Orange-Flavored Onion Confit

Makes 8 half-pint preserving jars

This is a basic confit of onion which can be flavored with a variety of seasonings and used as a condiment in many dishes.

This particular orange-flavored onion confit recipe is my adaptation of a recipe that I learned from Gordon Drysdale, the chef at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Cafe for a similar jam. He uses blood oranges and only in a small quantities, so the orange flavor of his jam is very mild and reddish in color. I found that Valencia oranges work just as well and that using much more juice and zest than he uses brings out a stronger orange flavor and orange color that can stand up in any sandwich combination.

Because this is a time-consuming recipe to cook, you should think about making it in large quantities and putting it up in vacuum-sealed preserving jars. It makes a great house present and it's wonderful to have in your "larder" to use on sandwiches when you have any kind of leftover grilled chicken, meat or fish.

Instead of orange flavor, you might also try making this onion confit using cassis, red wine vinegar, sugar and thyme. This version is great as a pizza topping combined with Gorgonzola and walnuts and on any kind pasta dish (without tomato sauce). The preparation method is exactly the same. Vary the proportions of cassis, red wine vinegar and sugar to your taste.


15 medium size yellow onions
6 small - medium Valencia oranges, zested and juiced
¾ cup sugar
Dash of sea salt
5 TBS. olive oil (have more on hand to add if necessary)

  • Thinly slice onions from top to bottom (do not cut into cross-section rounds). The fine slicing blade of the Cuisinart works well, especially for large quantities.
  • Serving:

    Use as a condiment spread on any type of sandwich. We make focaccia to use as sandwich bread. Great combos on focaccia:

  • Honey Smoked Ham, Sweet Mustard and Mustard Greens
  • Grilled or Smoked Chicken, Garlic Mayonnaise (Aļoli) and Arugula
  • Grilled Salmon, Sliced Red or Yellow Tomatoes, Garlic Mayonnaise, Shredded Fresh Basil
  • Roasted Pork, Sweet Mustard and Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Notes: