Caramelized Onions Recipe | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Caramelized Onions Recipe | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Caramelized Onions

[1] Caramelized onions rock a burger, sandwich, eggs and more (photo © McCormick).

Yellow Onions

[2] Large yellow onions are best to caramelize (photo © Flagstaff Fotos).


Caramelized onions are a great culinary treat that few people enjoy often enough.

You can caramelize any type of onion. Sautéeing slowly brings out rich, sweet onion flavor as the natural sugars in the onions caramelize. Start with standard yellow onions, then try other varieties to see which you prefer (red onions add more color).

Slather caramelized onions on burgers and sandwiches, on pastas and pizzas, as a condiment with egg, fish and meat dishes or as a garnish for soups. Garnish mashed potatoes and rice. Toss them into a green salad or grilled vegetable plate with some goat cheese.

Try a small batch with oil and another batch with butter. Then, vary the types of onions, to see which recipe you prefer. You can vary the recipe by adding sliced mushrooms.

NOTE: Once sautéed, a large union results in a much smaller amount of cooked onion. If this is your first batch, consider it a trial so you’ll know how many onions to use next time.

FOOD TRIVIA: Standard onions actually have more sugar than the more expensive sweet onion varieties. Sweet onions seem sweeter because they contain fewer acrid sulfur compounds.


  • 1 large onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, olive oil or other cooking oil
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch fresh-ground black pepper
  • Optional: pinch sugar
  • Optional: splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: chopped thyme

    1. SLICE the top off the onion, peel, halve and slice into half rings.

    2. ADD the butter/oil to a large, heavy skillet and turn heat to medium-high until it begins to bubble. If you are using butter, note that it can burn if overheated, so keep an eye on it.

    3. ADD the onions to the skillet and stir to coat with the fat. Add the salt, pepper and optional sugar and/or thyme.

    4. STIR constantly until the onions begin to darken and soften, about 5 minutes. Some slices will stick to the bottom of the pan. If you are having difficulty scraping them up as you stir, deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water, broth, wine or beer. You can deglaze as often as needed.

    5. CONTINUE stirring until the onions are golden brown, translucent and the texture you desire—from al dente to soft—up to 20 minutes. Remove from the stove and add the splash of balsamic vinegar.
    Enjoy them and make another, much larger batch immediately—you’ll definitely want more!

    To make large quantities, take a look at this cooking video.

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