How to Caramelize Onions
Making caramelized onions is easier than you think, and you likely have the all the ingredients in your pantry right now.
Caramelized onions add mouthwatering flavor to almost any dish. From quiches and pizza, to burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, this is one ingredient that will take your cooking up to a new level. We'll show you step by step how easy it is to make mouthwatering caramelized onions on your stovetop.
Marina Delio from Yummy Mummy Kitchen shares her secrets for making caramelized onions.
When my daughter was three, we went out one night for burgers. When the server asked if she would like a plain kids burger, my little gourmand asked if they could put caramelized onions on top. While our server was a bit surprised, when you think about it, there's everything to love about caramelized onions. Even if you're three. Raw onions are undeniably intense, but once they have been slowly cooked down, they release all of those spicy notes and tear-inducing gasses and leave only sweetness behind. Learn more about onions here!
Though the process is time consuming, it is very simple. You will need about an hour, but won't need to hover over the stove, and the result is well worth the time. You probably have everything you need in your pantry already. A couple of onions, a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil, and a splash of vinegar is all that's needed. Let's get started!
How to Caramelize Onions on Your Stovetop
- 2 to 3 yellow, white, or red onions
- 3 to 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil (or a combination of the two)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or wine
1. Choose Your Onions
I usually use yellow onions, but white or purple will also work. The amount of onions to caramelize is up to you. I find that two to three work well for a large skillet. Keep in mind that the onions will cook down quite a lot and leftovers refrigerate well.
2. Slice Your Onion
Cut the stem and root ends off the onion. Then halve the onion and cut it into thin slices. The onion should then naturally separate into half-rings.
3. Melt Butter in a Skillet
Add three to four tablespoons of fat to a large skillet over medium heat. Butter and olive oil both work well. I like to use a combination of the two, as the butter adds rich flavor and the oil can tolerate higher temperatures without burning.
4. Add the Onions and a Pinch of Salt
The salt will season the onions, but it will also help pull out some of the moisture and move the process right along.
Let the onions cook slowly. Don't rush them. I find tongs are the easiest tool for turning onions in the early stages of this process. Turn or stir the onions so that they evenly become soft and brown, but don't worry about exact timing.
Continue stirring those onions and enjoy watching them turn from white to a delicious golden brown.
If the onions stick to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or wine. I usually stick with balsamic vinegar because the flavor complements the onions perfectly. Not only will deglazing pull up tasty sticky bits, it will add even more flavor to your caramelized onions.
Continue stirring the onions until they have reached the color you like. Enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator for up to four days.
All photos by Marina Delio
How to Use Caramelized Onions
Use your caramelized onions to top your burgers, like my little ones do, or use them to add flavor to any other dish you would like. Or try some of these delicious caramelized onion recipes:
Check out our collection of Onion Recipes.