Technique: How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelized onions are one of my favorite ingredients. They go great on burgers, sandwiches, in pasta, on a pizza, or even in casseroles. Why bother though? Although preparing caramelized onions is rather easy, it takes time. Caramelized onions have a sweeter and deeper flavor than raw onions. Also, it’s a way to get an onion flavor into a recipe for people that do not like onions. A lot of people have a taste aversion to raw onions. Just ask Scott Conant:

As much as I love caramelized onions, there is a specific reason why I am writing this article now. I have a special recipe that I am going to share soon that requires them. More info on that recipe coming soon.

This is my first recipe I am posting since I have moved. That means after the break, there is a much nicer kitchen to be seen. I love my new gas stove.

Equipment:  Stockpot

Although some onions work better than others, you can realistically use any kind of onion you like. My personal favorite are Vidalia or Spanish onions.

Start by cutting your onions into lanyards. Place your onions in a stockpot.

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The basic idea here is to slowly cook the onions in a fat. I find that extra virgin olive oil or butter works best.

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Place your onion lanyards into the stockpot. Put enough extra virgin olive oil or butter into the pot to lightly coat all of the onions. Place the burner on medium high and constantly stir. Add a small pinch of salt. Don’t get heavy handed on the salt, or it will take over the flavor. This is a situation of less is more. The onions should begin to sweat and start to look translucent after 5 minutes.

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That’s your signal to set your burner to low. The onions need to cook for about 30 more minutes on low. Only stir the onions every 5 minutes from this point. The color of the onions will deepen over time.

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After about 30 minutes, your onions will be finished and look something like this. If the onions aren’t dark enough, cook them a little longer.

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If you are interested in the science of caramelizing onions, or you want to learn some more tricks, serious eats has a great article on the topic that can be found here.