When you need a quick side on the table to revamp any dish, caramelized onions are just the ticket! Caramelizing onions decreases sharp aromas of an onion while adding depth and flavor. It is an essential ingredient that brings out character in most savory dishes!
Caramelized onions are so good, quick and easy to make! Caramelizing is a processed used in cooking through the oxidation of sugars to bring out brown coloring and earthy flavors.
I first learned how to make caramelized onions in college at a friends’ house party. We were grillin’ and chillin’ and I was so intrigued with the guy in the kitchen sautéing Vidalia onions. He taught me 16 years ago how to make the best caramelized onions!
The secret to it is brown sugar (or coconut sugar), with a dash of salt and pepper. The sugar coats and caramelizes the onion by burning, scorching or heating the onion to form a crispy coating.
How to make caramelized onions
First prepare the onion. To prepare the onion you need to first peel and slice them.
Peeling and slicing the onions
There are various ways on how to slice onions. Using a paring knife, cut off the stem end of the bulb, which is opposite of the roots. Grab the outer layer of skin and peel it off using the flat side of the knife blade. Using a chef knife, cut the onion halfway from stem to root. Cut off the tip opposite of the root end.
From here lay the onion on the flat side down. You can start cutting across so the blade is horizontal to the root and continue to slice. Or, slice off the root end as well and slice thinly lengthwise.
If you want tinier pieces (like they serve at The Habit), after the onion is sliced in half and the stem side is sliced keep the root intact. Lay the onion flat and slice lengthwise in intervals almost to the root but quite. Then turn the onion to the side and slice horizontally so you have the onion diced. Repeat for the other half of the onion.
Sautéing and caramelizing onions
In a large skillet, on medium-high heat add oil or butter. Add the onion slices, salt, pepper and coconut sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and browned, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to low-medium and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions cook evenly and do not stick to the pan. If the onions begin to stick or start to burn at all, add a splash of water as it cooks.
This caramelized onion recipe is so simple and delicious you will want to top it on everything! Here are a few ideas.
Best Ways To Use Caramelized Onions
- Add it to tacos and burritos
- Top it on burgers
- Serve it on top of cooked chicken such as this slow cooker honey lemon chicken
- Toss it into salads
- Serve these easy caramelized onions as an appetizer topped on crosanti with cheese spread
- Serve diced with crackers, brie cheese and cranberry spread as a sweet and savory appetizer
What Kind of Onion Is Best For Sauteeing
As you can see, I used red onions but any globe onion works. Onions that can be used are white onion, red onion, yellow onion and Vidalia sweet onions. Even pearl onions will work. They all have a robust flavor that is perfect for caramelizing.
More easy recipes!
- Caramel Chocolate Oat Squares
- Cucumber Salad
- Vegan Sugar Cookies (Grain-Free)
- Stovetop Popcorn
- Arugula Prosciutto Pizza
- 2 purple onions or yellow, white or vidalia sweet
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- In a large skillet, on medium-high heat add oil or butter. Add the onion slices, salt, pepper and coconut sugar.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and browned, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to low-medium and cook 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally so the onions cook evenly and do not stick to the pan. If the onions begin to stick or start to burn at all, add a splash of water as it cooks.
- Serve immediately warm.