Sweet Onion Cranberry Marmalade

Sweet onion relish is one of my favorite, uber-versitile prepared foods. A dash of onion relish dresses up dishes as disparate as mac’n’cheese and fois gras.

I never thought to add mustard to sweet relish, but the extra zest and slight tartness actually add a great dimension of flavor. Though this was not the most talked dish at my first Thanksgiving dinner because it is a slightly sub-dued accouterment, but it was one of the most requested leftover.

Serves: 8-12 (as relish)
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Adapted from
Bon Appetit


  • 3 large or 4-5 medium white or yellow onions
  • dried cranberries (sweetened variety)
  • white wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • sugar
  • white pepper
  • salt


  1. Chop or dice the onions. (If you would like a chunkier, more rustic final product, dice the onions. If you would like a smoother marmalade, you can chop the onions roughly now and puree them at the end.)
  2. Heat enough oil over medium heat to fill a 1/4 inch at the bottom of your pan.
  3. After the heat has been on for a minute, add 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds and cover the pan.
  4. When the seeds begin to pop, add onions and cook for 5-8 minutes till onions are soft. Stir frequently and do not allow onions to stick to the bottom of the pan or burn at all.
  5. Add 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/2 cup (or more if you prefer) dried cranberries and turn heat to high for about five minutes. Stir occasionally until most liquid is absorbed.
  6. Lower the heat to medium-low and add half a cup of white wine vinegar. Simmer and stir frequently until the marmalade thickens.
  7. Season with 1 teaspoon white pepper and salt to taste.
  8. If a smoother marmalade-like consistency is desired, puree the final mixture before serving.

Looking for more thanksgiving recipes? Check out the rest of the Thanksgiving Test Kitchen or our Holiday page for menus!