How to Caramelize Onions

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  • Learn how to caramelize onions in just a few minutes with very little effort for the perfect addition to dips, burgers, tacos and more!

    how to caramelize onions

    It seems like such a simple thing, right? Well, I’m often asked how to caramelize onions and it’s one of those things I just do, without thinking about. Kind of like how my grandma baked – a little of this, a pinch of that. I realized when trying to explain to my sister that I should share how to caramelize onions in a little more detail. I use them on burgers, grilled cheese, tacos, pizzas, and dips. There’s rarely a week where I don’t have onions cooking to make something fabulous!

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!

    The basics for caramelized onions are easy – sliced onions, oil and the secret I rarely see mentioned, a lid on your sauté pan! It’s the key that reduces the need to add more oil.

    How to Caramelize Onions:

    Slice your onions – I generally use 2 because 1 is never enough. It may seem like a lot, but once they caramelize, they reduce significantly in size. The image above is just one onion, the image below is 2!

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!

    Place them in your pan over medium heat. I frequently use my cast iron skillet, but any will do. Drizzle them with vegetable oil, then toss using my secret weapon – tongs. Cover the onions with a lid and let them do their magic for 10 minutes.

    Toss the onions, replace the lid and let them continue to caramelize for another 10 minutes.

    Optional: add in a tablespoon of brown sugar or 1/2 tsp cayenne to kick it up a notch, but they’re perfectly delicious just as they are. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, when golden brown and soft.

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!

    The best Caramelized Onion recipe:

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!

    Notes: You may need to slightly decrease your time if you slice your onions thin and you can substitute olive oil for butter, though I prefer vegetable oil.

    If you want to save this recipe for later, you can pin it here:

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!

    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!
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    How to Caramelize Onions

    Learn how to caramelize onions in just a few minutes with very little effort for the perfect addition to dips, burgers, tacos and more!

    Cuisine American
    Keyword caramelize, how to, onion
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes
    Servings 7

    Ingredients

    • 2 large yellow onions
    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or butter

    Instructions

    1. Slice onions and put them in a pan over medium heat.
    2. Drizzle with vegetable oil, then toss to coat. Cover the onions with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
    3. Stir the onions, replace the lid and let them continue to caramelize for another 10 minutes.
    4. Stir and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, when golden brown and soft.

    Recipe Notes

    This same technique applies to shallots, too! Some of my favorite recipes with caramelized onions / shallots are:

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