Caramelised Onion Chutney

You can use this delicious caramelised onion chutney recipe for so many things, or simply serve with cold meats and cheese.

A while ago we dined out on pizza and for starters they served the most amazing pizza bread topped with caramelised onion chutney. Since then I have been hooked! I always have a jar of red onion chutney to hand in the cupboard, but I figured I needed to make my own. This is the perfect chutney recipe when you have a lot of red onions to use up.

I am so glad I tried making my own, because it tastes amazing! Sweet caramelised onions. Give me this with a block of cheese and I’ll be a happy girl for the day!

There is a simplicity to this recipe that I really like, it doesn’t contain a huge array of difference spices or ingredients and it is quite cheap to make.

The caramelised balsamic onions have a beautiful rich look to them, coloured deeply with the dark sugars and balsamic vinegar.

sliced red onion with a knife

The Difference Between Chutney and Jam

Chutney is a type of Jam that you would typically associate with a savoury flavour. Jam has a sweeter flavour. However, since Chutney is essentially a jam subcategory, Onion jam can sometimes be used to describe recipes like this, I have seen it packaged as an onion jam many times before, there isn’t usually a difference between the taste of the two. Usually, the preservatives of a chutney not only include sugar but also a vinegar and can be a mix of both vegetables and fruit. Jam typically contains fruit only.

What Can I Use Onion Chutney For?

There are so many different ways of using onion chutney. You can add it to gravy, pop it on a pizza,  use it as a filling in sausage rolls, add it to a burger and so, so many more things! I really love adding this to a cheese board. It’s definitely worth making a jar or two. You can even give your onion chutney away as a homemade gift to friends and relatives.

The best thing about this onion chutney is that it is so versatile! I mean, onions go with loads of things, right?

overhead view of onion chutney in a glass jar

Recipe Tips and Guidance

Be sure to stir your onion chutney regularly when it is cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. Keep the heat gentle too, don’t rush the cooking process.

Have some freshly sterilised jars to hand and ideally some wax discs to place on top before closing the lid. The wax discs help to create an airtight seal to your chutney, which prevents mould from creeping in. You should pot up your onion chutney while it’s still hot. Place the disc on top and immediately close the lid. This process will keep your chutney fresh and give it a longer shelf life.

You don’t have to go out and buy lots of new glass jars. I always reuse jars that have held other food items before. Just be sure to wash them thoroughly and sterilise them before use. To sterilise your jars to package the chutney, simply give them a good wash in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly and place them on a clean baking tray lined with baking paper, in a warm oven of about 140C. Leave them to dry out inside the oven for about 20 minutes. Place the washed lids in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and boil them on the hob for the same length of time.

Be sure to keep your jars warm before placing your chutney inside, never add hot chutney to cold jars as they could crack.

Caramelised onion chutney can be eaten straight away, but most chutneys will improve with age, so I recommend leaving it somewhere cool in it’s sterilised jar for at least a month before opening it.

The only hardship to this recipe is cutting the onions, I can’t say I am a huge fan of stinging eyes, but who really is?! I have actually resorted to wearing goggles before and apart from looking slightly crazy, it does work! Alternatively, you can use a food processor with a slicing blade to cut your onions. Just be sure not to puree them, you want your caramelised onions to remain somewhat chunky.

close up of the red onion chutney on a spoon

Recipe FAQ

How long will red onion chutney last for?

If you store it as described above in sterilised glass jars, somewhere cool and dark. It will keep for about a year.

Can I use brown or white onions in this chutney instead?

I wouldn’t recommend using any other type of onion as the flavour of a red onion is much milder than it’s counterparts. The onion flavour will be too strong and won’t taste sweet.

My chutney isn’t thickening, should I turn up the heat?

No, chutney should be cooked over a gentle heat and usually just needs more time to cook if it is yet to thicken.

caramelised onion chutney recipe

Caramelised Onion Chutney

5 from 15 votes
You can use this delicious caramelised onion chutney recipe for so many things, or simply serve with cold meats and cheese.
Print Recipe Pin Rate Save
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack, starter
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Calories: 1363kcal


  • 550 g Red Onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 150 ml White Wine Vinegar
  • 150 g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 5 g Fresh Ginger, finely grated


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the finely sliced onions. Cook over a gentle heat for about 20-30 minutes until the onions are soft and begin to darken.
  • Add the muscovado sugar, stir through and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over a low heat for about an hour until it has thickened and the liquid has reduced.
  • Store in sterilised jars. The chutney can be eaten straight away once cool, however it's best to let the flavour develop for a month.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 1363kcal | Carbohydrates: 242g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 31g | Sodium: 2421mg | Potassium: 1178mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 209g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 307mg | Iron: 4mg

Looking for more Chutney Recipes?

You can always make a batch, jar it up and give away as a gift, like this Autumn Chutney I made for Christmas.

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  1. 5 stars
    This was FANTASTIC! I couldn’t get enough I made another batch right after I finished the first one!

  2. 5 stars
    Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi there.
    This recipe sounds great and I’ll definitely be making it, I just wondered how many jars/how much this recipe makes?
    Thank you xx

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