Caramelised Onion Chutney


The caramelised onion chutney has a sweet and tangy flavour, making it the perfect condiment for anything from crepes to grilled chicken. Caramelised onion chutney is a lovely condiment to have. It goes particularly well with cheese, but it’s also great in sandwiches, on toast, or just eaten with crackers.

Caramelised Onion Chutney

Sticky, sweet and delicious. This Caramelised Onion Chutney is the perfect addition to any cheese board or sandwich.

Caramelised Onion Chutney


Caramelised Onion Chutney is red onions that are cooked in red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and sugar until they are caramelised and sweet.

The finished chutney should be sticky and thick, coating the softened, sweet onions.

It is a popular chutney to buy here in the UK, but I much prefer to make my own and have been for the last eight years or so.


For this chutney, you need to use red onions. They are considered to be milder and sweeter in flavour that other types which is what you’re looking for in this chutney.

One and a half kilos of red onions may sound like a lot, but by the time you’ve peeled them and they’ve cooked, they do shrink down.

I think it is easier to give a weight rather than a number of onions as they can vary so much in size. But to give you a very rough idea, you will need eight large red onions.

When I am making this Caramelised Onion Chutney, I often make a double batch. Because of this I buy a sack of red onions from the market. These are all different sizes but a cost effective way rather than buying them from a supermarket.


The easiest way by far to prepare the onions is to use a slicing attachment on a food processor. You can have all the onions sliced in minutes!

If you don’t have a food processor with a slicing attachment, you can definitely still make this Caramelised Onion Chutney. When I first started making this chutney I didn’t have a food processor and made so many jars!

It will obviously take longer to slice the onions by hand. Make sure you try and keep the slices as uniform as possible.


The chilli doesn’t make the chutney spicy, but adds a subtle warmth to it. You are looking for a large red chilli which are typically not very hot.

If you are worried about it, you can remove the seeds from the chilli. Alternatively you can leave it out altogether.


I prefer to cook this chutney at a lower temperature for a longer time. Once all of the ingredients have been added, I like to cook it gently for two hours.

You could turn the heat up so it cooks faster, but this increases the likelihood of it catching and burning on the bottom of the pan.


There is lots of different information about how to sterilise jars when making preserves.

I am not an expert, but I have always used the same method. Firstly, I wash the jars and their lids in the dishwasher and leave them to dry completely when the cycle has finished.

I then put the jars and lids on a baking tray in the oven at 160°C fan for 10 – 15 minutes. I then fill them with warm chutney when the lids are still warm.


Like a lot of chutneys, this tastes even better once the flavours have had time to develop. Once the chutney has been made, leave it for two to three months to get the best flavour from it.

Caramelised Onion Chutney is very popular for Christmas. October is the perfect time to make it as it will have enough time to get even tastier in time. Obviously you can eat this chutney at any time of year, but Christmas is when it is most popular.


If you store it in a cool, dark cupboard this chutney will keep for a year. I have kept it for longer when I forgot about a jar that I had hidden! Just check it looks and smells ok before tasting.

Once you have opened it, store it in the fridge for up to two months.


The most popular way of eating Caramelised Onion Chutney is as part of a cheese board. Every cheese board needs a good onion chutney and this is better than any store bought chutney I have tried.


  • 8 red onions , sliced
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100ml red wine vinegar
  • 100ml red wine
  • dash grenadine syrup


  • STEP 1Place the onions and sugar in a saucepan, cover and cook over medium heat until soft, about 10 mins. Pour in the red wine vinegar and red wine, then simmer uncovered until the liquid has reduced and the mixture is sticky, about 10 mins more. Add the grenadine syrup and mix well. Leave to cool, then transfer to a sterilised jar and seal.

Mix the onions and sugar in the slow cooker pot then cover and cook on High for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally until soft and caramelised. Add the red wine vinegar and red wine and cook, uncovered, on High for another 2-3 hours until sticky. Stir in the grenadine, leave to cool then transfer to sterilised jars.

How To Make Red Onion Chutney With This Easy Recipe

This caramelised red onion chutney is sweet, spicy and full of so much flavour. Serve with cheese and crackers or gift as a Christmas present. Find out how to make the best red onion chutney with this easy recipe below.

Easy sweet and spicy red onion chutney recipe in preserving jar

Sweet, sticky, spicy, chilli; there’s so much going on with this red onion chutney! It makes the perfect accompaniment to a good cheeseboard or sandwich and it’s so easy to make too. The background taste is flavoured with spices such as ginger and garlic that work really well with the sweet caramelised onion taste.

Say goodbye to buying chutney because you can make your own homemade version and it’s very simple too!

chutney placed in clip lid preserving jar

What Is Onion Chutney Made Of?

The main ingredients generally used to make onion chutney are onions, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and sugar. These ingredients are cooked together until the onions have softened and are coated in a dark, caramelised, sweet and sticky sauce.

You can of course add even more flavour by adding spices and seasonings into the chutney mixture whilst it’s cooking. Flavours like nutmeg and cinnamon are great for the Christmas season where eating onion chutney is popular in the UK.

Which Onions Are Best To Use?

For this recipe I used red onions, they are said to be milder and sweeter which is perfect for this chutney. You can of course use white or yellow onions but red onions are best to use.

Quite a lot of red onions are needed to make the chutney. As the onions begin to cook and simmer away, they do reduce in size. It might seem like a lot a first but it will go down during the cooking process.

Recipe Ingredients

Below are the few ingredients needed to make this onion chutney:

  • Red Onions: I used a mixture of 12 small and medium sized onions, by weight it was 1.5kg
  • Sugar: I used light brown sugar.
  • Red Wine Vinegar: You can buy this at your local supermarket; It’s made by fermenting red wine.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: An intensely flavoured vinegar.
  • Spices & Seasonings: To flavour this chutney recipe I added salt, garlic granules, ginger powder and a red chilli. Adding these spices are optional but they do make a big difference. You can substitute the spices I used with others that you prefer.
easy chutney recipe

How To Make Red Onion Chutney

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make this easy red onion chutney, full instructions are on the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Step One:

Red onions sliced into halves
Sliced onions on a plate

Peel the red onions and thinly slice them. Then finely dice the red chilli pepper and leave aside for later use.

Step Two:

Onions in saucepan cooking

Put oil into a saucepan on medium to high heat and add the sliced onions. Stir the onions so that it’s coated in the oil and continue to stir for 10 minutes until the onions have softened. You don’t want the onions to brown.

Step Three:

chillies, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, spices and sugar added to saucepan

Add the salt, sugar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, ginger powder, garlic granules and finely sliced chillies into the saucepan and continue to stir on a high heat for 10 minutes.

Step Four:

Onions caramelising in saucepan
Homemade chutney is fully cooked in saucepan

Lower the heat to a low temperature so that the mixture is simmering with mild bubbles.

Then leave the saucepan uncovered and leave to simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until the onion chutney has thickened and has a dark caramelised appearance. Stir occasionally to prevent the onions from sticking to the bottom.

Tip: A quick test to see if the chutney is ready is to use a wooden spoon and brush it against the pan. If it leaves an imprint for a few seconds before the juices cover the pan, then it’s ready. If when you drag the spoon against the pan the liquid quickly covers the pan, it needs to simmer for longer.

Step Five:

Homemade red onion chutney recipe

To store, place the chutney into sterilised jars. I usually store it in two 500ml clip lid canisters.

Which Jars To Use And How To Sterilise Them

You can keep the chutney in preserving jars which are made to store homemade jams and chutneys.

You’ll need to sterilise the jars before storing the chutney in them. A popular way to sterilise the jars is to wash it with soap and hot water. Then place the jars in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 140°C (gas mark 1, 275°F). The jars should be hot and have dried completely by this time. Boil the rubber seals and lids for at least 10 minutes before leaving them to dry.

Then fill the jars with the warm chutney mixture.

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