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Can you freeze caramelized onions?

Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 11:33 AM

Now that burger season is upon us, I was wondering if caramelized onions can be frozen? I always seem to make way more than is needed for burgers or pizza.

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    bigfellow RE: Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 11:54 AM

    In my experience, they tend to break down when frozen. The quality just doesn't keep frozen.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bigfellow
      greygarious RE: bigfellow May 14, 2009 01:37 PM

      I disagree with bigfellow. Like other posters here, I routinely freeze them in small containers. They may be a tad softer afterwards, but the flavor doesn't suffer. I also freeze small amounts of onions sauteed until just golden, which is useful when preparing a meal in a hurry. Onion prep and preliminary cooking can easily double the time it takes to make a particular dish.

      1. re: greygarious
        bigfellow RE: greygarious May 14, 2009 03:08 PM

        I have always tried freezing them in large batches for restaurants. It never worked.
        But I like the idea of freezing them in "rounds" to put on burgers. I'm going to try it tonight.

        I always say that you learn something new everyday in the cooking business.

    2. tcamp RE: Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 12:00 PM

      But they keep for a week or so in the fridge. I always make more on purpose, then use them up on pizza, in burritos, or mixed with eggs.

      1. jfood RE: Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 12:18 PM

        Here's what jfood does and it is on the calendar for this weekend if it rains:

        1 -Go to Costco and buy 8-10 pounds of sweet onions
        2 - Throw them in large stock pot and reduce and caramelize for a couple of hours
        3 - Place in fridge and cool off
        4 - Then take a large cookie sheet and make believe you are topping a hamburger in probably a 1/4" thick and round.
        5 - Place these "onion rounds" in the freezer
        6 - Remove and wrap each in saran wrap
        7 - Place in Freezer bag and into the freezer
        8 - When you make a burger, grab a packet, removed from saran wrap and reheat (jfood uses MV)

        Works perfectly and beautiful caramelized onions available 24/7 for weeks to go.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jfood
          phantomdoc RE: jfood May 14, 2009 12:29 PM

          I used to use an ice cube tray but I defer to jfood.

          They freeze well if properly sealed so there is no air in contact with the onions.

          1. re: phantomdoc
            phantomdoc RE: phantomdoc Oct 13, 2010 02:51 PM

            I slice them in the food processor before cooking.

          2. re: jfood
            FoodFuser RE: jfood May 16, 2009 12:57 PM

            I do the same "onion rounds in the freezer" thing, too.

            The discs are good not just for burgers, but as quick melters when tossed into broth or soup.

            I used to freeze them in solid square containers, but the cube is not as versatile as the disc.

            I chuckle when the weekly grocery ad features onions at 19 cents a pound. Last year I snagged 50 lbs at $.09.

          3. pikawicca RE: Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 12:23 PM

            I ALWAYS have little bags of caramelized onions in the freezer.

            1. m
              Mary64 RE: Green Omnivore May 14, 2009 02:55 PM

              I too love to freeze caramelized onions to save time. I have not had any problems.

              1. c
                cheesecake17 RE: Green Omnivore May 16, 2009 06:46 PM

                I freeze in snack size ziplocks or disks, like jfood. They freeze really well and add lots of flavor quickly.

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                  pennylane915 RE: Green Omnivore Oct 13, 2010 02:43 PM

                  I didn't want to make a new thread, since my question touches on the OP's.

                  I am wanting to make caramelized creamed pearl onions for thanksgiving. What are your thoughts on caramelizing the onions prior to thanksgiving (for time/stove space sake) and then just adding the creamed step the day of?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pennylane915
                    jmnewel RE: pennylane915 Oct 13, 2010 03:09 PM

                    I do my caramelized onions about 2 or 3 days ahead and then reheat. I don't do the creamed part, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't do the creamed step the day of.

                    1. re: pennylane915
                      greygarious RE: pennylane915 Oct 13, 2010 03:10 PM

                      I expect the challenge will be less about timing and more to do with maintaining the shape of pearl onions if cooking them long enough to caramelize the exterior. Is there a recipe you are using, or are you creating this on your own? In either case it will be fine to caramelize days ahead of time.

                      1. re: pennylane915
                        jfood RE: pennylane915 Oct 13, 2010 04:04 PM

                        Jfood agrees with the previous two posters.

                        1 - caramelizing ahead of time and fridging or freezing should not be an issue
                        2 - caramelizing pearl onions to maintain the globe shape seems to jfood as an impossible task. The only exception is there is an oven roasted method posted by Joan N that has received tremendous reviews on outcome. Do a search for the oven roasted methon. Jfood thinks the thread was revived last week some time so it may be a few pages down on the home cooking board.

                        lets us know if you did, method, and results.

                        Good luck

                        1. re: jfood
                          pennylane915 RE: jfood Oct 13, 2010 04:16 PM

                          Thanks, everyone. I do make up my own recipe, depending on what I'm using the onions for, but I will check out the oven roasted method mentioned above.

                          If my experiment fails, it will make for a really lovely green bean with caramelized onions dish! :o)

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