How to Caramelize Onions | Julie Blanner

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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! Easy to make with just two ingredients, these onions are a great addition to so many recipes!

    caramelized onions in a jar with 'how to caramelize onions' text overlay

    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.

    To Make Caramelized Onions You Will Need:

    You just need two basic ingredients to make these melt in the mouth onions!

    • Onions
    • Vegetable oil or butter

    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. 

    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.

    Variations For This Caramelized Onion Recipe

    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.

    Feel free to substitute the yellow onions for shallots or red onions – the process is the same.

    What To Serve With These Sauteed Onions

    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! They add an amazing flavor to liven up any meal!

    Raw onions in a saute pan

    Sauteed Onions Don’t Need A Lot Of Oil

    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, you just need two tablespoons for perfectly soft and juicy onions. I prefer to use vegetable oil, but you can also use butter or olive oil.

    The best Caramelized Onion recipe

    I love how simple and easy it is to make these onions, the finished result are slightly sweet onions that have retained their juices. I find the best recipes that you use time and time again are often the simplest, and this makes an appearance on a weekly basis in our house!

    Caramelized onions in a saute pan with a wooden spoon

    How Long Do Caramelized Onions Keep?

    Once the onions are cooked, let them cool to room temperature and place them in an airtight container in the fridge and they will keep for 3 to 4 days. You can then use them as is in recipes, or you can reheat them gently on the stovetop to serve.

    You can also freeze the sautéed onions, so it’s great to make a big batch and then store them in airtight containers or ziplock bags in the freezer. You can reheat them from frozen.

    Cooked onions in a glass jar

    Top Tips To Make This Caramelized Onion Recipe

    • Don’t use more than 2 tablespoons of oil or butter, or the sauteed onions can become too greasy.
    • Be sure to put a lid on the sauté pan – this speeds up the cooking and helps the onions retain their moisture.
    • To make the onions vegan, use a plant based oil or butter.
    • You may need to slightly decrease your cooking time if you slice your onions thinly.

    Onions in a glass jar ready to eat

    Be Sure To Check Out These Other Quick And Easy Recipes!

    If you try this caramelized onion recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too! For more easy recipes and simple living ideas, subscribe to my newsletter!

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    How to caramelize onions - the secret to caramelized onions without a lot of effort. Perfect for burgers, tacos, pizzas, dips and more!
    5 from 1 vote
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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:

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

    Pinterest collage of how to make caramelized onions

     

     

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