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Rich and Flavorful Caramelized Onions

Rich and sweet, these Caramelized Onions are the perfect topping for burgers, steak, pizza and much more. Using the natural sweetness of onions and combining them with a little butter and red wine creates a deep, flavorful side dish that is also great as a topping for so many dishes.

rich and flavorful caramelized onions feature image.

While this is an easy recipe to make with few ingredients, the end result feels gourmet due to the rich flavor and beautiful colors created during the caramelization process.

Properly making caramelized onions takes 45 minutes to an hour as the natural sugar in the onions caramelize over time. A shortcut for the caramelization process is to use baking soda, however using this method will create a mushier result as baking soda breaks down the cell walls of the onions.

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Rich and full of flavor.
  • Perfect for burgers and many other main courses.
  • Just a few simple ingredients.
  • Super easy to make.
  • Can be made vegan.
  • Kid Friendly.
  • Make ahead side dish.
  • The Best Rich and Flavorful Caramelized Onions ever!!!
second feature image of caramelized onions.

Main Ingredients

This recipe uses super easy ingredients that can be purchased from a local grocery store if they are not already in your kitchen. Read the Recipe Card for the measurements.

  • Onions – We use Vidalia onions which are naturally sweeter, but you can also use yellow onions as well.
  • Butter – Butter contains milk solids which helps to caramelize the onions faster, and adds more flavor than just using oil. We use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt you want to include. You can substitute olive oil as well and make this recipe vegan.
  • Wine – We use dry red wine to add a rich flavor to the caramelized onions. The alcohol burns off during the cooking process so no need to worry about serving kids this delicious dish.
ingredient picture of caramelized onions.

How To Make Rich and Flavorful Caramelized Onions

Step 1: Prep It

  • Remove the stem from the onions, cut in half and peel, leaving the root intact. With the cut side down, remove the root side and slice the onion halves lengthwise (from root to stem) about 1/4″ thickness.
prep the onions for cooking.

Step 2: Soften It

  • In a large, wide mouth, cast iron or stainless steel pan, over medium high heat, add the butter and onions. Give it a good stir, then cover the pan to let the onions soften and release some of their liquids, about 10 minutes.
soften the onions in the pan.
  • Remove the lid occasionally to stir, making sure nothing is browning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. (As the onions cook down, you will need to lower the heat to keep them from scorching.) 

Step 3: Caramelize It

  • Once the onions have softened, remove the lid and add the salt.
  • Continue to cook adjusting the heat accordingly, allowing the onions to brown a little, sticking to the bottom of the pan. With a wooden spoon or metal spatula, scrape up the brown bits and fold them back into the pan. As the onions caramelize, you will need to scrape the brown bits more often. (Keep a close eye on the pan for browning. If the onions start to brown too quickly lower the heat)
start the caramelization process of the onions.
  • If the caramelized bits become too stubborn to remove, add a tablespoon or two of water (or broth) to deglaze the pan. Continue to deglaze when necessary to prevent the onions from burning. 
add water to deglaze the pan.

Step 4: Season It

  • Continue cooking the onions until they have turned a deep brown color and have reduced by two-thirds. The entire caramelization process will take 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
season the onions and view the progress of the caramelization process.
  • Deglaze the pan one last time with a splash of red wine, cooking for 5 minutes to let the alcohol burn off.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
add a splash of red wine and season with salt and pepper.

Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.

final feature image of caramelized onions.

These caramelized onions pair extremely well with burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and more!

Rich and Flavorful Caramelized Onions

Rich and Flavorful Caramelized Onions

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Rich and sweet, these caramelized onions are the perfect topping for burgers, steak, pizza and much more. Using the natural sweetness of onions and combining them with a little butter and red wine creates a deep, flavorful side dish that is also great as a topping for so many dishes.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs sweet Vidalia onions, thinly sliced, 1/4” thick (about 5 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Splash of red wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove the stem from the onions, cut in half and peel, leaving the root intact. With the cut side down, remove the root side and slice the onion halves lengthwise (from root to stem) about 1/4" thickness.
  2. In a large, wide mouth, cast iron or stainless steel pan, over medium high heat, add the butter and onions. Give it a good stir, then cover the pan to let the onions soften and release some of their liquids, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid occasionally to stir, making sure nothing is browning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. (As the onions cook down, you will need to lower the heat to keep them from scorching.) 
  3. Once the onions have softened, remove the lid and add the salt.
  4. Continue to cook adjusting the heat accordingly, allowing the onions to brown a little, sticking to the bottom of the pan. With a wooden spoon or metal spatula, scrape up the brown bits and fold them back into the pan. As the onions caramelize, you will need to scrape the brown bits more often. If the caramelized bits become too stubborn to remove, add a tablespoon or two of water (or broth) to deglaze the pan. Continue to deglaze when necessary to prevent the onions from burning. 
  5. Continue cooking the onions until they have turned a deep brown color and have reduced by two-thirds. The entire caramelization process will take 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
  6. Deglaze the pan one last time with a splash of red wine, cooking for 5 minutes to let the alcohol burn off.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

Store refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.

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