Go Back

Rooibos Onion Jam

Sweet, caramelised onion jam infused with earthy Rooibos Tea flavour
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: onion jam, rooibos onion jam
Author: Melby


  • Food processor or mandolin slicer
  • 4 to 5 small, sterilised jars with lids


  • 2 kg onions, peeled and thinly sliced use a food processor or mandolin slicer - see note
  • 2 tbsp butter leave out if you want to keep it vegan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil double the olive oil if you don't use butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 t black mustard seeds optional
  • 1 t red chilli flakes or more if you like it spicy
  • t salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • c light brown sugar
  • c unsweetened rooibos tea made with 3 - 4 tea bags and left to draw
  • ½ c balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ c red wine vinegar


  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a large enamel pot on medium heat.
  • Add the onions and caramelise over low heat without browning the onions.
  • Add the mustard seeds, chilli flakes, sugar and salt & pepper and mix well.
  • Let the onions cook over low heat, covered with the lid for an hour, stirring often. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.
  • Add the rooibos tea and both types of vinegar and let the onion mixture cook for another hour, uncovered. Keep on stirring and cooking until you have a thick jam-like consistency.
  • While the jam is cooking, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water and rinse them in boiling water from a kettle - I do this in the sink. Let the jars and lids dry upside down on a clean kitchen towel until needed.
  • Once the jam is done, spoon it into the jars while still hot. Fill the jars to the top and close tightly. Wipe down the jars with a damp cloth to clean off any spillage.
  • Jars can be kept in a cool food cupboard for about 4 weeks. Store in the fridge once opened.


  • I really can't peel and slice 2kg of onions without my eyes burning. I quickly peel all the onions, half or quarter them and then slice them in my food processor using the slicing attachment. You can also use a mandolin slicer if you don't have a food processor. 
  • I have made the jam without butter for a vegan family member. I just used more olive oil and it seemed to need longer cooking time to get to the right consistency. I am sure you can also use coconut oil instead of butter.
  • The mustard seeds are there for texture and spicy flavour, but if you down have any in your store cupboard it's not that serious. Try adding some dried thyme instead.
  • I used sweetened rooibos tea the first time I tried it and it was just too sweet. There's plenty of sugar in this recipe - the tea just adds flavour, not sweetness.
  • Always be very careful when filling jars with hot sugary jam. Jam splattered on your skin can burn badly and the jars get too hot to handle very quickly.