Learn How To Caramelize Onions to boost the flavour in your main courses, appetizers, soups, stews and more. Making caramelized onions is easy and they can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or even the freezer. Make a batch today and serve them up with your next weeknight dinner.
So, just recently, my 16 year old said, “Hey Mom, how do you caramelize onions?” He was making himself sausage dogs and really wanted some sweet and delicious caramelized onions. I was working and too busy to get in the kitchen with him to explain. So, for about 30 minutes he was walking back and forth from the kitchen to the office asking questions.
After that, I thought maybe it’s a good idea to write a recipe for caramelized onions.
Here’s What WE Need to Make The Caramelized Onions
For this recipe we’re just using two simple ingredients.
- Brown (yellow) onions
- Olive oil
What’s The Best Type of Onions to Use To Make Caramelized Onions
For this recipe today I used Brown Onions, they are often referred to yellow onions. I find they work well for caramelizing onions. Here are some more options of onions you can use.
- White Onions – these have a mild flavour and are high in sugar. They also caramelize well.
- Red Onions – this variety of onions are often used in salads, sandwiches and on burgers. You can easily caramelize them as well. The end result will be slightly reddish in colour.
- Sweet Onions (variety like Vadilia) – These onions look similar to the brown onion but are flatter in shape. They are also high in sugar which make them sweeter. Another great option for caramelizing onions.
REMEMBER, The full recipe and instructions will be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Prepare The Onions For Cooking
For this recipe, I’m making a lot of caramelized onions. You can make as many as you like. I like to keep them on hand in the fridge, because we use them often. Take one task at a time, and finish it. This will save time when doing this many onions.
- Cut ends off the onions – I like the cut the end away from the onions, this makes it easy to peel them.
- Cut the onions in half – I cut the onions down the middle length-ways. This will make it very easy to peel the onions.
- Peel the onions – remove the skin from all the onions and discard it.
How To slice and Cook the Onions
- Thinly slice the onions – I like to cut the onions cross ways into about 1/8 inch slices. This isn’t exact, but a good measure. If you cut them too thick, the centers of the onions will be too tough. Alternatively, if they are too thin, you risk burning them.
- Heat a large skillet – place a large heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat for a minute. You can use butter if you prefer.
- Add the onions – I start the onions over a very high heat and stir them really well. Do this just for about 3 – 4 minutes to start to brown them. After this time, reduce heat to medium low and stir really well.
- Caramelize onions – the caramelizing of onions happens as they slow cook. This will take anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes. Even longer in some cases. If you like your onions really dark and reduced even more, a longer cooking time will be required. During the cooking, if the onions start to stick to the pan, add a little water or stock (if you prefer), to prevent them from sticking and release any bits that may have stuck to the pan.
REMEMBER, Caramelized Onions reduce a lot. So when you are starting with what looks like a lot, it will only be about 1/3 of the volume when they are finished caramelizing.
Perfectly Cooked Caramelized Onions
Now that you have your cooked caramelized onions, the sky is the limit. Honestly, this is one of the most used condiments at our house. They are perfectly sweet, very soft and they great with so many dishes. I love using them in appetizers like Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese Tarts, as well as main dishes like my Caramelized Onions and Stove Top Pork. So many delicious options.
How Can I Store Caramelized Onions
Caramelized onions are a great condiment to keep on hand. You will more often than not, find them in my fridge. So, yes you can make a big batch and keep them on hand.
- Fridge Storage – you can store the caramelized onions in an airtight container in the fridge for about five days.
- Freezer Storage – If you end of making a lot of caramelized onions, you can freeze them. I like to use heavy duty zip lock bags. They will keep for up to about three months. To defrost, just take them out and put them in the fridge and allow them to defrost naturally. You can reheat in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat for a few minutes.
How Can I Use Caramelized Onions
As I said before, the options are endless for using these. They are delicious in just about everything.
- Sandwiches, Burgers and Wraps – These would go great with The Best Chicken Sandwiches, Turkey Burgers are even put in any kind of wrap.
- Charcuterie Boards, Appetizers and Nibbles – Serve them alongside some cheese and crackers, with my Easy Charcuterie Board or on the Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts.
- With Main Courses – Why not try these in my Caramelized Onions and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast, Roasted Pepper & Caramelized Onion Cannelloni or my Stove Top Pork with Caramelized Onions. All great options.
- Add to Soups, Stews and Sauces – Great in Marinara Sauce , added to Roasted Tomato Soup and in Beef Stew.
Make the caramelized onions friends, you’ll love them! If you have any questions feel free to reach out in the comments below.
My stay cation is over now and I’m back to full time recipe writing for rest of the fall until my Christmas break. Hope everyone is well and enjoying the start to September. See you all in a few days.
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Get The Recipe!
How To Caramezlie Onions
- 2 lbs onions
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Peel the onions and cut them in half. Thinly slice all the onions. Try to slice them as thinly as you can
- Place a large deep sided skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat for about a minute. Add all the onions at once and give a really good stir. Allow the onions to brown over high heat for about 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't stick or burn.
- Reduce heat to medium low and give the onions another really good stir around. The onions will now continue to cook and caramelize for the next 30 – 35 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking and allow even cooking. If you notice the onions sticking too much, add a little splash of water to the pan.
- Onions will be done when they are completely soft and golden brown. Remove from heat.
- Serve straight away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a about 5 days. Can be frozen for about 3 months.