Cranberry Onion Confiture with Grand Marnier

The holiday season is almost here, and it’s time to start thinking about side dishes and sauces to pair with the big meal at upcoming gatherings with family and friends.

For something decidedly delicious and different from the traditional cranberry sauce this autumn, you’ll love the savory and tart flavors of this homemade cranberry onion confiture.

Vertical diptych with an image of jars of cranberry onion confiture at the top, and a plate at the bottom with two pieces of toast topped with soft cheese and the spread, printed with orange and white text.

While the traditional canned sauce has a primarily sweet taste, this confiture – similar to a complex chutney, like a mango version or a cranberry option – has a lovely blend of deep savory notes, spices, sour, and sweet flavors.

It’s the perfect complement to chicken, duck, lamb, pork, or turkey, and it’s brilliant when served with a selection of cheeses, cold meats, and crackers, or spread on a sandwich.

The onions are caramelized over a low, slow heat to produce a sweetly nutty flavor, and dates and raisins add natural sugars – a sumptuous counterpoint to the tart end-of-season berries.

Large and small jars filled with a cranberry onion spread mixture, on a baking sheet, on a kitchen counter in front of a cloth topped with a black bowl of lid tops and a pile of metal rings.

While fresh is always best when it comes to produce, the cranberry’s short season can make finding fresh berries impossible. Don’t worry! Frozen ones make a perfectly good substitute for this recipe.

You’re going to want to raid the spice rack for this flavorful condiment as well. Warming spices such as allspice, chili flakes, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger add depth and complex flavors along with a hint of heat.

Red wine and balsamic vinegar add to the savory base, while orange zest and Grand Marnier finish with bright citrus notes.

Overhead shot of two slices of bread topped with soft cheese and a cranberry and onion spread, with three cherry tomatoes and a sprig of basil, and a knife on the edge of the plate, with a jar of the spread to the left of the frame, on a white cloth with a green and blue pattern.

And if you prefer a chunkier texture, a diced apple added at the end of cooking will do the trick.

For the best flavor, make this confiture several days, or weeks, in advance to allow the ingredients to blend and mellow, and always serve at room temperature.

It will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, and small 4 or 8-ounce jars processed in a hot water bath will last for 1 year if stored in a cool, dark cupboard.

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Jars filled with a maroon confit, with handwritten labels that say "Aug 18" and "Cranberry-Onion Confiture," on a patterned kitchen towel.

Cranberry Onion Confiture with Grand Marnier

  • Author: Lorna Kring
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x


For a savory twist to a holiday standard, try this thick and rich cranberry onion confiture – it’s the perfect condiment for poultry.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
  • 4 large onions, thinly sliced and chopped (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2/3 cup dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup Thompson (dark) raisins
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1.5 teaspoons fresh, minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup peeled and diced tart green apple (optional, but adds a nice texture)
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier, or orange liqueur of choice


  1. In a large non-reactive pan, melt the butter over medium heat, then stir in the onions and garlic. Reduce to medium-low heat and cook until the onions are very soft, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to medium and add the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Stir often until the onions caramelized to a deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add raisins and dates to a small bowl, and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Allow to stand uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining vinegar and wine to the pot, and bring to a rolling boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add raisins and dates with 1/2 of their liquid, as well as the cranberries, orange zest, allspice, chili flakes, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine, and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and stir occasionally while continuing to simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the chutney has a thick, jam-like consistency. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the apple, if using.
  6. Add the Grand Marnier, stir to combine, then remove from heat.
  7. If canning, ladle into prepared 4 or 8-ounce jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head room. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth. Set the lids and screw bands in place and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Otherwise, store in jars or airtight containers of choice, in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Category: Thanksgiving
  • Method: Stovetop, Canning
  • Cuisine: Dips and Spreads

Keywords: cranberry sauce, cranberry, Thanksgiving, onion

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep Ingredients and Sterilize Jars

Gather your ingredients and tools, then chop, measure, and prep as needed to set up your mise en place.

Coarsely chop the dates, mince the garlic, and thinly slice the onions, then chop roughly.

Wash the jars, new lids, and screw bands in hot soapy water, rinse, and drain.

Closeup of sliced and chopped white onion on a black and brown striped wooden cutting board.

Place clean jars upright in the rack of your boiling water canner, tucking in the screw bands. Fill the canner and jars with water to a depth of 1 inch above the top of the jars.

Boil jars for 10 minutes. Lower heat to just below a simmer and add the lids, cover, and keep hot while the confiture cooks.

When needed, remove jars carefully with tongs, emptying the water back into the canner, then invert the jars and bands onto a drying rack.

Step 2 – Melt Butter and Soften Onions

Overheat shot of a large stainless steel pan of melting butter on a stove to the left, and a large bowl of chopped onions and small bowl of minced garlic to the right on a beige countertop.

Using a large pan to make the most surface contact, melt the butter over medium-low heat, then add the onions and garlic, stirring well.

Closeup of chopped caramelized onions cooking.

Decrease heat if needed and cook for about 30 minutes until the onions are very soft, with a deep amber color. Stir frequently to incorporate the browning sugars.

Step 3 – Add Sugar and Finish Caramelizing

Increase heat to medium, then add the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, stirring well as the mixture bubbles for about 2 minutes.

Onions cooking in a red sauce in a large stainless steel frying pan on a stove.

Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized with a deep brown color and rich, nutty flavor, for about 15 minutes.

Step 4 – Soak Raisins and Dates

While the onions are caramelizing, place the dates and raisins in a small mixing bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water.

Chopped dates and raisins soaking in water in a large glass bowl, on a kitchen countertop.

Set aside to soak for 10-15 minutes.

Step 5 – Add Vinegar and Wine

Add the remaining vinegar and wine to the pan.

A red bubbling mixture with chopped onions, cooking in a large stainless steel frying pan.

Bring to a rolling boil and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Step 6 – Stir in Fruit and Spices

Drain the dates and raisins, retaining the liquid in a separate glass or bowl. You can use small dribs of the soaking water to dilute the confiture if it becomes too thick at the end of cooking.

Closeup of a stainless steel pan full of cranberries, dried fruit, caramelized onions, and spices.

Add the drained dates and raisins, cranberries, orange zest, allspice, chili flakes, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, thyme, and pepper. Stir well to combine, then bring to a boil.

Step 7 – Simmer and Finish with Grand Marnier

Reduce heat to medium-low, and partially cover.

Closely cropped image of a stainless steel Le Creuset pot with the lid partially on the pot, with whole cranberries and liquid inside.

As the berries begin to soften and burst, mash about 2/3 gently with a wooden spoon. Maintain a low simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened into a jam-like consistency, for about 30-40 minutes.

Whole cranberries in a brown liquid in a large stainless steel frying pan.

If you’d like a chunkier texture, add the optional diced apples when you have about 10-15 minutes of cooking time left.

Spices and onions cooking in a large stainless steel pan, being stirred with a wooden utensil.

Once the desired set stage is reached, stir in the Grand Marnier and remove from heat.

Step 8 – Ladle into Prepared Jars

Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom.

Short and tall jars of cranberry and caramelized onion confit on a black metal baking sheet, on a counter lined with kitchen towels, with a bowl of metal lid tops and a small pile of rings towards the top left of the frame.

Wipe the rims with a clean, damp cloth. Set lids and screw bands in place, but don’t tighten the bands.

Step 9 – Process in Boiling Water Bath

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes at elevations up to 1,000 feet.

Jars with metal lids in a large pot of boiling water.

For each 1,000-foot increase in elevation, process for an additional minute.

Step 10 – Cool and Label

Remove the jars carefully with jar tongs and place on a clean, dry dishcloth. Allow the jars to cool, and keep an ear (and an eye) out to ensure that the lids pop as they seal.

Jars filled with a maroon confit, with handwritten labels that say "Aug 18" and "Cranberry-Onion Confiture," on a patterned kitchen towel.

Use up the contents of any jars that don’t seal first, and keep these in the fridge for up to 4 weeks since they won’t be shelf stable. Anything that has not been canned may also be frozen and defrosted before use.

When cool, label and date, then store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 1 year.

The Berry Best

Sadly, this yummy confiture doesn’t last long – so consider making a double batch. You’ll be able to stock your own pantry, and small jars wrapped with a pretty ribbon make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer for those hard-to-buy-for types!

Two slices of bread topped with cranberry onion confiture and soft cheese, on an off-white plate painted with a pattern of pink flowers, with three red cherry tomatoes with green stems, and a sprig of green basil, on a white cloth background.

Does that have you thinking about more delicious ideas for this iconic fruit? These tasty recipes may tantalize your tongue:

And be sure to let us know your thoughts for this recipe in the comments below!

Photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

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