Balsamic Onion & Roasted Garlic Jam

Garlic Onion Jam 1

I can. not. stop. eating stacks of crackers with aged white cheddar and spoonfuls of roasted garlic jam. Would you? Could you? Especially when there’s a stack and a jar beside your laptop and you’re tangled in a blanket, unable to run away from its sweet-sour-tangy-salty-garlicky charms?

When it’s made almost entirely of vegetables, jam totally counts as dinner, right?


If garlic had a season, it would be now. I love the purple-skinned, sticky and intense local garlic that can be found this time of year – nothing like the dry, papery stuff that comes from China. The fall is the best time to plant it, too – take a few cloves from a great head of garlic and poke them into the ground. That green sprout that emerges from a clove if you’ve left it too long in the cupboard is the plant starting to grow. Next spring you’ll have garlic scapes, and if you time things right, a supply of beautiful garlic throughout summer and into fall, when it’s time to save a few cloves to plant again. And when it’s as good as it gets, garlic is just as worthy of being preserved as berries and stone fruits.

Roasted Garlic 2

Even if you don’t make jam, everyone should know how to roast a head of garlic. It’s something you can do any time the oven is on – when you’re roasting a chicken, for example, or baking a lasagna, you can wrap a few heads of garlic, their tops sheared off and drizzled with oil, and pop them into the oven, directly on the oven rack, for 45 minutes to an hour, until they’re soft and dark enough to squeeze out of their skins. You needn’t use it right away; keep the heads in their foil in the fridge to spread on sandwiches or squeeze into vinaigrettes or mashed potatoes.

And if jam is your preferred vehicle, start by squeezing plenty into a pan of caramelizing onions.

Garlic Onion Jam 3

Making a big pot of it now (this recipe is easily doubled, tripled or quadrupled) will set you up for cheese platters and grilled cheese sandwiches throughout the fall, and you’ll be set up with jars of a little something special to grab off the shelf and bring to a party. Sharing is good.

Garlic Onion Jam 2

Balsamic Onion & Roasted Garlic Jam

Dark, tangy and sticky-sweet, this jam is simple to make, and there’s no need to worry about it setting like fruit-based jam. Slather it inside sandwiches (Panini or grilled cheese!) or serve with cheese and crackers.

2 large sweet onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2-3 heads of garlic, roasted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar or honey
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
pinch freshly ground black pepper

Peel the onions and cut into quarters or sixths; place in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. This gives you pieces of onion in a variety of sizes; alternatively roughly chop them by hand.

Place the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Squeeze the garlic out of its casing into the onions and continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the excess moisture is starting to cook off.

Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and pepper and cook, stirring often, for another 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and deep golden. Cool and refrigerate until needed. (Freeze any you’ll be storing for over a week.)

Makes about 2 cups.

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September 30 2013 10:37 pm | appetizers and preserves

18 Responses to “Balsamic Onion & Roasted Garlic Jam”

  1. Sharon @ Red Poppy | Pink Peony on 01 Oct 2013 at 8:13 am #

    This looks amazing! When I was younger, I didn’t think I liked onions, but it turned out I just didn’t like them raw. When they’re caramelized or in jam form, they are so delicious!

  2. CathyH on 01 Oct 2013 at 8:24 am #

    This sounds amazing! My Dad used to plant rows of garlic, braid it and hang it in the basement to use all winter.

  3. Laurie from Richmond on 01 Oct 2013 at 9:40 am #

    This looks so good! My salivary glands are working overtime!
    I must make this and keep it in the fridge.
    Yum yum


  4. jake on 01 Oct 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Thnx Julie, great timing! That looks so good, and good aged cheddar is a dream food – nothing better. I agree, the purple tinged, sticky, juicy/oily, local hardneck garlic is soooo much better than the China grown imported stuff.

    I set up my garlic plots on the weekend, hopefully planting in the next few days. A small 1 meter x 1 meter plot, framed with scrap lumber is enough space for at 48-64 garlic plants. I’m doing three little patches year, it’s impossible to grow too much garlic. At $3 (worth every cent) a bulb at the farmers’ market it’s worth growing at home. At that price, in two seasons i’ve grown $450 worth of garlic from an $18 dollar investment. Even more saved/earned (another $450) this year. Once you have a patch you reserve some for replanting every year, so you only need to buy it once. Plus summertime scapes for pesto, stir fries, pizza, etc.

    A bit of weeding and water, but basically no care required once planted. Pull up in late august, cure indoors (out of the sun) for a couple of weeks, trim and store at cool room temp. They will last almost a year. With our local frost cycles it’s better to plant them deeper than you would think, at least 6″ deep. A bit of mulch over the winter is a good idea too. I mulched with cut down dried lavender plants last year and ended up with lots of free lavender seedlings among the garlic – a bonus.

    I wish i had a good homemade cracker recipe….


  5. Susannah on 01 Oct 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    Thank you!!! This looks very much like a product i have been buying from Stonewall Kitchen. For over 15 years I have been stocking up when I’m in the States as I cant find it locally . Going to try this on the weekend :)

  6. Robyn on 01 Oct 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    totally making this on the weekend! oooh also think it would be so good spread on pizza dough with crumbled goat cheese overtop!

  7. Folly on 02 Oct 2013 at 9:39 am #

    Yum! Can this recipe be safely preserved by canning in a water bath? It would be great to put up a shelf full for Christmas gifts.

  8. molly on 02 Oct 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    right! TOTALLY counts. on my way over, so you don’t have to plow through all by your lonesome…

  9. Diane on 03 Oct 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Julie! Do you have a list of “must go to” eats in Calgary? I am going to a new place in the city every week (as part of my 40th birthday to do list) and cafes/delis/restaurants are a big part of it. Any suggestions? I have lived in the city for 7 years but have hardly been anywhere! Have been to Lina’s, Edelweiss, and Soffrito in the past week. Delish!

  10. Paula on 05 Oct 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    I have been looking for a garlic jam or jelly recipe and I haven’t found that even comes close to this – can’t wait to try it!

    Can the jam be safely processes in a boiling water bath and if so would you recommend any changes to the recipe?

    Thanks Julie!

  11. Julie on 07 Oct 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Paula – to be honest, I’m not sure if it would need changing to process for long-term storage – I’d refer to the Bernardin page ( and see if they have anything comparable. When in doubt, I store mine in the freezer! The high sugar content of most jams means it doesn’t freeze solid, so it’s quick to thaw.

  12. Claudia on 13 Oct 2013 at 9:24 am #

    YUM! I made this last night for a Thanksgiving dinner appie and everyone loved it. I served it with my homemade multi-seed crackers, brie and old cheddar and it was divine. We couldn’t stop eating it!

    Thanks Julie, for another great recipe!

  13. Food Finds – Vegetarian Friends Edition | Feelings? I ate them all. on 19 Oct 2013 at 8:07 am #

    […] Pumpkin Pasta – Minimalist Baker Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars – Averie Cooks Balsamic Onion & Roasted Garlic Jam – Dinner with Julie 30 Super Fast Vegetarian Dinner Recipes in 20 Minutes or Less! – […]

  14. Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions » Dinner With Julie on 12 Jan 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    […] area, and melts more quickly. And a spoonful of caramelized onions – it could be a batch of onion jam, or just chop or blitz an onion or two in the food processor, then saute it on the stovetop in a […]

  15. Duls on 13 Mar 2014 at 12:24 am #

    Julie, could you please let me know the weight of the ingredients especially onion and garlic. I live in Asia so need to find a comparable weight.

    Thanks a ton


  16. Duls on 13 Mar 2014 at 12:26 am #

    Sorry the above query relates to roasted garlic and onion jam.

  17. Kale chips 8 ways | World News Source on 16 Sep 2014 at 10:09 pm #

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  18. larry h on 08 Jul 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi Julie,
    Just to let you know, I made the jam with a couple bunches of fesh garlic scales instead of whole garlic. I love the early season scales an it was awesome. Thought you mighe like to know. Thanks.

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