Sicilian-style Onion Jam

10 minutes prep 30 minutes active cooking 40 minutes total
Makes about a pint

Cooks all across Italy make a dish with onions called cipollata...

which translates to ‘cooked onions’ and comes from the Italian for onions, cipolle (pronounced chi-polleh). In Umbria it’s a soup made with tomatoes while the Calabrian version is just onions cooked in olive oil and red pepper. They’re all part of what’s called cucina povere, the food of working people who’ve learned how to coax the most flavor from humble ingredients.

Sicilian cipollata, called cipuddata in the island’s dialect, is jammy with the sweet and sour agrodolce flavor brought from North Africa by the Moors. Often served alongside grilled fish or meat, especially the next day’s room temperature leftovers, it’s just as good heaped onto grilled bread or stirred into a bowl of pasta or beans.

What You'll Need


For the shopping list

  • 3 onions, preferably sweet onions, chopped

From our shop

Out of stock

3 tablespoons of  Novo Frantoio
$27.00– Tuscany - Italy
To taste  Kosher Sea Salt
$9.00– Gossen Island - Norway
2 tablespoons of  Oregon Blackberry Honey
$10.00– Philomath - Oregon
2 tablespoons of  Trio Red Wine Vinegar
$15.00– Napa - California


From the kitchen

  • 1 Heavy Skillet
  • 1 Chef's Knife
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons

It’s a classic Italian dish. Good ingredients, simple preparation, and delicious results. Walla Walla sweet onions are in season from July through August, so use them if you can. Yellow and red onions also work for this dish.

What you'll have to do

Step 1

Cook onions in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce the heat and add a tablespoon of water if the onions appear to be browning too quickly.

Step 2

When the onions are very well browned, add 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, taste and add salt if needed. Store into the refrigerator for a week or so.

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