Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!

Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!

How to make Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions are just divine. They lose the crunchy texture and sharp flavors that raw onions have when they’re caramelized, making them absolutely heavenly on top of any savory dish. Add them to your favorite burger, pizza, burrito, enchiladas, soup, omelette, sandwich… Just about anything can be improved by caramelized onions. I’d even venture to say they could be eaten solo–they’re THAT good.

The key to cooking perfect caramelized onions is slow and low, though. Caramelized onions and sautéed onions are very different things. Plan ahead because these guys take some time, but I promise they’re worth every minute. And, a bonus, even though they take about 30 minutes to an hour to make, they require very little maintenance and attention as they cook. They’re great to make as you’re cooking the rest of dinner, meal prepping, or tidying up the kitchen.

How do you caramelize onions without burning them?

When you slice your onions, you want them to be thin, but not too thin. They’ll start to fry or even burn, instead of caramelize, if they’re too thin. Shoot for a quarter-inch in thickness when you slice your onions.

You also want to pay attention to your heat level. Your burner should be turned to medium-low, and probably even closer to low than medium. If they are starting to brown right away or get crispy at all, turn down the heat.

What is the difference between caramelized onions and sautéed onions?

Caramelized onions take a much slower process than sautéing them. When you sauté an onion, it only takes a few minutes and the onion still caramelizes somewhat, but it takes on a much different flavor and texture. Caramelized onions are soft and sweet, while sautéed still have a bit of a crunch and hint of oniony bitterness to them.

How dark should caramelized onions be?

Caramelized onions will take on a dark golden color, depending on the type of onion. Red onions will be a rich, deep purple-brown, while white and yellow onions will take on that more deep gold tone. But be careful! If the edges start to get close to dark brown or black, they’re burning, and you’ll want to turn the heat way down or remove them from heat.

Do you salt caramelized onions?

No, in fact, you want to make sure you cook them in unsalted butter. Salt draws water out of vegetables, which will make the caramelizing process take even longer.

Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!

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Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!

Caramelized Onions


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Description

Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Cut onion in half, and slice onion halves to create half circles.
  2. Place onions and butter in a medium pot or skillet, and cook over medium-low heat, until onions become golden and sweet, stirring occasionally. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking. Slow and steady is the key.
  3. The 2 onions produced about 1 cup of caramelized onions.

Notes

  • The time it takes to caramelize depends on the onion your start with. Vadalia and red onions caramelize faster than white and yellow because they start out sweeter.
  • The white onions pictured were cooked for 50 minutes.
  • Category: side
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Caramelized onions, onions, side

Caramelized onions are sweet, creamy, and luxurious to the palate. The low and slow cooking method cuts any of that tangy, sharp flavor that raw onions are so well known for, making these the perfect addition to just about any entree!

Caramelized onions would be awesome on these recipes:

I hope if you are new to caramelizing onions that this post took some of the mysterious out of the process and that you’ll know now how to caramelize onions at home! Put them on allll the things friends!

This post was originally published in 2010 and has been updated and rephotographed in April 2019.

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4 Responses
  1. deb c }i{

    And….then you dehydrate them and they become crunchy goodness to sit and eat, put on a burger/sandwich or crumble over a salad! I love how carmelized onions turn so sweet and yummy!!!

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

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