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Dec 26, 2009 05:40 PM

Caramelized Onions - what's the best way to make them

I would like to know the best way of making caramelized onions.
I love the flavor in dishes when I eat out but don't know how to make them at home.
I've made sauteed onions onion, but caramelized onions are different.
Ideally I would like to make a large batch and store them in the freezer or fridge for use in recipes including omelletes and burgers.

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  1. here's a great recipe (it just takes a while to make!)

    1. So easy in a slow-cooker:

      Here's a nice video too:

      And though I don't generally refer people to her often, Rachael Ray has a pretty straight-forward version here:

      1. Make these all the time for burgers, brats, pasta, and white bean soup with kielbasa. You really can't go wrong, as long as you have plenty of patience. I will say that Cook's Illustrated recently recommended caramelizing in the oven. Tried it and it worked well, although I had better luck at 350 (and a longer cooking time, obviously) than 400. Nothing terribly different in the end product, but nice to be able to walk away from the kitchen more easily.

        3 Replies
        1. re: eight_inch_pestle

          I use the the method in the Cooks Illustrated "Perfect Vegetables" book. I'll try to come back and post it here soon. Although, I can say, I worked at a chain once that did their caramelized onions in the oven and I thought they were mighty fine. Perhaps that is the way to go?

          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

            Big advocate of the oven method here. Especially good for doing a large quantity.

            1. re: JoanN

              JoanN, i took your idea from that thread years ago and have never looked back, we would never have onion soup as often if it weren't for your tip, makes all the difference in the doability

          2. I add sugar to quite a few dishes, so I'm definitely not a sugar phobe, but adding sugar to caramelized onions is, imo, the height of laziness. Cooked properly a caramelized onion should require absolutely no sugar.

            I'm not sure when and where the practice of adding sugar to onions started (about 15 years ago?) but I find it about as offensive as diet coke or pop tarts.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scott123

              More than 15 years ago, more like 40.
              IIRC the first time I saw the addition of sugar was in Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking French Onion Soup recipe (which I still love.)

            2. Slice up onions

              Heat up some evoo in a cast iron skillet

              Put the onions in the skillet and reduce heat to low, or a slow simmer

              Stir onions to prevent burning and add salt to release some of the moisture

              Deglaze the skillet with some vinegar

              VoilĂ . Caramelized onions.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                that's how I do it, minus the vinegar.

                I slice the onions into rings, add oil and salt, turn the burner on the lowest setting, stir, and walk away. Every so often I come back and stir. I like the end product to be very dark brown in color. I carmelize 4-5 medium onions to top 2 servings of rice & lentils.