Sweet & Spicy Onion Jam Recipe

Sweet & Spicy Onion Jam Recipe
The taste is tempting!

Do you looooove onions and garlic? 

Yeah, me too (probably mildly obsessed to be honest). 

Onions…but better. Waaaay better.

Now that I’m an adult, I literally put onions (fine, garlic too) in EVERYTHING.  Because, well, they go with just about anything. Hamburgers? Check! Salads? Yup. In dips? Heck yeah! Raw, Sauteed, Grilled, Pickled? I’m here for it all. Onions are a pantry essential and a staple ingredient in many recipes, which is why I’m obsessed with adding them to my canning repertoire. That, my friend,  has been the best decision ever. And ultimately, my not-so-sinister plan is to get you hooked too!   

Are you a sucker for sweet and heat combinations? This recipe does it perfectly.

You know the saying, ‘a good thing goes ’round?’ we’ll that’s exactly how I happened on this recipe, which I came across on the wonderful canning blog, An Oregon Cottage. Professional Food Preserver and recipe blogger, Jami sources the original recipe to Jan Roberts-Dominguez’s (now retired) recipe column. You’ll find Jami’s recipe here and I highly recommend checking it out to compare the differences in quantities of sugar, spices, and pectin that I’ve tweaked. Scratch that, I recommend her blog in general! Her cozy farmhouse kitchen and garden have inspiring vibes that grab you through the screen!

When you introduce sweet and spicy onion jam to a sandwich or wrap, charcuterie board, or stir it in your favorite dip, it’ll immediately impart that savory flavor that is the finishing touch that takes a dish from basic to beaming. Now, there are maaaaany recipes I’ve come to love when preserving onions, but this one seems to be my ‘right hand’ at the moment. 

Canning onions is more practical than you think. How come? Three reasons: 

  1. First, 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. Second, canned onions are super flavorful, which means, you can fidget with fewer salts, seasonings, or other condiments when cooking. 
  3. And, third, canned onions are an incredibly fast recipe (15 min prep + 10 minutes to preserve) AND cheap to purchase any time of the year. Don’t you love a good two-for-one reason?

Favorite Uses for Sweet and Spicy Onion Jam 

Want to watch some of the ways you’ll easily find yourself sneaking this jam into everything? Here’s a sneak peak of this jam in action in my my kitchen.

  • Instant Glaze: Use this as an instant glaze for  literally any meat-fish and burger spreads, but especially seafood and baked ham or seared steak. It’s delicious enough on its own, but plays nice with other condiments you may want to fold it into. 
  • Ultimate Sandwich Spread: Add a spoonful or two  in a greek pita, homemade sub, veggie wrap, bean and cheese burrito or taco, or whatever you put between slices of bread. I’m not kidding. 
  • Charcuterie Board Show Off: Yes, I said it. I mean, first this-who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board (me) but also doesn’t want the pressure of staging or buying expensive  gourmet spreads (which your friends and family will think this is)? ME (and most likely, you too). I mean, look at the photos-this jam is gorg! 
  • Snack Attack: I’ll leave it up to you to interpret this as a quick appetizer or late night craving, but, you’ve gotta try this served on top of cream cheese and crackers or mini-bagels. Oh, my word! 

….pssst, these ideas are only scratching the surface of how versatile this topping is! 

Canning Onion 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. 
  • Don’t skip adding sweeteners to this recipe because you’ll get a strong vinegary and pungent taste that’s no bueno. 
  • 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. 

Is this recipe approved as safe?

YES! That’s because I only share tested home canning recipes inspired from reputable sources. I take safe canning practices very seriously, so this (and any) recipe that appears on my blog or YouTube channel will:

  1. Use only recipe methods that follow safe and science-based guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Jarden companies like Ball and Bernardin
  2. Source all information so that you can follow it back to the canning authorities where the recipe originated. I know this makes nearly every other word in my blog post look like a lit-up Christmas tree, but I want you to be a confident, informed canner too, so I’m very transparent about any modifications I include.

My goal with publicly sharing canning recipes is to inspire you to create your own healthier, better-tasting, and usually cheaper convenience foods. And, to show how canning food in the modern world still makes sense! Above all, I want you to be both safe and successful in your canning efforts. For this reason, I’ll always link to the approved NCHFP canning recipes and encourage you to make a small investment in purchasing the most updated preservation books and equipment I use in my own kitchen.

Sweet and Spicy Onion Jam | Recipe

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of mixed sweet and white onions 
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more to taste)
  • 5 tablespoons Pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter 
  • 1 cup honey (needn’t be raw) 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar 


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


  1. Start by peeling and cutting the ends off the onions. Next, roughly dice the onions into medium-sized pieces (about ¼ inch thick) to acquire 6 cups. 
  2. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine all of the ingredients. Add a pat of butter to reduce foaming (note: some foaming is inevitable, but its not necessary to add butter if you prefer not to).
  3. Continue stirring as you bring the jam to a boil. After 2 minutes, remove the pot from the heat to allow the jam to cool (skim off the foam if you need to). 

Errr…ummm. That’s it. Told you this was quick! Let’s move onto canning! But-you DON’T have to water bathe this because it will last 3 months in your fridge (but actually it won’t because you’ll have eaten all of it by then). 

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 sweet and spicy onion jam on the stove:

  1. Using a jar rack or plate, lower the jars into the boiling water of your water bath canner. 
  1. Pour in more water to ensure that the water covers at least an inch above your jars.
  2. Place the lid on your pot. 
  3. 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 Balsamic and Rosemary Onion Jam, which will surely become another one of your favorites! 

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