sandwich to enjoy this with turkey, avocado and bacon on ciabatta. 
  • Charcuterie Board Envy: Hey, I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my homemaker chic goals is to put together stunning cheese and fruit platters featuring gourmet dips and spreads that give you sticker shock in high end grocers. Sis, we’ve cracked the fancy-spreads code for pennies with this recipe!  Your guests’ mouths will drop when you casually remark, “Oh, I made that!” 
  • Switch Up Meal Time Favorites: As in, stuff this in a baked potato (or on top of mashed) for a rosemary, onion and garlic change up. Oh, did you say you haven’t tried rosemary onion garlic mashed potatoes? My, my, you’ve been missing out! But you also have to toss your onion jam into meatloaf or sausage roll filling to add flavor and keep things moist. And don’t forget about your pasta and potato salads! 

….and I’m sure you’ll find plenty more ways to enjoy it! 

Canning Onions: A Convenient Time Saver

Truly, I am obsessed with balsamic and onion rosemary jam because onions (and garlic)  are a harmonious duo that already kickstart nearly every meal in my home. This jam saves me every time I need a meal to be quick, savory and simple.

Which is often. 

Preserving caramelized onions by canning them is an extremely efficient way to maximize the shelf life of this perishable ingredient to 1 year, while also maintaining their quality and nutritional value. You’ll also eliminate managing the specific storage conditions fresh onions require and have a highly versatile, shelf stable ingredient fully cooked and ready to add to a number of menu items.

But to be super specific, here are three reasons I’m sure you’ll agree your kitchen (and life) will appreciate keeping canned onion jam on the shelf:

  1. Canned onions are super useful in any quick meal (even more so when you don’t have to peel or dice them. Dump in and be done!)
  2. Canned onions are super flavorful, which means, you can fidget with fewer salts, seasoning or other condiments when cooking. 
  3. Canned onions are an incredibly fast recipe (15 min prep + 10 minutes to preserve) and cheap to purchase any time of the year. 

If ‘home cook’ describes just one of your daily responsibilities then you’ll appreciate the time and flavor boost you’ll get from having canned onion jam on your pantry shelf. You’ll also appreciate knowing what to do when you suspect your onions are about to go soft or start to sprout. Instead of throwing them away, make onion jam! But in the meanwhile, be sure you’re optimizing how to best store fresh onions by checking out this helpful article here.

Onion Jam Prep, Cook Time & Clean-Up are a Cinch!

  • We’ll only dirty 1 pot and a cutting board. (Amen, somebody!) 
  • This recipe works with frozen onions too! 
  • Only requires a 10 minute water bath! 

Canning Onion Jam | Recipe Tips

  • You can substitute fresh onions with frozen ones in this recipe, as well as mix firmer with more ripe onions. Everything will saute and simmer down just the same. 
  • The type of chop you choose is up to you. I prefer a medium dice, but you can also opt for long thin slices. 
  • Choose natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey instead of white sugar to give you a much more complex taste. 
  • Save all those onion skins and ends! Just toss them in a bag and put in the freezer where you can add them to homemade stocks and broths to make at a later date. Or, you can make onion skin tea, a natural remedy that helps relieve muscle pain. 

Sweet Balsamic & Rosemary Onion Jam| Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 
  • 2 pounds of mixed sweet and yellow onion (about 6 cups) 
  • 10-12 cloves of sliced garlic (less if you’re not fully committed to a moderate garlic taste) 
  • 1/2 cup red cooking wine
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup of honey 
  • 2 fresh sprigs of fresh rosemary 
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pack of pectin


Water bath canner, canning jars, jar lifting, canning lids and rings, large pot


  1. Peel and dice (or slice) the onions.
  2. Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic.  
  3. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften. 
  4. Remove the lid and add red wine, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and honey. 
  5. Add fresh rosemary sprigs using a sachet or cheese cloth. 
  6. Cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally. You want the  onions caramelized, soft and the majority of the liquid evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Remove rosemary and cut the heat once taste, texture, and syrupy thickness you prefer  is achieved. 

Let’s move onto canning!  But, you don’t  have to water bathe this because it will last 3 months in your fridge (whether it’ll be around that long is another thing)

How do I sterilize my jars? 

Sterilizing your jars is a quick and easy process that destroys the enemies of preservation — bacteria, yeast and fungi so that your food stays fresh and shelf stable for 12 months (or more). It’s not hard to do at all. Below, I’ve shared several options, pick your preference: 

  1. Run the jars through a ‘quick clean’ or ‘sterilization’ cycle in your dishwasher. 
  2. Place the jars in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Remove hot jars right before use. 
  3. Or hand wash and rinse the jars, dry them, and place them (without lids or rings) in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

You’ve got this! 

Filling your Jars

  1. Sanitize (directions above)  your jars and place them on a dishtowel. 
  2. Grab your funnel and ladle  that spicy onion jam goodness into the jars, leaving a ¼ inch of headspace. 
  3. Remove any air bubbles by running a long plastic or wooden skewer between the jar and the jam. 
  4. Wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar to remove any spillage (which can prevent your jars from creating a seal). 
  5. Secure the rings to the top of your jar until they are “fingertip tight”–secured but air still has room to pass through. 

Processing your onion jam on the stove

  1. Using a jar rack or plate, lower the jars into the boiling water of your water bath canner. 
  2. Pour in more water to ensure that the water covers at least an inch above your jars.
  3. Place the lid on your pot. 
  4. Bring water to a full  boil  for 10 minutes, then use a jar lifting to remove the jars out of the water and let them cool on a towel undisturbed for a minimum of 8 hours. (note: do not tighten the caps or you’ll risk breaking the seal). 

When are the jars ready?

 As your jars cool, you’ll hear the jars making clicking pops.  Leave the jars undisturbed on a towel for a minimum of 12-24 hours. After that, you can confirm the jars have sealed by removing the rings. A sealed jar lid will remain secured to the jar without the rim and be slightly indented in the center. Use your index finger to moderately tap on the jar in a few places, it should not pop back when pressed. The majority of your jars will seal within a few hours of cooling down. If you have any jars that didn’t seal properly, just store them in the fridge and use them within 3 months. 

When does this jam expire? 

Your canned jam will be shelf stable and keep (unopened) for up to one year. If you’re not canning this, freeze for up to 3 months. 

Craving more onion recipes? Don’t miss out on my Sweet  & Spicy Onion Jam, which will surely become another one of your favorites! 

1 thought on “Epic Onion Spread: Balsamic & Rosemary Onion Jam”

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