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How to Caramelize Onions

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How to make one of the most versatile condiments ever - caramelized onions!

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite condiments. They add such a rich flavor to a variety of dishes from soups to quiche and they just sound so nice. Would you like onion in your sandwich today? Maybe. Would you like caramelized onion with your sandwich today? But of course!

How to make one of the most versatile condiments ever - caramelized onions!

I feel like the only reason we don’t see more dishes featuring caramelized onions in home kitchens is that it takes about 40 minutes to properly caramelize onions. There’s no rushing the process, and no getting around the long cook time because that’s just how long it takes to break down sliced onion to release the natural sugars. The good thing about it is that at least one can make a big batch and then save it for later by freezing in portions with very little change in texture. Normally I don’t like frozen onions because the texture changes, but I haven’t noticed that much with caramelized onions. That being said, I also don’t often freeze them, preferring to keep a batch in my refrigerator for about a week and having it ready to use as I please.

How to make one of the most versatile condiments ever - caramelized onions!

Today I’m sharing with you the stove top method for making caramelized onions. You can also make them in the slow cooker overnight. I have made them successfully after about 12 hours in the slow cooker, but I prefer the stove top method. There is the tiniest difference in flavor and I feel the stove top method results in a slightly better final product.

How to Caramelize Onions

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Caramelized onions are an easy and inexpensive way to dress up almost any dish! With a little patience and four ingredients, you can make your own at home.


  • 1/3 c (215 g) good quality olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs (690 g) sweet onion (approximately 2 large)
  • 1 tsp (5 g) salt
  • 1 tbsp (14 g) balsamic vinegar


  1. Slice the onions in half, then slice very thin as you heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and sprinkle with the salt. Stir constantly until the liquid evaporates from the onions. You must stir so the onions don't steam in their own juices instead of caramelize. This takes about 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to a medium low, and cook an additional 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are a rich golden brown.
  4. When the onions are a rich golden brown (not burnt), remove them from the pan and increase the heat to high. Pour in your balsamic vinegar and swirl it around the pan, scraping the bottom to remove the little brown bits of onion that are stuck to the pan. Pour that over your onions. Mix to combine.

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How to make one of the most versatile condiments ever - caramelized onions!

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