Caramelized Onions
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Caramelized Onions could very well go down as our all-time favorite ingredient. If you frequent our blog enough you’ll notice they appear in a LOT of dishes. So what? They taste amazing so they should be used a lot! In fact, I don’t think we use them enough!

What are the best Onions for Caramelization?

Honestly we’ve found that any type of onion caramelizes well if you follow this technique, and it ultimately will depend on what your personal preference is. Red Onions are our favorite as they have a higher sugar content so naturally end up a little sweeter. Yellow / Spanish onions work great as do white onions. The trick is to try them out and see which you prefer or go crazy and create a mix of different types of onions in your batch! You cannot go wrong however you chose to proceed

Caramelized Onions
Beautifully golden Caramelized Onions. A perfect side for so many dishes or great just on their own!

Believe it or not, Onions are naturally a sweet vegetable

This recipe does not use any sugar or sweetener at all. What is so amazing about the onion is they are naturally a very sweet ingredient, so no sugar is required when cooked slowly on a low temperature, they’ll come out plenty sweet we assure you

Onions are generally perceived as quite a bitter vegetable, especially when eaten raw. The transformation that an Onion makes during the cooking process must be one of the most extreme of all vegetables. By cooking the Onions, you are extracting all the water inside of them. The water itself is quite bitter, however the flesh of the Onion is not

So, once the Water has evaporated out of the Onion during the cooking process, what is left is that beautiful, sweet Onion flesh. Cooked Onions are one of the sweetest vegetables you can use in cooking. They’re a great source of applying sweetness to recipes without the need for sugar. This is one of the reasons why Onions are so widely used in cuisines from all over the world

The duration of time you cook the Onions for has a marked impact on their overall texture

Caramelizing Onions isn’t simply a matter of putting some heat on Onions until they’re done. You have so many different methods to caramelize Onions based on the overall output you want. For this recipe we are looking for a beautiful, velvety texture for our Caramelized Onions. The type of Onions that work great in classic dishes such as French Onion Soup

Caramelized Onions top down view
The length of time and heat that you use when cooking Onions will produce a completely different texture

To achieve this texture for your Onions, cooking them in a large pot over low heat slowly is the only way to go. The moisture within the Onions will gradually be extracted from the Onions, leaving that delicate flesh beautiful and tender

If you cook the Onions over a high heat, the same result will occur, however the harshness of the high heat will result in the Onions becoming crispy. This is by no means at all a bad thing. If you’re looking for a crispier / crunchier texture for your Caramelized Onions then we would recommend cooking them at a higher heat. This is a classic method for grilling and barbequing, and perfect if you’re wanting a little bit of char to your Onions

Oven Roasting is another method, perfect when dealing with larger chunks of Onions

Another fantastic method to Caramelize Onions is the oven roasting method. This involves placing chunks of Onions on a sheet pan then roasting them in the Oven over a medium / high heat. Typically you would not cut the Onions into slices like we’re doing for this recipe. Instead, you would cut the Onions in segments (usually eighths, depending on the size of the Onion) and roast them

It is always optional to add fat to the Onions (such as Butter or Oil). It isn’t necessary but many do this to get an even richer result. We’ve got a great version of Oven Roasted Onions in our Perfect Roast Chicken Dinner recipe here (LINK)

Oven Roasted Caramelized Onions
Oven Roasting is another fantastic technique to Caramelize Onions

Salt is a key ingredient to achieve the best Caramelized Onions

Along with Onions, Salt is another key ingredient in cooking around the world. So it makes complete sense that combining these two ingredients in cooking is going to achieve a great result. Apply a generous amount of Salt to the Onions will greatly assist in the water extraction process for the Onions

Salt is also a flavor enhancer. So, in addition to assisting removal of the bitter-tasting liquid in the Onions, it will help to develop those rich, sweet Onion flavors

Recipe Details

Servings

2 – 4 servings

Prep time

10 minutes

Cooking time

1 hour

Total time

1 hour 10 minutes

Caramelized Onions Recipe

Ingredients

  • Onions (as many that will fit into your pan)
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Butter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your onions by cutting the two ends off (the bud and the stem). Turn onion on its side and cut in half then peel. Then place the flat surface side on the chopping board and cut thin, even strips along the natural lines of the onion. This is the fool proof way to peel and cut onions, as it ensures the onion slices stay intact during the cooking process
  2. Melt a little butter into a large saucepan or Dutch oven over low heat. The butter content is options so add what you feel necessary, a tbsp. would be ample. Then add all of your onion into the pot and season liberally with salt. Salt helps to break down the onions during the cooking process so don’t be shy – we’d suggest 1 tsp. for every 2 onions
  3. Maintaining the low temperature, cook the onions, stirring occasionally. Onions break down a lot during the cooking process so really try to load as many onions as possible into the pan as they’ll break down and reduce over time as the water evaporates from them. In fact, onions are about 90% water, so once completely cooked you’ll have about 10% left of the onion you began with!
  4. This is a long process, don’t rush it! After about 50 minutes to 1 hour your onions should be beautifully caramelized and a dark golden brown color. Serve as is or store covered in your refrigerator

These beautiful Caramelized Onions are brilliant by themselves, spread onto some crusty bread or paired with any brilliant Beef dishes which you can find here!

Our Caramelized Onions are used in many of our recipes as a key ingredient. Here are a few of our favorite dishes that rely on these beautiful Onions:

Happy Cooking!

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