Onion Marmalade

When fall hits and the weather starts to cool off a little bit, this is one of my favorite things to make at home. Onion marmalade is very versatile — it has a balance of sweet and savory that makes it enjoyable with a variety of foods. From fish and potatoes to meat and creamy risotto to a soft wedge brie cheese, this sauce is a must-have in the recipe book! 

We also make this regularly for our clients. It works well because the onions carry enough natural sugars to bring sweetness to the dish for our renal and heart-healthy clients who do not have any sugar added to their diets. 

Onion Marmalade
yield: 2 cups

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 6 cups white onions, minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of white wine for cooking
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 

Place a medium saucepot on the stove on medium heat. Add the canola oil and start to slowly sweat the onions. After five minutes, add the garlic. Cook the onions and garlic for 10 minutes. If it starts to stick, that is ok as long as it is not burning. Reduce the heat if necessary. 

Add the white wine and stir. This will deglaze the pan and allow you to scrape off the bits that are stuck. (Fun food fact: the natural sugars in onions are what is drawn out in the cooking process, hence the reason the onions stick and carmelize to the pan.) 

Add the water and the sugar and bring to a boil. 

Once boiling, reduce the heat to low so it simmering. Let the sauce simmer and cook down for about an hour. As it cooks, the sugars in the onions and the brown sugar will work together to thicken the sauce, and as it reduces it will develop a marmalade consistency. 

Once it has achieved the marmalade consistency, remove from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Transfer to a small dish to cool. 

Store refrigerated for up to three weeks and serve at room temperature. 


Chef Brandon FosterBrandon Foster began his life in the kitchen at the Best Western in Frisco, Colorado, almost 18 years ago. His passion for ingredients and drive to learn technique led him down the mountain to Denver, where he worked in two of Denver’s most fondly remembered restaurants, The Fourth Story and Mel’s. He joined the crew at Vesta in 2005 as a line cook and became executive chef in 2010, focusing on getting back to the roots of cooking through charcuterie and seasonal ingredients. Ultimately, Chef Brandon’s career highlights centered on events like Plates for the Peak, Invest in Kids, and James Beard Foundation dinners where he could play a role in helping people in need- a passion that led him to Project Angel Heart in 2016. Outside the kitchen, Chef Brandon enjoys spending time skiing, camping, golfing, and eating with his wife Larissa and their three kids.

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