Caramelised Onion Relish

It seems that in the last few weeks, a lot of the meals I’ve cooked have called for caramelised onions in one fashion or another. Or, you know, I thought it was good idea to add caramelised onion relish as a condiment. 

Sidenote – The terms relish and chutney vary depending on the cuisine, the region, even down to the personal preference of the cook. There is also a popular argument that relishes are savoury and chutneys have sweeter flavour profiles. Call them what you will, they are both yummy so let’s leave it at that.

Now this is just the basic recipe. You can dress it up with different herbs, or you can make it into a jam by ditching the balsamic vinegar, adding an additional tablespoon of brown sugar and ¼ cup of red wine vinegar or a mixture of red wine vinegar and port, and cook it all down for a little longer.


Caramelised Onion Relish

Makes approximately one and a half cups of onion relish.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large brown onions (finely sliced or finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a dutch oven or a large, heavy-based frypan over low heat. Add the onions and thyme and stir to combine. Cover and cook slowly over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. When the onions have softened and turned golden in colour, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt to taste and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and continue to cook over a low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelised and sticky.
  4. Use as a flavour-booster while the relish is still warm. Otherwise, once the onion relish is at room temperature, store in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to three to four days.

About Food Daydreaming

I follow new recipes perfectly the first couple of times and then I pull them apart and put them back together my way. My biggest pet peeve is when I follow a recipe to a tee and then it doesn't turn out the way it should... I end up growling in my kitchen and that's just not right ;)

16 responses to “Caramelised Onion Relish

  1. Can there ever be too much caramelised onion??

  2. Im saving this thanks! I love an onion and olive relish and I will attempt to make it with this as the basis.

  3. This looks amazing & I love the idea of adding in a touch of balsamic to the mix.

  4. In answer to Elaine’s question, no, I’ve never heard of such a thing as too much caramelized onion! 😉

  5. Oh I love this, I think I could eat it on just about anything!! Delicious.

  6. Pingback: Cheese and Onion Fondue Pots – Melty Goodness to Honour the Original | Food Daydreaming

  7. You may be surprised with this but I made a caramelised onion relish with red onions and really disliked it. To the extent it went in the bin. Must, must make it again with brown skinned as those are always my favourites. So good with cheese.

    • Nope, I agree with you! There’s just something about red onions that I really don’t like in a caramelised relish. They work better in red onion jams, which are more liquidy and, well, jammier… I haven’t made one but I do believe they have a different flavour profile than relishes… One of us should try it out… 😉

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