How To Make Caramelized Onions: {Recipe & Tips}

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Caramelized onions are a delicious way to add flavor to meats, breads, omelets, pastas, potatoes, rice–whatever you like–and they’re so easy to make too! Here’s how…


Keep Cooking Onions Until They're Golden Brown And Caramelized For A Tasty Treat

Keep Cooking Onions Until They're Golden Brown And Caramelized For A Tasty Treat

1/4 cup unsalted butter
6 large onions
2 tsp brown or white sugar (optional)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)


  • Peel and slice onions into rings about 1/4″ thick.
  • Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium to high heat.
  • Once the butter has melted, toss onions into the hot pan and stir to coat them with butter. Cook for 5 minutes at this temperature, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently so the onions don’t burn.
  • After 15 minutes, sprinkle sugar over top and stir to coat the onions. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until they are golden brown and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper near the end of cooking time.


  • You can cook big batches of caramelized onions and refrigerate to use during the week, they keep well in an airtight container. You can freeze them for future use too!
  • You don’t need a strict recipe to make caramelized onions, start with 1 tablespoon of butter (or olive oil) per 2 medium size onions and then add whatever seasonings you wish.
  • Trying adding herbs such as dried thyme for a tasty twist.
  • After the onions have finished cooking, you can turn them into a tasty spread by pureeing them in a food processor, yum!
  • Adding sugar isn’t absolutely necessary since the onions will produce their own sugar as they cook and caramelize.
  • For best results use a sweet onion like Vadalia but you can also try red onions or cooking onions.
  • You can slice the onions as thick or thin as you like, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted.
  • To cut down on fat, replace butter with canola or olive oil–or use a butter/olive oil mix (about 2 parts butter to 1 part oil). I prefer cooking the onions in butter ;).

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Published: November 5, 2009

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2 Comments to “How To Make Caramelized Onions: {Recipe & Tips}”
  1. Lindy says:

    Make sure not to use a not-stick or teflon pan! The onions will never carmelize if you do. I learned this the very hard way!

  2. Iain says:

    Using oil will not cut down on fat–it’s 100% fat. It will just use a different kind of fat that’s healthier.