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How to make caramelized onions

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How to make caramelized onions, caramelizing onions, how do you caramelize onions, quick caramelized onions

Caramelized onions can be such a nice side kick to so many dishes: from pasta to grilled meats and hamburgers; as a topping over pizzas or a condiment in salads. I use caramelized onions a lot in my cooking, even though so far I have published only 2 recipes on this site involving caramelized onions: caramelized onion and mushroom pasta and mac and cheese with bacon and caramelized onions – both recipes are delicious and highly recommended! The options and versatility of caramelized onions are endless!   For example, have you ever tried caramelized onions in a quiche or a tart?  Or, in a French onion soup? What about caramelized onion dip?   The subtly sweet flavor of the caramelized onions combined with the savory is so addicting!   So, here is my simple method of how to make caramelized onions!  I am sure I will be referring to it a lot in my future recipes!

How to make caramelized onions

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 or 2 cups


How to make caramelized onions


  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, medium or large, sliced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on high heat in a large skillet, when oil is heated, add sliced onions and cook on high heat for about 10 minutes, constantly stirring with spatula. The onions should start to brown, but without burning (a couple of onions may be burnt here and there, but overall they should not be charred).
  2. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking onions for 10 more minutes, continuing to stir, as onions brown even more without burning. At this point add just a pinch of salt over onions.
  3. Continue cooking the onions for 10 more minutes on medium or low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure onions don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. Add a little bit of water if they start to stick. Total, by now you should have cooked onions for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and sprinkle onions with a small amount of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Using spatula, mix the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan and coating onions with a pinch of balsamic vinegar you just added.



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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Kayle (The Cooking Actress) April 27, 2014, 11:12 am

    MMMMM!!! I have been wanting to make caramelized onions!!

  • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking April 27, 2014, 11:43 am

    I made caramelized onions several weeks ago to be a topper for a burger….quite possibly the best burger EVER! I think your Hubs would approve.

    Mine used butter, but I would really like to try a healthier version like you have. Mine just felt so….guilty!

  • Sarah & Arkadi April 27, 2014, 5:29 pm

    love it! your onions look amazing! just right!

  • Matt @ Runner Savvy April 27, 2014, 7:54 pm

    I love caramelized onions! I make mine with butter instead of oil.

  • [email protected] April 28, 2014, 1:43 am

    Wow, nice. That spoon of balsamic made it all even better! 🙂 ela

  • Jean Kane May 1, 2014, 10:08 pm

    Sometimes I add a dash of sugar just to make them a little sweeter. ( this is before I found out about the Balsamic vinegar). Also , if u add a little ketchup, u have the same onions that Sabrette makes for their hot dogs ! Just don’t Carmelize the onions too much, do more of a sautée. Delicious !

  • Penny May 5, 2014, 5:28 am

    Julia, your recipe sounds delicious and I will be using it often in the future. Just wondering, have you ever tried freezing it?
    cheers Penny

  • Glo July 10, 2016, 12:06 am

    I love Carmelites onions. I make this very simple one for eating with rice, good salad and what ever kind of meat. Watch!!!! Olive Oil, butter, Sliced Onions(plenty). Just toss them around until you like what you see. Then pile them on your Rice. Ohh sooo good. It’s not steak but you will enjoy it as if it were. Try it!

    • Julia July 15, 2016, 11:59 am

      I love onions no matter how they are prepared. 🙂 I love them raw, I love them cooked – they are so good on everything! Thank you for your tips! Caramelized onions taste great over rice!

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